New faces, in new places. Who is your best bet in terms of Fantasy Hockey after the Metro Arms-Race this Summer?
The Metro Division
Maybe the most improved division in hockey. Some of the teams who were left wounded after this off-season are still worth looking at in your fantasy hockey leagues. .
The Carolina Hurricanes
G/GP 3.0 (13th) – PP% 17.8% (20th)
2018-19: 82gp / 30g / 53a / 83pts / +25 / 26PIM / 24PPP / 243SOG @ 12.3% / 65 Hits / 34 Blocks / 20:09ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 21g / 55a / 76pts / +30 / 12PIM / 24PPP / 167SOG @ 12.6% / 35 Hits / 23 Blocks / 17:55 ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 20g / 17a / 37pts / +0 / 62PIM / 5PPP / 189SOG @ 10.6% / 123 Hits / 26 Blocks / 14:39ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 23g / 30a / 53pts / -4 / 20PIM / 15PPP / 184SOG @ 12.5% / 94 Hits / 20 Blocks / 16:14ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 11g / 24a / 35pts / +9 / 47PIM / 10PPP / 217SOG @ 5.1% / 156 Hits / 121 Blocks / 22:25ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 18g / 21a / 39pts / +0 / 54PIM / 7PPP / 0SHP / 259SOG @ 6.9% / 160 Hits / 91 Blocks / 19:40ATOI
As you will notice, all of these players played all 82 games. The best ability is availability. Svechnikov doubles as my sleeper pick here; his likely promotion to the top line and rate stats suggest that he is going to take a major step forward this year. I like Justin Faulk not only for his trade potential, but also his deployment on the Canes and top power play exposure.
Other notable options: Jake Gardiner, Petr Mrazek, Jordan Staal
Sleepers: Andrei Svechnikov, Martin Necas, Jaccob Slavin
The Columbus Blue Jackets
G/GP 3.1 (11th) – PP% 15.4% (28th)
2018-19: 75gp / 9g / 37a / 46pts / +1 / 28PIM / 10PPP / 184SOG @ 4.9% / 106 Hits / 133 Blocks / 25:49ATOI
2018-19: 80gp / 41g / 28a / 69pts / +3 / 20PIM / 14PPP / 295SOG @ 13.9% / 27 Hits / 25 Blocks / 19:23ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 27g / 34a / 61pts / +16 / 64PIM / 9PPP / 174SOG @ 15.5% / 115 Hits / 52 Blocks / 17:43ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 11g / 33a / 44pts / -12 / 18PIM / 15PPP / 168SOG @ 6.5% / 67 Hits / 89 Blocks / 22:54ATOI
2018-19: 81gp / 22g / 38a / 60pts / +1 / 12PIM / 12PPP / 204SOG @ 10.8% / 36 Hits / 23 Blocks / 17:31ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 27g / 20a / 47pts / +25 / 60PIM / 7PPP / 230SOG @ 11.7% / 214 Hits / 40 Blocks / 17:01ATOIPanarin, Bobrovsky, Duchene, Dzingel. All gone. To me, that means more ice time and opportunities to be had elsewhere. PLD will be all but guaranteed top deployment. Anderson moves up the lineup with over 200 in both shots and hits. Nyquist is a new fixture on a top line that has a lot to prove.
Other notable targets: Boone Jenner, Nick Foligno, Oliver Bjorkstrand
Sleepers: Elvis Merzlikins, Alexandre Texier, Emil Bemstrom
The New Jersey Devils
G/GP 2.7 (26th) – PP% 17.7% (21st)
Perhaps the most improved team this summer. Big additions with a lot of upside.
2018-19: 33gp / 11g / 26a / 37pts / -6 / 16PIM / 12PPP / 113SOG @ 9.7% / 22 Hits / 29 Blocks / 19:41ATOI
2018-19: 63gp / 9g / 22a / 31pts / +5 / 60PIM / 10PPP / 168SOG @ 5.4% / 56 Hits / 75 Blocks / 22:40ATOI
2018-19 KHL: 62gp / 17g / 65a / 82pts / +39 / 10PIM / 3PPG / 194SOG @ 8.8% / 2 Hits / 3 Blocks / 15:52ATOI
2018-19: 69gp / 17g / 30a / 47pts / +0 / 24PIM / 11PPP / 160SOG @ 10.6% / 53 Hits / 44 Blocks / 18:06ATOI
2018-19: 74gp / 27g / 23a / 50pts / -9 / 42PIM / 18PPP / 224SOG @ 12.1% / 98 Hits / 35 Blocks / 18:09ATOI
2018-19: 26gp / 6-13-4 / .903sv% / 3.06GAA / 1SO
If you listen to Zac and I on the Five Hole Fantasy Hockey Podcast, you’ll know that we aren’t super high on the New Jersey Net. But Schneider may be a surprise to some. In his last 15gp he posted a .922sv% and finished the year strong. He might have went 6-7-2, but with the upgrades in Jersey I know he will have offensive support. Kyle Palmieri is a must own in all bangers leagues, and still worthwhile in points-only leagues. Hischier and Hughes could be interchangeable on the top line, but for now we will go with Hischier. Gusev has the potential to top 250SOG and 65 points with more ice-time and top PP deployment.
