Erik Gustafsson, Chicago Blackhawks (23.9 per cent owned)
Any mention of Chicago’s defence this season has usually been about the deteriorating play of veterans Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook; however, Erik Gustafsson has provided fans with some hope for the future. The 26-year-old plays with Keith on the top pairing and is also the only defenceman featured on the primary power play unit. He probably won’t reach his projected point totals of 16 goals and 48 points come season’s end, but he’s playing an average of 22 minutes per night and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. His ownership has nearly quadrupled since last week which means fantasy enthusiasts are starting to catch on. Get him while you can.
Nick Leddy, New York Islanders (19.1 per cent owned)
Leddy is another defenceman who is owned at a surprisingly low clip given his high usage rate. His offence has left a lot to be desired when compared to his production last season, but he also finally seems to be coming into his own. He’s on the top defence pairing alongside Johnny Boychuk and is the only defenceman on the top power play unit. The 27-year-old may only have one goal through 40 games, but he’s scored 10 goals or more in three of the past four seasons so it’s only a matter of time before his scoring touch returns given the wealth of opportunity at his disposal. He’s still providing fantasy value in the meantime posting four assists in his last five games.
Noah Hanifin, Flames (9.6 per cent owned)
Hanifin may seem like a bit of a sleeper darkhorse in comparison to Gustafsson and Leddy, but at age 21 he’s by far the youngest and has, arguably, the most upside. He does see time on the second pairing as well as on the second power play which has much less appeal than the primary units, but that hasn’t stopped him from racking up 23 points in 43 games. He only has three goals this season although the opportunity to perform is always there given the potency of Calgary’s offence. He’s also recorded two assists in each of his past two games so perhaps he has hit another gear in what is shaping up to be a breakout season.