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12 min read

Fantasy Hockey Surprises

We are wrapping up the first month of the NHL season, and we have seen our fair share of surprises so far. As we know, NHL surprises lead to fantasy hockey surprises too! In no particular order, lets dive into it!

J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks

Image from @Rabbi_D

  • 80% ownership in Yahoo
  • 78.5% ownership in ESPN
  • 91% ownership in Fantrax

12 games played

6 Goals, 8 Assists, 14 Points, +7, 8 PIM, 4 PPP, 34 SOG, 16 Hits, 5 Blocks, 58.3% Face Off Win (FOW) % in 18;47 ATOI.

Coming into this season, J.T. Miller had a career point per game pace of .55, which roughly translates to a 45 point pace. Posting a career high in points (58), goals (23) and assists (35) in the 2017-18 season, Miller definitely has the offensive upside. A draft day trade brought Miller to Vancouver, and with it came the potential for a great spot in a young lineup.

The best case scenario came true; Miller found himself on the top line, alongside Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, as well as the top power play unit, with Pettersson, Boeser, Bo Horvat and Quinn Hughes. It has suited him well so far. Can’t say that his current 1.17 points per game pace is sustainable, but Vancouver doesn’t look like they are slowing down anytime soon. Enjoy the fantasy hockey surprises you’re getting from a late round steal.

John Carlson, Washington Capitals

Image from @Rabbi_D

  • 100% ownership in Yahoo
  • 99.8% ownership in ESPN
  • 100% ownership in Fantrax

14 Games Played

7 Goals, 16 Assists, 23 Points, +7, 6 PIM, 7 PPP, 35 SOG, 8 Hits, 27 Blocks in 25:46 ATOI

John Carlson was most definitely on everyones radar coming into the fantasy hockey season. He is coming off of a career season in assists (57) and points (70), the attention is absolutely warranted. But prior to his 68 point 2017-18 season, Carlson had never topped 55 points in the 8 seasons prior.

In the first month, Carlson is putting up a 1.64 point per game pace. Pace that out over an 82 game season and that’s a ridiculous 134 point pace! Sustainable? Probably not. But this unexpected hot start already has his name leading the Norris Trophy conversation. If you’re a John Carlson owner, it’s likely the rest of your league mates are very jealous of the surprise start to his fantasy hockey season.

James Neal, Edmonton Oilers

Image via Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers

  • 89% ownership in Yahoo
  • 90.1% ownership in ESPN
  • 89% ownership in Fantrax

14 Games Played

11 Goals, 2 Assists, 13 points, -4, 6 PIM, 8 PPP, 42 SOG, 17 Hits, 3 Blocks in 17:22 ATOI

James Neal might be the biggest surprise thus far. After an abysmal year in Calgary last season, where he put up 19 points in 63 games, Neal has started off en fuego (on fire). He hasn’t been on a point per game pace since the 2013-14 season, when he was in Pittsburgh. However, playing on a power play alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl is just as good as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Rocking a stellar 26.2% shooting percentage, which is over twice his career average, regression is almost a certainty. But Neal has been one of the best stories of this young season. If you were savvy enough to grab him your last draft pick, or first free agent pick up, Neal has been a nice fantasy hockey surprise for your squad.

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Image from @Rabbi_D

  • 100% ownership in Yahoo
  • 99.5% ownership in ESPN
  • 99% ownership in Fantrax

11 Games Played

3 Goals, 6 Assists, 9 Points, -5, 8 PIM, 5 PPP, 35 SOG, 6 Hits in 20:56 ATOI

Even though he has a respectable point total, it is a little surprising that Patrick Kane has only three goals. Coming off of a 110 point season, Kane was seen as one of the top fantasy options this year. Holding a 1.04 point per game pace over his career, Kane has been one of the most consistent and reliable fantasy players. His slow start, compared to his usual production, has some owners getting nervous.

Chicago, as a whole, has been struggling so far this season. Kane is still the best fantasy option from the team and getting back on track shouldn’t be difficult for him. But when you’re used to a certain level of production, Kane has been a fantasy hockey surprise so far this season.

Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars

Image from @Rabbi_D

  • 99% ownership in Yahoo
  • 99.2% ownership in ESPN
  • 98% ownership in Fantrax

14 Games Played

3 Goals, 6 Assists, 9 Points, Even +/-, 4 PIM, 1 PPP, 43 SOG, 17 Hits, 4 Blocks, 54.7% FOW% in 20:26 ATOI

A debatable first round pick coming into this season, Tyler Seguin has been one of the biggest fantasy hockey disappointments. Three of his nine points are from the game against Minnesota on 10/29, keep that in mind when looking at his production. Currently shooting 4% lower then his career average, Seguin hasn’t seen the puck luck come his way yet. Not for lack of effort either, 43 SOG is a solid total, good for 16th in the league.

If he can get his shooting percentage back on track, a 30 goal season is still attainable. It’s just unfortunate that Dallas has been off to a slow start so far this year. They have the talent up and down the line up to turn this season around easily.

Tyson Barrie, Toronto Maple Leafs

Image via John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

  • 88% ownership in Yahoo
  • 90.9% ownership in ESPN
  • 95% ownership in Fantrax

14 Games Played

0 Goals, 5 Assists, 5 Points, -5, 6 PIM, 1 PPP, 36 SOG, 7 Hits, 10 Blocks in 22:07 ATOI

Tyson Barrie‘s trade from Colorado, where he was the top defensive option, to Toronto had people hopeful for a great upcoming season. Unfortunately, Barrie has found himself on the second pairing and second power play unit, downgraded from what he had going for him. The new deployment has taken its toll on his fantasy production. He is currently on a 29 point pace, and it doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon.

Barrie is one of the few fantasy hockey surprises that I can’t see getting back on track for their career averages. Unless Morgan Rielly goes down with an injury, I don’t see a path for Barrie to claim that top power play spot that he thrives in.

You can discuss this article and many more on the Overtime Heroics Forums.

Don’t forget to follow myself, @FNTSYHCKYTRADES, and @Hockey_OTH on Twitter for all of your hockey needs.

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