In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll discuss two players off to slow starts this year: Teuvo Teravainen and Sam Reinhart. We'll also highlight an under-the-radar name to keep an eye on.
The 28-year-old winger has established himself as a strong fantasy asset in recent years, scoring at or around a 70-point pace in three of the last four seasons. He's off to a slow start this year, posting just three points in his first nine appearances. Power-play production was a big part of Teravainen's offense last season as he tallied 31 points with the man advantage through 77 games. He was a prominent piece of the team's top power-play unit, seeing 65% of Carolina's total time with the man advantage. This season, he's stuck on the second unit, away from the Hurricanes' top offensive stars. He's seeing just 43% of Carolina's total power-play time and doesn't have a single point with the man advantage through nine games.
If Teravainen's on your fantasy roster, I'd exercise some patience because I don't think the team's power-play configurations are set in stone. Carolina's PP currently ranks 24th in the league, sporting a success rate of 17.1%. There's certainly room to improve, so the team could very well tinker with its combinations and put Teravainen back on the top unit in the near future. Such an outcome appears all the more likely when you consider that Stefan Noesen is currently the fifth man on the top unit. Noesen doesn't have the same track record of power-play success that Teravainen does, so he could fall off out of that top group at a moment's notice. With that being said, Noesen has three power-play points in eight appearances, so there's no reason to demote him any time soon. One might even argue that Noesen is better suited to play a net-front role on the power-play, while Teravainen's skillset overlaps with other players on the top unit. I think such an argument underestimates Teravainen's versatility, but time will tell if the coaching staff feels the same way.
Overall, I'm not too worried about Teravainen's fantasy outlook this season. He's seen, and should continue seeing, a lot of time beside star forward Sebastian Aho at even strength. Aho and Teravainen have displayed strong chemistry over the years, and I think it's only a matter of time before Teravainen finds the scoresheet more often. I think he'll see a more prominent role with the man advantage at some point, but even