Well, we're just past the quarter-way mark in this lockout-shortened, 48-game NHL season, so what better time to look at the Top 5 Power Play Surprises of the season so far. Next week we'll look at the other end of the PP spectrum - biggest disappointments - and how you should be adjusting your fantasy lineups accordingly.
Top 5 PP Surprises
Mike Ribeiro, C, WAS. Ribeiro did not enjoy huge success on the PP with Dallas last year, recording just 15 points (2G, 13A) in 74 games. This season, however (his first with Washington), he's already two-thirds of the way to last year's total. In just 14 games, he's put up 10 PP points (4G, 6A) playing on the Capitals' big line alongside Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer and Mike Green. The Caps may be a struggling team right now (second-last in the East), but their PP attack ranks fourth in the NHL overall - something to keep in mind when you're setting your weekly fantasy lineups.
Raphael Diaz, D, MON. After a hot start to the season, Diaz's production has really tailed off lately, so this is more of a warning than a celebration of his results thus far. In January, Diaz had six PP helpers in the Habs' first six games, but that was before P.K. Subban re-signed with the team. Since Subban's return at the start of February, Diaz has just a single even-strength assist in seven games, and he's now playing on the second PP unit seeing roughly 2:30 minutes of extra-man time per game, versus the 4-5 minutes he was getting previously.
Patrick Kane, RW, CHI. Kane is another guy who underwhelmed fantasy owners last season, suffering through a mediocre (for him) season that included just four PP goals and eight helpers in 82 games. Ugh. This after averaging roughly nine goals and 20 assists over the previous season. Well, Kane appears to be playing up to his usual standards so far this season, with three goals and four assists through 13 games. This puts him on pace for roughly 28 PP points, which would be his usual level of output in a little more than half the number of games. Even if his production tails off a little and he comes in around 20 power play points for the season, that would still be a heckuva result.
Mikkel Boedker, LW, PHO. Talk about off-the-radar in all but the deepest of formats, Boedker has really come out of nowhere this season. Last year, his first full campaign with the ‘Yotes, he showed some promise with 24 points in 82 games; however, that total included just a single PP helper. Mind you, when you're seeing just a little over a minute's worth of PP time per night, that's to be expected. Fast forward to this season, and Boedker is benefiting from the absence of Ray Whitney, who left for Dallas in the offseason. Boedker is now enjoying the role of first-line LW for the Desert Dogs, and it's starting to show in his numbers - two PP goals and three assists through 13 games. Get in on the ground floor with this guy, folks. There's still plenty of upside.
David Clarkson, RW, NJD. If you didn't take advantage of Clarkson's sudden ascension to the NHL's scoring ranks last season, you should really be doing it now. Clarkson surprised a lot of people by ranking fifth on the Devils in PP ice time per game (3:03) last season, pulling down 16 points (8G, 8A) in the process. This season, he's still enjoying a first-line role (4:05 per game) and he's well on his way to destroying last year's totals, with five PP goals and a pair of assists through 13 games. He hasn't gone more than three games without a PP point so far this year.