Photo Collage by Big Byrd
When all the NHL superstars have been picked by previous fantasy owners lined up for their respective fantasy draft, you may not recognize many other players. Chances are if you have no idea who you’re picking the team you have drafted won’t perform the way you projected it. Many fantasy owners miss the players that are underrated because of where they play, or how they play. These players have been barely picked but they are performing to the best of their ability in the NHL and gathering a few fantasy owners major points.
All of us ESPN Fantasy players that participate in the NHL section of the ESPN Fantasy App would love to have Nikita Kucherov who has 17 goals and 16 assists. He has 100 points for his fantasy owner and trust me he won’t stop. Another point leader who play’s with Kucherov is Steven Stamkos who currently leads the NHL holding 35 points with 10 goals and an extraordinary 25 assists. If you have one of those players you will be getting a vast amount of continuous points. But if you are lined up for a late pick such as the 15th, you will have no chance to get one of these players. Although the superstars are gone by then, there are still upcoming all-stars that you may be able to take in the late rounds.
When you’re picking your players, typically you want a player with a lot of ice time. Guys who play more usually appear on the power-play time or penalty kill, which gives players an extra point when they record an assist or a goal. Typically, the more ice time a player has the more shots are generated. With more shots being created the chance of a player scoring a goal increases majorly.
Here are some underrated players getting lots of minutes that you should consider:
Brock Boeser – Right Wing, Vancouver Canucks
Brock Boeser has helped the Canucks a whole lot! Not many people know about him so you may be able to pick him in a late round. I currently have him on my team. I selected him 239th overall and he is doing better than some of my top picks. He single-handedly carried the Canucks to a victory with a hat-trick and an assist against the Pittsburgh Penguins, last year’s Stanley Cup champions. Boeser has 13 goals and 12 assists and he plays big minutes including the power plays and penalty kills. The Canucks have a strong first line with Bo Horvat centering Sven Baertschi and Brock Boeser. The plan for the first line is either score the inside goal or give Boeser room to shoot. The 20-year-old rookie hadn’t played a lot in the 2016-2017 season, but he sure is getting the ice time now. The line will be the face of the Canucks and expect Boeser to keep putting those points up because he is a top competitor for the Calder Memorial Trophy, also known as the rookie of the year.
Brayden Point – Center, Tampa Bay Lightning
Even though he is on the Tampa Bay Lightning with Stamkos and Kucherov, Brayden Point continues to put up many points. Being a center for the second line isn’t bad because this guy won’t stop. During an interview, the 21-year-old claimed he wanted to be on the number one line and described the ways he can make it so. This dream may happen considering he has 10 goals and 13 assists while centering two major players for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ondrej Palat and Yanni Gourde. He is on the first line for the penalty kill and his stats don’t lie about how good he is when it comes to killing a penalty. A chunk of his goals come from the penalty kill giving fantasy owners an extra point per goal. He is a key aspect of the Lightning’s success and will constantly be playing penalty kill if he can keep this up. I guarantee the Lightning will keep him on the first unit.
Alexander Kerfoot – Center, Colorado Avalanche
Alexander Kerfoot is currently playing with the Colorado Avalanche, which aren’t doing so bad. But recently their go-to guy, Matt Duchene, was traded to the Ottawa Senators. Now who’s going to fill Duchene’s spot? Alexander Kerfoot could be a possible candidate. The young center was bumped up to being a reliable center on the second line with Colin Wilson on his left and Sven Andrighetto on his right. The combination of players in the second line makes three individuals a grinding unit and will be a crucial target in Colorado’s rebuilding structure to give them a better chance to compete with superstar NHL teams. Kerfoot is on the left-wing on the second unit of the powerplay. His stats show him as a consistent player with 8 goals and 12 assists. Considering the poor effort the Avalanche has put in last year, they have been experimenting with a lot of players. Kerfoot has made some guest appearances on the first line of the power play and has made a significant difference because of the way he is going. Alexander Kerfoot has a good chance to be on the Colorado’s first line because of the effort he continues to put in day by day.
Teuvo Teravainen – Right Wing, Carolina Hurricane
Mr. Teravainen had an awful start to the season, yet made a stunning comeback. When the day came, He showed the Hurricane that he deserves to be on the first line by leading his team to a win against Dallas. The 27 year-old scored a hat trick and assisted a fellow teammate. From there he went on a point streak and has 8 goals and 14 assists. Since he has a clean, hard shot from the point to get through traffic and create opportunities, he is on the first unit of the power play as a defenceman. He is the guy on the first line to finish the goals with the veteran Jordan Staal in the middle and Sebastian Aho on the Left. Teauvo will show fantasy owners that they made a great choice in picking him.
Mikhail Sergachev – Defenceman, Tampa Bay Lightning, LD
Until recently, I’d never heard of Mikhail Sergachev and chances are neither have you, but he has been tearing it up. The Montreal Canadiens drafted him in 2016 but only played him 4 times giving him little opportunity to showcase his abilities. The Canadiens later sent him to the OHL where he showed the Windsor Spitfires he deserves to be back in the NHL with a total point count of 43. Tampa Bay liked what they saw and decided to sign the defenseman and now Montreal is regretting their decision. He records 6 goals and 13 assists as a defenceman. Sergachev plays on the second line for even strength and is on unit two for the power play. The newly appointed Lightning prospect is showing the Canadiens they made a mistake and Tampa Bay must be grateful for this mistake.
John Carlson – Right Defenceman, Washington Capitals
When you’re playing with Ovechkin you’re going to get good points and that’s what Carlson has been doing from day one. Not many people pick a defenceman like Carlson and who knows why. Consistency is the definition of the veterans play style year by year. He is a defenceman who always shows fantasy owners they made the right choice. Typically, Carlson is a supporting player who sets up goals for the Capitals offence. Having a supporting guy, the Capitals slotted him on the first line for defenceman and power play unit with the Capitals top 4 players who are all goal-scoring forwards. He stands out from the other defenceman, with 2 goals and 19 assists. Carlson contributes a lot out by setting players up and helping out his fantasy owners as well.
These candidates all make an outsized difference on the ice for a lower pick. These players are underestimated while fantasy owners only think about the big names like Steven Stamkos. When the draft is late in the round, owners panic because they don’t recognize any more players. But now you have a variety of sleepers that other owners will undervalue who meet all the requirements of being able to assist and score. All of these players get an outstanding amount of ice time and even opportunities for power play and penalty kill time with experts from ESPN projecting an outstanding number of points for these outstanding players.
Many of the players listed may have their downfall and their rise, but that is an expected part of their career. All of these players have hit their downfall and now it is time for them to rack up the points which they are all showing the NHL. I believe all of these players will be re-signed for another contract because of the way they are performing.
It’s time to pick up some undervalued players and show your competitors that you know more tremendous players rather than just the superstars.