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Power-play surprises and busts

What can Dustin Brown of the Kings do for you and your fantasy hockey lineup? AP

Four weeks into the 2018-19 season, we have enough of a sampling of play to begin to develop a strong fantasy view of power-play assets, as assemblies take shape around the league. Nursing our Halloween candy hangovers, let's separate the coveted mini-Snickers from those oh-so-disappointing boxes of raisins in the NHL's own bag of special-teams skaters by pointing out what to expect from these sources as the campaign progresses.

Surprising starts

Dustin Brown, LW/RW, Los Angeles (66.3 percent rostered): Brown to the rescue? After sitting out the start of the season with a broken finger, the veteran forward scored in his first game back -- a power-play marker, assisted by Ilya Kovalchuk and Drew Doughty. Skating on both the Kings' top line and power play with Anze Kopitar, Brown is hoping to prove last year's pool of 28 goals and 33 assists was no fluke. So far, so good. He might also provide Kopitar, who has struggled out of the gates (four points), with a boost. There's much to fret about in Los Angeles this season, with Jonathan Quick's prolonged post-knee surgery absence topping the list. Still, John Stevens' club is better than October's sample size would suggest.

Jonathan Drouin, LW/C, Montreal Canadiens (53.0 percent): Skating with Max Domi 5-on-5, and on Montreal's No. 1 unit with the man-advantage, Drouin has five power-play points through 11 games. There's much to like about the Domi/Drouin forward duo on a Canadiens squad otherwise lacking in sparkling fantasy assets. Once defenseman Shea Weber returns healthy -- admittedly still weeks away -- the Habs' top power play should benefit further.

Alex Galchenyuk, LW/C, Arizona Coyotes (49.5 percent): The Coyotes desperately needed a healthy Galchenyuk to help bolster their power play, and now they have him. Joining the team just last week after sitting out most of October with a lower-body injury, the former Montreal forward has four points in three games -- including an assist with the extra skater in Tuesday's 5-1 win over the Senators. Competing on a top line and power play with Clayton Keller, and grateful for a fresh start in the desert, the 24-year-old center projects to put up career numbers this campaign, including a fair number of points on the man-advantage. He should be snatched up in all but the shallowest of fantasy leagues.

Elias Lindholm, C/RW, Calgary Flames (45.9 percent): Settling in beautifully on a top line and power play with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, Lindholm has eight goals and five assists in 13 games -- including five points with the man-advantage. If available fantasy-wise, the former Hurricane should be added to your team, pronto. There's simply no reason whatsoever to expect a fall-off in pace here.

Nick Leddy, D, New York Islanders (16.1 percent): It's about time. After registering zilch through 11 contests, Leddy is finally on the board with three points over his last two games -- including two assists with the man-advantage. Anchoring a top Islanders unit that includes Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee, and finally out of his early-season rut, Leddy should make for a valuable blue-line commodity in deeper leagues that reward power-play production.

Vince Dunn, D, St. Louis Blues (11.8 percent): As we addressed in this week's waiver recommendations, it's Dunn -- and not Alex Pietrangelo or Colton Parayko -- who is skating on the Blues' top unit with Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O'Reilly. Half of the 22-year-old defenseman's four points in three recent games (one goal, one assist) have come with the extra skater. Dunn feels like one of those "where did he come from?" players that catch too many by surprise halfway through the season. Consider jumping on the skilled offensive-defenseman before others smarten up.

Jason Pominville, RW, Buffalo Sabres (10.9 percent): At the moment, he's skating on Buffalo's No. 1 line and power play with Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner, and riding a five-game production streak. This run includes four goals and five assists, and two power-play points over his last three contests. The 35-year-old should be exploited fully as a temporary fantasy asset before he cools off again. This particular incarnation of the Sabres' top trio likely won't last forever, but it could well endure for a while longer.

Ryan McDonagh, D, Tampa Bay Lightning (10.1 percent): Filling in for Victor Hedman on the Lightning's top unit, McDonagh collected his first power-play assist of the season against the Devils on Tuesday, in what amounted to a three-point night for the 29-year-old defenseman. Nursing an upper-body injury, Hedman could be out a couple for a few more weeks, resulting in "bonus" special teams minutes for McDonagh alongside Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

Shakier special-teams skaters

Joe Pavelski, C/RW, San Jose Sharks (94.2 percent): After all of the hype surrounding the Erik Karlsson trade, it's hard to believe that Pavelski has just one power-play goal (zero assists) to show for a dozen games. However, the Sharks' coaching staff is still working to hammer out what works best for the Sharks, when benefitting from the extra skater. This team remains a "work in progress." Having a healthy Joe Thornton back in the fold, who returned this week after losing nearly all of October to an infection in his knee, will help. Pavelski, along with the rest of San Jose's fiercest producers, should re-discover their groove soon enough. Just hold on.

Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago Blackhawks (87.3 percent): Fantasy managers are right to feel bothered that it took until Halloween night, his 13th game of the year, for Toews to register his first power-play point -- a goal against the Canucks. More concerning is that the Blackhawks' captain is competing on a secondary unit, away from Patrick Kane. Also, up until Wednesday night in Vancouver, Chicago was rolling out the worst power play in the league. Overall, Toews is indeed enjoying a solid start to this campaign, averaging nearly a point-per-game with seven goals and five assists, but he isn't producing with the man-advantage. Sadly, he isn't likely to erupt in that department anytime soon.

Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Nashville Predators (82.8 percent): An impressive eight goals and four assists to his credit so far, yet all Arvidsson has to show for his work with the extra skater is a glaring goose egg. While the Nashville power play has uncharacteristically stumbled out of the gate (14.2 percent success rate), coach Peter Laviolette may start fiddling soon. That means Arvidsson may fall to the second unit, split from linemates Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg.

Tyler Myers, D, Winnipeg Jets (68.3 percent): On last year's banged-up blue line, Myers collected 17 points with the man-advantage, which was an impressive percentage of his 36 total points for the season. Forget about seeing a figure anywhere near that sum in 2018-19. Completely away from the playoff bubble, Myers has just one even-strength goal and assist to date. Fantasy managers looking to mine power-play points in Winnipeg need turn to young defenseman Josh Morrissey (21.1 percent rostered) instead.

Sami Vatanen, D, New Jersey Devils (64.2 percent): Young Will Butcher is anchoring a Devils' top power play that also includes Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, while Vatanen is stuck seeing limited minutes on a secondary unit with the likes of Marcus Johansson and Stefan Noesen. This helps explain why all of Butcher's five assists have come with the extra skater this season, and why Vatanen has just the one power-play helper. In leagues where such special-team points are at a premium, managers may want to look at options beyond this 27-year-old offensive-defenseman.