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Fantasy Friday: Can Kane, Benn, Seguin get to 100?

by Matt Cubeta / NHL.com

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane leads the NHL with 44 points in 29 games. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars are next on the leaderboard; each has 39 points in 28 games. Kane is the No. 1 fantasy player in Yahoo leagues, while Seguin and Benn rank second and third, respectively.

With these immense point totals comes an excellent plus/minus rating (Kane is plus-11, Benn is plus-11, Seguin is plus-10) and plenty of power-play points (Kane has 14, Seguin has 13, Benn has 11), hence the top ranks in Yahoo fantasy leagues. If you can put up goals and assists, it will help in other categories and result in a better fantasy ranking. That's why points are the most important factor in fantasy hockey. They always help you in more than one category.

At his current rate Kane would finish the 2015-16 season with 123 points in 82 games. If he came close to that number he surely would be the No. 1 fantasy player by season's end. Benn and Seguin each are on pace for 113 points, likely good for at least a top-five fantasy ranking.

Benn led the NHL last season with 87 points and was the sixth-best player in Yahoo leagues last season.

With their strong starts, can they keep up their scoring rates and break triple-figures in points? Or will they regress and end up closer to Benn's total from last season?

In order to better answer this difficult question, let's take a statistical look at the last five 82-game NHL seasons.

The 2015-16 season started Oct. 7, which means we've seen 65 days of NHL action. For each of the past five 82-game seasons I broke down the first 65 days of games. The table below shows the three leading scorers through 65 days of NHL games for each of the past five 82-game seasons. It also shows how many points they finished that season with in how many games, and where those points ranked among the League leaders at the end of that season.

Top Scorers - Last Five NHL Seasons
Season Player Team Pts through
65 days
Gms through
65 days
Total
points
Total
games
Scoring Rank
2009-10 Joe Thornton San Jose 40 30 89 79 8th
2009-10 Marian Gaborik NY Rangers 37 25 86 76 10th
2009-10 Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh 36 29 109 81 2nd
Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks led the NHL with 112 points in 82 games in 2009-10
2010-11 Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh 50 30 66 41 T-30th
2010-11 Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay 40 28 91 82 5th
2010-11 Alex Ovechkin Washington 35 30 85 79 7th
Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks led the NHL with 104 points in 82 games in 2010-11
2011-12 Claude Giroux Philadelphia 37 27 93 77 3rd
2011-12 Phil Kessel Toronto 35 28 82 82 6th
2011-12 Daniel Sedin Vancouver 33 28 67 72 T-26th
Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins led the NHL with 109 points in 75 games in 2011-12
2013-14 Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh 38 29 104 80 1st
2013-14 Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh 37 29 72 60 15th
2013-14 Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim 32 27 87 77 2nd
Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins led the NHL with 104 points in 80 games in 2013-14
2014-15 Tyler Seguin Dallas 36 28 77 71 7th
2014-15 Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh 35 27 84 77 3rd
2014-15 Jakub Voracek Philadelphia 34 27 82 82 T-4th
Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars led the NHL with 87 points in 82 games in 2014-15

Only one player in the past five 82-game seasons has had more than Kane's 44 points this season through the first 65 days, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010-11. And three times has anyone had more than Benn and Seguin's 39 points this season; Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks in 2009-10, Crosby in 2010-11 and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos in 2010-11.

Despite all these players getting off to fast starts, Crosby is the only one to finish with 100 points, in 2009-10 and 2013-14. Crosby in 2013-14 is the only one to have led the NHL in points through 65 days of games and gone on to win the scoring title.

Kane, Benn and Seguin are off to the best individual starts we've seen since the 2010-11 season, but whether they can keep scoring at these rates remains unknown.

An 82-game season is tiresome on the body and the mind. Players also succumb to injuries often times, as evidenced by the above table. And even if they do manage to stay healthy for a full season, hockey is a very physically demanding sport and players typically tend to slow down in production as the season progresses.

Patrick Kane
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 18 | ASST: 26 | PTS: 44
SOG: 103 | +/-: 11
It's unlikely Kane remains on his 123-point pace, but it's become more and more difficult to even expect him to reach the 100-point plateau. While I believe Kane is capable of accumulating 56 points in his final 53 games to reach 100, it's no shoo-in. He'll have to stay healthy. He'll also still need to average at least a point per game for the rest of the season; prior to this season he averaged 0.96 points per game, so it's not an easy task even for a player of Kane's skill.

As for Benn and Seguin, they have the benefit of playing on the same line, so when one scores the other has a good chance for an assist. They lead the NHL with 27 goals in which each player has recorded at least one point on that goal. The next closest tandem is Kane and rookie Artemi Panarin, who have recorded a point on the same goal 23 times. If Benn or Seguin reaches the 100-point mark, the other probably will as well. But the odds of this seems difficult.

Each Stars forward needs at least 61 points in their final 54 games to finish with 100-plus points. Benn has been a point-per-game player once in his career, last season when he had 87 points in 82 games. Seguin has done it twice, with 77 points in 71 games last season and 84 points in 80 games in 2013-14. Picking up 61 points in 54 games is not an easy feat to accomplish, even for two of the best players in the game.

Assuming they stay healthy, I think all three players will eclipse the 100-point mark. It's unlikely, but with the new overtime format scoring has increased, especially for elite players that receive the bulk of playing time in the new 3-on-3 format, like Kane, Benn and Seguin. I also think all three players happen to be far enough along on this journey to get to 100.

If they can live up to my expectations and deliver on my prediction, they likely will be top-five fantasy players thanks to the fact that providing points helps in several categories. If you own any of them, don't consider selling them high in a trade. That would not be a wise move; stick with them and enjoy the ride.

Through 65 days of this season we've seen something special from not just Kane and his point streak, but from Benn and Seguin as well. Hopefully we can see something even more special by the end of the season. If all three players finish with at least 100 points, it would mark the first time since 2009-10 that at least three players accomplished that feat. Here's hoping.

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