The Vegas Golden Knights are one of the higher-profile teams in the NHL despite their short tenure in the league. They have been able to make a name for themselves based on their success in the league and the elite players they have been able to sign.
In regards to fantasy hockey, the Golden Knights are loaded. With players such as Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Shea Theodore and Marc-Andre Fleury, some of their other players seem to fall under the radar of most fantasy owners. However, the Golden Knights do get a lot of production from their depth, and players such as Alex Tuch, Alec Martinez and Chandler Stephenson each bring a unique element to a fantasy hockey lineup.
On any other team, Tuch would most likely be a main proponent of the top-six forward group. However, in Vegas, he finds himself on the third line. With superstars such as Stone and Pacioretty on the first line, it would be hard for any young star to earn their right to play on the top unit. This is not for a lack of trying though, as he is currently tied for fourth in points on the Golden Knights roster.
Tuch is making the most out of the time on ice he receives. Despite playing nearly two minutes less per game than the second-line players, he is outscoring all but one. This is due to his speed and strength that allows him to create opportunities that other players cannot. This has also earned him a spot on the first power-play unit for the Golden Knights.
His fantasy hockey value comes from multiple different factors. First, Tuch is eligible to play both left and right-wing. This gives fantasy hockey owners an option if they have an opening due to other players not having a game on a specific day. Second, his ability to create havoc in front of the net allows him to record power-play points – he’s currently tied for second on Vegas with two power-play points. Lastly, his potential to gain more ice-time makes him a threat. If one of the top-six players in Vegas were to be injured or put on the COVID-19 protocol list, Tuch could easily find himself moving into that role. With already a high production, an increase in TOI could easily result in higher production from the Vegas winger.
Martinez is an interesting pick for fantasy hockey owners. He is a solid defender and is currently on the second defensive pairing for the Golden Knights. Despite not recording a goal on the season yet, he does have six assists and is currently the second-highest scoring defenseman on the roster. This is shocking as he is currently outscoring Alex Pietrangelo, who has not fully adjusted to playing in Vegas.
Fantasy hockey owners should consider Martinez for his plus/minus rating. During the 2020-21 season, he is ranked top 10 in the league with a plus-10 rating. Adding him as a depth pick-up could be entertaining as the Golden Knights have one of the best offenses and defenses in the NHL. As the season moves along, there is no reason as to why this number will not increase dramatically. Another interesting thing to note is that he will occasionally get power-play time. Currently, Theodore is listed as day-to-day after suffering an upper-body injury against the Anaheim Ducks. Martinez will have an elevated role on the power play if this injury keeps Theodore out of the lineup.
Since he was acquired by the Golden Knights from the Washington Capitals, Stephenson has been one of the best and most consistent players for Vegas. His skating ability allows him to keep pace with some of the fastest players in the league. In addition to his speed, Stephenson is a relentless forechecker and is able to create offense by hounding the opposing defense. These factors were big reasons why he was able to earn an extension by the Golden Knights in the off-season.
Although he may seem like a typical grinder, Stephenson is currently the first-line center for Vegas. Playing with Stone and Pacioretty has allowed him to be more offensive-minded this season. So far, he has three goals, four assists and a plus-six rating. Because defenses are more focused on his linemates, Stephenson has been able to generate and convert on high-quality chances for himself. This is highlighted by his 33.3% shooting percentage.
Lastly, fantasy hockey owners should draw their attention to Stephenson’s eligibility. He can be rostered as either a center or left-wing. Like Tuch, this gives options to owners when certain players may not have a game. His ability to play both down the middle and on the wing makes him a valuable utility forward for any league.
These three players can help any fantasy hockey team due to the traits each player has. These abilities mixed with the fact that Vegas is one of the best teams in the league should grab fantasy hockey owner’s attention. The Golden Knights are expected to continue their dominant ways, so adding Tuch, Martinez and/or Stephenson may be what it takes to capture a fantasy hockey championship.