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Fantasy power play rankings for 2018-19

Maple Leafs, Penguins, Capitals top list; Sharks rise with Karlsson, Burns on potential first unit

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

NHL.com projects the first power-play unit for each of the 31 teams in 2018-19 and ranks team power plays for fantasy purposes by potency and depth. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Karlsson to SJSPacioretty to VGK  | First line ranks | Second

 

BEST POWER-PLAY UNITS FOR 2018-19

NOTES: With power-play points (PPP) being a standard category in Yahoo leagues, these rankings take into account quality of each team's first unit and also projected 1-B or second unit for injury insurance and an indication of team depth. Players in the first power-play unit projections are listed in the following order: Forward 1, F2, F3, Defenseman 1 and FLEX (D2 or F4). These projections take offseason moves, frequency of power-play combinations last season, team stability or uncertainty, injury concerns, contract status and other factors into account.

 

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

2017-18 finish: 25.0 percent (2nd in NHL)
Projected first unit: Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, Jake Gardiner, Patrick Marleau

NOTES: Forwards Mitchell Marner, Nazem Kadri, Connor Brown and defenseman Morgan Rielly would comprise one of the best 1-B power-play units in the NHL. Marner could also be stacked on the first unit, replacing either Nylander or Marleau. The Maple Leafs jumped the Pittsburgh Penguins because of Toronto's enormous ceiling after landing Tavares in free agency. It's worth noting left wing James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers) and center Tyler Bozak (St. Louis Blues) have signed with other teams.

Video: BUF@TOR: Matthews nets top-shelf power-play goal

 

2. Pittsburgh Penguins

2017-18 finish: 26.2 percent (1st)
Projected first unit: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist

NOTES: Left wing Jake Guentzel and defenseman Justin Schultz were a part of the first power-play rotation last season. Forwards Derick Brassard and Daniel Sprong should chip in on the second unit over a full season with the Penguins.

 

3. Washington Capitals

2017-18 finish: 22.5 percent (7th)
Projected first unit: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, T.J. Oshie

NOTES: The Capitals are likely to stick with their vaunted first unit in defense of their Stanley Cup title but could have an improved second group if Jakub Vrana and Andre Burakovsky are properly utilized under new coach Todd Reirden. Center Lars Eller and defensemen Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen are capable of filling in on the first power-play unit when needed.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm1: Ovechkin rips PPG late in the 1st

 

4. San Jose Sharks

2017-18 finish: 20.6 (16th)
Projected first unit: Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns

NOTES: Burns (106) and Karlsson (101) rank first and second among defensemen in power-play points since 2014-15 and now play for the same team and man-advantage unit. Left wing Evander Kane did not have a PPP in 17 regular-season games after being acquired by the Sharks, but two of his five postseason points came with the man-advantage. After the Karlsson trade, Kane and Tomas Hertl are likely destined for the second unit, especially with Thornton (knee surgery) healthy. Forward Kevin Labanc and defenseman Tim Heed saw time on the top unit last season and should be mainstays on the second. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and forwards Timo Meier and Joonas Donskoi give the Sharks plenty of power-play depth.

 

5. Tampa Bay Lightning

2017-18 finish: 23.9 percent (3rd)
Projected first unit: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, J.T. Miller, Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn

NOTES: The Lightning have arguably the most complete second unit in the NHL, featuring forwards Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. Miller played mostly on the first unit after being acquired by the Lightning, taking the spot previously occupied by forward Vladislav Namestnikov.

 

6. Winnipeg Jets

2017-18 finish: 23.4 percent (5th)
Projected first unit: Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Dustin Byfuglien, Kyle Connor

NOTES: Forwards Nikolaj Ehlers, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault and defenseman Tyler Myers formed a productive second unit last season; each player is capable of stepping onto the first unit when needed. Center Paul Stastny signed with the Vegas Golden Knights, opening up an opportunity for Jack Roslovic to be integrated into the top six and power-play picture.

 

7. Boston Bruins

2017-18 finish: 23.5 percent (4th)
Projected first unit: David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug, Danton Heinen

NOTES: The Bruins have a strong second unit when center David Krejci is healthy, featuring second-year defenseman Charlie McAvoy and young forwards Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork and rookie Ryan Donato. McAvoy played on the first unit in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs when Krug was injured and should eventually take on that role full-time.

