Following a stretch from Oct. 22 to Nov. 8 during which the Tampa Bay Lightning power play went five-for-32 on the advantage (15.6%), Victor Hedman was punted to the second unit in favor of Mikhail Sergachev playing with the big guns: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point (Brandon Hagel is the fifth member).
Since the change, the Bolts advantage has gone six-for-19 on the advantage (31.6%).
On the surface and certainly by the statistics, Sergachev is beating Hedman when it comes to fantasy value. But don’t be so hasty now.
Sergachev deserves to push up these rankings. His offense off the power play has leveled up, with 10 points at even strength. His shot blocking is now elite, with 45 that rank sixth in the NHL. The role on the top power play, even if it’s only once in a while (we’ll get to that), is going to boost his totals.
But just because Sergachev is on a new level doesn’t mean it’s time to spiral down Hedman in your fantasy rankings.
While Hedman’s shots on goal are down a little, they are not down a lot. He’s on pace for 180 after firing 219 last season. His shooting percentage is surprisingly unlucky at the moment at 2.8%, while his career mark is 7.0%. Hedman’s shot blocking and hits are actually way up compared to last season, so some extra peripheral stats could help him down the road.
But what about the power play?
The stark break in when Hedman and Sergachev were flip-flopped is not a positive for Hedman. But surface power play stats don’t always tell the whole story.
When you look at power-play production down to the on-ice level, it’s not like one unit is astronomically better than the other. Hedman, Kucherov, Stamkos and Point have spent 41:28 on the advantage together and have five goals (NaturalStatTrick.com), while Sergachev, Kucherov, Stamkos and Point have played 35:19 and have five goals. So the Sergachev unit has been better, but it’s not like it’s a sea change in effectiveness.
As soon as there is another lull in power-play production, guess what the move will be? Bring Hedman back.
So Sergachev moves up in the rankings (18 spots to No. 33) and Hedman slips a little (seven to No. 27), but I don’t think I’m ready to say Sergachev passes Hedman yet in a rest-of-season rank.
Elias Lindholm, C, Calgary Flames (up 17 spots to No. 38): I’m not ruling out the center that helped drive the league’s best line last season eventually finding a way to work with Jonathan Huberdeau later this season, but in the meantime, Lindholm looks to have a great connection with Adam Ruzicka and the top line is firing on all cylinders again.
Elias Lindholm capitalizes on the power play
Andrei Svechnikov, W, Carolina Hurricanes (down 21 spots to No. 43): Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. After another blazing start to the season, Svechnikov has cooled off enough to drop him back to his usual top 50, rather than top 25. He ranks 88th among all skaters for fantasy points in the past four weeks.
Patrick Kane, W, Chicago Blackhawks (down 25 spots to No. 117): His 2.6 fantasy points on Sunday was just the fourth game in November in which Kane scored more than 1.0 fantasy points. Can we just do the trade to a contender thing now? Please?
Owen Tippett, W, Philadelphia Flyers (up 106 spots to No. 120): In the past four weeks, Tippett ranks 54th among skaters with 29.8 fantasy points. He’s done enough with the opportunity on the top line that it’s hard to envision Cam Atkinson supplanting him upon return.
Gabriel Vilardi, C, Los Angeles Kings (down 27 spots to No. 151): This was inevitable, but Vilardi showed us enough skills that I’m confident he can course correct and start finding the net again after his current streak of goose eggs dating to Nov. 10 is finally broken.
Matt Boldy, C/W, Minnesota Wild (down 63 spots to No. 164): The Wild winger will find a scoring touch again, but through a combination of injuries and some streakiness among the offense, the Wild have yet to find some line combinations that are both threatening and consistent. It’s a massive positive that Boldy is a mainstay on the power play, where he has five of his 11 points, but we need five-on-five production to ramp up if he’s going to be an asset in fantasy.
Patrik Laine, W, Columbus Blue Jackets (down 120 spots to No. 179): Another multiple week injury is quickly putting a drain on all the enthusiasm I had for Laine’s season with a new-look Blue Jackets offense. Now we have to wait again until mid-December for an expected return.
Nathan Bastian, W, New Jersey Devils (enters top 250 at No. 197): Earning the net-front spot on the Devils power play has helped Bastian add to his profile. The unit has five goals since adding him to the top grouping over Dawson Mercer.
