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Fantasy Hockey TOI and PPTOI Trends in Week 11

When you’re in a deep league with a full-size NHL starting lineup and seven bench positions for a 27-man roster like I am, top line and power play ice time are indispensable factors in analyzing waiver pickups. Both of these factors change over the course of the season, so here in Week 11 we’re going to dive a bit deeper into each of them to highlight the latest trends.

 

Tyler Ennis, Forward, Buffalo Sabres

Tyler Ennis (C, LW eligibility; 14% owned in Yahoo leagues) just had himself a nice week, posting a goal and four assists for the Sabres as they rode a three-game winning streak. This season, he has amassed eight goals and 13 assists so far in 30 games, quietly posting a great season for the lowly Sabres. That's a nicer production rate than his 43 points in 80 games last year.

Ennis plays big minutes–power play included–for Buffalo on a top line with Matt Moulson and Zemgus Girgensons, so if you can afford a slight hit to your plus-minus, it's worth picking him up for the offensive punch.

 

Sean Couturier, Forward, Philadelphia Flyers

Sean Couturier (C eligibility; 5% owned in Yahoo leagues) is a former No. 8 overall pick of the Flyers and was a prolific scorer for Drummondville in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. So while he has adopted a muck-and-grind type of game with Philadelphia, he has the ability to produce. In addition, he has been seeing power play time as well, averaging 1:52 per game.

If you thought Ennis had a nice week, well Couturier is riding a six-game point streak, in which he has totaled three goals and four assists for seven points, three of which came by way of the power play. On the year, he has seven goals and 15 points in 29 games.

Though his center-only eligibility does make it tough to pick him up, if you're in a deep league or are battling injuries, don't hesitate to add Couturier.

 

Tomas Fleischmann, Forward, Florida Panthers

It has been a roller coaster season so far for Tomas Fleischmann (LW, RW eligibility; 2% owned in Yahoo leagues). The fact that a player of his caliber has such a small ownership rate essentially proves that. The Panthers' winger only posted three points in 19 games spanning October and November. But perhaps Fleischmann found himself on Santa's nice list, because his December has been lights out thus far with two goals and five points in seven games.

He averages around 15 minutes of ice time per game, with 1:14 of power play time. The good news, though, is that he has seen a steady increase in ice time from October to December as his game came around, seeing a jump from 13:53 to 16:57 on average respectively. Florida isn't a loaded team by any means, but they're showing they can perform with the best. Give Fleischmann a long look if you need some help on the wing.

 

Aaron Ekblad, Defense, Florida Panthers

Aaron Ekblad (56% owned in Yahoo leagues), Fleischmann's teammate in Florida, is virtually a must-own if you are in a keeper league. The rookie sensation is breaking franchise records and accomplishing feats that the NHL hasn't seen since Bobby Orr–posting three assists in one game as a rookie defenseman.

With five goals and 13 assists in 28 games this year, he is posting numbers that are more in line with what we are accustomed to seeing from a forward. In his last 12 games, Ekblad has recorded at least two shots on goal–and as many as six in one game–in every game, so that's a nice bonus if you're in a league that counts shots. Coach Gerard Gallant has given the 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick every opportunity to be a key cog in the Panthers' machine–21:56 per game and 2:51 on the power play–and he has responded well. It's amazing he is only owned in just over half of all Yahoo leagues. Scoop him up right now for blue line assistance if he is available. You won't be disappointed.