We’re just two weeks into the season, and there are some interesting trends starting to emerge when it comes to power-play usage.
Of course, it is still early in the season and we are dealing with a fairly small sample size, b looking at these things early can help make a final decision if you want to sell high or buy low. Fantasy general managers who jumped on Sam Gagner a year ago when he was a feature on the Columbus’ top power play reaped the rewards.
This list looks at guys who are getting plenty of ice time, plus some who aren’t, and how it could affect their fantasy value going forward.
10. Chris Wideman
With Erik Karlsson out, the Senators needed someone to step up. My money was originally on Dion Phaneuf since he has experience running a power play. Instead it’s been the surprising Wideman. He leads all Sens defensemen in average power play time per game at 4:06. This is going to change once Karlsson gets back into the lineup, but with two power goals, Wideman is making a case to at least take over the second unit once the captain returns.
9. The Sedins
The Sedins have turned into power play specialists in Vancouver, even more so than Sam Gagner last year when he only played 2:26 on the PP and 13:43 overall. Henrik Sedin is so far averaging 5:19 power play time per game and 15:45 overall, while Daniel Sedin is averaging 5:09 power play time per game and 15:55 overall. It will be interesting to see if this keeps up or if the coach starts giving young players more power play time since Vancouver has the seventh-worst power play.
8. Ryan Hartman
Hartman is in a great position on Patrick Kane’s line and has eight points in six games. Unfortunately, that enviable positioning doesn’t carry over to the power play where he averages 1:44 minutes per game, eighth amongst Hawks forwards. The good news for Hartman owners is that could still change. The Hawks have a bottom-10 power play, and Patrick Sharp, who is somehow averaging 4:06 with the man advantage, has a single power-play point in six games.
7. Brady Skjei
Any chance of Skjei repeating last year’s fantasy performance is decreasing with each and every game. The signing of Kevin Shattenkirk and the trade for Anthony DeAngelo have cost Skjei any chance at power play time this year. Shattenkirk is averaging 4:53 power play minutes per game, DeAngelo is at 1:41 and Skjei is at five seconds. Expect this to continue all season.
6. Josh Ho-Sang
Ho-Sang is a very interesting case. He was a healthy scratch in the Islanders’ first game, has the lowest average even strength ice time on the team but was tied for the team lead in points with four going into last night’s game. He’s also on the top power-play unit, which actually hasn’t scored a goal yet this year. Ho-Sang is averaging 3:38 minutes with the man advantage, but until the Islanders start scoring power-play goals, he’s not guaranteed to last there.
The Flyers are off to a decent start and are the second-highest scoring team on a goals-per-game basis. Part of that has to do with a top-10 power play. Strangely enough, Filppula has replaced Brayden Schenn on that top unit. That unit looks to stick together for a long portion of the season and as such, Filppula finds himself as a strong pickup. He’s currently owned in just two per cent of Yahoo leagues.
Hartnell is proving to still have a lot of fantasy-hockey value. In five games, he has three goals, four points, 18 PIM, 13 shots and 10 hits. He also has two power play goals to go along with a power play assist. He’s playing on the top unit and the Predators have the third-best power play in the league. But Hartnell isn’t a golden boy and isn’t guaranteed to stay there. Enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Even though Galchenyuk started the season on the third line (and later demoted to the fourth line), there was still plenty of optimism as he was on the top power play unit. That is no longer the case as of Saturday night. The Habs gave up on the four forwards/one defenseman unit as their power play was awful. Now rolling with the more traditional three forwards/two defensemen power play, Galchenyuk is the odd man out and has been sent to the second unit. Montreal had only two power plays on Saturday (and Galchenyuk did score on one of them), so we’re have to wait to see how permanent this is. Nevertheless, it should be concerning for Galchenyuk owners going forward.
2. TJ Brodie
It is a bit of a surprise that Brodie has run away with the power play duties in Calgary. Last year, the top three Flames defensemen split the power play duties pretty evenly: Brodie averaged 2:46, Mark Giordano 2:35 and Dougie Hamilton 2:15. This year, with the team using four forwards and one defenseman on their top power play, Brodie is averaging 4:33, while Giordano is at 2:33 and Hamilton at 2:25.
1. Patric Hornqvist/Jake Guentzel
There’s a lot of anxiety among fantasy owners who want to know who is going to play on the Penguins top power-play unit with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang. Hornqvist has been back in the Pens lineup for three games and has averaged 4:15 power-play minutes per game. In those same three games, Guentzel is averaging 3:46. But it appears as Hornqvist is taking the advantage as he had 2:56 minutes of ice time and played on the top unit, while Guentzel got 1:22 on the second unit. This can change on a whim as the season goes on, and it’s going to cause a lot of headaches for fantasy general managers.
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