Eastern Edge: Deep Dive – Part One (2015-16)

by Eric Daoust on February 9, 2016
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge: Deep Dive – Part One (2015-16)

Bogosian is one of several widely available players in the Eastern Conference who may be of help in your multi-category league.

In multi-category leagues the preparation is a lot more complex than it is for points-only leagues. Each category impacts everyone’s value and can introduce many unlikely faces to the pool of fantasy-relevant players. This includes numerous bottom-six NHL forwards and bottom-pairing defensemen. Despite being viable options, some will get overlooked due to their own lack of name value or due to a bias towards a more easily-recognized offensive-minded alternative.

This week we begin a two-part series outlining two players per team in the Eastern Conference that may be available and helpful in your multi-category league. Each of them is owned in less than half of Fantrax leagues.

Jimmy Hayes – Boston (41 percent owned)

Despite playing fewer minutes and producing a bit less than a year ago in Florida, Hayes remains a decent multi-category depth option. His size and physical play allow him to contribute a lot of hits and also more PIM than expected this year while his goal-scoring touch has earned him a secondary role on the power play. His downside is his lack of consistency which includes just a goal and an assist over his last 11 games.

Kevan Miller – Boston (27 percent owned)

After two promising years plagued by injuries, Miller has remained healthy for most of his third year and is easily having his best season to date including a surprising 14 points and almost 20 minutes in average ice time. That said, his bread and butter is his peripherals where he already has 111 hits and is closing in on the century-mark in blocked shots. As long as he can contribute offense on occasion Miller will remain one of the league’s most underrated multi-category defensemen.

Zach Bogosian – Buffalo (30 percent owned)

Another injury-prone defenseman, Bogosian can be pretty lethal especially in leagues that do not count plus/minus. He provides a good combination of shots, PIM, hits and blocks along with decent secondary scoring and a few opportunities on the power play. Plus, with just one goal on 52 shots Bogosian has been a bit unlucky and could benefit from a couple goals in the coming weeks.

Josh Gorges – Buffalo (12 percent owned)

While he is no longer the shot-blocking monster he used to be, Gorges still finds himself among the league leaders. He is also dishing out his frequently and has done a great job keeping his plus/minus close to even. However, he does not offer much at all offensively and is better-suited for deep leagues or in a specialist role to make ground in the shot-blocking category.

Ron Hainsey – Carolina (10 percent owned)

Hainsey is in the midst of his best offensive campaign since 2012-13 with 13 points already to his name. This combined with his high volume of shots and blocks along with decent hits and PIM make him a decent multi-category depth defenseman. With an average of over 22 minutes of ice time, he has much better odds of keeping it up down the stretch. Unfortunately, his minus-11 rating hurts him a lot in leagues that count plus/minus.

Brad Malone – Carolina (3 percent owned)

With reliable PIM options becoming more and more rare these days, a guy like Malone might offer just enough to be on the radar in your league. Unfortunately, he averages under nine minutes per game and beyond the combination of PM and hits he does not contribute much. To make matters worse, he has been healthy-scratched the last four games. Still, he is worth keeping an eye on in case he gets back in the lineup regularly as he can be helpful if you are trying to make progress in his areas of strength.

Dalton Prout – Columbus (5 percent owned)

Prout brings a lot of sandpaper to the table and is a great source of PIM and hits when he plays. The problem is he has been a healthy scratch often this year and the arrival of Seth Jones in Columbus does not help matters. Prout’s ice time also sits at a career-low 15:33. With that said, the benefit of using your blueline slots to fill up the physical categories is it allows you to roster more offensive-minded forwards while maintaining your team’s overall balance. Keep an eye on Prout – even in a league that is not insanely deep he can still be a useful nightly pick-up to help with the physical categories.

Kerby Rychel – Columbus (34 percent owned)

Rychel’s ownership has increased of late due to a recent stretch of five points over five outings. Since then he has been held off the scoresheet in five straight but his ice time is creeping up (11:36 in his last 12 games) and his role could increase even more depending on what the Blue Jackets do at the trade deadline. He is still considered a gamble but if he sticks and he will offer a nice mix of points, PIM, hits and shots.

Danny Dekeyser – Detroit (43 percent owned)

For most of the year Dekeyser lost the power-play minutes that allowed him to hit 30 points last year. With recent injuries on the Red Wings’ blueline he is back on the man-advantage. While he has yet to record a power-play point all year, he has been putting up points at even strength lately highlighted by a recent run of four points in six games. He is also getting more pucks on net and is doing a fine job blocking shots. Most impressive is his rating of plus-10 or better in each of his three full NHL campaigns.

Luke Glendening – Detroit (10 percent owned)

Glendening is one of many depth centers in the NHL that are extremely valuable in deep leagues where faceoffs matter. He does not offer much offensively but he gets a lot of his and his blocks are near the elite level for forwards. Furthermore, both his faceoff win total and faceoff percentage make him an asset in those categories. However, with an average of less than one shot per game he is highly unlikely to repeat last year’s 12 goals.

Dmitry Kulikov – Florida (24 percent owned)

Even though Kulikov has failed to meet offensive expectations so far in his NHL career, he has established himself as a solid multi-category defenseman. While he has not seen much time on the power play of late, his season average is 1:37 and with just one goal on 64 shots this campaign there is certainly room for improvement beyond his current numbers. It is very surprising Kulikov is not owned in more leagues.

Derek MacKenzie – Florida (11 percent owned)

MacKenzie is an upgraded version of Glendening as he offers a bit more in just about every category. The improvement of the Panthers has helped him improve to a plus-6 after last year’s minus-17 and he has had 200 or more hits in each of the last two years. In the right setting MacKenzie is an essential building block as he provides great value across the peripheral categories.

Torrey Mitchell – Montreal (17 percent owned)

Mitchell’s most valuable fantasy contribution this year is his three shorthanded points. In a roto league this could mean a few points in the standings. While he was far more effective early when the Canadiens were rolling, Mitchell is still getting plenty of action when a man down so there is always a chance he could start chipping in again. Beyond that, his 12 points represent decent depth scoring while he has also done well in PIM, hits, blocks and faceoffs.

Jeff Petry – Montreal (46 percent owned)

For the most part Petry’s production has not been much different than it was in Edmonton. The biggest difference is plus/minus, which is not great at minus-6 but is a great improvement over his rating on poor Oilers’ teams. He is also seeing more time on the power play this year and is on pace to set a career-high in shots on goal. He has answered with his highest power-play-point total since 2011-12.

Bobby Farnham – New Jersey (6 percent owned)

Farnham has made quite an impact with the Devils and in multi-category leagues. As with most agitators, he offers a nice mix of hits and PIM but his seven goals in 33 games is a rather impressive number. Unfortunately, that puts his shooting percentage up over 22 percent which is not likely to be sustained. With just nine minutes per game in ice time, he will never generate enough shots to keep this total up.

Jordin Tootoo – New Jersey (7 percent owned)

Sadly, Tootoo’s remarkable year has hit a snag lately as he has not scored a single point since January 4th and has been non-existent on the power play since January 16th. This limits his effectiveness to PIM, hits and shots, which has stayed up during this slump. Depending on what happens with the Devils at the trade deadline, there may be room for Tootoo to get back on the man-advantage and put a few points on the board in the final weeks. With that said, avoid Tootoo in leagues that count plus/minus.

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