Investigating 20-21 TOI increases for forwards and how it impacts their fantasy outlook.
Carter Verhaeghe, FLA:
Much like numerous Lightning prospects before him, Verhaeghe paid his dues in the AHL before playing his first full-time season with Tampa in 2019-20. Playing just 9:22 per game on average, the pending UFA moved a few hours South to join the Panthers ahead of this season. Now skating on the top line with Aleksander Barkov, Verhaeghe is averaging 17:20 per game and has been very productive, with 13 points in 16 games. You know you’ve seen some improvement when you’ve already matched your 2019-20 point total (in 36 fewer games).
Verhaeghe has been a prolific scorer at every level he’s played at, from the OHL all the way up. Sure, not every player that dominates the minors can translate that to success in the NHL right away but it seems as though he’s found a very nice home in Florida. Making just $1m for this season and next, he’ll for sure be top 10 lowest for Cost Per Point on CapFriendly.
Roope Hintz, DAL:
A large reason for Hintz’s TOI boost this season has been the absence of Tyler Seguin, but he was penciled in as the full-time 2C going into the season regardless. Dallas is sure turning into a sneaky great team when it comes to drafting and developing players, as we’ve seen glimpses of what guys like Hintz and Denis Gurianov can do once they’re given ice time. A 2015 second-rounder, there is plenty to love and look forward to here. In 2019-20, he showed tremendous improvement from his 2018-19 rookie season, most notably rocketing up to 15.8% shooting from 9.1%.
Though the sample size is only ten games, Hintz is at an even better 17.4% thus far. With more ice time, he is also on pace to smash his previous career highs for shots and shot attempts. Ten points in ten games is a great start, but with Seguin out the sky's the limit for Roope Hintz.
Andrew Mangiapane, CGY:
The other “Bread Man” in the league has yet to surpass 150 career games in the NHL, meaning he is not yet a household name. Mangiapane, aside from being hard to spell, has seen a dramatic increase in TOI this season thanks to a pleasantly surprising 2019-20 campaign (17G-15A-32P) and some streaky teammates. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan too are both top-level talents in the NHL but we have seen both go through cold stretches like no other. That is where Mang steps in. His style of play can be seen as a gritty, forechecker who crashes the net. Last season’s line of Mangiapane-Backlund-Tkachuk was among the top 10 best lines in hockey according to xGF/60 (3.26). Individually, this season has been no different. He currently ranks second on the Flames in even-strength xGF (3.8) and has been rewarded with PP1 and PP2 time.
Similar to what we have seen with fellow FantasyPuck favourite Rasmus Andersson, Calgary tends to shuffle their lines and PP units quite often. Both Mangiapane and Andersson have seen time on both units as well as off of them entirely. I drafted Mangiapane in a couple of leagues as a late round flier. I will admit I dropped him in at least one of them as the fantasy production was not quite there to start, however, I have watchlisted him and will be monitoring his usage and position on the depth chart as he brings similar sneaky value to your team that Zach Hyman or Brendan Gallagher can.
Conor Garland, ARZ:
At the beginning of the season, the Coyotes looked very boring from a fantasy and viewer perspective. Aside from the seemingly constant drama ongoing within the front office and Arizona media, the team saw Taylor Hall walk and were going into the season with the same aging defense core. After some initial tinkering of the lines, ARZ1 was born. An extremely valuable DFS line stack, ARZ1 features Garland, Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller. After this line the forwards are indeed boring, but continue to keep up in the playoff hunt. Garland broke into the league in 2018-19 after a couple of seasons in the AHL and has been improving every year. We are seeing great results from Garland (7G-8A-15P) in 17 games and from that top line in the Desert. They are the 2nd best line in the NHL according to xGF% (which considers xGF and xGA) proving the Coyotes are continuing to stick to their defensive game, while also appearing on our fantasy rosters.
Barring any injuries, 50 points seems easily attainable for Garland who leads his team in even-strength xGF (4.4). It was clear in his rookie season that he had some scoring talent after posting seven goals in only his second month in the league. Some believed it was a fluke, but by putting Garland with some offensive-minded linemates has turned all three of them into fantasy-relevant players. If Garland is available in your league, grab him!
Thanks for reading this article. FP Sven and FP Don wrote this together. Hope you enjoyed it and we hope to bring you more content next week!