Some teams, like the Buffalo Sabres and the Edmonton Oilers, have exploded out of the gate on the power play. Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are fueling destructive special teams that have helped both clubs avoid a regulation loss this season (combined 9-0-1).
The fantasy realm, as such, is enjoying some early season breakouts from the likes of James Neal, Victor Olofsson, Oscar Klefbom and Rasmus Dahlin. By all means, buy into the performances. McDavid and Eichel aren’t going anywhere, so these supporting pieces can keep up close to the stats we’ve seen so far. It’s not like the power plays are in the stratosphere or anything – the Sabres are converting on 42.1 percent and the Oilers on 41.2 percent. Those percentages will regress, but they don’t have to by a ton (25 to 30 percent is reasonable for the top teams).
Fun. Free. Easy. Create or join a league and play ESPN Fantasy Hockey! Sign up for free!
In the meantime, we can look to which players on which power plays are getting the job done with a little less fanfare than the Oilers and Sabres. A good target this time of year is players who are scoring power play points with minimal minutes or on the second unit. Nothing helps fantasy goodness over the long-term like a promotion on special teams.
Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers have four power-play goals so far this season and three have come from the second power-play unit. Travis Konecny has three power-play helpers in 6:09 of PP time, while Oskar Lindblom has two goals in 5:36 and Ivan Provorov has one of each in 6:09. The big minutes are going to Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Kevin Hayes, Shayne Gostisbehere and James van Riemsdyk for now, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the units begin to merge a little, getting some additional minutes for the players producing. With three goals at even strength as well, Konecny is a major buy for me.
New York Islanders: The Isles are getting fewer opportunities on the man advantage, with only 10 chances through five games, but they’ve converted on three of them. Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each have two power-play points on those goals. If he wasn’t likely out with a leg injury at the moment, Eberle would have my attention here as he’s been on the top line with Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal. Keep him on the radar for when he returns. In the meantime, maybe have a look at Oliver Wahlstrom, who appears to be lining up with Barzal and Lee for his NHL debut in Eberle’s stead.
Los Angeles Kings: Interestingly, the Kings have two power-play goals on 16 opportunities this season and both have been scored by Drew Doughty with assists on both to Anze Kopitar and Ilya Kovalchuk. It’s interesting because the trio have not been on an established unit together very often … yet. Kovalchuk has been on the second unit for most occasions, but has been contributing in a big way so far this season. It won’t hold for long with Kovy on the second unit if he keeps scoring – he has six points through five games. While last season was a write-off for the returning Kovalchuk, this one is off to a much better start. He’s available in 80 percent of leagues.