Players who are productive on their team’s power plays are worth their weight in gold in fantasy hockey as “power play points” is a standard scoring category in fantasy leagues. A goal or an assist on the power play is twice as valuable as an even strength point because of this.
Players like Alex Ovechkin who have raised hell on the man advantage for years stand out as can’t-miss fantasy players because of their gift for scoring power play points, but there are plenty of skaters who are flying under the radar this season in special teams scoring. Let’s take a look at four noteworthy power play producers who have a real chance at watching their production on the man advantage either hold steady or improve after the All-Star break.
The Buffalo Sabres don’t win very many hockey games, but when they do O’Reilly often plays a key role for them. O’Reilly’s fantasy value is bogged down by the plus-minus black hole that is commonplace among Sabres skaters, but for perhaps the first time in his career, he has been a featured weapon on the power play and through 50 games he has excelled in that role.
O’Reilly is on pace to set a career high in power play goals. There are only ten players in the league that have more points than his 17 on the man advantage. After O’Reilly, the Sabres get the most production from rookies Jack Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen on the power play. His role as the team’s top center means he sees a lot of the puck on the power play. It’s also why he is leading his team in power play goals with seven just past the halfway mark of the season.
Arizona’s resident Dane has as many power play points as franchise cornerstone, defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson at the All-Star break. What stands out about Boedker’s power play production is that just two of his 16 points are goals. Ekman-Larsson and Shane Doan currently share the lead on the Coyotes with eight power play goals apiece.
Boedker is far from a celebrated playmaker, but he has been having a special season in Arizona after missing 37 games last season. He is tied for the team lead in even strength goals with ten and is third on his team in shots. Like O’Reilly, his fantasy value is hindered by his plus-minus rating thanks to Arizona’s poor goal differential, but Boedker’s power play production has helped to land him in fantasy hockey’s top 150 players. For fantasy managers in deep leagues that need power play points, shots, and don’t mind taking a hit to their plus-minus, Boedker is a winger that brings a lot to the table.
Faulk is a player that has taken big steps towards joining the exclusive club of fantasy hockey’s elite defensemen with Carolina this year. Twelve of Faulk’s 16 power play points this season have been goals, which is just two fewer goals than the rest of the Hurricanes have on the man advantage combined. The dynamic defender is a top 75 fantasy player and only eight other blue liners have been more valuable through the first half of the 2015-16 fantasy season.
The Hurricanes’ best player will be on countless fantasy draft cheat sheets in September thanks to his big shot, ability to move the puck, and featured role on Carolina’s power play. Skating nearly twenty-five minutes every game and being a monster on the power play for Carolina more than makes up for Faulk’s atrocious plus-minus that comes hand-in-hand with playing on a team with leaky goaltending.
Spooner skates on the top power play unit for the Bruins with Patrice Bergeron, David Krecji, Loui Eriksson, and Torey Krug and therein lies the secret to his surprising fantasy value. Despite skating less than an average of fifteen minutes a night this season, Spooner has 14 power play points and 23 even strength points for Boston.
The 24-year-old forward is still an unknown commodity in many fantasy leagues thanks largely in part to his limited ice time, but his deployment on the top power play unit and his talent for picking up assists makes him a great player to own in deep leagues. Spooner flourished when he was promoted to the second line when Krejci went down with his injury. Since the star Czech center’s return, Spooner has continued his outstanding play on his wing in the Bruins’ top six.
In ESPN and CBS leagues Spooner is an exclusively center eligible forward, but in Yahoo! leagues his value is increased thanks to his eligibility to play both center and left wing. Spooner is under 90 percent owned in all three major fantasy league providers but is a top 100 fantasy player in standard scoring categories thanks to getting the job done on the power play, getting pucks on net, and leading the Bruins in assists.