With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.
Today, a fantasy recap of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the pause:
NOTE: Rank for fantasy most valuable player is based on standard-category production to date.
MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Top 250 at pause | Season snapshots | Injury tracker
Fantasy MVP: Nikita Kucherov, RW (rank: 9) -- After a slow start for his standards (11 points in first 13 games), Kucherov had 74 points (29 goals, 45 assists) in his next 55 games, third in the NHL behind forwards Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers (81) and Artemi Panarin (79) of the New York Rangers. Kucherov, who is one of three players with at least 85 points and a plus-25 (Panarin, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand), was well worth selecting among the top three picks in all fantasy formats. Kucherov leads the Lightning in goals (33), assists (52), points, power-play points (25) and shots on goal (210).
Biggest surprise: Ondrej Palat, LW -- He has provided strong category coverage with 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists), a plus-25 (tied for 11th in NHL), eight power-play points and 145 hits in 69 games. Palat is ranked 66th in standard leagues and has mostly skated in a top-six role this season, which is impressive considering the Lightning's forward depth. Palat has carried slate-breaking potential with three three-point games.
Video: TBL@TOR: Palat cleans up in front to knot the score
Unsung hero: Anthony Cirelli, C -- Ranks sixth on the Lightning with 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in 68 games and has frequently been their second-line center after Steven Stamkos moved to wing. Cirelli ranks third among Lightning forwards in average ice time (18:28 per game) behind center Brayden Point (18:54) and Kucherov (18:52) and has averaged 19:07 since Stamkos (core muscle surgery) last played Feb. 25. Cirelli is tied with Point for fifth in the NHL with a plus-28 rating.
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