In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll discuss players who have recently entered more favourable situations, thereby increasing their fantasy value for the foreseeable future.
The Blue Jackets' blueline has taken a few significant hits recently. Zach Werenski is slated to miss the rest of the season, while Adam Boqvist and Nick Blankenburg are sidelined for at least a few weeks. These injuries open opportunities for the team's healthy defenders, namely Jake Bean, who is currently skating on Columbus' top power-play unit. Now, the team's power play has been awful so far this season, sitting at the bottom of the league with a conversion rate of 8.1%. It's hard to be optimistic about their man advantage considering their best defenseman (Werenski), best shooter (Patrik Laine), and a very talented playmaker (Jakub Voracek) are all out for the foreseeable future. Despite what you think about the team's outlook, it's hard to find a defenseman on the waiver wire who sees a lot of power-play time. Currently a free agent in 90% of Yahoo Leagues, Bean could be a diamond in the rough for your fantasy roster. His offensive potential was well-documented back in 2016 when he was drafted 13th overall. He's only played 124 NHL games since then, so I'd say there's still some untapped potential. This looks like the first time he'll enjoy a sustained stretch on a top power-play unit, let's see what he does with it.
It's crazy to think that a player who was drafted 10th overall in 2017 was written off so quickly. He entered this season as a 23-year-old with 115 NHL games under his belt. Given his age and small body of work in the NHL, there was still plenty of time for him to develop, yet he wasn't on the radar for most fantasy managers – myself included.
This season, he's benefitted from playing on a Flyers team that lacks high-end talent, as he faces less competition for ice time. He's averaging 16 minutes of action a night – a significant step up from the 11-13 minutes he skated in recent years. Recently, he's spending most of those minutes on Philly's top line, beside