Top 10 Under-the-Radar Hottest Players to Start 2019

by Tom Collins on January 28, 2019

With the NHL taking a little break for the All-Star game, it’s easy for fantasy general managers to forget some of what was happening even a week ago.

Sure, we remember the big news, but some of the smaller details may slip your mind since you’re not consistently reminded of it. NHL hot and cold streaks would easily slip into the latter category.

Dobber’s hot/cold tool on Frozen Pool gives an easy list so you can see the hottest/coldest player in one spot. Below are 10 players can be found on the hot list. However, the keep from writing about the more obvious ones (Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Johnny Gaudreau, etc.), we’re going to look at 10 players who may not be as obvious.

Maybe these guys are on the waiver wire. Maybe you’ve been benching them on busy nights for superstars. For now, all of these guys deserve a spot in your lineup.  

 

10. Dustin Brown: Nine points in 11 games

Brown had a resurgence last year, but no one drafted him this year in points-only leagues. However, despite the Kings being a dreadful team, Brown has been better than anticipated and is on pace for 59 points. His nine points in 11 games have made him a must-dress and since he is still on the top power-play unit and top line, he should be owned in any league that has a waiver wire.

 

9. Eric Staal: Nine points in six games

While no one expected Staal to get back to 42 goals and 76 points, his season has been pretty underwhelming thus far. That said, nine points in his last six games has him back to a 60-point pace. There are plenty of reasons to like Staal to continue this streak. He continues to play almost 18 minutes a night, is on the top power-play unit and is averaging three shots a game.

 

8. Sean Couturier: 10 points in six games

Couturier was a popular draft pick last September after notching a career-high 76 points a year ago. He’s been disappointing for most of this season, but 10 points in his last six games have gone a long way to bringing him back to a 70-point pace. In a normal year, I would think Couturier could keep up this streak (after all, he is on the top line and the top power-play unit), but nothing is normal in Philadelphia this year. The team is a mess, and has been extremely streaky. I could see Couturier finishing with anywhere from 15 to 40 points in the team’s last 30-some-odd games.

 

7. Jake Guentzel: 13 points in nine games

The fantasy world fell in love with Guentzel after he posted 33 points in 40 games as a rookie (and then followed that up with 21 points in 25 playoff games). However, he had a slightly underwhelming sophomore season and wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire to start this season. There’s one main reason to like this streak and one to be wary. On the worrying side is his power-play usage. Although he gets some reps with the top guys, he’s on the second unit most of the time, which will hamper his overall production. However, one good thing is that he is pretty much tied to Sidney Crosby’s hip. Last year, Crosby was on the ice for 57 per cent of Guentzel’s five-on-five shifts. This year, that number is up to 88 per cent.

 

6. Bryan Little: Nine points in eight games

After a bit of a slow start to the season when he had five points in 15 games, Little now has 24 points in his last 33. That’s a 60-point pace. There are a few reasons behind this. He’s been playing with Patrik Laine quite a bit. He’s also getting plenty of offensive zone starts (more than 60 per cent whereas he is normally in the 52-54 per cent range). Just remember he is pretty streaky and his ice time has declined every season since 2013-14. He’s already had a four and five-game pointless streak, so don’t be scared to dump him if necessary.

 

5. David Perron: 17 points in 15 games

Perron has always been a streaky player, so my advice is to enjoy the ride and as soon as his production starts to drop, don’t be scared to replace him with another productive player. At 17 points in his last 15 games (including a 13-game point streak), Perron is now on pace for 64 points. Just remember that Perron has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury, and while it doesn’t sound serious, it could impact how he plays when he returns.

 

4. Kyle Connor: 10 points in eight games

Connor is the latest example of why you need to have patience with a top-line player during a cold streak. After a 10-game pointless streak, Connor has now corrected course and has 10 points in his last eight games. He’s on the top line with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, and while he’s been there pretty much all season, playing with two studs will always help boost the third player’s point total. He’s also on the top power-play unit, so you don’t need to worry about him keeping up this pace.

 

3. Gustav Nyquist: 12 points in 13 games

With 43 points, Nyquist already has more points in 51 games than he did in 82 games a year ago. He’s only 11 points off his career high. His 11 goals mean he will probably not reach the 20-goal mark, but he’s on a 69-point pace. It always helps when you’re playing on a line with Dylan Larkin, but it is concerning that he’s been off the top power-play unit for the last seven games.

 

2. Frank Vatrano: Nine points in seven games

A podcast or two ago, the Keeping Karlsson boys recommended fantasy general managers pick up Vatrano. They must have known something because the Panthers forward has 26 points this year, nine of which has come in the last seven games. It’s probably no coincidence that in those seven games, he’s been lining up with Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov. Remember, he’s only averaging 14 minutes a game and is on the second unit so it will be tough for him to keep it up. In the meantime, enjoy the ride.

 

1. Ryan Dzingel: 13 points in 11 games

There has been much focus on Senators’ free agents Matt Duchene and Mark Stone, but in my mind, Dzingel — on pace for 65 points – is the most interesting UFA of the three. He led the Sens in goals last year and is tied for second this year. Right now, he’s on the top power-play unit and the top line, so I like him to keep up this streak. I also expect him to be dealt as there’s no way Sens will want to pay Dzingel $5-6 million a year.