The NHL is finally back, with all 30 teams in action this week. So here are the top eight power play names you should be picking up to help lead your team to victory.
This week’s picks are players with good matchups at home and on the road.
The “waiver wire” is a term that refers to the players on the trade market who are not currently playing. This week there are eight power play names worth picking up.
Those that contribute with the additional skater are all the more valuable in fantasy competitions where power-play output is rewarded at a premium, since they may check off two categories, at the very least, with one scoring swoop. We’re beginning to get a sense of who’s getting it done with the man-advantage and who isn’t, even though the season is still months away and every club has played at least 10 games.
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While Pittsburgh and Colorado won’t always be bad on the power play, we can bet that Arizona and Seattle will. In light of that early assessment, here’s a look at eight (mainly) under-the-radar fantasy assets that deserve more attention for their special teams proficiency or potential than they now get.
Victor Olofsson (33.1 percent), RW, Buffalo Sabres: If you have any doubts that the Sabres are considerably better with Olofsson in the lineup, look at the team’s perfect losing record since the winger went down with an injury. Fortunately, the top-line striker is anticipated to return in the coming days after recuperating well from an unknown soft tissue injury. (Coach Don Granato has said that they are being especially careful with Olofsson because they don’t want to “mess” with his growth.) This is fantastic news for Buffalo’s power play, which is, predictably, better when the 26-year-old is on the ice. Despite missing the previous four games, Olofsson still leads his team’s forward corps with three power-play points. Assuming he’ll be back for next Tuesday’s game against the Penguins, if not sooner, I’d add the widely available winger to most fantasy lineups well before then. It’s also worth mentioning that he’s marching at a faster rate than the average point/game pace.
Colorado Avalanche LW/RW Andre Burakovsky 55.6%: Burakovsky seems to be the front-runner to take over as the Avs’ main center while Nathan MacKinnon is sidelined for three weeks with a lower-body ailment. While Colorado’s power play has been atrocious to begin the season (only the Coyotes’ and Kraken’s units have been worse), history indicates that the trend will eventually reverse. Especially because Cale Makar, the team’s defenceman, is scheduled to return from injury as soon as Thursday. Even without MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog remain dangerous. Burakovsky might have a productive remainder of November if he stays in that top position. He’s been on fire lately, with two goals and two assists in his last three games. In all but the most shallow fantasy leagues that emphasize power-play output, the top-six winger should be a lock.
C Cole Sillinger (1.8 percent), Columbus Blue Jackets: The 18-year-old (he won’t be 19 until next May) was drafted 12th overall only a few months ago and is currently filling in for an injured Patrik Laine on Columbus’ top power play. That’s a big jump. Sillinger, on the other hand, is holding his own, with three even-strength goals and an assist in his last two games. It’ll only be a matter of time until the additional skater is counted. This youngster, who leads all Blue Jackets forwards in shots on goal (3.2 per game), is unfazed by his top-line position with veteran Jakub Voracek. Grab him in deeper fantasy leagues before other managers figure out what you’re doing. With the Sioux Falls Stampede this past season, Sillinger lit up the USHL with 24 goals and 22 assists in 31 games. Clearly, he has the ability to score.
Nashville Predators’ C/RW Matt Duchene (39.6%): Duchene is back to his old scoring skills on a line and top power play with Mikael Granlund, as noted in this week’s Waiver Watch. The veteran attacker has five goals and five assists in eight games since being moved to right wing, including three points with the man-advantage. Nashville’s power play is fourth in the league with a 26.3 percent success rate. Duchene also has the most shots in his club, with 40. He’s completely fantasy relevant once again.
LW Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars (76.9%): The Stars don’t score much, but when they do, it’s almost always with a man-advantage. Dallas has nine power-play goals this season, with a 29.0 percent success rate (excellent! ), accounting for a third of their overall scoring (not so good!). But this club, particularly their most dangerous line of Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski, and Robertson, is just too talented to be stuck in a five-on-five rut for much longer. With five points in six games, including three with the extra skater, the latter is already contributing. It’ll only be a matter of time until they all blow up. (Hintz, based on his play and lack of luck, looks to be especially prone to exploding in a big way.) Robertson is still available in over a fourth of ESPN.com leagues, so calling him an under-the-radar fantasy asset is a stretch. That’s a very large number.
Carolina Hurricanes’ Tony DeAngelo (64.8 percent): To this point, only the Oilers and Ducks have scored more power-play goals, and Anaheim has played three more games. Unlike in Edmonton, where Darnell Nurse cuts into Tyson Barrie’s special teams time with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, DeAngelo has exclusive possession of the top unit in Raleigh. The former Ranger has made the most of Dougie Hamilton’s old assignment, scoring five of his 11 points in 11 games with the extra skater. DeAngelo should be rostered in any and all traditional scoring fantasy leagues, regardless of power-play output.
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Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks defenseman (45.3%): Only the Oilers (15) have scored more goals with the man advantage than Anaheim, and Fowler had a hand in many of the Ducks’ scores (13). With seven power-play points, the 29-year-old is tied for first among NHL defenseman with teammate Kevin Shattenkirk and Nashville blueliner Roman Josi. He also plays close to 24 minutes every game, shoots the puck, and blocks shots. In normal competition, this amounted to 2.2 fantasy points per match. This Top-20 blue-liner is still available in more than half of ESPN.com leagues, which is ridiculous. Even if/when the Ducks regress, Fowler should still be able to put up respectable fantasy numbers.
Kale “Who?” says D. Clague of the Los Angeles Kings (1.5 percent). When Clague’s name was mentioned during a recent Kings broadcast, my wife, who is a die-hard hockey fan, said that. He’s probably not alone in not knowing who the 51st overall draft pick (2016) is, especially if you live in Eastern Time. But, as he steps in for an injured Drew Doughty on L.A.’s No. 1 power play, we’re all getting to know Clague a bit better. The 23-year-old has four assists in six games since being called up from the Ontario Reign, including two with the extra skater. Clague is a pleasant under-the-radar asset in deep leagues as long as he stays on that unit – and Doughty is expected to be out until the new year. When the match-up makes sense in a Daily Fantasy tournament, for example. As in Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
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