Nick Schmaltz, W/C, Arizona Coyotes (enters top 250 at No. 200): Expected back Monday night, don’t forget that Schmaltz was a major player over the final months of last season. We didn’t get a chance to see if it would continue when he was hurt in the first game of this one. It’s not clear what his lineup role will be exactly, but you can bet he’ll be heavily used by a Coyotes team that needs some scoring off the power play.
Ryan Hartman, C/W, Minnesota Wild (enters top 250 at No. 223): Luckily for Hartman, despite ample opportunity provided to just about every other forward in the lineup, no one else can be the glue between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello as effectively as Hartman proved he could be last season. We still don’t know what exactly happened to Hartman when he was injured in a poorly chosen fight with the much larger Jarred Tinordi on Oct. 30 (but it sure looked like a separated shoulder). Regardless of when he returns in the next few weeks, he should have a role on the top line reserved for him.
Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators (up 11 spots to No. 12): It was only a matter of time before Josi started being Josi. After a fairly quiet October, Josi has very quickly climbed back into the fantasy mix this month. Sitting 29th among defensemen for fantasy points on Oct. 30, Josi is now fifth among them.
Roman Josi tallies goal vs. Avalanche
Seth Jones, D, Chicago Blackhawks (up 17 spots to No. 66): Jones was skating before practice on Friday as he recovers from a broken thumb. We are getting real close to the original timetable given for the injury.
Alec Martinez, D, Vegas Golden Knights (up 26 spots to No. 80): The NHL record for blocked shots in a season is 283, set by Kris Russell in the 2014-15 season with the Calgary Flames. If Martinez continues at his current rate of blocked shots per game, he’ll break the record in early March and finish with almost 100 more blocks than Russell had that season. Victor Hedman is 39th in the league with 33 blocked shots; if you combine Hedman and David Savard, who ranks second to Martinez in blocked shots this season, they don’t have as many as Martinez does. I don’t think this rate can conceivably continue — certainly not without an increased risk for injury jumping in front of so many pucks. But it’s a good reminder that there is a reason Martinez was the highest-scoring fantasy defenseman in the 2020-21 season.
Jakob Chychrun, D, Arizona Coyotes (up 28 spots to No. 134): Second to Martinez in the COVID-shortened campaign for fantasy scoring among defensemen was Chychrun. He’s expected to make his season debut on Monday night and is still available in about one-third of leagues.
David Savard, D, Montreal Canadiens (down 24 spots to No. 169): The shot blocking has slowed down of late from Savard, simply due to more healthy bodies absorbing responsibility for the counting stats. A healthy Joel Edmundson took some of the pressure off Savard and now a healthy Mike Matheson further spreads the veteran defensive task assignment.
Connor Hellebuyck, G, Winnipeg Jets (up nine spots to No. 10): He deserves to be the top fantasy goaltender projected for the rest of the season. I wouldn’t be shocked if Igor Shesterkin or Andrei Vasilevskiy woke up and reclaimed the crown, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t. Linus Ullmark of the Boston Bruins projects for a slightly higher fantasy total at this stage, but given Hellebuyck’s history, it’s easy to lock him in at this stage.
Linus Ullmark, G, Boston Bruins (up 35 spots to No. 25): But Ullmark has earned enough faith to be elevated to elite status at this stage. His .944 save percentage is fifth among goaltenders with at least 200 minutes. His .917 save percentage is second among all goaltenders with at least 50 minutes on the penalty kill. His goals saved above expected trail only Carter Hart (per MoneyPuck.com).
Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Florida Panthers (down 23 spots to No. 170): If you have Bobrovsky on your fantasy team and don’t have him insured with Spencer Knight, you need to rectify the problem immediately. The outcome of their performances continues to grow a gap between them. This is chiefly emphasized by Knight’s 29.0 fantasy points and Bobrovsky’s 8.0 fantasy points, despite Bobrovsky leading Knight by almost 100 minutes of game time.
Jack Campbell, G, Edmonton Oilers (down 45 spots to No. 186): It’s the exact same story here as with the Panthers crease. Stuart Skinner must be on your roster if you have Campbell. Skinner has 30.6 fantasy points and Campbell has -0.4.
