So the season is underway and about 80 per cent of fantasy hockey GMs are not happy with their team. That means you are probably one of them. However, if you are or if you aren't how would you like five players to target that despite their big names and early draft positions you may be able to get for a fraction of their value?
These players are getting big minutes, but have yet to convert points to the average of their careers and to that of other players in the league.
Here we go.
This is a very simple formula, but one that has served me well in the past. You divide the number of minutes per game a player averages based on the number of points they score. This gives you the number of minutes they play per point they get. Guys like Crosby always seem to average about a minute a point. After doing this you can do a quick "stupid check" to see if the player has any offensive upside and make your decision based on that. Guys like Chris Phillips, Ladislav Smid and Jay McClement who will log a lot of minutes, but not put up big numbers.
Without further adieu here is my list so far this year.
Ryan Suter - Lots of minutes. Lots of skill. Big role on the power play, but only averaging about a point for almost every three minutes on the ice. It is hard for him to improve on his ranking of 5th on the team in scoring and 10 points so far is nothing to sneeze at, but he is on the ice for almost half the game every night. His production will catch up and I recommend trying to make sure he is on your roster when it does.
Evander Kane - I am on the record as not being a big fan of Kane. I also think Winnipeg is a fantasy wasteland right now. That said, with his undeniable skill and big role on this team he is a guy I would try to pry away from another fantasy owner right now. Nine points is again solid, but he won't be 4th in team scoring at the end of the year, especially if he keeps playing more than 21 minutes a night.
Eric Staal - From one of my least favorite player to one of my absolute favorite players. The interesting thing about Eric Staal is that everyone always forgets he is streaky. He has started cold and the 'Canes will struggle all year. Your fantasy team doesn't have to struggle if you can make a sneaky move to grab Eric Staal during one of his slower periods. Already leading his team in scoring, but well off his career average with 9 points in 15 games could mean a bargain for you.
David Perron - One of the Oilers' key acquisitions in the offseason, Perron hasn't struggled. However, with injuries to key members of the team he has seen his role grow to more than 21 minutes per game. I don't see a lot of room for growth here, but there is value if he can stay healthy all year.
Alex Pietrangelo - Another strange one by many as he is a star, leading defensive scorer and has 12 points in 13 games. He also just signed a big deal. However, my numbers show that he can still out produce this over the stretch during the season. The savvy GM can parlay this into a trade where your competitor believes they are selling high.
With those ones out of the way the final and biggest value target out there has to be Thomas Vanek. He has 3 points in 5 games with the Islanders. That isn't bad, but consider the increase in talent around him, in a contract year, from a proven fantasy star and you get a guy that should break out soon. If that isn't enough consider he is only scoring a point every 7 minutes of average ice time minutes per game with the Islanders. If Vanek's owner is having any doubts now is the time to sneak in and grab him if you can.