Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season.
Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our fifth stop on the 31 in 31 tour, the Vancouver Canucks! The Canucks have had a busy – and awfully confusing – off-season. Nonetheless, their top-six got much better and their prospects got a year older.
SURE-FIRE STUDS: Elias Pettersson (71GP 28-38-66), Brock Boeser (69GP 26-30-56)
No Sophomore slump here for Elias. Boeser was inconsistent at times, but I think the moves Benning has made to ensure they have a solid LW by their side will make these two this season’s Aho and Teravainen. Minimum 70 points each.
SVEN’S SLEEPER: Quinn Hughes (NCAA: 32GP 5-28-33)
First-rounder? Check. College stud? Check. Rookie eligible? You betcha. Power Play QB? They’d be stupid not to! Hughes is an elite defenceman that will learn a lot in his first full pro season, but boy is he gonna be fun to watch. ESPECIALLY on the ice with Boeser and Pettersson. I’m not sure what his 5on5 ice will be like, but mark this guy down for a good chunk of STP. He’s one of my favourite rookie picks going into this season.
HOLDS: JT Miller (75GP 13-34-47), Bo Horvat (82GP 27-34-61),
Miller will hopefully serve as the perfect complementary player to Boeser and Pettersson on Vancouver’s top line. His underwhelming season with Tampa Bay can be attributed to the fact that he didn’t have a consistent role. A new career high is certainly attainable. Horvat will have a heavy work load trying to shut down other teams, but he was able to produce last season and emerge as a leader among the youth.
STREAMERS: Micheal Ferland (71GP 17-23-40), Sven Baertschi (26GP 9-5-14),
Alex Edler (56GP 10-24-34), Tyler Myers (80GP 9-22-31),
No matter how you spell Michael, can you spell secondary scoring? He and Baertschi seem like prime candidates on the Horvat line. Nikolay Goldobin, Tanner Pearson and Jake Virtanen are also respectable candidates. Myers and Edler will jockey for prime 5on5 starts, but #1PP should be Hughes. Edler could potentially be a hold in deeper leagues, but he is getting older.
???: Jacob Markstrom (60GP 28-23-9, .912SV%, 2.77GAA), Thatcher Demko (9GP 4-3-1, .913SV%, 2.81GAA)
This is a goalie tandem in the making. With Demko being sidelined for a good chunk of last season, Markstrom logged heavy minutes and showed flashes of greatness, enough to be a bottom-end hold in 2018-19. I think we will see much more of Demko this season, but with the team in front of them I’m not sure if they’re worth buying into for points leagues. Dynasty leagues have been waiting for Demko to jump on the scene, I think this year they split games.
PROSPECT PIPELINE: Jett Woo (WHL: 62GP 12-54-66)
It’s a tough time to be a defensive prospect for the Canucks. They always seem to carry at least eight guys that are capable of clocking NHL minutes, so there’s really no place to go until you develop. Luckily for Woo, that means a big-fish small-pond season in the WHL and potentially an appearance for Canada at the WJC. The 2018 second-rounder will likely benefit from the top minutes he plays in Junior.
Olli Juolevi (AHL: 18GP 1-12-13)
Canucks fans have been impatiently waiting on Juolevi to blossom, but the emergence of Hughes has taken some of that pressure off. Hopefully he can get a full AHL season under his belt and even crack the Canucks lineup towards the end of the season. Be patient guys!
Real quick, Josh Teves and Brogan Rafferty are two college Dmen starting their pro careers in Utica (AHL). Both produced offensively at the College level, but a year in the minors will only help their transition.
If you think I missed covering a prospect, be sure to check out my article from last season! Players like Petrus Palmu, Zack MacEwen, and Jonah Gadjovich were all featured.