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Fantasy hockey rankings: Week 8 update

Dustin Brown, like the Los Angeles Kings overall, has struggled on the power play. Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

Believe it or not, the following players actually do appear regularly on their teams' power plays.

Brady Tkachuk, W, Ottawa Senators: So far this season, Tkachuk has compiled 67:31 in total power play time this season. That ranks 58th in the NHL, which might sound low, but only until you realize that five players per team should be putting forth a decent showing in this category. Some names below him in total power-play ice time: Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar, Brent Burns and Ryan Johansen. Does that help contextualize how much time he has played on the man advantage?

How many power-play points has the younger Tkachuk contributed to our fantasy coffers? Zero. The team's 8.8% success rate on the man advantage doesn't help. But at least for now, Tkachuk is being left alone as a member of the "top" unit and will likely be left there until it finds its footing.

The Sens were 13th in the league for power-play success last season, but they also had Matt Duchene and Mark Stone for a bulk of the campaign. This unit isn't going to be as good as last season's, but it's also not this bad. After the trade deadline last season, the Senators ranked 17th in the league on the power play in March and April. Things will turn around for this unit, and that will drive some fantasy relevance for Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot. I'm exploring buy-low options on both.

James van Riemsdyk, W, Philadelphia Flyers: He's a power-play specialist by trade and has been getting the minutes to show for it, but the points just aren't there. In 65:24 of total power-play ice time this season, JVR has one goal on 18 shots. This despite the fact that the Flyers are doing just fine on the man advantage. The team is 13th in the league in success rate so far this season, with the four other members of the top unit sporting at least six power-play points.

But the rest of the unit's success bodes well for JVR. It means he is doing his job well as the net presence on the man advantage. He's allowing his teammates to score and will stay on the unit with them as long as that's the case. That means he'll be there when the luck starts to change in his favor. More rebounds, more loose pucks to bat home and more deflections are coming van Riemsdyk's way.

He needs the power-play profile to be fantasy-relevant. Signs point to that production coming sooner than later.

Dustin Brown, W, Los Angeles Kings: Out there for 63:53 so far in total power-play time, Brown has but one helper on the man advantage. He has been dragged down by the team's overall success, to be sure, as they have eight power-play goals total, but he's supposed to be up there with his unit-mates for production; Anze Kopitar has seven power-play points, and Drew Doughty has five.

Although I think Tkachuk and van Riemsdyk could be in for better times ahead, I have concerns that the Kings will move away from Brown on the top unit. In Saturday's game against the Vegas Golden Knights, Brown was off the top power-play unit, and Adrian Kempe was promoted in his stead. Without power-play time, Brown might not be worth stashing in leagues that don't have hits as a category.

Cam Fowler, D, Anaheim Ducks: Currently 18th among all defensemen with 62:04 in power-play ice time, Fowler's two power-play points put him in a tie for 47th in production on the man advantage. This could be another buy-low scenario, however, as the Ducks have no one else to turn to.

Anaheim has five power-play goals so far this season, which is second-worst for success rate and worst for total power-play scoring in the league. The unit is better than this showing and will turn things around. You can't stack Ryan Getzlaf, Adam Henrique, Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg up front and not expect some better returns. With no one knocking on the door to usurp Fowler's role, he has time to hang around long enough for the ship to right itself. I wouldn't be expecting world-beating numbers, as Fowler has never been a top-tier option, but 15 to 20 power-play points in the remainder of the season would help make him a No. 3 defenseman in fantasy.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes are 23rd in the league for success rate and have 10 power-play goals so far, but Ekman-Larsson has only one power-play assist in 60:20 of total power-play ice time. But things don't look promising. Young Jakob Chychrun is lurking on the depth chart and appears to be gunning for the top spot in recent games. Although neither has a power-play point in November, Chychrun has outpaced OEL for power-play ice time in the month and is getting more time on the first unit.

