Here's a quick read on Jack Eichel discussing his underrated status among the league's new crop of young superstars. To pluck one note from the article, Eichel went on 26-game binder with 11 goals and 34 points late in the season, which should probably be considering his ceiling.
A high-ankle sprain to start the campaign limited Eichel to just 61 games, but he was a force as soon as he returned to action and never looked back. The young pivot approached a point-per-game campaign with 24 goals and 57 points, which actually topped his rookie numbers during despite playing 20 fewer contests.
Of particular note was Eichel's willingness to shot, as recorded an impressive 12.3 shots per 60 minutes, 249 total and 4.1 per game -- all elite marks. Additionally, Eichel's 24 power-play points with the man advantage were a huge boost to his fantasy value. The Sabres added reinforcements during the offseason, and Eichel should continue to improve as he gets closer to his prime years. However, it might be difficult to show significant offensive growth considering how rare point-per-game seasons are in the modern NHL. Still, more of the same makes him an elite fantasy asset in all settings.
Here is another quick read discussing Tuukka Rask's workload, and Boston's confidence in backup Anton Khudobin. The idea is that Rask is better suited to play 55-60 games, and that historically, his numbers have dipped and injuries have crept up when he plays too much. Khudobin is a serviceable No. 2 netminder, and while he's nothing more than a depth piece or streaming option in fantasy settings, keeping Rask healthy and effective for 60 games makes sense.
There aren't significant fantasy ripples here, but after posting a career-high 37 wins and eight shutouts, there's a decent chance Rask fails to come close to those marks in 2017-18. However, fantasy owners would take the dip in counting stats for better ratios, and that seems within reach. Rask's posted an identical .915 save percentage in consecutive seasons, so there is room for improvement, especially considering he's shown statistical decline following the All-Star break in both campaigns.
Here are four more deep dives to read over.
It was a horrible start to 2016-17 for Forsberg, as he scored just three goals with a 3.8 shooting percentage through the first 38 games of the year. However, he caught fire and recorded 28 tallies with an 18.7 shooting percentage over the final 48 contests of the campaign. The 23-year-old winger finished the season with 31 goals, 58 points and 234 shots while playing all 82 games for a third consecutive campaign. Forsberg showed excellent chemistry with Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson atop the Nashville depth chart, and the trio should remain the go-to scoring line for Nashville entering 2017-18. It's worth noting that Forsberg recorded just nine power-play points after collecting 42 over the previous two seasons. While power-play production can fluctuate year to year, Forsberg's too skilled not to show positive statistical regression with the man advantage As a result, a career-best showing could be in store with Forsberg, and especially considering he's just entering his offensive prime.
Johansson broke out last year with a career-high 24 goals and 58 points. His role on Washington's No. 1 power-play unit has always been a value boost to his fantasy stock, and Johansson recorded five goals and 14 assists with the man advantage last year. The relocation to the lowly Devils from Washington isn't a favorable swap at first glance, especially since Johansson was also locked as a top-six winger at even strength. Still, he could see more offensive opportunities and be counted on as a go-to scorer with New Jersey, which wasn't the case in Washington. He was always just a secondary piece with the Capitals. Additionally, New Jersey is beginning to collect some interesting offensive pieces. Another 20-goal, 50-point campaign is well within reach for Johansson again in 2017-18.
Because O'Reilly entered the league as an 18-year-old rookie it seems like he's been around forever, but he's just entering his age-26 campaign this fall. He's averaged over 21 goals and 58 points over the past four seasons and has established himself as a workhorse pivot since joining the Sabres by averaging over 21 minutes of ice time in each year with Buffalo. While his consistency and hefty role provide a high fantasy floor, there are also shortcomings to O'Reilly's outlook. He typically plays against the opposition's top players and also offers nothing in the PIM or hits columns. As a result, O'Reilly's upside is capped. The Buffalo power play is trending in the right direction, and the Sabres have also improved on the wings, so that target-worthy floor could climb slightly in 2017-18. Additionally, in settings that reward faceoff wings, O'Reilly has improved significantly at the dot.
It was a monster fantasy campaign for Hamilton in2016-17, as he posted personal bests in the goals (13), points (50) and shots (222) categories while also recorded 64 PIM and 14 power-play points with a plus-12 rating. Additionally, to put into perspective just how dominant he was a five-on-five, Hamilton's 1.56 points per 60 minutes ranked second in the league among all defensemen with at least 500 minutes. He'll likely need more power-play work, and preferably with the No. 1 unit to take a step forward offensively in 2017-18 because it could prove difficult to match last season's success at even strength, let alone top it. Still, more of the same would be a high-end fantasy return.
Thanks for checking in, Dobberheads.
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