Video: TBL@BOS, Gm4: Pastrnak shows off hand-eye for PPG

 

8. Philadelphia Flyers

2017-18 finish: 20.7 percent (15th)
Projected first unit: Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Shayne Gostisbehere, James van Riemsdyk

NOTES: Center Sean Couturier (lower body) should be ready for the start of the regular season but will be in a toss-up with van Riemsdyk for PP1 usage. Ivan Provorov has a chance to cut into Gostisbehere's time on the first unit over the course of the season. Young forwards Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom are candidates to see increased power-play time.

 

9. Nashville Predators

2017-18 finish: 21.2 percent (T-12th)
Projected first unit: Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, P.K. Subban, Craig Smith

NOTES: The Predators have the luxury of Subban on one power-play unit and the elite pair of Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis together on a 1-B group with forwards Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala. Prospect Eeli Tolvanen is expected to be the fifth member of the secondary group but could also potentially take the PP1 spot from Smith, who plays with Turris and Fiala at even strength.

 

10. Los Angeles Kings

2017-18 finish: 20.4 percent (T-17th)
Projected first unit: Anze Kopitar, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown

NOTES: The addition of Kovalchuk gives the Kings a ton of options for their first power-play unit. Brown was a fixture with Kopitar at even strength and on the power play last season. Forward Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Jake Muzzin also played significant time on the first unit, with and without Carter (missed most of season with leg injury). Left wing Tanner Pearson plays with Carter and Toffoli at even strength, so Los Angeles could also split up its power-play units.

Video: BOS@LAK: Doughty nets PPG on wicked wrister

 

11. Florida Panthers

2017-18 finish: 18.9 percent (21st)
Projected first unit: Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Keith Yandle, Evgenii Dadonov

NOTES: The Panthers have a loaded power-play picture, with forward Nick Bjugstad and defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson and the offseason addition of wing Mike Hoffman leading their projected second unit. Prospects Owen Tippett, Henrik Borgstrom and fellow young forwards Denis Malgin and Maxim Mamin will compete for power-play usage.

 

12. Dallas Stars

2017-18 finish: 19.3 percent (19th)
Projected first unit: Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, John Klingberg, Valeri Nichushkin

NOTES: Forward Jason Spezza has a power-play pedigree with Benn and Seguin but fell out of favor last season under coach Ken Hitchcock. Hitchcock rounded out the first unit with forwards Devin Shore or Brett Ritchie more often than with Spezza. Nichushkin and Spezza are the favorites to take the fifth spot on Dallas' explosive first unit under new coach Jim Montgomery, but defensemen Miro Heiskanen and Esa Lindell also have sneaky upside if utilized in that spot.

Video: DAL@OTT: Seguin finishes great passing play for PPG

 

13. Colorado Avalanche

2017-18 finish: 21.9 percent (8th)
Projected first unit: Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie, Tyson Jost

NOTES: The Avalanche lack secondary scoring at even strength and on the power play, but have one of the most potent first units in the NHL. The fifth spot on the first unit is up for grabs between Jost, Alexander Kerfoot and defenseman Samuel Girard. Offensive defenseman Erik Johnson does most of his damage at even strength but is capable of stepping onto the second unit as needed when healthy.

 

14. Minnesota Wild

2017-18 finish: 20.4 percent (T-17th)
Projected first unit: Eric Staal, Nino Niederreiter, Jason Zucker, Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba

NOTES: Niederreiter was on the first power-play unit frequently when healthy last season, and forwards Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu usually played together on either the 1-A or 1-B unit. Left wing Zach Parise is a power-play difference-maker when healthy, and defenseman Jared Spurgeon saw plenty of first power-play usage, splitting time with Dumba on a pair with Suter. The Wild have tremendous depth when healthy but have capped potential after not making any major offseason moves. Coach Bruce Boudreau faces the challenge of finding greater stability after using a ton of different power-play combinations last season.

 

15. Buffalo Sabres

2017-18 finish: 19.1 percent (20th)
Projected first unit: Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Rasmus Dahlin

NOTES: The addition of Skinner (acquired from Carolina Hurricanes) and Dahlin (No. 1 pick in 2018 NHL Draft) give the Sabres an array of high-end options to stack on the first unit or spread onto two groups. Dahlin could play on the first or second unit, as could right wing Kyle Okposo (four seasons of at least 20 PPP). Rookie center Casey Mittelstadt could also be given a PP1 role after the Sabres traded Ryan O'Reilly to the St. Louis Blues. Buffalo acquired experienced forwards Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka, who could potentially team with right wing Jason Pominville and defenseman Marco Scandella on the second unit. Buffalo has a high power-play ceiling with Dahlin and Skinner in the fold but is not ranked any higher because they could miss O'Reilly's presence.

