Fantasy Hockey: Biggest Suprises and Busts so Far: East Division Edition

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

In Part 2 of this Fantasy hockey series, I'm going to look at 1 player that looks like a potential surprise/bust from every Eastern division hockey team. Without further adieu, I hope the players on your team are listed as surprises and let's get started.

Should be noted that all ADPs and Rostering % come from ESPN.

Previous Editions:

West Division


Disappointment: Charlie McAvoy 90% rostered

This one physically pains me. I stacked up on offence this year and believe it or not in one of my leagues I reached for McAvoy as my first defenceman at 70th overall. With Boston losing both Chara and Krug this offseason, McAvoy seemed slated to become the Bruins pillar on defence. So far Charlie has been held off the scoresheet despite playing over 25 minutes a night. The main reason for this is probably due to the guy below taking over the number one duties on Boston's powerplay. McAvoy's a hold, but if he doesn't take over that PP time, that jump in production a lot of us were hoping for, might not happen.

Surpise: Matt Grzelcyk 33% rostered

While the American defenceman has only put up one assist so far this season, he has been put in a place to succeed. Last season Krug managed a total of 28 points on the 1st powerplay with the Bruins. Those points aren't going to magically disappear, so if you're one of the people who has already grabbed Grzelcyk, congratulations.


Disappointment: Victor Olofsson 83% rostered

I actually think this guy is a really good player. But him being drafted before Reinhart and rostered over Reinhart in some leagues makes little sense to me. Sure there is the possibility of line shuffling, but Olofsson's success last year came with Eichel. He doesn't have the same offensive ceiling playing on a line with Staal and Cozens, and while he may still have a great year, and is off to a good start, he may not take as big of a sophomore jump as some would have hoped.

Surprise: Sam Reinhart 73% rostered

Reinhart's ADP on Yahoo was 184. So far he has been playing on a top-heavy line with Eichel and Hall. The first powerplay, and logging over 20 minutes a night. When you put three guys on a line that all went top 2 in their respective drafts, good things are bound to happen. Yahoo projected Sam to score 43 points this season, Hall 53, and Eichel 64. If they stay healthy and stay together, those projections may serve as the floor for these talented players.

New Jersey:

Disappointment: N/A

I'm honestly not going to bother with a "disappointment here. Only one New Jersey player was taken in the top 200 based on ADP and that was Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri is fine so nothing to worry about.

Surprise: Jack Hughes 60% Rostered

If you picked Jack Hughes, I am happy for you. Hughes came into the NHL with a fantastic pedigree and seemed destined for success, but was sort of underwhelming as a rookie. It's almost like he played on a really bad team, and didn't have great linemates! This year is a different story, the Devils have started off strong and this is due to both Hughes jump, and Mackenzie Blackwoods goaltending. Hughes has averaged close to 20 minutes per game and has 6 points in three games.

Pick him up.

New York Islanders:

Disappointment: Ryan Pulock 96% rostered

Pulocks a great player, and do not stress to see his name on this list. The only issue with him is where he was drafted. An ADP of 60, not only had him as the 11th defencemen off the board but ahead of Mathew Barzal. He is on the first pair as well as powerplay, but I just think he was slightly over-valued in this draft, and taking him before guys like Barzal, Couturier, Tkachuk, and Pacioretty seems a little disappointing if you ask me.

Surprise: Noah Dobson 2.3% rostered

This one is a little pre-emptive. Dobson only has one point and is seeing just shy of 20 minutes a game. However, Noah is a former 12th overall selection and has serious offensive potential. So to see him on the team's first powerplay early on in the season is enough to warrant at least putting him on your watch list moving forward.

New York Rangers:

Disappointment: Jacob Trouba 90% rostered

Everyone loves talking about Deangelo being a healthy scratch or Lafrenieres underwhelming start to the season, but the fact of the matter is that Trouba was taken before both of these guys. Jacob has an ADP of 97 and is yet to score a point so far this season. Providing Deangelo makes it back into the good graces of the Rangers coaching staff, Trouba will also get bounced from the Ranger's second PP unit. Trouba was great in Winnipeg but has taken a step back since the trade. Unless he somehow holds onto that powerplay time over Fox/Deangelo, he may become droppable in some formats.

Surprise: Pavel Buchnevich 34% rostered

Buchnevich is currently seeing time on the team's first line and second powerplay. With just under 20 minutes of ice time a night on a strong offensive team like the Rangers, Buchnevich certainly has fantasy relevance in most formats. His ADP was 224 and when you're a last-round pick or waiver pickup, the worth is basically decided on whether or not you become hard to drop later on in the season. Buchnevich is approaching that territory.


Disappointment: Jakub Voracek? 65% rostered

I don't think he's a disappointment here really. Of all the players with a sub 200 ADP on the Flyers, he's the only one who could potentially underwhelm. He's skating on the second powerplay and third line. But that third line consists of Nolan Patrick and JVR. While the powerplay consists of those three-plus Gustafsson and Joel Farabee. The bottom line here is Philly is good, and if you have any of their players that's probably a good thing.

Surprise: Morgan Frost 1% rostered

I could have picked a lot of players here, but this one is the most intriguing. With Couturier out or the next few weeks, many may have thought the former 1st overall pick Nolan Patrick, or maybe Jakub Voracek would be the main beneficiary. Nope, Morgan Frost is skating on a strictly offensive line with Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom, while being given a whirl on the team's 1st powerplay. What's to be seen is can he capitalize on the opportunity. The talent is there, but he will definitely have to make a big impact get into the realm of fantasy relevance.


Disappointment/Surprise: Kasperi Kapanen/ Evan Rodrigues

Neither of these guys was drafted high, but one of them is going to skate with Sydney Crosby. To put that in perspective, Dominik Simon scored almost 30 even strength points playing with Crosby. Both these guys are better offensive talents, so whichever one gets to ride shotgun, in the long run, will have fantasy relevance. The other one really won't matter.


Disappointment: Ilya Samsonov

This is really pre-emptive, but there was really no one to pick. With the Lundqvist news, I think everyone thought Samsonov was gonna rack up a ton of starts this year. But so far due to some underwhelming performances Vitek Vanecek has been seeing split duties. I don't think we fret here, Samsonov is incredibly talented, just something to keep your eye on.

Surpise: Jakub Vrana-Tj Oshie-Tom Wilson

On the other end of the ice, the Capitals have a ton of offensive talent. Between Oshie, Vrana, and Wilson, not all of them could see time with Ovechkin on the powerplay, right? Wrong. Ovechkin is currently sitting in his office for both Capital powerplay units. So hurray! There are a ton of fantasy-relevant Washington Capitals this year. It may get frustrating when the Caps don't have Backstrom or Kuznetsov on the PP a ton but don't worry, those guys will still get fed.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what other surprises/disappointments are on the horizon in the East division!

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