Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.
It's no secret that in fantasy hockey leagues that are points driven, the power play is king. A Michael Frolik 20-point guy with no power-play time one year could become a 50-point guy the next year if he's suddenly getting first-unit ice time.
I pulled a report from Frozen Pool just looking at power-play ice time from the last two weeks. Here are the Top 50 players in average ice time per game over that span:
For a report like this, you ignore the obvious names and your focus be drawn to the surprise names. Andrew MacDonald? Rich Peverley? Brock Nelson is seeing an average of over 3:30 of PP time each game over the last seven?
MacDonald earned all seven of his points this season in the last 15 games, Peverley has four in his last eight while Nelson posted three in his last five. Nothing that would jump out at you, but given the above PP information you have to give them more consideration than you otherwise would have.
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets (3-4-1-5, even, 6 PIM, 12 SOG, and 3 PPG) - The 28-year-old is on pace to approach his 'fantasy gold' season of 2010-11, a season in which he scored 20 goals, earned 93 PIM and wired 347 shots on goal. And so goes my first Byfuglien blurb for Puck Daddy in which I don't mention his weight.
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (8-4-7-11, plus-6, 4 PIM, 20 SOG) - In six-plus seasons in the NHL, Kane has missed just 12 games. A consistent high-end offensive producer who doesn't get hurt? Yes please.
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild (8-4-8-12, plus-3, 4 PIM, 20 SOG, and 4 PPPts) - Koivu is on pace to tie his career high of 71 points. I don't think he's ever had a Minnesota team around him that's as good offensively as his current one. And at 30, he's in the heart of his prime. If he stays healthy, he'll hit that career high.
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (8GP 6-1-1, 1.25 GAA, 0.951 SV%) - All we're waiting for with Rask before putting him in that "Lundqvist" category is proof that he can start 65 games. His career high for NHL games played in a season is 45.
Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...
David Krejci, Boston Bruins (4-0-0-0, plus-1, 2 PIM, 7 SOG) - After 15 games of what many insiders called the best start of his career, Krejci has hit a bit of a wall. Ownership has already slipped a little to 90% in Yahoo! leagues. Linemate Jarome Iginla has also been stymied, managing just three points in his last 10 games.
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks (6-1-1-2, minus-5, 4 PIM, 9 SOG) - Before the big $28 million contract he had 18 points in 15 games. After the big contract - four points in eight games. Not that money changes a person who already has plenty of it.
Tobias Enstrom, Winnipeg Jets (8-0-0-0, plus-1, 2 PIM, 11 SOG) - Even though Grant Clitsome now plays alongside the aforementioned Byfuglien, Enstrom still partners with Big Buff on the power play. So it's odd to he him still snakebitten. I recommend him as a 'buy low' option. You can probably get him for a bucket of pucks in your league right now. He'll come around.
Jason Garrison, Vancouver Canucks (13-0-0-0, minus-2, 6 PIM, 35 SOG) - Fantasy owners are not known for their patience. That's why it's so shocking that 68% of Yahoo! leagues have Garrison owned by a team. Is his start (nine points in 10 games) so impressive that you have deluded yourself into thinking he will do that again? Cut him loose.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Lauri Korpikoski, Phoenix Coyotes (4-3-2-5, plus-4, 4 PIM, 7 SOG) – Long-time fantasy hockey players know that Korpikoski has these little spurts every so often. The end result of a 40-point left winger, but he'll have two or three hot streaks in which he plays like a 65-point guy. If you have a roster spot on the wing in which you move players on and off your team based on hot runs, he's your guy for this one.
Michael Stone, Phoenix Coyotes (2-3-0-0, even, 2 PIM, 9 SOG, 1 PPG) – With Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson already on the team, and the highly-touted David Rundblad looming in the background, it's hard to imagine Stone seeing decent ice time let alone any power-play time. But he's been over the 21-minute mark in five of the last six games. Defensemen are hard to come by in most fantasy formats, so Stone makes a great add for the short term.
Chris Stewart, St. Louis Blues (10-3-4-7, plus-1, 19 PIM, 24 SOG) – Stewart's ownership has slipped due to a terrible start. And while I have zero confidence that he will get up over 25 goals and 60 points, I think 20 and 50 are doable. Now just 43% owned, he's probably available in your league. Another bonus - no team has played fewer games than St. Louis.
Kris Versteeg, Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-2-3, minus-2, 2 PIM, 8 SOG) – Just 15% owned in leagues, Versteeg is back in his old stomping grounds where he posted 53 points as a rookie and 44 points as a sophomore. He missed almost all of last season due to injury, as well as most of training camp - so excuse him for having a bit of a slow start to 2013-14.
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning (3-0-3-3, plus-2, 2 PIM, 4 SOG) – With Steven Stamkos sidelined, there is a ton of power-play time to go around and Johnson is one of the beneficiaries. He's topped the 20-minute mark twice in the last five contests (Stammer broke his leg midway through that fifth game). Just 2% owned.
Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings (No stats this season) – Nyquist joins the Red Wings as their third best offensive player without having played a single NHL game this season. He's been NHL-ready for over a year now and only the confusing signing of Danny Cleary combined with Nyquist's waiver status saw him sent back to the AHL yet again. After toying with AHLers for the past six weeks, Nyquist is back and could Tyler Toffoli his way into the hearts of fantasy owners.
Marek Mazanec, Nashville Predators (2GP, 2-0-0, 1.00 GAA, 0.971 SV%) – Three things you need to know about this guy:
1. Pekka Rinne will miss (approximately) another 17 more games.
2. Mazanec will start (approximately) 14 of those games.
3. Barry Trotz is the coach.
Here's where I'll fire off a few names of players who may be at the very beginning of a nice little run. Just a gut feeling, but worth looking into and/or taking a chance on:
David Clarkson, Toronto; Joakim Andersson, Detroit; Jimmy Howard, Detroit; Jonas Brodin, Minnesota; Beau Bennett, Pittsburgh; Dustin Brown, Los Angeles. Aleksander Barkov, Florida