Phil Kessel, RW, Arizona Coyotes (currently in 32.1% of ESPN.com leagues): You remember him, don’t you? The once-coveted recruit lost much of his nice shine in his first season with the Coyotes this fall, scoring just 14 goals and 24 assists. It looks like Phil Trepeth is back, having already scored three times to start the year 2021. Reports that Kessel is feeling good physically after working hard in the offseason (he was roughed up last year) further raise expectations for the return. Find a talented veteran before it’s too late.
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Alex Killorn, LW/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (27.3%) : There is much to enjoy, and sometimes not, in the company on the ice that saves the skater. For example, Killorn – who is no stranger to the game himself – plays on the goal line with Anthony Cirelli for Tampa Bay and also on the power play with Stephen Stamkos, Brayden Poynt and defenseman Victor Hedman. He’s going to score a goal. Perhaps even more than last year, when the 30-year-old scored 26 goals and 23 assists in just 68 games. Killorn is one of those underrated fantasy forms that can vary significantly in its deeper layers.
Pavel Buchnevich, LW/RW, New York Rangers (25.9%) : Following his debut for Rangers, Buchnevich scored two goals in regulation time in the second game against the Islanders, contributing to the club’s strength. Coach David Quinn seems pleased to leave the 25-year-old winger – who made a remarkably positive impression at training camp – at the top of the standings with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider and instead let rookie Alexis Lafreniere slide into second place. After seeing many minutes with Zibanejad and Kreider, Buhnevich is preparing for a highly productive campaign.
Jonathan Drouin, LW/C, Montreal Canadiens (25.2%) : Canadiens goalies Nick Suzuki, Josh Anderson and Drouin will be a sensation this season and have already recorded seven points (three on the power play) in two games. While Suzuki and Anderson are mostly discussed in imaginary circles, Drouin is still widely available.
Watch Drouin and the Montreal Canadiens tonight when they play the Edmonton Oilers on ESPN+.
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Dylan Strom, C, Chicago Blackhawks (22.3%) : With the long-term absence of Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks need their new No. 1 center to develop. This means regular production at even strength and additional skaters alongside Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. With Chicago’s recovery and the absence of some key players, they probably won’t win many games this season, but they’ll still be competitive – led by this top trio. With a power play goal and an assist on ten shots, Strome should return to the scoring pace he had two seasons ago. Premium Message : Adam Boqvist, a sophomore defender, likes to look at sleep, especially as a threat with a human edge.
Joe Thornton, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (16.3%) : If only fantasy points were available for fun – the 41-year-old would be at the top of the leaderboard. Thornton, who played in the first round with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. Line play and power play together, is already on the rise, scoring goals and distributing assists. As long as that relationship lasts – maybe not all season – the weathered veteran is worth signing up for deeper leagues.
Bobby Ryan, F, Detroit Red Wings (1.0%) : I can’t wait to see what Ryan will accomplish this season in his new start with the Red Wings. While his role in the club’s main game is promising, his position is on the line with Philippe Zadina and Robbie Fabbri (when he’s not cut due to COVID protocol). This trio fascinates me deeply. That doesn’t mean fantasy managers should rush out and dump more bodies into Ryan’s storage unit on their lists – just to keep him under the radar. And after everything Ryan has been through, it’s easy to encourage him.
See also : Drake Batterson, Ottawa Senators; Andre Burakovsky, Colorado Avalanche; Paul Stastny, Winnipeg Jets; Vincent Trocheck, Carolina Hurricanes.
Matt Grzelczyk, Boston Bruins (37.0%) : As predicted here before the season, it’s Grzelcyk, not Charlie McAvoy, who skates with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron (and maybe David Pastarnack) on the Bruins power play and is rewarded for his efforts with a power play assist. Only 10 shots in two games promise much more production. Since he plays a lot of minutes, Grzelcyk should be in all but the smallest of regular leagues. I think it’s coming.
Erik Gustafsson, Philadelphia Flyers (24.7%) : The new member of the Flyers’ blue line seems to be fitting in well so far, bringing a pair of power play points in the opening period. Reminder: Not too long ago (2018-19), Gustafsson scored 60 points for the Chicago Blackhawks. After last year’s mediocre campaign, this change of scenery should help Gustafsson regain his productive magic. Especially in the company of talented people in Philadelphia.
Noah Dobson, New York Islanders (2.1%): He shows a penchant for punches and blocking. The future of the Islanders’ blue line already has power play support in mind for passage to the club’s top flight. The taste of last year’s 34 games will likely help the 21-year-old feel more comfortable this season. An unsuspected asset in the competition between fantasy owners and dynasty, Dobson could benefit from deeper redshirt leagues here and now. This guy’s gonna be a star.
See also : Rasmus Andersson, Calgary Flames.
Antti Raanta, Arizona Coyotes (4.5%): I still think Darcy Kemper deserves the lion’s share of the starts once we really get started. But Raanta put in a good performance last night against San Jose and seems to be in good health. If executives needed fancy nets, they could do a lot worse.
Igor Shesterkin, G, New York Rangers (93.7%) : Granted, it seems a bit silly to consider a healthy player a fantasy acquisition at the beginning of the season. So I’m not going to do it. It should be noted, however, that Alexander Georgiev, who is rated by ESPN.com at 15.7 percent in the league, dispatched the Islanders 4-0 two days after Shesterkin scored four goals in a collective (powerless) defeat. If Georgiev continues to shine, Coach Quinn could distribute the starting goalie more evenly. First, let’s see how Shesherkin does against the Devils on Tuesday.
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