Eastern Edge: Predicting Fantasy MVPs like Couturier and Bjorkstrand

Brennan Des

2021-10-05

In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll predict each team's fantasy MVP for the 2021-2022 campaign. When I think about value in fantasy hockey, I think about players who outperform expectations. As a result, this isn't a list of each team's best or most productive player. Rather, it's a list of players whose contributions should significantly outweigh their acquisition cost this year.

Boston BruinsJeremy Swayman  

Since he's signed to a bigger contract and has more NHL experience than 22-year-old Jeremy Swayman, Linus Ullmark is expected to be Boston's starting netminder this year. However, after posting an impressive 7-3-0 record, 1.50 GAA and .945 save percentage down the stretch last season, Swayman is now putting together a strong performance in training camp and providing stiff competition for Ullmark. In recent years, we've seen the Bruins opt for a 1A/1B strategy in net, giving Boston's back-up goaltender more starts than your typical number two. That should hold true again this year, as none of Boston's current options in net can be considered a bonafide number-one starter. I expect Swayman will post solid numbers while seeing a significant workload this season, say 35-40 starts? As an added bonus, he has the potential to steal the starting gig from Ullmark, who only has 117 games of NHL experience and has dealt with a number of significant injuries in recent years.

Buffalo SabresJeff Skinner

A once-prolific goal scorer who lost confidence in recent years due to unfavourable deployment from a coach who didn't trust him. With a new coach in town, I think Skinner has potential to flirt with the 25-goal mark and provide some under-the-radar fantasy value in deep leagues. 

Carolina HurricanesTeuvo Teravainen

Although he was hindered by COVID-19 and a concussion last season, Teravainen still scored at a respectable 59-point pace. He broke out with 64 points during the 2017-2018 campaign and followed that up with a 76-point pace in each of his next two seasons. Given his great offensive potential, I'm surprised his current ADP is 138. Carolina may have some up-and-coming talent on the wing, but I think Teravainen will continue to see a prominent role at even-strength and on the power-play next year, leading to another year of solid production.

Columbus Blue Jackets Oliver Bjorkstrand

The 26-year-old winger has scored at a 60-point pace in each of his past two seasons but is currently being drafted outside the top-150 in your average Yahoo league. Some may be unenthusiastic because he won't see exposure to offensive studs like Jakub Voracek and Patrik Laine, but Bjorkstrand doesn't rely on others to produce – he's a great two-way play