You always want every member of your fantasy roster to be playing a role and scoring points on the power play. The man-advantage helps fuel several other fantasy categories, including ice time, goals, assists and shots -- not to mention the obvious power-play points.
In that regard, the Washington Capitals are crushing it, with the top-four leaders in power-play points so far this season. However, scoring with the extra man is not exclusive to the D.C. area. There is a long list of players who have scored between 3-6 points on the man-advantage so far this season. Most of them aren't surprises, but there are some names we didn't expect to be among the early leaders in this area.
Let's take a look at a few of those unexpected starts as we try to decide if the trend will continue for them:
Matthew Tkachuk, W, Calgary Flames: The power play wasn't a huge part of Tkachuk's portfolio in his first two NHL seasons. He managed 13 power-play points as a rookie and only 17 last season. But so far this time around, the Flames have opted for a four-forward look on the man-advantage that allows Tkachuk to join the top line and Mark Giordano. He's already tallied one goal with four assists on the power play in just eight games. Ice time and power-play points have arguably been the two holes in Tkachuk's game for fantasy, but if he has indeed found a way to plug those two holes, he could become an elite asset. We're talking the top 50, if this keeps up!
Dennis Cholowski, D, Detroit Red Wings: A pleasant surprise on the Red Wings blue line this season, Cholowski has stepped up in the absence of any other options for Detroit's power play. He has four power-play points in seven games, helping the Red Wings power play to an early 24 percent conversion rate. While the wins haven't been coming, that's been more of a defensive problem for the Red Wings. The offense should continue to find its footing for fantasy managers. Cholowski has the job on the point until such time when (if) Mike Green is healthy again. Given Green's history, that's no guarantee.
Maxime Lajoie, D, and Chris Tierney, C, Ottawa Senators: These two secondary power-play unit members have combined for eight power-play points (four apiece) over seven games. These are power-play points you absolutely should not chase. Both Lajoie and Tierney profile as the type of players to end up with four power-play points all season long, let alone in the first seven games. The Senators' first power-play unit is good enough that they will limit the chances of the second unit a lot of the time, while the eventual return of injured players (Brady Tkachuk, Alex Formenton, Cody Ceci) ultimately threatens to push both these guys off the man-advantage.
David Perron, W, St. Louis Blues: Already almost halfway to his career-high for power-play goals, Perron looks rejuvenated in his third stint with the Blues. That said, I don't foresee him remaining among the team's leaders for power-play production. There are far too many cooks for this kitchen and Perron's deployment won't always be with the first unit. He could well set a new career-high for power-play points, but that's partly thanks to his personal bar being set somewhat low (18).
Forwards on the move
Gabriel Landeskog, W, Colorado Avalanche (up 11 spots to No. 80): How can we not start with a discussion about Landeskog this week? Since the last ranking, the Avalanche captain has gone from three points in five games to a total of 12 points in nine games. This top-heavy Avalanche attack can't be stopped, thanks to Nathan MacKinnon's creativity, and the chemistry between him, Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. There will be some slumps here and there, and any separation from MacKinnon destroys Landeskog's fantasy value, but saddle up for a crazy ride if this line says together and healthy.
Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks (up 19 spots to No. 111): Couture's line, including Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl, passed the "eye test" with flying colors against the New York Islanders on Saturday night. The trio accounted for a pair of goals and six total points in San Jose's 4-1 win, but more importantly, they looked dangerous throughout the evening. We'll have to see how the Sharks handle the eventual return of Joe Thornton, but I've got my fingers crossed this line gets to stick together because it's a trio that could grow together for several seasons. For his part, Couture is shooting more than usual and playing more minutes than in seasons past -- both good trends for fantasy.
Jeff Skinner, W, Buffalo Sabres (up 19 spots to No. 140): I hope this isn't a season-long yo-yo as we chase Jack Eichel's osmotic fantasy value. But, heck, it's worth chasing. Eichel will be a "kingmaker" to his linemates, whoever they may be. As frustrating as it will be for fantasy purposes, it's worth following the bouncing ball, just as long as you keep your investment low. If Skinner or Jason Pominville are free agents, pick them up and ride the Eichel train until it stops to switch out passengers -- like we've already done with Conor Sheary and Sam Reinhart.
Kailer Yamamoto, W, Edmonton Oilers (up 22 spots to No. 143): With Ty Rattie on the shelf, rookie Yamamoto gets the ultimate NHL gig. He'll be the sidekick to Connor McDavid. Now, he's inevitably going to get some points in that role, but what we will really be looking for here is whether Yamamoto can do enough with Rattie sidelined to possibly usurp the role going forward. Rattie's name is only written next to McDavid's on the Oilers depth chart in pencil, so he's got no guarantee of coming back to this spot. The bottom line here is that this is our favorite combination of talent and opportunity that you're likely to find available on the current waiver wire. Take a shot and see what happens.
Defensemen on the move
Various defensemen we hoped would take over their team's power play, but haven't: This list includes the likes of Ryan Pulock, Shea Theodore and Aaron Ekblad, all of whom had some sleeper tags associated with them coming into the season. Why? Nick Leddy and Colin Miller aren't your prototypical power-play quarterbacks, and Keith Yandle has been showing signs of his age in recent seasons. However, Pulock, Theodore and Ekblad -- all younger than those players and with more-exciting skillsets -- haven't yet been given the roles required for their ascension up the ranks. It could still happen, but sometimes change occurs glacially in the NHL.
Goaltenders on the move
Cory Schneider, G, New Jersey Devils (up nine spots to No. 125): After recommending Corey Crawford in this space last week, I now pay homage to many movies from the 1980s by offering up a second Cory for your consideration. Recovering from off-season hip surgery that was meant to solve a systemic problem which has dogged Schneider for two seasons, he's currently in the AHL on a rehab stint. He needs to be on your radar. Keith Kinkaid started hot, but at the end of the day he's still Keith Kinkaid. Even though he's playing very well, with a 1.85 GAA thus far, for his career, he's got a 2.67 GAA (in 100 starts). Schneider, before his hip problem set in during the 2016-17 season, had a 2.16 career GAA. It's more than worth a bench spot to find out if Schneider is back to that pre-injury form.
New to the rankings
Mattias Ekholm (everyone's answer for Predators defensemen with the most points, right?), Nolan Patrick, Alex Iafallo and David Rittich (who is making the 36-year-old Mike Smith look, well, 36 by comparison).