Fantasy Top-10: First-Time Players To Reach 70 Points

by Tom Collins on September 11, 2017 | (1 Comments)

We’re now at the stage where a 70-point season has to be considered elite. Only about 2.6 per cent of players will get to 70 points this year, if recent history is any indication.

Nineteen players had at least 70 points last season. Seven of them hit the mark for the first time in their career: Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Victor Hedman, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Scheifele, Nikita Kucherov, and Connor McDavid.

It’s easy to project Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane to reach 70 points as they’ve done it multiple times. But who are this year’s first-time 70-point players? Some are obvious. Some are a little under-the-radar but can get there in the right situations.

But if they get to 70 points, they should all be considered elite. At least for this season.

 

10. Mike Hoffman

Hoffman is going to get 70 points one of these years. Guessing which year is the difficult part, but let’s look at the positives. He’s scored 25 goals in three consecutive years. His points- and shots-per-game have increased every year since 2014-15. He really shone on the power play last year in his first extended chance on the Sens’ number one unit as he potted 13 power-play goals and 26 power-play points. Seventy points is doable if he continues to improve each season.

 

9. Aleksander Barkov

Staying healthy has always been Barkov’s issue. To reach 70 points, a player needs to a points-per-game percentage of 0.85 over 82 games. Barkov has averaged 0.87 points per game the last two seasons. The problem is he’s also averaged 64 games. Only once has he made it to 70 games, and he’s only averaged 63 games over his four-year career. All signs point to a 70-point player. He just needs to stay in the lineup.

 

8. Kris Letang

We already know Letang is one of the best defensemen in the league when healthy. We know he can get to a 70-point pace as he’s been on that pace in four of the last six seasons. He loves to shoot the puck, plays on an elite team, and logs a ton of minutes. He’s also the top power-play option for Pittsburgh and started in the offensive zone for 55 per cent of his shifts last year. All we need him to do is play all 82 games. (Insert laugh track here).

 

7. Patrik Laine

Laine would likely have hit 70 points in his rookie season if he didn’t suffer a concussion in January or hit a rookie wall at the end of the year (when he had five points in 14 games). But Laine looks to be the best scoring Jet since Teemu Selanne. There are some concerns: his 17.6 per cent shooting percentage seems high, but we don’t know yet what his norm may be. However, he also only had 14 power play points. An increase in PPP could offset a decline in shooting percentage.

 

6. Filip Forsberg

Nashville hasn’t had a 70-point player since Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont both accomplished the feat in 2007-08. Nashville could have a duo do the same again this year in Forsberg and Ryan Johansen. They play on the same line, have favourable offensive zone starts, and drive possession. I believe Forsberg gets to 70 points first, mainly because he shoots the puck a lot more than Johansen.

 

5. Jonathan Huberdeau

This one would have been no surprise if you read my column about top surprises from a few weeks back. Huberdeau has never broken the 60-point barrier, but did have a 69-point pace last year. He’s a great possession player and has a high offensive zone start percentage. The one knock is that Florida chooses to go with two power play lines instead of loading up on one, thereby reducing the amount of power-play time for Huberdeau. If that changes, then Huberdeau should be considered a lock for 70.

 

4. Brayden Schenn

Schenn will have a big opportunity that he never had in Philadelphia. And that’s to play with an elite player consistently at even strength. In Philly, Schenn regularly played with Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier and Dale Weise more often than Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. There’s a good chance he’ll play with Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis. Plus, Schenn is a beast on the power play as he’s had 69 power play points in the last three years combined.

 

3. Auston Matthews

I’ve talked before about how I believe the Leafs will have a setback season because of health issues and slumps of their young players, but Matthews is the one player I am confident will rise above those. The 19-year-old was just one point off of 70 last year and there’s no reason to believe that he can’t step it up even a little more this season. He’ll have increases in shots (I like him for 300 shots) and he should also see more power-play time.

 

2. Jake Guentzel

I’m actually surprised more people aren’t projecting bigger things for Guentzel this season. Many projections seem more conservative for him than I peg him for. I like him for three main reasons: He’s shone at pretty much every level, he’ll be playing with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin for most of the season, and he should be a shoo-in to replace James Neal on the top power play line. Last year Guentzel averaged just 1:22 on the power play.

