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Fantasy Pool Look: Who's the next top power play QB?

Darryl Dobbs
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Author: The Hockey News

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Fantasy Pool Look: Who's the next top power play QB?

Darryl Dobbs
By:

The change is so gradual that you hardly notice it, but there are a handful of young defensemen leading their team's power play who were out of the mix as recently as four years ago.

The change is so gradual that you hardly notice it, but there are a handful of young defensemen leading their team's power play who were out of the mix as recently as four years ago.
2013-14 vs. 2009-10
2013-14 TEAM
GP
PTS
2009-10 TEAM
GP
PTS
Erik Karlsson
OTT
20
20
Mike Green
WSH
75 76
P.K. Subban
MTL
21
17
Duncan Keith
CHI
82 69
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
PHX
21
16
Drew Doughty
LA
82 59
Alex Pietrangelo
STL
19
16
Dan Boyle
SJ
76 58
Keith Yandle
PHX
21
16
Chris Pronger
PHI
82 55
James Wisniewski
CLB
20
16
Sergei Gonchar
PIT
62 50
Jay Bouwmeester
STL
19
15
Tobias Enstrom
ATL
82 50
Duncan Keith
CHI
21
15
Mark Streit
NYI
82 49
Dustin Byfuglien
WPG
22
15
Nicklas Lidstrom
DET
82 49
Kevin Shattenkirk
STL
19
14
Tomas Kaberle
TOR
82 49
  Only one name matches up. A complete changing of the guard. You could have added Kris Letang's name to the list on the left had he not been injured. Interestingly enough, the players on the left are mostly in their 20s, with Keith and Bouwmeester as the "old men" of the group at 30 years of age. In looking at the next crop of young rearguards there are certainly a lot to choose from. Cases could be made for this guy or that guy and often the deciding factor comes down to staying healthy or playing in the right coaching system with the right teammates (ahem, Letang). I could probably list 30 or 40 names here, including teenaged phenoms who haven't been drafted yet. But I'll keep it simple and stick to 10 names of young players who jump out, while ignoring some of the names who have already been there, done that or who are already well into their 20s (such as Drew Doughty, Mike Green, Shea Weber and Tobias Enstrom). Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild There's no questioning his talent. Brodin, at just 20 years of age, is already one of the best defensemen in the league. But will he be one of those minute-munching studs who posts 35 to 40 points a season, or will he find that next gear offensively? I suspect the offense will improve each year, from 30 points to 35 to 40, until he eventually tops 50 on a regular basis. John Carlson, Washington Capitals Poolies have been waiting on Carlson for four years now, ever since he made the team as a 20-year-old and posted 37 points as a rookie. But his numbers have regressed and fantasy owners are starting to give up on him. I wouldn't do that. Occasionally a defenseman will take eight or nine years to reach his potential offensively (Chris Pronger and Niklas Kronwall are great examples). Carlson has the tools; he just needs more time. I think he can be a 55- or 60-point defenseman by 2017, but can we put up with the 35-point stuff in the meantime? Cody Franson, Toronto Maple Leafs The 6-foot-5, 213-pound assist machine could be wasting away in Europe or the American League today had Ron Wilson still been his coach. But Randy Carlyle uses Franson's skill set the way it was meant to be used, rather than bang his head against the wall over weaknesses. The result has seen Franson tally 37 assists (and four goals) in his past 65 games dating back to the start of last season. He has 55-plus point upside and we may see that number as early as this season. Seth Jones, Nashville Predators Jones is valued for his defense, his poise, his size and strength, and he's a member of the offense-sputtering Nashville Predators. But don't count out his offense. Shea Weber once had 53 points on this team and make no mistake - Jones will be every bit the player that Weber is and then some. If Barry Trotz is still coaching the Predators in 2018 we could see Jones lead this team in scoring with 65 points. Torey Krug, Boston Bruins The 5-foot-9 dynamo needs to be more consistent, but if he ever puts it all together the sky is the limit. Krug made a splash in the post-season last spring and is showing it wasn't a fluke. He has 10 points in his past 14 games. Two years from now he could be the Tobias Enstrom (small puck-mover) to Dougie Hamilton's Dustin Byfuglien (big size, shoots the puck). Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning The road has been slow for Hedman, but as with so many top-level defensemen, it just takes time. With patience, we'll see Hedman, Carlson and Brodin among the top offensive defensemen - long after their fantasy owners will have given up on them. Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets Another multi-talented, American rearguard with high upside - along the same vein as Carlson. Will offensive progress be as slow as it has been with Carlson? I would suspect so, given that the Jets already have Enstrom and Byfuglien in the fold eating power play time. But Trouba's upside may actually be the highest of the three. Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs The Leafs, like the Jets and Coyotes, have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to puck-moving defensemen. But five or six years from now it will be Rielly who is the clear-cut, hands-down best of the group. If you had to name five defensemen under the age of 21 who have the potential to top 70 points in the NHL, Rielly should be on that list. Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers The 23-year-old Schultz has had a tough go of it as a sophomore, but he's still on pace to approach 40 points. Given the potential, long-term firepower on the Oilers you have to believe Schultz will be a 60-point player. That is, if this group of high-end first round picks can ever put it all together. Slava Voynov, Los Angeles Kings After a 51-point season in the American League at the age of 21 and a 13-point performance in last spring's playoff run, I'm ready to believe Voynov could be a 55- or 60-point blueliner. Of the players on this list, Voynov may be the guy closest to reaching that next level. A bit of a slow start this season, but he has five points in his past five games so perhaps his fortunes are turning. Honorable mentions - Too many to count, but I'll drop some names here anyway: Ryan Murray (Columbus), Dougie Hamilton (Boston), Jake Gardiner (Toronto), Cam Fowler (Anaheim), Darnell Nurse (Edmonton), Ryan Murphy (Carolina), David Rundblad (Phoenix), Matt Dumba (Minnesota), Brandon Gormley (Phoenix), Adam Larsson (New Jersey), Griffin Reinhart (NY Islanders). Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag. Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out dobberhockey.com or follow him on Twitter at @DobberHockey.
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Fantasy Pool Look: Who's the next top power play QB?