Other notable options: Wayne Simmonds, Will Butcher, Blake Coleman
Sleepers: Mackenzie Blackwood, Jack Hughes, Nikita Gusev
The New York Islanders
G/GP 2.7 (21st) – PP% 14.5% (29th)
A goaltender swap headlined the Islanders offseason. Semyon Varlamov takes the place of an excellent Robin Lehner from last year.
2018-19: 82gp / 18g / 44a / 62pts / -5 / 46PIM / 18PPP / 179SOG @ 10.1% / 25 Hits / 56 Blocks / 17:55ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 28g / 23a / 51pts / +20 / 58PIM / 16PPP / 204SOG @ 13.7% / 103 Hits / 51 Blocks / 17:05ATOI
2018-19: 78gp / 19g / 18a / 37pts / -6 / 17PIM / 12PPP / 160SOG @ 11.9% / 36 Hits / 35 Blocks / 16:32ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 9g / 28a / +21 / 22PIM / 9PPP / 180SOG @ 5.0% / 143 Hits / 148 Blocks / 22:22ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 16g / 40a / 56pts / +8 / 21PIM / 14PPP / 126SOG @ 12.7% / 19 Hits / 32 Blocks / 16:50ATOI
2018-19: 49gp / 20-19-9 / .909sv% / 2.87gaa / 2SO
Varlamov could benefit from a Barry Trotz defensive mindset, the very same mindset that gave Lehner a Vezina nod. Keep in mind however, the chances of Varly sharing the net with Greiss is still very possible. A handcuff on the tandem would be a safe bet if you are taking a chance on Varly. Bailey, Eberle Lee, and Barzal all experienced down years this past season. The upside is there, and the same could be said for young Ryan Pulock. Pulock has a serious chance at owning that #1 PP, and bringing his PPG pace back up to what it was 2 seasons ago.
Other notable options: Nick Leddy, Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier
Sleepers: Devon Toews, Ryan Pulock, Michael Dal Colle
The New York Rangers
G/GP 2.7 (21st) – PP% 19.4% (17th)
The Rangers landed the big fish this summer in Artemi Panarin, paired that with the #2 overall pick in the entry draft, and upgraded their defense with Jacob Trouba. The rebuild is on the fast track it seems, and expectations are high.
2018-19: 79gp / 28g / 59a / 87pts / +14 / 23PIM / 18PPP / 191SOG @ 14.7% / 14 Hits / 17 Blocks / 19:51ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 30g / 44a / 74pts / -12 / 47PIM / 23PPP / 236SOG @ 12.7% / 134 Hits / 66 Blocks / 20:34ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 8g / 42a / 50pts / +8 / 58PIM / 18PPP / 162SOG @ 4.9% / 112 Hits / 171 Blocks / 22:53ATOI
2018-19: 64gp / 21g / 17a / 38pts / -10 / 13PIM / 12PPP / 119SOG @ 17.6% / 60 Hits / 20 Blocks / 15:10ATOI
2018-19: 79gp / 28g / 24a / 52pts / +4 / 57PIM / 12PPP / 201SOG @ 13.9% / 159 Hits / 49 Blocks / 17:24ATOI
2018-19: 78gp / 8g / 17a / 25pts / -4 / 44PIM / 0PPP / 126SOG @ 6.3% / 178 Hits / 119 Blocks / 21:14ATOI
Love me some Brady Skjei in the bottom of bangers fantasy hockey drafts! Skjei will get you hits and blocks, but almost nothing else. Kreider might lose some ES ice-time to Panarin, but on the PP and in the peripheral categories don’t expect too much to change. Artemi Panarin is a points-only league monster, might fade a bit down drafts in bangers but not by much.
Other notable targets: Henrik Lundqvist, Tony DeAngelo, Filip Chytil
Sleepers: Kaapo Kakko, Adam Fox, Libor Hajek
The Philadelphia Flyers
G/GP 2.9 (18th) – PP% 17.1% (22nd)
A few new faces, both on defense and offense. Behind the bench has an all new look as well.
