Pastrnak has been talked about a lot here recently, so there's no need to dig deep again. Additionally, more of the same is likely. Pastrnak's 13.0 shooting percentage from last season should be repeatable, and unless he sees a significant hike in ice time (17:59 per game last year), he's a good bet to post a 35-goal, 75-point showing.
Obviously, considering his talent and go-to role, there is potential for better numbers. However, he's currently ranked reasonably, so you don't have to aggressively target him at a point in drafts where he needs to improve on last season's production. He's a solid target after the top-tier scorers come off the board, and it's not out of the question to suggest that he's among them.
Bryan Little also re-signed a six-year contract with an annual cap hit of $5.29 million Thursday.
Little is currently free in most fantasy settings, which is a little absurd. He's ranked 150th at Yahoo with an ADP of 173. He's also ranked 151 at NHL.com and 154 at ESPN with an ADP of 152.8. That’s the 43rd center off the board at ESPN and 97th at Yahoo.
Since the lockout-shortened season, Little has posted 0.76 points per game and is locked into a top-six role with power-play time. He's going to center two excellent wingers, and the Jets are a team on the rise. Center is a deep position, so targeting Little late enables gamers to load up elsewhere earlier in drafts without missing out on offensive numbers at the position.
It's worth noting that Little had been a pillar of good health through his first seven full seasons in the league, so a return to 75 games shouldn't shock anyone.
Micheal Ferland is a player I'm interested in this season. If you've been around the past two summers, you'll know that he's a guy I've touched on annually. He's also someone I'm looking at for cavernous leagues. He re-signed a two-year deal and is expected to open the season with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau on the No. 1 line.
Ferland owns the upside to post a serviceable cross-category showing and is coming off his best NHL season. His shot is his best weapon offensively, and his rambunctious style will create space for Gaudreau and Monahan. The real profit potential is if Ferland can crack the top power-play unit. Last season, he averaged just 28 seconds of ice time per game with the man advantage, but is Troy Brouwer really a superior option?
Ferland's 0.95 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five last year paced the Flames, and he's going to be given an extended role at even strength to start the season. If Ferland cracks the No. 1 power-play unit instead of Brouwer, the 25-year-old winger is going to be a solid fantasy asset.
Vancouver currently has just under $2 million of available cap space. Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Thomas Vanek and Erik Grudbranson are all unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, which takes $19.5 million off the books, but still.
Their offseason acquisitions prevented the full-out tank, which was a curious decision to begin with, but not having cap wiggle room is utter mismanagement. The Canucks are a fringe lottery team, and now they don't have the ability to obtain assets along with a salary dump.
Obviously, the cap space opens up following this season, but Vancouver likely could have grabbed a couple picks and a couple prospects by adding salary dumps throughout the season. Vancouver's ability to trade with other teams is also significantly hindered because the contracts have to match.
It was shocking to see that Vancouver currently has the fifth-highest payroll in the NHL, and that ranking will climb after teams put players on long-term injured reserve.
Here are some more quick-hit notes:
Will Butcher is going to receive power-play time in the preseason. This isn't surprising, but it's certainly reassuring. It also is good news that the organization views him as a candidate to contribute with the man advantage immediately.
James Neal is expected to miss two to four weeks because of a hand injury, according to general manager George McPhee. Neal broke his hand during the Western Conference final, and missing the majority of training camp could cause the veteran to start slow.
Martin Hanzal is going to miss time to start training camp because of an ankle injury. However, the belief is that the Stars are just being cautious with the veteran pivot. He's already a fringe asset in most fantasy settings, but is obviously in position for an uptick in offense with the Stars.
Zach Parise isn't healthy entering training camp, as his nagging back injury continues to hinder the winger. At 33, Parise is an extremely risky fantasy buy unless there is a huge discount. After all, he's coming off his worst point total (42) in a full season since posting 32 during his rookie year in 2005-06.
Kevin Fiala entered training camp fully recovered from the leg injury he sustained during the playoffs. If the 21-year-old winger carves out a top-six role with power-play time, he's going to be a productive fantasy asset. Training camp will be telling.
Tomas Tatar is healthy entering training camp after playing through a nagging shoulder injury for the majority of the second half of last season. It's worth noting that he posted a respected 16 goals and 27 points over the final 38 games of 2016-17. A mini rebound could be in store for the 26-year-old winger.
Ryan Spooner added approximately 10 pounds during the offseason in an attempt to be better in one-on-one battles. He's also confident he didn't lose any of his speed and agility in the process. There is a top-six job up for grabs in Boston, and if Spooner grabs it, he could have a solid showing -- the offensive upside is unquestioned.
Marian Gaborik's undisclosed injury has been classified as a left knee injury, which is obviously of significant concern considering his lengthy left knee injury history. This is a player I'm willing to cross off my draft list entirely, but your mileage may vary.
Here are a number of late-round fliers on the blue line that I'm looking at entering draft season.
Shea Theodore, VGK: With 57 points through his past 76 AHL games alongside his flashes of offensive upside at the highest level, Theodore projects to open the season as the Golden Knights' power-play quarterback. The obvious concern is in the plus/minus column, so Theodore is likely best viewed as a team-based option late.
Mike Green, DET: Rarely is a 31-year-old veteran on a bad team someone that I'm interested in, but Green's scoring track record and go-to offensive role provide a solid fantasy floor. Additionally, last season he logged a monster 23:33 of ice time with 2:45 of power-play time. It's unlikely Green is limited to just 10 points with the man advantage again this year, too.
Nathan Beaulieu, BUF: There's untapped offensive update here, and while it's difficult to project exactly where and how Beaulieu fits in with the Sabres, he's going to see a bigger role than he did with the Habs. He posted a rock-solid 1.17 points per 60 minutes last season and should take another step forward with Buffalo an improved team as a whole.
Preseason games start soon, Dobberheads.
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