ESPN fantasy hockey league playoffs have started. Despite this, a number of players remain available who could be difference-makers in leagues. Here are the best of them.
Michael Bunting, Forward, Arizona Coyotes (Rostered 11.2%)
The 25-year-old rookie, Michael Bunting, has been scorching hot recently. He cemented his spot on the Coyotes’ roster by scoring six goals and one assist in eight games this season. He provides value in his volume of hits and shots on goal (SOG), with 18 SOG and 15 hits.
This is a clip of 2.3 fantasy points per game (P/G), and he’s skated in all eight of Arizona’s games this month. Bunting would be a great addition to any fantasy team, but be aware that this pace is unsustainable and that you should drop him when he stops producing.
Connor Brown, Forward, Ottawa Senators (Rostered 26.4%)
Connor Brown is riding an eight-game scoring streak and broke the Ottawa Senators’ scoring streak record (from ‘Brown extends franchise-record scoring streak as Senators ground Jets’, CBC News, 04/12/21). During this streak, he’s shot at a blistering 32 percent.
Similar to Bunting, Brown should be dropped once he cools down, but when you’re hot, you’re hot.
Shayne Ghostisbehere, Defenceman, Philadelphia Flyers (Rostered 14.2%)
Shayne “Ghost” Ghostisbehere has been great in the games he’s played this season. In 32 games, he has eight goals and seven assists. He has also been averaging over a blocked shot per game. Overall, this gives him an average of 1.6 fantasy points per game.
The biggest worry about “Ghost” is that he seems to be at odds with Flyers management. He has been a healthy scratch and puzzlingly was placed on waivers once this season (from ‘Flyers minus Gostisbehere for third consecutive game,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, 20/03/21). Despite this, Ghostisbehere is averaging more fantasy points per game than blueliners like Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks), Torey Krug (St. Louis Blues) and Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars).
David Savard, Defenceman, Tampa Bay Lightning (Rostered 20.5%)
David Savard is not known for his offensive game, but his recent trade to the Tampa Bay Lightning could help him generate a bit more, as he will be surrounded by a star-studded cast. Thus far, he has one goal and five assists in 41 games this season.
Savard’s main fantasy value comes from his defensive prowess, particularly his shot-blocking. He has 89 blocks this season, which ranks fifth in the league. He has also thrown 99 hits.
This gives him 54.4 combined defensive fantasy points in standard leagues where a block is 0.5 points and a hit is 0.1, which is equal to 27 even-strength goals. Overall, he is averaging 1.6 fantasy P/G, just like Ghostisbehere is; however, both were averaging 1.7 before their games on April 13, 2021.
Anthony Mantha, Forward, Washington Capitals (Rostered 55.8%)
Anthony Mantha has typically been a good player to have in fantasy hockey. In fact, I drafted him this season. However, he struggled to generate much (he was scoring at a 1.3 fantasy P/G clip before his trade) with the abysmal Detroit Red Wings. At the trade deadline, he was dealt to Washington, where he should flourish and reinvigorate his fantasy value.
Mantha skated with Washington for the first time on April 13, 2021, and was a fixture in their top-six, and assisted on Tom Wilson’s goal and scored one himself. In 2019-20, he scored 16 goals and 38 points in just 43 games. Alongside the Capitals’ offence, he should become even more deadly.
Jeremy Swayman, Goalie, Boston Bruins (Rostered 6.6%)
Jeremy Swayman is a rookie netminder for the Bruins. Recently, he has been getting boatloads of starting opportunities, as Tuukka Rask is injured and Jaroslav Halak is on the COVID list. Swayman has started in four of the Bruins’ past five games, where he has posted a .926 save percentage.
Swayman led Boston to a victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, and the Bruins are set to play Buffalo five more times in the next three weeks. Since the Sabres have been atrocious this season, Swayman should nab a number of points just by winning against them.
If you are lacking players in any of these positions or are looking for an improvement, consider picking up any of these skaters, as they all have the ability to give you an edge in fantasy hockey playoffs.
Stats Per ESPN
I am a lifelong hockey fan who will be covering the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks here at The Hockey Writers. Before joining The Hockey Writers I spent two years blogging about hockey.
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