As good as Ekman-Larsson is in real life, it doesn't look like his profile is going to translate to fantasy in the same way. Since his 27 power-play points in 2015-16, Ekman-Larsson hasn't climbed back to 20 in the three seasons since, and it doesn't look like he's on pace to get there this season. Without those power-play booster stats, he can't be the No. 2 fantasy defenseman he should be.

In the meantime, Chychrun could be a deep-league sleeper for when/if this Coyotes power play finds its groove.


Forwards on the move

Max Pacioretty, W, Vegas Golden Knights (up five spots to No. 43): When it looked like things couldn't get better for Pacioretty to have a huge rebound season, here he is elevated to the top line with William Karlsson and Reilly Smith. He has consecutive games with two points and is still locked in on the Golden Knights' power play. He has six goals in November already and is back on pace for a 30-goal campaign (not to mention 75 points). The Golden Knights, with a healthy Alex Tuch, have the capacity to go three lines deep on scoring, so it's good to see Pacioretty still in a top role. (Paul Stastny, for what it's worth, gets downgraded here, as he slipped to the third line with Tuch and Cody Glass. That isn't horrible, but it's not the best role with the club.)

Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (up 18 spots to No. 61): Malkin isn't the top-tier superstar he used to be, but he's going to be leaned on heavily during Sidney Crosby's prolonged absence. Malkin still has the capacity to scale up his production when he's the centerpiece of the attack, which he will be until January.

Brock Nelson, C, New York Islanders (up 10 spots to No. 148): Don't look now, but the line of Nelson, Derick Brassard and Anthony Beauvillier is looking like the top unit for the Isles of late. Their production is getting a spike by forming the top power-play unit together, with the addition of Mathew Barzal. All three are available in the majority of leagues, and Nelson should be a key addition even in shallower formats. He's on pace to top his career-high showing from last season.

Defensemen on the move

P.K. Subban, D, New Jersey Devils (down 11 spots to No. 64): Things aren't looking great for Subban. It was frustrating enough that he hasn't been playing on the top power-play unit for the Devils, as Sami Vatanen kept that role. Now, with Vatanen sidelined, Subban isn't the next choice, as Will Butcher has been holding down the point on the top unit. It seemed natural, given that he is two years removed from a 16-goal, 25-power-play-point season that put him in the running for the Norris Trophy, that Subban would have little trouble ascending the Devils' depth chart. Almost 20 games into the campaign, that has not been the case. Given his upside, I'm loathe to send him spiraling down the rankings, but that's the next step if the situation doesn't change soon.

Goaltenders on the move

Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals (up 18 spits to No. 132): It's going to take more than five solid games in November for Holtby to earn trust back from fantasy owners. One of the biggest chasms between real life and fantasy results can be evident in Holtby. For the Capitals, he's a reliable No. 1 backstop who has proven he can take them to the Cup. For fantasy players, he's a winning netminder with ratios that make you question whether the Ws are worth it that and who is prone to poor stretches. Still, it's encouraging to see him limit opponents to two or fewer goals in four of his five starts this month. Ratios are the only thing holding Holtby back from being a No. 1 fantasy goaltender, so this is a huge stretch for him.

New to rankings

Colin White, Zach Hyman, Derick Brassard, Oskar Lindblom, Dennis Cholowski, Conor Garland, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Alex Iafallo, Alex Killorn.

Just missed

Colin Miller, Andrew Mangiapane, Jared Spurgeon, Zdeno Chara, Jason Dickinson, Alexander Nylander, Linus Ullmark, Jordan Eberle, Jack Campbell, Sam Steel, Barclay Goodrow, Warren Foegele, Ryan Pulock, Christian Dvorak.

Dropped out

Alexander Kerfoot, T.J. Brodie, Dominik Kubalik, Max Comtois, Sami Vatanen, Robert Thomas, Anthony Duclair, Anthony Cirelli, Duncan Keith.