ESPN fantasy NHL top-250 rankings
1. Connor McDavid, C, Edm (F1)
2. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Edm (F2)
3. David Pastrnak, RW, Bos (F3)
4. Auston Matthews, C, Tor (F4)
5. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TB (F5)
6. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Col (F6)
7. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Min (F7)
8. Cale Makar, D, Col (D1)
9. Brad Marchand, LW, Bos (F8)
10. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Wpg (G1)
11. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Col (F9)
12. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (D2)
13. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buf (D3)
14. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G2)
15. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G3)
16. Jake Oettinger, G, Dal (G4)
17. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Fla (F10)
18. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ott (F11)
19. Steven Stamkos, C, TB (F12)
20. Mika Zibanejad, C, NYR (F13)
21. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G5)
22. John Carlson, D, Wsh (D4)
23. Elias Pettersson, C, Van (F14)
24. Mitchell Marner, RW, Tor (F15)
25. Linus Ullmark, G, Bos (G6)
26. Timo Meier, RW, SJ (F16)
27. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D5)
28. Jason Robertson, LW, Dal (F17)
29. Sebastian Aho, C, Car (F18)
30. Jack Eichel, C, Vgk (F19)
31. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D6)
32. Aleksander Barkov, C, Fla (F20)
33. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D7)
34. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Wsh (F21)
35. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D8)
36. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Ott (F22)
37. Logan Thompson, G, Vgk (G7)
38. Nick Suzuki, C, Mon (F23)
39. Elias Lindholm, RW, Cgy (F24)
40. Artemi Panarin, LW, NYR (F25)
41. Roope Hintz, C, Dal (F26)
42. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pit (F27)
43. Sidney Crosby, C, Pit (F28)
44. Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Car (F29)
45. Jack Hughes, C, NJ (F30)
46. Ivan Provorov, D, Phi (D9)
47. J.T. Miller, C, Van (F31)
48. Kyle Connor, LW, Wpg (F32)
49. Dylan Larkin, C, Det (F33)
50. Tage Thompson, C, Buf (F34)
51. John Tavares, C, Tor (F35)
52. Moritz Seider, D, Det (D10)
53. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nsh (F36)
54. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vgk (D11)
55. Nazem Kadri, C, Cgy (F37)
56. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Cgy (F38)
57. Alexandar Georgiev, G, Col (G8)
58. Tristan Jarry, G, Pit (G9)
59. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos (F39)
60. Jacob Markstrom, G, Cgy (G10)
61. Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Col (F40)
62. Nico Hischier, C, NJ (F41)
63. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bos (D12)
64. Juuse Saros, G, Nsh (G11)
65. Bo Horvat, C, Van (F42)
66. Seth Jones, D, Chi (D13)
67. Dougie Hamilton, D, NJ (D14)
68. Travis Konecny, RW, Phi (F43)
69. William Nylander, RW, Tor (F44)
70. Troy Terry, C, Ana (F45)
71. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D15)
72. Justin Faulk, D, StL (D16)
73. Carter Hart, G, Phi (G12)
74. Cole Caufield, RW, Mon (F46)
75. Noah Dobson, D, NYI (D17)
76. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Min (F47)
77. Jesper Bratt, RW, NJ (F48)
78. Darcy Kuemper, G, Wsh (G13)
79. Aaron Ekblad, D, Fla (D18)
80. Alec Martinez, D, Vgk (D19)
81. Joe Pavelski, RW, Dal (F49)
82. Martin Necas, C, Car (F50)
83. Mark Scheifele, C, Wpg (F51)
84. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, StL (F52)
85. Darnell Nurse, D, Edm (D20)
86. Anders Lee, LW, NYI (F53)
87. Anze Kopitar, C, LA (F54)
88. Zach Hyman, LW, Edm (F55)
89. Tim Stutzle, LW, Ott (F56)
90. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Cls (F57)
91. Carter Verhaeghe, C, Fla (F58)
92. Vitek Vanecek, G, NJ (G14)
93. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pit (F59)
94. Josh Morrissey, D, Wpg (D21)
95. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edm (F60)
96. Drake Batherson, C, Ott (F61)
97. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Wpg (F62)
98. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (F63)
99. Tomas Hertl, C, SJ (F64)
100. Rasmus Andersson, D, Cgy (D22)
101. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Ari (D23)
102. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dal (D24)
103. Ville Husso, G, Det (G15)
104. Devon Toews, D, Col (D25)
105. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Wpg (F65)
106. Brock Nelson, C, NYI (F66)
107. Claude Giroux, LW, Ott (F67)
108. Quinn Hughes, D, Van (D26)
109. Tony DeAngelo, D, Phi (D27)
110. Vincent Trocheck, C, NYR (F68)
111. Kris Letang, D, Pit (D28)
112. Artturi Lehkonen, LW, Col (F69)
113. Alex Tuch, RW, Buf (F70)
114. Mark Stone, RW, Vgk (F71)
115. Brent Burns, D, Car (D29)
116. Frederik Andersen, G, Car (G16)
117. Patrick Kane, RW, Chi (F72)
118. Brayden Point, C, TB (F73)
119. Jake DeBrusk, LW, Bos (F74)
120. Owen Tippett, RW, Phi (F75)
121. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, StL (F76)
122. Kevin Fiala, C, LA (F77)
123. Boone Jenner, C, Cls (F78)
124. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Det (F79)
125. Jordan Binnington, G, StL (G17)
126. Trevor Zegras, C, Ana (F80)
127. Robert Thomas, C, StL (F81)
128. Brayden Schenn, C, StL (F82)
129. Logan Couture, C, SJ (F83)
130. Thomas Chabot, D, Ott (D30)
131. Morgan Rielly, D, Tor (D31)
132. David Perron, RW, Det (F84)
133. Jeff Petry, D, Pit (D32)
134. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ari (D33)
135. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (D34)
136. Alexander Romanov, D, NYI (D35)
137. Chandler Stephenson, C, Vgk (F85)
138. David Krejci, C, Bos (F86)
139. Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (F87)
140. Rickard Rakell, C, Pit (F88)
141. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Det (F89)
142. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Cgy (F90)
143. Matty Beniers, C, Sea (F91)
144. Bryan Rust, RW, Pit (F92)
145. Kevin Hayes, C, Phi (F93)
146. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Min (G18)
147. Mason Marchment, LW, Dal (F94)
148. Brandon Montour, D, Fla (D36)
149. Neal Pionk, D, Wpg (D37)
150. Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Min (F95)
151. Gabriel Vilardi, C, LA (F96)
152. Clayton Keller, C, Ari (F97)
153. Jordan Kyrou, C, StL (F98)
154. Martin Jones, G, Sea (G19)
155. Shea Theodore, D, Vgk (D38)
156. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vgk (F99)
157. Anthony Duclair, LW, Fla (F100)
158. Adrian Kempe, C, LA (F101)
159. Sam Reinhart, RW, Fla (F102)
160. Cam Talbot, G, Ott (G20)
161. Thatcher Demko, G, Van (G21)
162. Hampus Lindholm, D, Bos (D39)
163. Tyler Johnson, C, Chi (F103)
164. Matt Boldy, LW, Min (F104)
165. Matt Duchene, C, Nsh (F105)
166. Andrei Kuzmenko, LW, Van (F106)
167. Jason Zucker, LW, Pit (F107)
168. Michael Bunting, LW, Tor (F108)
169. David Savard, D, Mon (D40)
170. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Fla (G22)
171. Brayden McNabb, D, Vgk (D41)
172. Ilya Samsonov, G, Tor (G23)
173. Jonathan Toews, C, Chi (F109)
174. Reilly Smith, RW, Vgk (F110)
175. Phillip Danault, C, LA (F111)
176. Mikael Granlund, LW, Nsh (F112)
177. Adam Larsson, D, Sea (D42)
178. Brock Boeser, RW, Van (F113)
179. Patrik Laine, RW, Cls (F114)
180. Shane Pinto, C, Ott (F115)
181. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Wsh (F116)
182. Blake Wheeler, RW, Wpg (F117)
183. Spencer Knight, G, Fla (G24)
