In this week’s Eastern Edge, we’ll look at the midseason fantasy MVP from each team in the Eastern Conference. When I think about value in fantasy hockey, I think about players who have outperformed expectations. So, this article isn’t necessarily a list of each team’s best player or leading scorer. Instead, I tried to consider players whose contributions outweigh their preseason acquisition cost. Without further ado, here's each team's fantasy MVP from the first half:
Boston Bruins – Brad Marchand
Marchand leads the Bruins with 45 points in 34 appearances, or 1.32 points per game. I think he's deserving of the team's fantasy MVP title because he's outperformed Boston's other stars by a wide margin; David Pastrnak has 0.95 points per game and Patrice Bergeron has 0.84 points per game.
Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin
The 21-year-old defenseman has quietly posted 28 points in 41 appearances this year, which translates to 56 points in 82 games. Across the league, only 12 defensemen have more points than Dahlin, and only 10 have more power-play points. Given the low expectations we had for Buffalo's offense this year, I'd say the young blueliner has had a pretty strong first half.
Carolina Hurricanes – Tony DeAngelo
For me, this one came down to DeAngelo and Frederik Andersen. Andersen has been excellent this year, posting a 2.03 GAA and .928 save percentage while winning 21 of his 26 starts. However, he was one of the first few goalies off the board in most fantasy drafts. As such, this strong performance was almost a requirement because of his high draft position. In contrast, DeAngelo was taken in the late rounds of most fantasy drafts. He's posted 32 points in 31 games this year, comfortably outperforming his fantasy draft position.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Boone Jenner
Prior to this season, Jenner had established himself as a strong performer in peripheral categories but not someone you could rely on for offense. He's stepped into a bigger role with the Blue Jackets this year, averaging 20 minutes of ice time per game. That's a two-minute increase from last year's average. In addition, he's seeing 68% of Columbus' total power-play time – a significant upgrade from last year's 35% share. Jenner has thrived in this expanded role, racking up 16 goals in 39 games and scoring at a 57-point pace.
Detroit Red Wings – Dylan Larkin
Heading into this season, Larkin's fantasy value was at an all-time low because his offensive output had been on the decline. He grabbed our attention with a 79-point pace in 201