The reigning AHL most valuable player and rookie of the year has made an immediate impact in his first three games with the Bolts, reeling off two goals, three assists, a plus-3 rating, four PIM, one power-play point and five shots on goal in an average of 14:41 ice time per game. On Tuesday night, the 23-year-old Conacher beat Cam Ward on the rebound for a first-period goal that was made possible by a nifty move to the net by Vincent Lecavalier.
And it's those sequences that are what make Conacher's situation so promising. In a matter of days, the dual-eligible (C/LW) fantasy forward's value has spiked as he's gone from owned in less than 1 percent of Yahoo! leagues to 18 percent on Wednesday morning.
While Conacher has seen minutes on the top line with Martin St. Louis and last year's goal-scoring leader Steven Stamkos, he's also operated on the second unit with Teddy Purcell and Lecavalier from time to time. He's even logging three-plus minutes per game on the man advantage, proving coach Guy Boucher is willing to use Conacher in different situations early on in his career. No matter which line he eventually sticks with, the rookie appears to be in good hands.
His first career goal, scored Saturday night in the Lightning season opener against the Washington Capitals, came in the third period of a one-goal game during a transition opportunity. For a player who had never seen ice time in an NHL game before that day, the way Conacher cashed in on a feed from Purcell looked natural beyond his years. That's what being a part of a world-class offense can do for a player's value.
Conacher is riding a three-game point streak and should absolutely be claimed off the waiver wire if possible in any deep fantasy leagues. For owners who missed out on fellow rookies Vladimir Tarasenko and Jonathan Huberdeau earlier this week, here's a chance to redeem yourselves. Tampa Bay's offense is feasting on its opponents through three games, scoring 13 goals in that span -- second in the NHL behind only the Chicago Blackhawks (14).
While it's always possible Conacher could hit the "rookie wall" at some point this season, the multi-point games are becoming a trend. As long as he's still churning out points, make sure you pursue this trendy fantasy asset while you still can.
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