Video: BUF@EDM: Eichel nets wrister for power-play goal

 

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16. Vegas Golden Knights

2017-18 finish: 21.4 percent (T-9th)
Projected first unit: William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Max Pacioretty, Shea Theodore, Reilly Smith
Others in contention: Alex Tuch, Paul Stastny, Erik Haula, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt

 

17. St. Louis Blues

2017-18 finish: 15.4 percent (30th)
Projected first unit: Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O'Reilly, Brayden Schenn, Alex Pietrangelo, Jaden Schwartz
Others in contention: Alexander Steen, Vince Dunn, David Perron, Robby Fabbri, Tyler Bozak

 

18. Carolina Hurricanes

2017-18 finish: 18.4 percent (22nd)
Projected first unit: Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal, Justin Faulk, Dougie   Hamilton
Others in contention: Andrei Svechnikov, Valentin Zykov, Martin Necas, Justin Williams

 

19. New York Islanders

2017-18 finish: 23.2 percent (6th)
Projected first unit: Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy, Jordan Eberle
Others in contention: Ryan Pulock, Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson

 

20. Calgary Flames

2017-18 finish: 16.0 percent (T-28th)
Projected first unit: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, Mark Giordano, James Neal
Others in contention: Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Noah Hanifin, Michael Frolik

 

21. New Jersey Devils

2017-18 finish: 21.4 percent (T-9th)
Projected first unit: Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Nico Hischier, Will Butcher, Marcus Johansson
Others in contention: Sami Vatanen, Brian Boyle, Travis Zajac, Jesper Bratt

 

22. New York Rangers

2017-18 finish: 21.2 percent (T-12th)
Projected first unit: Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Shattenkirk, Pavel Buchnevich
Others in contention: Vladislav Namestnikov, Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, Neal Pionk

 

23. Anaheim Ducks

2017-18 finish: 17.8 percent (23rd)
Projected first unit: Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Corey Perry, Cam Fowler, Adam Henrique
Key injury: Ryan Kesler
Others in contention: Brandon Montour, Ondrej Kase, Patrick Eaves, Jakob Silfverberg

 

24. Arizona Coyotes

2017-18 finish: 16.9 percent (26th)
Projected first unit: Clayton Keller, Derek Stepan, Alex Galchenyuk, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Richard Panik
Others in contention: Dylan Strome, Brendan Perlini, Jakob Chychrun, Christian Fischer

 

25. Edmonton Oilers

2017-18 finish: 14.8 percent (31st)
Projected first unit: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, Milan Lucic
Others in contention: Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Drake Caggiula, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ryan Strome

 

26. Columbus Blue Jackets

2017-18 finish: 17.2 percent (25th)
Projected first unit: Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski
Others in contention: Alexander Wennberg, Nick Foligno, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Josh Anderson, Boone Jenner

 

27. Chicago Blackhawks

2017-18 finish: 16.0 percent (T-28th)
Projected first unit: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad, Duncan Keith, Nick Schmaltz
Others in contention: Alex DeBrincat, Artem Anisimov, Brent Seabrook, Dylan Sikura

 

28. Vancouver Canucks

2017-18 finish: 21.4 percent (T-9th)
Projected first unit: Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Alexander Edler, Elias Pettersson
Others in contention: Adam Gaudette, Michael Del Zotto, Loui Eriksson, Sam Gagner, Olli Juolevi

 

29. Detroit Red Wings

2017-18 finish: 17.5 percent (24th)
Projected first unit: Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Mike Green, Filip Zadina
Others in contention: Gustav Nyquist, Thomas Vanek, Michael Rasmussen, Frans Nielsen, Filip Hronek

 

30. Ottawa Senators

2017-18 finish: 16.6 percent (27th)
Projected first unit: Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, Bobby Ryan, Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk
Key injury: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Others in contention: Mikkel Boedker, Colin White, Logan Brown

31. Montreal Canadiens

2017-18 finish: 21.2 percent (T-12th)    
Projected first unit: Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher, Max Domi, Jeff Petry, Andrew Shaw
Key injury: Shea Weber
Others in contention: Paul Byron, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Tomas Plekanec

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