By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Fantasy sports, like the real events they’re based upon, often serve as a welcome distraction from the rigors of everyday life. The minutes spent setting lineups and checking options may seem arbitrary, but they could prove to be the perfect break during a hectic day.
Strive to be positive. Take a deep breath. Smile. Feel better? Now go out there and be the best damn fake sports team owner you can be. To help you achieve this goal, the following NHLers may be of service…
(Yahoo ownership rates/stats as of Nov. 15.)
Jake DeBrusk, BOS (25 percent)
DeBrusk impressed in his rookie season by notching 43 points — including nine on the power play — while only averaging 14:22 per contest. The 22-year old started the current campaign slowly, but has picked up the pace by tallying six points during the last 10 days. In addition to scoring a spot on David Krejci’s wing during five-on-five, DeBrusk has recently snuck his way onto Boston’s elite man-advantage unit.
Sam Reinhart, BUF (45 percent)
Despite a couple lapses, Reinhart has racked up two goals and 11 assists while averaging almost four minutes a night on the power play. 2014’s second selection is on pace to break his career high of 50 points from last year. He just received a bump up the depth chart to join Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner on the Sabres’ first line as well. Think that’s reason enough to go out and get him.
Loui Eriksson, VAN (7 percent)
While teammates Jake Virtanen and Nikolay Goldobin have also looked good of late, Eriksson may prove to be the more stable fantasy asset. The veteran has broken out for four goals and four assists over the last six games. He’s remained a fixture alongside fellow Swede and hockey wunderkind Elias Pettersson.
Kyle Turris, NSH (20 percent)
It’s hard to believe Turris is 29, as he still looks like the teenager the Coyotes drafted third overall in 2007. While never developing into a top-tier center, he’s contributed enough over the years. Even though the position looks loaded, you’d figure Turris’s Yahoo ownership rate would be higher considering the 14 points in 18 contests. He’s on a current run of eight over his last nine.
Tyler Bozak, STL (4 percent)
After a frustrating final run in Toronto, Bozak needed a change of scenery. The Blues spent the summer playing free-agent sweep, landing a few decent names to help their struggling power play. While Bozak hasn’t necessarily improved this issue, he’s managed a whopping eight points through his last eight appearances. With Brayden Schenn out, the Regina native has been installed as the No. 2 pivot in St. Louis.
Kevin Hayes, NYR (10 percent)
Not much was expected from the Blueshirts this season, but a few of their players are posting decent stats. Hayes had never been much of a special-teams contributor, but he’s seen this role expand among the Rangers’ younger set. In addition, he’s broken out the last seven games to the tune of eight points and 21 shots on goal while skating an average of 21 minutes. That’s impressive for any forward.
Travis Konecny, PHI (43 percent)
A natural center, Konecny learned his chance of success would increase if he moved to the wing. The 21-year old can frequently be found on Philly’s first line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, although he’s been known to bounce around the top three trios. The total of eight points so far may not be exciting, but Konecny has fired 40 shots on the season. He’s also being allowed more responsibility as he continues to develop.
Tom Wilson, WAS (49 percent)
Wilson will never earn significant offensive numbers, but he can chip in with enough stats to satisfy your fantasy requirements. The power forward returned from a 14-game suspension Tuesday and went on to net a goal and earn seven PIM while being reunited with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Wilson can also provide hits, although he may now be more cautious in this department considering recent incidents.
Ben Hutton, VAN (5 percent)
2017-18 could be best described as forgettable for Hutton, seeing how his point totals and ice time significantly dwindled. This year began ominously with two healthy scratches and a lone point over the next 10 matchups. But in the last eight, Hutton has gone off for six points — including three on the power play — and has averaged 22:35, with 2:36 coming while up a man. As he’ll keep receiving additional work while Alexander Edler remains sidelined, expect a steady stream of scoring chances.
Mike Green, DET (25 percent)
Old Man Green has come to life after missing the first three weeks. He’s generated a goal and six assists in only nine appearances. It’s almost as if hotshot youngster Dennis Cholowski has rejuvenated the 14-year NHLer. The infection that kept Green out for the opening nine often left him fatigued, but it looks like he isn’t being overworked. Therefore, he can maintain a prominent blue-line role.
Hampus Lindholm/Brandon Montour, ANH (41/44 percent)
Another waiver wire week, another bout of indecision choosing among teammates. With the news Cam Fowler has been placed on IR, both Lindholm or Montour should be ready to add more work to their already busy schedule. The slightly-elder Swede may receive a slight edge based on his 25-plus minutes a night and 10 points. The dynamic Canadian boasts a higher upside though, thanks to a (brief) history of offensive production.
Jaccob Slavin, CAR (4 percent)
Slavin entered this season fresh off consecutive 30-plus point efforts, so it was hoped he would continue the pattern. While the primary indicators may be erratic, the 6-foot-3 rearguard has still cranked out a pair of power-play markers to go with five assists. Slavin has formed a positive rapport with new partner Dougie Hamilton, with the duo eating up plenty of minutes in all situations.
Brian Elliott, PHI (49 percent)
Calvin Pickard has stepped in with a couple serviceable performances, but Elliott has proven that experience sometimes gets the job done. The former is currently struggling with a 4.42 GAA and .865 save percentage over six appearances. The incumbent, however, is ahead with a 2.62 GAA and .911 save percentage through 13 outings. He also owns an outstanding 1.32/.954 clip in the last five. Barring injury, Elliott should be able to retain the Flyers’ lead for the near future.
Scott Darling, CAR (14 percent)
Carolina invested its money and trust in Darling after acquiring him from Chicago prior to last season. He fell significantly short on promise and was eventually replaced by Cam Ward. The 6-foot-6 netminder would go on to miss the opening 11 games this year, but he’s kicked off his resurgence on a positive note by posting a 2.79 GAA and .913 save percentage in five starts. With Curtis McElhinney struggling and Petr Mrazek looking mediocre before getting hurt, Darling is in line to receive the bulk of the goaltending duty.
Players to consider from past columns: Alex Galchenyuk, Matt Duchene, Jonathan Drouin, Max Domi, Gustav Nyquist, Dustin Brown, Mika Zibanejad, Alex Kerfoot, Nolan Patrick, Brock Nelson, Alex Tuch, Jason Pominville, Nick Foligno, Chris Tierney, Kevin Labanc, Ryan Dzingel, Miro Heiskanen, Jared Spurgeon, Neal Pionk, Oscar Klefbom, Shea Theodore, Damon Severson, Vince Dunn, Brent Seabrook, Jacob Markstrom, Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard, David Rittich, Thomas Greiss