NHL Fantasy: Power play quarterbacks to keep an eye on

One of the hardest things to find in fantasy hockey is production from the blueline. Ensuring all or most of your rostered defensemen are playing on their team’s power play is essential to getting those extra points, and goes a long way in balancing your lineup.

Most teams have an established power play quarterback that run their top unit, and generally get the most points on the power play among the defense corps. However, several teams have seen new additions to their blueline this offseason, whether that be via trade or internal promotion, and a few should be watched in your fantasy leagues.

The players discussed in this article currently have the most power play ice time among defensemen on their teams.

Nate Schmidt – Winnipeg Jets

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An offseason acquisition by the Jets, Nate Schmidt has taken control of the Jets’ usually lethal top power play unit. Schmidt is currently logging more power play TOI than both Josh Morrissey and Neal Pionk, who have quarterbacked the top unit for a few years. Of his three points scored this season, two have been on the power play, and Schmidt chips in with decent peripheral stats as well.

Schmidt does have power play experience in his career from other teams, and could easily stick here with the Jets. He’s only 5% rostered in Yahoo! leagues right now which is criminally low for the Jets’ power play quarterback. The Jets haven’t gotten off to the best start but their still a high powered team and Schmidt will benefit greatly from leading their man advantage.

Noah Dobson – New York Islanders

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The Islanders—with their balanced forward lines and heavy defensive system—are not a great team to rely on for top production in fantasy. However, there is value to be had in their depth forwards as streaming options, and this year value on their defense corps.

Noah Dobson was drafted in 2018 and is set to break out this season. He’s currently quarterbacking the Islanders’ top power play unit and has the most power play TOI among all forwards on his team, ahead of Ryan Pulock most notably. Dobson is still young player and there is potential for him to falter and lose this role.

So far, he has yet to register a power play point which is concerning, but he’s still anchoring the top unit on the island and has impressive peripherals to boot. He’s worth the risk and at just 15% rostered, he’s almost definitely available in your league.

Rasmus Andersson – Calgary Flames

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The Calgary Flames haven’t gotten off to the best start when looking at the standings, but Darryl Sutter‘s style of play has the Flames dominating possession in almost every game they’ve played. The team lacks overall finishing ability and are getting the short end of the PDO stick early on, but make no mistake—the Flames have all the makings of being a sneaky good team in fantasy this season.

Rasmus Andersson was given the chance to quarterback the top power play unit last year, but ultimately was usurped by Mark Giordano. Now that Giordano is gone, it’s Andersson’s job to lose, and he’s looked incredible to start the season. His counting stats are just okay, but he’s been a dominant player at both ends and once the Flames’ power play starts clicking, Andersson could get a massive boost in fantasy.

He’s recorded one power play point so far this season, and as his ice time on the man advantage increases, he’ll start to get picked up in much more leagues. At just 16% rostered right now, he’s probably available and deserves to be watchlisted at the very least.

Jamie Drysdale – Anaheim Ducks

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The Anaheim Ducks have surprised people this season. They’ve come out strong early on and their young guns are showing why the Ducks could return to the top of the league standings in just a few year’s time. The hype was on early for star center Trevor Zegras, and while Jamie Drysdale did get talked about, he has been relied upon to run Anaheim’s top power play unit which is a big role.

Drysdale is currently logging more power play TOI than any other defenseman on the team. He’s played more minute than Cam Fowler, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Hampus Lindholm. With Drysdale’s pedigree and skillset combined with Anaheim’s willingness to make this year a development year for their young stars, there’s no reason to expect Drysdale to lose his spot on the top power play unit. He’s just 28% rostered and with decent peripherals, Drysdale should be added in most leagues.

Ryan Suter – Dallas Stars

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The injury to John Klingberg was truly an unfortunate one for both the player and the Dallas Stars. Miro Heiskanen gets a lot of attention for being one of the best young defenders in the NHL, but Klingberg is the most offensively gifted blueliner on the team and will play more power play minutes than anyone else on the Stars’ deep blueline this season.

However, in Klingberg’s absence, veteran Ryan Suter has stepped up big time for the Stars. He’s replaced Klingberg on Dallas’ top unit and has logged an impressive 11:41 of power play TOI so far this season. He knows what he’s doing after running the Wild’s power play for so many years, and he hasn’t missed a beat in Dallas. His two points on the season have both come on the man advantage, and he’s chipped in six shots, two hits, and nine blocks along the way as well.

Klingberg might be back soon which explains Suter’s low rostered percentage of just 31%, but Suter should be added in every league until Klingberg returns to the lineup, and held for a short while afterwards. With how effective Suter has ben on the power play, the Stars might elect to leave him there and ride the hot streak.

Building out from the blueline

Having a defenceman that is guaranteed to get first unit power play ice time is a solid way to get maximum use out of a roster spot. While skillsets across power play quarterbacks will vary, it’s a strategic play to boost fantasy stats with higher likelihood of shots and power play points. Picking up available defencemen early in the season and seeing them be staples of their team’s first power play unit can make the player add extremely worthwhile.

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