Fantasy hockey is kind of like poker in that bad luck is what you tend to remember, while good fortune you often take for granted. Let's face facts – right now on most fantasy teams there are as many, if not more, players who are defying expectations in a good way versus bad. At the risk of jinxing things for the 20 skaters and goalies I've named below who've all stormed out of the gates for 2022-23, it's time to vote on which of them will be able to continue to shine at or above their current level of output.
How do you decide to vote for a player or players? For skaters, it's whether you believe they will be able to maintain or even improve upon their current scoring pace, while for goalies it's whether they can keep both their GAA this low (or lower) and their SV% this high (or higher). Note that in order for a skater to get your vote, it's not necessary that he actually score that many points – only that he stay at or above his current scoring pace based on however many games he manages to play.
What follows is an alphabetical list of 20 "pleasant surprise" players, with their relevant pace(s) through November 26th games. I tried to pick 20 who aren't so vastly outperforming their expectations as to have little to no realistic shot to keep things up. If you don't see someone you'd expect, that's why. You should vote for however many of the 20 you think will be able to maintain – or even improve upon – their listed pace(s). The link to cast your vote(s) will be at the end of the column.
Mathew Barzal (Current Scoring Pace = 89)
Not to jinx myself, but one of my 17 Fearless Forecasts prior to this season was that Barzal would set a career high in points. He seems well on his way to doing so, what with the offense-stifling system of Barry Trotz now a thing of the past and Barzal in his prime.
Andre Burakovsky (Current Scoring Pace = 82)
I was one of those who felt that of the two major offseason additions that Seattle made, Oliver Bjorkstrand would be more impactful. Yet it's been Burakovsky who's thrived at least up to this point, with a vastly improved SOG rate and a career high in ice time seemingly helping him to prove to his naysayers that he is more than the 60ish point scorer that he was over his last few seasons with the Avs.
Kirby Dach (Current Scoring Pace = 66)
The former third overall pick seems a lot older than 21 due to having been a fixture in Chicago since his draft season. For those owne