2018-19: 82gp / 22g / 63a / 85pts / +9 / 24PIM / 23PPP / 229SOG @ 9.6% / 28 Hits / 19 Blocks / 21:27ATOI
2018-19: 80gp / 33g / 43a / 76pts / +2 / 34PIM / 17PPP / 223SOG @ 14.8% / 40 Hits / 60 Blocks / 22:08ATOI
2018-19: 78gp / 9g / 28a / 37pts / -20 / 22PIM / 14PPP / 180SOG @ 5.0% / 46 Hits / 102 Blocks / 19:40ATOI
2018-19: 78gp / 20g / 46a / 66pts / -16 / 25PIM / 18PPP / 210SOG @ 9.5% / 17 Hits / 29 Blocks / 18:40ATOI
2018-19: 31gp / 16-13-1 / .917sv% / 2.83gaa / 0SO
2018-19: 82gp / 7g / 19a / 26pts / -16 / 32PIM / 2PPP / 145SOG @ 4.8% / 123 Hits / 149 Blocks / 25:07ATOI
Most players on this list regressed from two seasons ago, except Sean Couturier. Coots was unaffected by the PP troubles, by the oiS% dip, by everything! Still managing to put up back to back 76 point seasons, this time in two less games. Carter Hart becomes Starter Hart. The hyped rookie will see his first NHL starters workload.
Other notable options: James van Riemsdyk, Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny
Sleepers: Travis Sanheim, Oskar Lindblom, Nolan Patrick
The Pittsburgh Penguins
G/GP 3.3 (Tied 5th) – PP% 24.6% (5th)
The Penguins made a few key moves in the offseason. A Phil Kessel departure opens up a top power-play spot, likely for Jake Guentzel. Alex Galchenyuk was the return in the Kessel trade, and will play for his 3rd team in as many years.
2018-19: 79gp / 35g / 65a / 100pts / +18 / 36PIM / 29PPP / 220SOG @ 15.9% / 85 Hits / 43 Blocks / 21:00ATOI
2018-19: 68gp / 21g / 51a / 72pts / -25 / 89 PIM / 26PPP / 187SOG @ 11.2% / 54 Hits / 33 Blocks / 18:48ATOI
2018-19: 82gp / 40g / 36a / 76pts / +13 / 26PIM / 11PPP / 227SOG @ 17.6% / 105 Hits / 47 Blocks / 19:21ATOI
2018-19: 65gp / 16g / 40a / 56pts / +13 / 48PIM / 19PPP / 206SOG @ 7.8% / 116 Hits / 111 Blocks / 25:58ATOI
2018-19: 50gp / 29-14-6 / .919sv% / 2.69GAA / 4SO
2018-19: 69gp / 18g / 19a / 37pts / -3 / 26PIM / 12PPP / 197SOG @ 9.1% / 150 Hits / 34 Blocks / 15:29ATOI
Still a dynasty, the Penguins are a hub for fantasy hockey targets. Hornqvist I have here for his ‘later in the draft’ banger value. The rest are all but self explanatory. Crosby, Malkin (when healthy), Letang (when healthy), and Guentzel, who will be seeing ES and PP time with Crosby should be one of the better banger and points fantasy hockey players out there.
Other notable targets: Alex Galchenyuk, Justin Schultz, Nick Bjugstad
Sleepers: Domink Kahun, Bryan Rust, Marcus Pettersson
The Washington Capitals
G/GP 3.3 (Tied 5th) – PP% 20.8% (12th)
Always in the hunt for the President’s trophy, and one of the most consistently lethal offensive teams out there, the Caps.
2018-19: 81gp / 51g / 38a / 89pts / +7 / 40PIM / 28PPP / 338SOG @ 15.1% / 223 Hits / 41 Blocks / 20:55ATOI
2018-19: 80gp / 13g / 57a / 70pts / +21 / 34PIM / 33PPP / 185SOG @ 7.0% / 54 Hits / 164 Blocks / 25:04ATOI
2018-19: 59gp / 32-19-5 / .911sv% / 2.82GAA / 3SO
2018-19: 76gp / 21g / 51a / 72pts / +7 / 50PIM / 23PPP / 193SOG @ 10.9% / 46 Hits / 20 Blocks / 18:47ATOI
2018-19: 80gp / 22g / 52 / 74pts / +2 / 30PIM / 23PPP / 169SOG @ 13.0% / 54 Hits / 30 Blocks / 19:57ATOI
2018-19: 69gp / 25g / 29a / 54pts / +5 / 36PIM / 14PPP / 143SOG @ 17.5% / 133 Hits / 55 Blocks / 18:37ATOI
Tom Wilson is your quintessential banger, PIMs, Hits, and a sprinkle of points here and there. The top PP is where you will find your best value, but there are a few worth having on your rosters outside of the top unit. Holtby is one of the goaltender who hasn’t felt the “Tendem Trend” that is the newest NHL fad.
Other notable options: Tom Wilson, Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik
Sleepers: Jakub Vrana, Radko Gudas, Phoenix Copley