Geek of the Week: Top Unexpected Success Stories

by Scott Maran on February 10, 2019


For this week’s Geek of the Week, we’ll be taking a look at three players who have posted unexpectedly valuable fantasy seasons. All three of Mika Zibanejad, Darnell Nurse, and Mike Hoffman have shined this year despite a lack of hype over the offseason.

Mika Zibanejad

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

2017-18

118

8

72

27

20

212

21

92

2018-19

31

46

52

21

30

152

17

86


Mika Zibanejad has burst onto the fantasy scene as he’s already set a new career high in points (and there’s still over 25 games left to play). Drafted sixth overall by the Senators, we all knew Zibanejad had serious offensive potential but not many expected a breakout of this magnitude. With 53 points in 54 games, Zibanejad is tied for the 33rd most points in the league and ranks as the 31st most valuable skater according to Fantasy Hockey Geek. Last season he was only ranked as the 118th most valuable skater, registering 47 points across 72 games.

Despite the New York Rangers struggles, Zibanejad has emerged as a legitimate first-line talent and top fantasy option. He’s seen a huge increase in points as he’s managed to continue to up his goal totals while dramatically increasing his number of assists. He’s still shooting a ton and hasn’t had too unreasonable of a shooting percentage. Even though 13.8% is a little high, it’s not far off from his five-year average of 12.6%. It’s helped that Zibanejad has seen a huge spike in ice time under David Quinn as he’s averaging over 20 minutes per game for the first time in his career (compared to 17:58 last season).
 

Darnell Nurse

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

2017-18

101

12

82

6

20

194

0

161

2018-19

32

46

52

7

20

133

8

106


You couldn’t tell just by looking at his point totals but last season Darnell Nurse had a very solid season for fantasy owners. Ranked 101st by Fantasy Hockey Geek, Nurse provided excellent value in both shots on goal and hits for a defender while still putting up modest all-situations point totals. His season becomes even more impressive when you consider he had zero help from the power play, as he recorded the 34th most even-strength points by a defender last year.

It’s not a huge shock then to see Nurse blossom into such a valuable asset this season, as the underlying signs of a breakout were there – he just needed a change in his usage to help facilitate it. He’s basically on track to finish with the same number of shots on goal and hits as last year but he’s already at 28 points in just 54 games this season. He’s compiled eight points with the man advantage (which isn’t a ton but still significantly more than last season) and has done an excellent job contributing in all sorts of different categories. His combination of strong peripherals and scoring stats has raised his value all the way up to 32nd overall according to Fantasy Hockey Geek.
 

Mike Hoffman

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

2017-18

77

20

82

22

34

257

21

31

2018-19

50

35

52

23

21

166

22

24


Despite appearing in the Regression in the Projections series at the start of the season, Mike Hoffman has managed to continue to provide solid fantasy value for poolies. His value hasn’t changed much since last season but people were cautious after the scandal in Ottawa sent Hoffman packing to Florida. People weren’t sure what his role would be with the Panthers, questioning if he would be given the same opportunities to succeed that he was given with the Senators.

However, Hoffman has done even better in Florida, ranking as the 50th most valuable forward. He’s on track to break the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career while also averaging the most points in a season in his career. Hoffman’s carved out a nice spot on the Panthers deadly first power-play unit, as he’s already tied his career high for most power play points in a season.
 

Follow me on Twitter @realallinhockey