 

1. Jack Eichel

Eichel really should have hit this mark a year ago, but a preseason injury kept him out for 22 games. He still managed to get 57 points in 60 games, a 78-point pace. Eichel is as sure a bet as anyone on this list to crack 70 this year. He’s supremely talented and should be considered one of the game’s truly elite players. 

 

  • Dobber

    I don’t think Hoffman ever gets 70, but put me down for Atkinson in his place.

  • MarkRM16

    I’m a fan of Hoffman, but I’m skeptical that he’ll ever reach 70 points in Ottawa because he lacks the quality of center necessary to do so. Turris and Brassard are both good No.2 centers, but nothing more. Odds are he won’t replicate his PP numbers this year, especially with Karlsson’s injury weakening the PP overall. 65 points is likely his ceiling.

    When you look at his career numbers, it’s pretty clear that Forsberg’s a goal-scorer, not a point-producer. So unless he scores 45-50 goals some day, I doubt he’ll ever reach 70. 65? Sure.

    I’d say the odds of Schenn centering Tarasenko are very high given the Blues’ talented wingers making it unnecessary to use him on the wing. Plus, Berglund’s out of the lineup for some time, hurting the team’s depth at C, and Stastny’s an inconsistent player that’s a lock to miss 10-15 games to injury. The only way he’d reach 70 points would be if Tarasenko stays healthy and breaks out in grand fashion. I think 65 would be a reasonable expectation.

  • Alan Hudson

    The chances of Letang playing all 82 games are slim and none!

  • Ryan Taylor

    These top 10 articles man. On Brayden Schenn:

    31.1% KONECNY,TRAVIS – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – SIMMONDS,WAYNE
    30.6% GIROUX,CLAUDE – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – SIMMONDS,WAYNE
    19.6% COUTURIER,SEAN – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – WEISE,DALE
    10.6% SCHENN,BRAYDEN – SIMMONDS,WAYNE – WEISE,DALE
    8.1% GIROUX,CLAUDE – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – VORACEK,JAKUB

    Using Dobber’s own tools, Schenn spent about 70% of his even strength ice time with high end players last year, and there’s really no guarantee he will play with Tarasenko. There’s not even a guarantee he will play center.

    On Jake Guentzel: He *might* be a candidate to replace Patric Hornqvist on the top PP this year, but I highly doubt it considering how different their skill sets are. Not really sure where the Neal thing is coming from.

    On Patrick Laine: “if he didn’t hit a rookie wall” is just a different way of saying Laine would have scored 70 points last year if he would have scored more. Was it a rookie wall or a slump? Is Laine immune to slumps? I think he will hit 70, but I wouldn’t use the argument that he would have if he just scored more last year.

    • Tom Collins

      Sorry, it’s been a crazy week. But I wanted to respond to the Schenn thing quickly. According to Puck IQ, last season, Schenn played 314 minutes with Dale Weise, 267.85 minutes with Giroux, 250 minutes with Konecny 204 minutes with Couturier and 161.33 minutes with Voracek. I believe that is even strength ice time (the site doesn’t specify, but if it included power play, Voracek would have been much higher). So I probably should have said Schenn played just as much with Weise, Konecny and Couturier as Giroux and Voracek. Or simply that he played with Weise more than Giroux and Voracek.

      Of course he’s not guaranteed to play with Tarasenko. I never said so. I said there’s a good chance he does. But no one is guaranteed to play with anyone else in the league, except for maybe the Sedins.

      As for the Guentzel section, I did mean Hornqvist and not Neal. That was just a brain cramp. Guentzel did start stealing Hornqvist’s power play time in the playoffs (Hornqvist averaged 2:41 while Guentzel averaged 2:10). And I’m confident he’ll continue to do so this year and end up replacing Hornqvist on the top unit.

  • NoDoughty

    LOL, Neal hasn’t played for the penguins the last 3 years…

  • colt45

    As a Hoffman, Letang, Laine, Huberdeau and Guentzel owner, this article has me pumped!

  • Vladimir Blutin

    Uh I think Kessel already beat Guentzel to replace Neal on the Penguins top power play?

    • Ben

      Great and interesting article. This line is pretty funny.

      • Peter O’Neil

        Give the author a break, the Neal thing was obviously a brain fart!