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Fantasy: Hidden gems you can find in deep leagues

Nic Petan, Anthony DeAngelo making noise, available in nearly all formats

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

If you play fantasy hockey, your roster was likely blindsided by the rash of injuries this week.

Whether you need to replace Steven Stamkos, Johnny Gaudreau and/or Taylor Hall, there are plenty of center and left wing replacement options available in most leagues.

But most leagues certainly doesn't mean all leagues. Some fantasy owners in the deepest of formats need to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a high-upside player that is relatively unknown. These owners may need to stream different options over time based on hot streaks and weekly matchups, but it's important to seek a long-term investment whenever possible.

If you were unable to find any of the low ownership forwards in either of the aforementioned lists (i.e. Conor Sheary, Travis Zajac), this piece is catered to you. Hopefully one of the below players can address one of your positional needs as you attempt to salvage your season without one or more of your most valuable assets.

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Nic Petan, C/LW, Winnipeg Jets (1 percent owned)

With the Jets stacking their first line of Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele, who's tied for the NHL scoring lead (22 points), Petan has benefited from exposure to Blake Wheeler in the injury absence of centers Mathieu Perreault and Bryan Little. Petan, 21, has six points in eight games with three power-play points, and is riding a three-game point streak after another assist Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Wheeler is again proving he is a self-sustainable fantasy asset, but being apart from Scheifele, his frequent linemate last season, and rookie sensation Laine has helped Winnipeg's offense spike from tied for 20th in goals per game last season (2.59) to ninth this season (2.89).

 

Anthony DeAngelo, D, Arizona Coyotes (1 percent owned)

Fantasy owners should never overlook emerging talent because a player is on a team near the bottom of the NHL standings. The Coyotes have injected DeAngelo into their even-strength and power-play mix (20:08 per game, 2:45 on power play), as the rookie is paired with Alex Goligoski at even strength and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the first power-play unit. DeAngelo was recalled from Tucson of the American Hockey League on Nov. 7, and has three points, is a plus-2 with nine SOG in his first five games with two points on the power play. We have seen multiple Coyotes defensemen become relevant on the power play in recent years, so grab DeAngelo now in deep leagues before he becomes more widely recognized.

Video: ARI@VAN: DeAngelo finds a loose puck, nets PPG

 

Pavel Buchnevich, LW/RW, New York Rangers (7 percent owned)

Two separate stints on the injured list have stolen some of Buchnevich's early-season thunder, but it doesn't change the fact that the rookie has been dynamic and productive whenever and wherever he's been in the Rangers lineup. He is dealing with a back injury and will likely be out again Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but has points in each of his past four games, totaling four goals, two assists, a plus-2 and two PPP in the span. In 10 games, he has eight points and is covering PPP (three) and plus/minus (plus-4) in the process. His durability is a big concern, but expect him to be utilized in a bigger role once the Rangers' hot starters come back down to earth over time.

 

Brayden Point, C/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (1 percent owned)

The Lightning have a wealth of forward options even without Stamkos, but most are already owned in fantasy leagues. One exception is Point, who is tied for fifth among Lightning forwards in power-play ice time per game (2:58). He has taken advantage of the opportunity with three PPP and seven overall, and has a healthy shots on goal volume (38 in 18 games). Point, 20, had two power-play points against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday in Tampa Bay's first game without Stamkos, a sign that he could emerge as a deep-league commodity even with Jonathan Drouin back from injury. The Lightning rolled three strong lines minus Stamkos on Thursday, with Point playing at even strength with Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn.

 

Chad Johnson, G, Calgary Flames (10 percent owned)

Sometimes, an extra roster spot can allow you to sure up a need at another position such as goalie. With only 30 starting jobs out there and most occupied by players who are owned in a high percentage of fantasy leagues, you have to jump at any opportunity for starts you can get. Chad Johnson has made waves of late for the Flames, starting back-to-back games and winning both (at Minnesota Wild, home vs. Coyotes). Brian Elliott, arguably the biggest fantasy disappointment League-wide, is in the final year of his contract. Especially with Gaudreau sidelined six weeks, the Flames will be desperate to stay competitive, even if it means overriding their prized offseason acquisition. Johnson had a .920 save percentage in 45 games last season for the Buffalo Sabres.

Video: CGY@MIN: Johnson uses pad to deny Staal early

 

Others to consider: Brandon Dubinsky (C, CBJ, 10 percent), Mike Fisher (C, NSH, 9 percent), Oscar Klefbom (D, EDM, 9 percent), Nick Ritchie (LW, 8 percent), Brandon Sutter (C, VAN, 4 percent owned)

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