DAILY PRIME: SUNDAY STORYLINES
I have been gushing out of excitement when talking about the Stanley Cup playoffs so far, as their has been a record amount of come-back victories for Round 1. No lead is safe, which makes for tremendous viewing pleasure. As a fantasy hockey pundit, a few storylines have stood out as we watch the postseason play out:
With all the negative talk centered on Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been lacking in the scoring department with a combined ZERO goals in five games. However, both stars were united on the top line along with Chris Kunitz last night and produced their best game so far. Kunitz led the way with a goal and an assist, while Crosby chipped in with his 5th assist of the series. Look for the trio to stay intact and build some momentum in Game 6. Huge fantasy potential for all three elite forwards if the Pens get by the Jackets.
Colorado's super rookie is at it again as Nathan MacKinnon exploded for three more points, including the overtime game winner in the 4-3 victory. The 18-year old has been dominant in three home tilts with 10 points, but went scoreless in 2 road games. This guy is rising up the fantasy draft boards, but be careful not to overrate him in your pools next season. The next logical scoring progression should land him in the 70-75 point range, as Matt Duchene will be back to his point-per-game ways. Speaking of Duchene, his availability for Game 6 is uncertain as he recovers from his knee injury. Monitor his situation, as his addition to the Avalanche offense should get them by the Wild.
Last playoff season, it was young Torey Krug who came out of nowhere to be a solid point contributor in the Bruins Stanley Cup run. It was also the highly touted Dougie Hamilton who barely got a sniff of playoff action because he was deemed not ready. Well, the patience in bringing him up slowly has seemed to pay off as Hamilton has recorded four points in the last three games. The ultra-talented sophomore is playing with a higher level of confidence and looks real poised to adding at least 10-15 points to his offensive production next season. With "Big Z" in his waning years, a projected power-play tandem of Krug and Hamilton should be a fantasy force for years to come.
Young guns Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar clearly took a backseat to the Red Wing veterans in their first round series loss to Boston, but don't overlook these two budding stars in fantasy leagues next season. Nyquist holds higher scoring potential, as he should be a top-line performer with plenty of power-play time. 75-80 point upside is in the cards for the talented Swede, so keep him highly regarded in your upcoming fantasy conversations. As for Tatar, he should keep developing his offensive prowess and become a consistent top-six forward, while getting secondary power-play duty. Project him in the 55-60 point range for '2014-15, with mucher higher upside in 2-3 years.