Now several weeks into the season like any year there are several players who to this point have not delivered the production owners expect. This makes for an opportunity where you can potentially capitalize on an impatient owner and acquire yourself an asset in line to improve as the season moves forward. Though there are many players who fit this mold a few that seemingly have the best chances of rebounding from here on out are as follows.
Though it is not to say he has been horrendous with three goals and two assists through twelve games, when you are coming off a season in which you eclipsed the 30-goal plateau the expectations for your production go up significantly as does your draft round. Currently no owner of Arvidsson can muster the confidence to say they are not worried at least a little as recently his minutes have plummeted and he no longer rides shotgun with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg. Though the cards are seemingly stacked against him this is one of the hardest working players in the game with a relentless engine. Despite the underwhelming points he is still boasting a very strong PDO and CF%. His shooting percentage currently sits at 7% compared to 12.6% in the season prior and like last year he is still providing ample shots with forty 43 through 12 games played. If he can get some regression towards the mean the points are bound to come so inquire with a disgruntled owner who may be ready to offload him for a bag of pucks.
The defenseman is certainly receiving some menacing looks from his owners for his slow start. Overall the Sabres have come out of the gate lethargically but at some point the tide has to turn. Possessing the best power play unit last season, the results are bound to improve and Ristolainen will be a focal point in doing so. A phenomenal power play quarterback he is one of the rare defenders last season to post 150 plus hits, shots and blocks. In multi-category leagues he is an absolute gold mine and any trepidation of decreased ice time this year has been nullified as he is logging the heavy minutes we’ve become accustomed to. No other player on Buffalo’s blueline compares to Ristolainen so he is in no danger of losing said minutes either. Boasting the best CF% of his career through 12 games and seeing just under four minutes per game on the power play on average, the chances are strong he will start generating more point production. Do not expect 50 points this season but he is more than capable of getting hot and returning to the 40-point plateau with excellent peripherals by season’s end
Captain America is at the age now where you can start scaring his owners with the “Father Time” angle. Not everyone is Joe Thornton and Pavelski’s diminutive size plus lack of fleet footedness does not bode well for his game as he continues towards his mid-thirties. Not to say the wheels have fallen off the wagon completely but the inevitable decline may potentially be starting this year. And although this may be the case that is not to say he can’t turn it around as a go to player on the Sharks who will probably never lose his top line assignment. Pavelski’s PDO has dropped by almost 100 this season compared to last yet his CF% still stands above 53% which suggests he is experiencing some bad luck out on the ice despite his line driving play. Most of his owners probably are not looking at this and just see an aging asset they might have invested in at the wrong time. Now’s your chance to acquire at a reasonable price and see some statistical normalization as the season progresses. Act fast as Pavelski has now scored goals in two straight and seems to be awaking from hibernation.
The Rangers as a whole have just been brutal in 2017-18 and Zuccarello is certainly catching some of the blame for this. Although he has quietly amassed 10 points in thirteen games he could still potentially be had at a reasonable price because of the team’s start. Not the fastest starter by any means himself his game is returning to form, but his swing from plus-15 last season to minus-nine currently this year is making his owners cringe. Like Pavelski, Zuccarello’s PDO has dropped by 100 compared to last season yet his CF% remains above 50 therefore he too is not getting any help from the hockey gods. Be encouraged that despite this train wreck of a season so far in Manhattan he is receiving his highest offensive zone starting percentage since 2010-11 and his Pts/60 is in line with the last two seasons rate of 2.4. The hobbit is one of the most consistent assets out there in fantasy land so he is afforded a long leash. With right wing being a thin position, he would be a nice addition to your squad to bolster your depth at the right price.
After bursting onto the scene in his rookie season it has been underwhelming thus far for Marner. Though he is still seeing time with Tyler Bozak and James Van Riemsdyk it is not as consistent a deployment as last season. For Marner to be of the utmost effectiveness he needs skilled linemates to finish his passes so if he keeps seeing time with the likes of Dominic Moore and Matt Martin do not count on a repeat of last season’s 61 points. This is a team run by Mike Babcock though and he knows what he has in Marner. If any coach is adamant about rolling four consistent lines it’s Babcock. Like Arvidsson, Marner’s shooting percentage is at about half of what it was last season so a little regression towards the mean will do him well and take solace in the fact he is still seeing powerplay time in line with last season. The ball will get rolling for this kid he is simply too skilled not to produce in time so see if his owner is ready to cut the cord at a bargain price.
If there is one person on this list to strongly consider bringing into the fold it’s Provorov. To be honest if I hear “What about Shayne Gostisbehere?” anymore I am going to regurgitate. One day very soon Provorov will be contending for Norris trophies year in and year out and right now the Russian is providing phenomenal category coverage for his owners. Currently sitting on eight points in thirteen games played, 33 shots, 23 hits, 31 blocks, and averaging over 24 minutes a night, this kid is a stud already. Because of Gostisbehere being at the helm of power play one he gets all the love and it is warranted to a degree but people should give Provorov the respect he deserves both in real life and fantasy. It is still early on so before he goes out and posts a 40-point season see if you can snag him away from his owner on the cheap. To put into perspective, my keeper league defense consists of Victor Hedman, Roman Josi, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nick Leddy, Provorov, and Radko Gudas. So far Provorov is providing more value than any of the “premiere” names listed. This kid is 20, he will only get better, try to board the train before it leaves the station.
Not to pick on the Predators but it is hard to avoid the fact that two thirds of their top line from last season have started off in meager fashion. Always a slow starter himself Johansen will hit his stride soon as he has established his floor at the 60-point mark throughout the prior four seasons. Yes, he is going to need to get going soon to reach that plateau once again but this is a supremely talented number one center with size and quality offensive talent around him. At this point we all must accept the fact he has morphed into a playmaker much more than a sniper but consistency is something to value and Johansen brings this to the table. He is currently rocking a 60% offensive zone start and maintains a strong CF% in line with last season. Also, to take notice of is his obscene amount of power play time so far with over four minutes on average. Therefore, despite the shortcomings in production so far it is comforting to know that he is still being put in situations to promote scoring. Nashville has been dormant offensively but that cannot stay the case forever with all the talent they possess. This team started slow last season and ended up in the Stanley Cup Final so bank on an emergence soon and buy in now.
- Ramblings: Eichel Hatty, Sedinery Is Back, Couture Injured (Dec 16)
- Ramblings: Anderson Shutout In NHL100 Classic, Landeskog’s Five-Point Game (Dec 17)
- Frozen Pool Forensics: Five Players and One Line Experiencing a Resurgence
- Ramblings: Vegas JAM; Boeser Injured; Laine Snipes Again - December 18
- The Journey: December Forward Risers
- Saturday Night Special: Daily Fantasy Picks December 16
- Saturday's NHL Game Picks - December 16
- Geek of the Week: Nathan MacKinnon