NHL regular season hockey is finally in full swing and you’re looking longingly at that beautiful roster you drafted for your fantasy hockey team. All your top picks are going to play to their potential, and those young guys you gambled on are going to pay off. And injuries? Not this year. This is your year.
But just in case everything doesn’t go according to plan, I’ll be here to help you find those diamonds in the rough. It may be a little early to rush out and pick up some of these guys, but I’ve already added one because I’m a free agency addict.
Also, keep these guys in mind when setting up your daily fantasy hockey team as well. They could provide you decent scoring at a fraction of the price. As always, these players can be found in 30 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues:
Steve Downie (22%): Towards the end of my league’s draft the other day, I was scrolling through my options when I saw Steve Downie underappreciated and still available. Yahoo has their O-rank for him as 363. That “O” must stand for “opportunity.” Downie is a gritty player that can get you points on top of piles of penalty minutes and hits. He’s not at the same level as Dustin Brown or Scott Hartnell, but he’s of the same mold for fantasy purposes. In two games, he has two points, 15 penalty minutes, and everyone in Nashville hating him.
Marcus Johansson (19%): Playing with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom would give anyone’s stock a boost, and Johansson is no different. He’s coming off a season where he scored 22 points in 36 games. He doesn’t put up a lot of shots or hits, but with Ovechkin flying around doing a ton of both, that’s understandable.
Jacob Trouba (15%): It’s hard to come into the NHL as a teenager – ask Adam Larsson – so expectations of the ninth overall pick in 2012 should be tempered. But he’s seeing over 20 minutes a night, and is paired with the underappreciated Zach Bogosian. He scored a goal and an assist in his NHL debut, and is +3 in two games against the Oilers and Kings. It may be a little early to go get him now, but if either Enstrom or Byfuglien go down with an injury, I suspect Trouba would get an opportunity on the first power play unit too.
Aleksander Barkov (10%): If you were wondering which of these five players was the one I added, look no further. If Jonathan Drouin stuck around with the Tampa Bay Lightning and played with Stamkos and St. Louis, he’d have been my Calder Trophy pick. But he’s back to the juniors so I’m going with Barkov. His size and skills are completely NHL ready and he’s getting solid minutes with last year’s Calder winner, Jonathan Huberdeau. Throw in Brad Boyes, who knows a little something about complementing two highly skilled players, and you have a recipe for potential.
Alex Chiasson (7%): I’m not going to lie. I knew nothing about this kid before the end of last year. His numbers caught my attention then – six goals in seven games – but now he’s started off the season with 2 more goals in 2 games.
Entering Saturday night’s game against the Capitals, the following absurd Alex Chiasson statements are valid:
- His career shooting percentage of .438 would be good enough for fourth all time amongst NBA 3-point shooters. (They don’t have goalies in basketball.)
- In his career, he’s scored one goal per 16:25 of ice time. In comparison, Sidney Crosby averages a goal every 41:32.
Obviously there’s no way he continues this pace. His stats are significantly better in the NHL than they were in the AHL, which makes absolutely no sense. He’s a solid player, but there’s no way he can continue this pace … right?
Maybe I’ll add him too… just in case.