Eastern Edge: Players to watch in the 2021 NHL Playoffs

Brennan Des

2021-05-18

In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll discuss players whose future fantasy value could be influenced by this year's playoff performance. For the most part, we'll talk about players who underperformed during the regular season that could change public perceptions with a strong showing in the postseason. These are players to keep in an eye on in the playoffs as you prepare for next season's fantasy drafts.

Jake DeBrusk – The 24-year-old forward had a disappointing regular season, putting up 14 points in 41 games – a 28-point pace in your typical 82-game season. His production has declined over the course of his four seasons in the NHL. He posted a 50-point pace in years one and two before taking a step back with a 44-point pace last year, and now an even bigger step back this year. It's important to consider that DeBrusk only has 244 regular season games under his belt, so it's way too early to write him off completely. Despite his struggles during the 2021 regular season, he's off to an excellent start in the playoffs, scoring a goal in each of Boston's first two playoff games. While a strong showing in the postseason could be a good sign for DeBrusk's development, I'd be careful in letting that influence your perception of his fantasy value. He averaged under 15 minutes of ice time during the regular season and did not see a prominent role on the power play. That limited opportunity isn't subject to change any time soon as he'll always find himself behind the Perfection Line (Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak) on the team's depth chart. In addition, with Taylor Hall meshing well with David Krejci and Craig Smith on the second line, the Bruins will probably make an effort to re-sign Hall and Krejci in the offseason, which would likely prevent DeBrusk from seeing an increased role next year. In summary, while a strong showing in the playoffs is a good sign for DeBrusk's development, that probably won't improve his fantasy production next year unless he also sees improvements in ice time and deployment.   

Carey Price – The Canadiens netm