Happy Friday Arizona Coyotes fans! On Fridays we will look at Coyotes players from a fantasy hockey perspective in Friday Fantasy Hockey (cue the epic, cheesy music), and provide analysis and insights on where you should draft him in your league.
Fantasy hockey has a slightly more intricate scoring system compared to fantasy football and requires a larger time commitment. Having to set your lineup every day and multiple scoring categories is required.
Standard scoring leagues award points (+/-) for goals, assists, points, powerplay goals, powerplay assists, powerplay points, short handed points, goals against, saves, wins, loses, shutouts, and overtime loses.
There are modified stats/category leagues that in addition to the standard scoring system, award points (+/-) for advanced stats like shots, hits, blocked shots, faceoff wins, penalty minutes, and more (depending on the league commissioner).
The Arizona Coyotes feature players who fly under the radar but have fantasy value.
This Friday Fantasy Hockey we look at forward Nick Bjugstad.
2021-22 Season Review
Nick Bjugstad finished his tenth season in the NHL with a pedestrian 7 goals, 6 assists, and 13 points in 57 games. Those numbers are nothing to write home about. He did miss some time with an injury and was a healthy scratch multiple times on a deep Minnesota Wild roster. When healthy, Bjugstad played very well on the Wild’s fourth line, but had limited minutes (he averaged only 10:16 minutes of ice time per game).
The skill set that Bjugstad brings to the table speaks volumes about how talented the Wild’s roster was. Looking at advanced stats Bjugstad had 99 hits, 14 blocked shots, and won 55.3% of his faceoffs. The guy made a difference on the ice.
Nick was signed by the Coyotes to add toughness, leadership, and to help fill out a roster that is loaded with kids. The team has already expressed that the expectations for Bjugstad are to play a larger role in the offense and log more minutes on the top lines.
General Bill Armstrong said, “We just felt like this guy has an ability to get us 25 goals in a year and if we put him in the right situations, he has that ability to score. I don’t like it sometimes when he’s on that third or fourth line. When you put him up in the order and put him on the power play, he can do some damage. He’ll have to execute and produce in that situation, but he’s going to get an opportunity here.”
This should bode well for Nick from a fantasy perspective.
Nick Bjugstad’s meager stat line had him hidden from all fantasy radars in standard scoring leagues. As much of a great person as Bjugstad is, he offered virtually no fantasy value in any size standard scoring league, aside from hitting the jackpot on the random chance he was in line ups on a night that he scored. If you had him in your line up on one of those nights, congratulations.
In standard scoring leagues he registered 38 points. He should not have been rostered. His fantasy outlook heading into the 2022-23 season should be much greater if the Coyotes give him more minutes and play him on one of the top two lines. The expected 25 goals is not out of the question. If you have seen Bjugstad play before, you know that he plays a physical game and busts his butt each and every shift, every night. Given this opportunity, he should score 25 goals and 40 points.
In standard scoring leagues, that makes him more of a Marcus Foligno type player, and puts him around 170 fantasy points. That would justify him being rostered in all leagues with 12 or more teams, and a last round pick in 10-team leagues. He will enter the season off of all fantasy radars and should be available in your league.
Draft him with caution.
Looking at advanced stats, Nick Bjugstad finished last season with 174.75 fantasy points, leaving him off of almost all fantasy rosters. If he can live up to the expectations that the team brass has of him, he should be viewed as a Foligno type player and would be expected to finish the season with 25 goals, 15 assists, 40 points, 170+ hits, and 100 blocks. Those type of numbers would put Bjugstad at 422.75 points and would make him a player who should be rostered in all modified stat leagues.
10-team or higher leagues, he would be an impact player, and if you snagged him late in your draft would make him a steal. Given his production last season, the fact that he plays on the Coyotes, and that he is only able to be started as a center, he will not get any attention on draft day. Unless your league has more than one Coyotes’ fan, you can safely bet that he will be available when you are up with one of your final two picks.
I suggest taking him late in all modified stat leagues.