Fantasy Hockey: Breakaways and Benders
In this weekly piece I will provide 5 players below 50% owned who should be looked into owning (Breakaways) and 5 players above 50% owned who are struggling (Benders). This doesn't mean you should drop the Benders but maybe they can ride the pine for a week to get their head back in the game. Generally, I am very skittish about dropping anyone above 90% owned unless they have shown 2+ months of really bad play. My rationale for the selections includes some looking through the box scores but a majority of it is with the eye test, watching the games.
Andre Burakovsky (LW, Wash) 39% owned. Normally a LW, he's now playing on RW with Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson and man is it looking good (through one game). Nicklas in general will make his line mates look good but those two goals were no fluke, the team is creating chances, moving the puck and finding open spaces as they cycle.
Paul Stastny (C, Stl) 40% owned. I just got done discussing colleges that have more and less success with a colleague. I mentioned Denver players not being as successful and here I am eating my words. Paul has looked absolutely electric in his first two games. He's creating opportunities, and the line with Alex Steen and Robby Fabbri looks like it could be one of the more successful ones if it keeps this up.
Mitch Marner (C, RW) 36% owned. I could also put William Nylander (C,RW, Tor) 46% owned as he is going to be a strong beneficiary to Auston Matthews. Mitch looked good though, might have held on a bit long to the puck but he has great hands, he creates chances and he is not shy about firing a lot of shots on net. I would not be surprised if he surpasses 250 shots this year.
Kyle Connor (LW, Wpg) 7% owned. One game in and I like this line of Connor, Mathieu Perrault and Patrick Laine. I think this is a good line to follow, I think they could be netting some quality production early on. Lots of young strong talent and good speed.
Jeff Zatkoff (G, LA) 36% owned. With Jonathan Quick sidelined a few weeks, the fresh face gets to step in and see if he can fill in the big shoes. The good news, the Kings are a well built solid defensive team. The strong leadership of Drew Doughty ahead of him should help Zatkoff get fewer quality shots.
Jason Spezza (C, Dall) 90% owned. I'm not generally bullish on Spezza and the Stars in general, I think both overachieved a bit last year. I would knock 10 points of both Spezza and the Stars standings points this year. One game in, -2 and 1 SOG and only 6 FO wins wasn't the best start for him.
Ryan O'Reilly (C,LW, Buff) 90% owned. First, I get it, he lost Jack Eichel and then Kane went down for a bit. It was just one game but he had two giveaways, just one shot and was a -1. I think he is in a touch situation for the foreseeable week or two.
Corey Perry (RW, Ana) 99% owned. I'm still starting him and I'm still playing him but quite the anemic start. Ryan Getzlaf looked much more charged and alive out there.
Taylor Hall (LW, NJ) 99% owned. I really hope I'm wrong as I like Taylor Hall's talent but I'm not sure he'll be a great fit on this Devils team. One game in and he has 2 SOG and a -1 to show for it. He didn't stand out to me much in the game and I imagine there could be a learning curve here.
Petr Mrazek (G, Det) 88% owned. Sure it was one game but man he just looks like he is struggling, didn't show much confidence, seemed frazzled, didn't show the right cutoff angles. Hopefully he bounces back strong because he did not look like a top 15 goalie in that showing.
**for anyone who does not know the term Bender: An ankle bender, a term for a player who bends their ankles when skating because they do not know how to skate. Obviously these guys know how to skate quite well, they are in the NHL. Furthermore, I hope they bounce back from what appears to be a short term struggle.