184. Sam Bennett, LW, Fla (F118)
185. Victor Olofsson, RW, Buf (F119)
186. Jack Campbell, G, Edm (G25)
187. Tyler Seguin, C, Dal (F120)
188. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D43)
189. Jake McCabe, D, Chi (D44)
190. Nino Niederreiter, RW, Nsh (F121)
191. Nicholas Paul, C, TB (F122)
192. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D45)
193. Josh Brown, D, Ari (D46)
194. Taylor Hall, LW, Bos (F123)
195. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Sea (F124)
196. Brandon Hagel, LW, TB (F125)
197. Nathan Bastian, RW, NJ (F126)
198. Kirby Dach, C, Mon (F127)
199. Noah Hanifin, D, Cgy (D47)
200. Nick Schmaltz, C, Ari (F128)
201. Teuvo Teravainen, RW, Car (F129)
202. Matt Roy, D, LA (D48)
203. Alex Iafallo, LW, LA (F130)
204. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Col (F131)
205. Radko Gudas, D, Fla (D49)
206. Jamie Benn, LW, Dal (F132)
207. Ryan O’Reilly, C, StL (F133)
208. Torey Krug, D, StL (D50)
209. Stuart Skinner, G, Edm (G26)
210. Jared McCann, LW, Sea (F134)
211. Sean Durzi, D, LA (D51)
212. Jeff Skinner, LW, Buf (F135)
213. Anton Lundell, C, Fla (F136)
214. Connor Murphy, D, Chi (D52)
215. Nick Ritchie, LW, Ari (F137)
216. Brandon Tanev, LW, Sea (F138)
217. Karel Vejmelka, G, Ari (0)
218. Evan Rodrigues, C, Col (F139)
219. John Klingberg, D, Ana (D53)
220. William Karlsson, C, Vgk (F140)
221. MacKenzie Weegar, D, Cgy (D54)
222. Anton Forsberg, G, Ott (G27)
223. Ryan Hartman, RW, Min (F141)
224. James Reimer, G, SJ (G28)
225. Ryan McDonagh, D, Nsh (D55)
226. Calen Addison, D, Min (D56)
227. Lucas Raymond, LW, Det (F142)
228. Logan O’Connor, RW, Col (F143)
229. Matt Murray, G, Tor (G29)
230. Filip Hronek, D, Det (D57)
231. Jason Dickinson, C, Van (F144)
232. Adin Hill, G, Vgk (G30)
233. Bowen Byram, D, Col (D58)
234. Michael Rasmussen, C, Det (F145)
235. Marcus Pettersson, D, Pit (D59)
236. Dmitry Kulikov, D, Ana (D60)
237. Tyson Barrie, D, Edm (D61)
238. Scott Mayfield, D, NYI (D62)
239. Caleb Jones, D, Chi (D63)
240. Joel Edmundson, D, Mon (D64)
241. Luke Schenn, D, Van (D65)
242. Olli Maatta, D, Det (D66)
243. Jamie Oleksiak, D, Sea (D67)
244. Andrew Peeke, D, Cls (D68)
245. Lawson Crouse, LW, Ari (F146)
246. T.J. Oshie, RW, Wsh (F147)
247. Connor Clifton, D, Bos (D69)
248. Jarred Tinordi, D, NYR (D70)
249. Dylan Strome, C, Wsh (F148)
250. Jake Sanderson, D, Ott (D71)
Cam Atkinson, W, Philadelphia Flyers — getting close to when he was originally projected to return, so we await an update on his status.
Pyotr Kochetkov, G, Carolina Hurricanes
Tomas Tatar, W, New Jersey Devils
Mikael Backlund, C/W, Calgary Flames — nothing wrong with getting Jonathan Huberdeau as a linemate.
David Jiricek, D, Columbus Blue Jackets — with three goals in three games in the AHL since most recent demotion, maybe he should be on the Jackets advantage.
Marcus Bjork, D, Columbus Blue Jackets — currenlty is the one on the Jackets advantage.
Ryan Johansen, C, Nashville Predators
Viktor Arvidsson, W, Los Angeles Kings
Juuso Parssinen, C, Nashville Predators — maybe this stint on the top line isn’t going to be super temporary?
Kaiden Guhle, D, Montreal Canadiens
Nick Perbix, D, Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Zadorov, D, Calgary Flames
Gustav Forsling, D, Florida Panthers
Jaden Schwartz, W, Seattle Kraken
Andrew Mangiapane, W, Calgary Flames
Tyler Motte C/W, Ottawa Senators
Eric Comrie, G, Buffalo Sabres
Frank Vatrano, W, Anaheim Ducks
Jake Bean, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Timothy Liljegren, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
Adam Lowry, C/W, Winnipeg Jets
Jake Muzzin, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
Nick Jensen, D, Washington Capitals
Fantasy hockey rankings – What’s behind Mikhail Sergachev’s rise?
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