Which players have sent their fantasy stock through the roof these playoffs?
Every playoffs, there are always a few guys who play much better than expected in the postseason.
Deservedly or not, this brings their stock up tremendously in fantasy hockey. In keeper pools, you have to pay more to acquire these guys, and in one-year leagues, these guys are snapped up earlier than you might imagine.
Last season, we saw guys like Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Bryan Bickell creep up draft lists in fantasy hockey. In other postseasons, we’ve seen players like Ville Leino and James van Riemsdyk increase their value with great playoff runs. Players like Leino serve as cautionary tales when using playoff success as a predictor, but it is worth examining who will get the biggest boost from their performances.
That being said, here are 10 guys who have seen their value increase this year.
10. Lars Eller
While his linemates are slowly deteriorating — Rene Bourque has one goal in his last seven games, while Brian Gionta has just one assist in that time — Eller has been one of the Habs bright spots game in and game out. His five goals lead the Habs this postseason, while his 11 points is second on the team. He’s second on the team with a plus-four. Many are wondering if he can keep this up over a full season, but owners of Eller have to be pleased with how he’s been performing this postseason.
9. Torey Krug
The legend of Krug in the playoffs continues to grow. The rookie seems to have a knack of stepping up in the playoffs, and he certainly made sure he did so this postseason as well. Krug posted two goals and 10 points, which was enough to lead the Bruins. He was one of the key cogs in comebacks against Montreal in the second round. And the 23-year-old’s value has undoubtedly risen this postseason.
8. Paul Stastny
After eight seasons in the league, it’s still difficult for fantasy owners to figure out Paul Stastny. Is he a 70-point guy, or a 50-point guy? The playoffs may have owners thinking it’s more of the former than the latter. He scored five goals and 10 points in a first-round loss, both leading the Avalanche. As an unrestricted free agent, he definitely earned himself some more money with his playoffs, and increased his trade value in fantasy as well.
7. Nick Bonino
Bonino seemed to have a knack of stepping up in important playoff games. In the first round against Dallas, he scored two goals in a series-clinching Game 6 victory. In the second round against the Kings, Bonino had a goal and three assists in the last five games. Many fantasy hockey enthusiasts have been waiting for years for Bonino to break out, and after this postseason, they may have been rewarded for their patience.
6. P.K. Subban
While it may seem weird to have a superstar on this list, Subban has gone from a great fantasy defenceman to own to almost an untouchable. Subban’s 12 points leads all dmen, and his swagger has either people love or hate him more, depending on how you feel about his beforehand. He doesn’t shy away from the big moment, and the trust head coach Michel Therrien has shown Subban in the playoffs speaks well for the future. If you were trying to trade for him before the playoffs started, expect to have to pay a lot more now.
5. Jack Johnson
Johnson has been a tough guy to figure out. While he’s not the best defensively —a career minus-97 and never a season where he’s been a plus-player —there’s no doubt he’s got a bomb from the point. However, in the last seven years, he’s only cracked 40 points once. This season was disappointing, with just 33 points and a minus-seven. However, he was superb in the first round against the Penguins. He had points in five of the six games, and finished with three goals and four assists, three of which came on the power play.
4. Brad Richards
This guy was a top candidate for an amnesty buyout not too long ago. Now the Rangers have won nine games in the postseason, and Richards has been a big part of the reason why. While Rick Nash has been shooting blanks, Richards has been carrying the load. His five goals lead all Rangers, and his 10 points are tied for second. His two power play goals and six power play points also leads the Rangers, as does his two game-winning goals. He’s not only reviving his hockey career in New York, but in many fantasy leagues as well.
3. Erik Huala
The rookie seemed to come out of nowhere to help put a fright in the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round. Announcers were raving about his blazing speed, as he found himself in the clear on numerous opportunities. After a disappointing first round where he had just one goal and one assist, Huala turned it on in the second round. In six games against the Hawks, the 23-year-old had three goals and two assists and was a plus-three. He was also given a nice compliment from Patrick Kane, which didn’t hurt.
2. Ilya Bryzgalov
Last summer, Bryz was bought by the Flyers, and things were looking bleak as he wasn’t even signed by an NHL team at the start of the season. He eventually signed with the Oilers, where he was underwhelming, before being dealt to the Wild. He was the backup at the start of the playoffs, but thanks to injuries, started the entire second round against the Hawks. It’s weird. He lost four of six games, and only faced more than 21 shots on two occasions, but because he played excellent in a couple of games, many believe he’ll be a good (or at least affordable) pickup next season in fantasy leagues.
1. Marian Gaborik
While some are still concerned by Gaborik’s injury history — and rightfully so — many poolies are salivating over Gaborik’s playoffs. There’s never been denying his talent, but Gaborik has also never played with anyone as talented as Anze Kopitar. After scoring 16 points in 19 games with the Kings in the regular season, Gaborik is following that up with one of the best postseasons of any player. His nine goals is tops in the league, and his 15 points in 15 games is tied for second. Even the most optimistic Gaborik fan couldn’t have seen this coming, and if Gaborik re-signs in L.A. this summer, his stock should go through the roof.
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