The most surprising break out fantasy players of this year at the half way mark.
Evgeny Kuznetsov is having a breakout year after having a solid rookie season. We are a little over the halfway mark of the season, and he has already passed his point total of last season, and if he keeps pace he could hit 80 points. This should not come as a total surprise however; he has had more playing time with the Alexander Ovechkin the “great 8”, and Ovechkin is a point machine for any decent playmaker who can feed him the puck.
Kyle Palmieri Is having a career year as well as some other players on this year’s surprising New Jersey Devils team. He has already passed his career best in points (35) and a career best in goals(20). A lot of this may be due to the increase in overall ice time, as well as more time on the power play, if this pace keeps up he could very well hit the 60 point season total.
Rasmus Ristolainen, at the age of 21, has finally shown some really good signs of development this season. He has tied his career high goal mark (8) and passed his assist high (23). This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise because the new system Bylsma has implemented is much more suited for two-way defenseman such as himself. This former 8th overall pick is setting himself up for a career year, and a bright future if he can keep this pace.
Shayne Gostisbehere while not having a huge sample size Gostisbehere has put up 19 points in 27 games. A rather smaller, mobile defenseman, Gostisbehere has drawn some comparison to the Senators Erik Karlsson. His ability to join the rush, and make smart plays while moving from his own zone has resulted in points. I do have my doubts if the rookie can keep fire like this, but I cannot deny the consistency he has shown thus far.
Petr Mrazek was a 5th round pick in 2010, and since then has come a long way in his career. Going into this season Mrazek had played in every level of the league, which includes a Calder Cup while playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2013. Mrazek only sports 17 win this year, but has an outstanding .932 save% and a 2.03 GAA. While it is unlikely his numbers will stay that good, it is still an extremely good fantasy season on any standard.
Jake Allen came into the season battling for a number one spot with Brian Elliot and has come out on top. Allen is 4 wins’ shy of reaching his career high of 22, but with the amount of playing time he will get he should well top that number. Allen carries a .924 save% and 2.17 GAA, which is very impressive because the Blues are one of the most injury plagued teams this season.
* Photo by USAToday Sports Images
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