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 12th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re heading South, wayyyyy South to look at the Dallas Stars! With a great team defence and consistently great goaltending, the Stars found themselves a goal away from playing in the WCF. With their secondary scoring questions answered and a few loose ends tied, this team is looking like an absolute wagon in this log-jam of a Central.
SURE-FIRE STUDS: Tyler Seguin (82GP 33-47-80), Alexander Radulov (70GP 29-43-72), Joe Pavelski (75GP 38-26-64), John Klingberg (64GP 10-35-45), Ben Bishop (46GP 27-15-2, .934SV%, 1.98GAA)
No matter how the talent is spread out in this top-six group, these guys will be the ones pumping out points like it’s a Texas oil refinery. Pavelski gives them a whole new depth up front, and a whole new option on the PP. Expect a healthy Klingberg to get back up around 55 points, and a solid #1D pick.
The big thing that has me shying away from Bishop is the fact that he only started 45 games last season (with backup Anton Khudobin starting 37). In points leagues, I wouldn’t pay his likely premium price since he has that many fewer chances to score wins compared to the 55-60 start tenders out there. In roto leagues he’s a no-brainer, but this is a trend in NHL goaltending that I’m not the biggest fan of for points leagues. In contrast, this gives value to Khudobin, who I’d consider a bottom-end hold if you’re thinking of taking three goalies.
SVEN’S SLEEPER: Roope Hintz (58GP 9-13-22)
As expected, the 2015 second-rounder absolutely tore up the AHL (21GP 9-13-22), earning him the promotion to Dallas. With two pro seasons under his belt, I think we see Hintz reach the 50-point mark this season. If he can maintain a top-six role and even grab some PP time, he’s a legitimate sleeper.
HOLDS: Jamie Benn (78GP 27-26-53)
I know what you’re thinking, it’s weird seeing Benn this far down on a fantasy hockey write-up. He has a lot of hard miles on him, but what I’m hoping is the addition of Pavelski can light a fire under his belly and he can bounce-back and prove he can light the lamp too. He’s a solid buy-low candidate if he slips in the draft.
STREAMERS: Corey Perry (31GP 6-4-10), Esa Lindell (82GP 11-21-32), Miro Heiskanen (82GP 12-21-33)
I almost had Score-y Perry as my sleeper. It must have been tough to part ways with Anaheim, but I have a feeling he has another big year left in him. Just last season he flirted with 50 points in only 71 games. If he is in the top-six mix, I can see him notching 20 goals again. He is a great late-in-the-draft gamble. Lindell had an unreasonably high 2018-19 draft ranking because he was slated to play with Klingberg. There are so many other defencemen available that can produce better at 5on5. I’m not saying I’m expecting a Sophomore Slump from Heiskanen, but the only true opportunity for him to rack up points is while Klingberg is on the shelf. He will have a solid season, but I don’t know if he will surpass his 33 points last season playing strictly 2nd pair, PP#2 minutes.
Denis Gurianov (AHL: 57GP 20-28-48)
I’d give Gurianov a decent chance at cracking the lineup out of training camp. However, if he doesn’t he will probably have a 2019-20 similar to how Hintz developed last season. Light it up early in the AHL, earn your stripes, then get the call-up and start chipping in.
Jason Robertson (OHL: 62GP 48-69-117)
A 2017 second-rounder, Eliteprospects has Robertson listed as joining Dallas this season. I don’t know much about this guy other than the fact that he tore up the OHL last season, but we will have to see where he is on the depth chart come training camp. Given their new-found depth up front I can’t see him making a huge fantasy impact with Dallas this season, but perhaps a year to groom him in the AHL will make him a solid rookie option next season.
Tye Felhaber (OHL: 68GP 59-50-109)
It took Felhaber a while to get his OHL career to take off, but I knew ever since I played against him in Bantam that he was going to be a stud. Coming off a 109-point campaign with Ottawa (OHL), he was signed by the Stars and will begin his pro career with Texas (AHL). It will obviously take him a year to transition now that he is playing against men, but I think he can turn into a great late bloomer for the Dallas organization.
Joel Kiviranta (Liiga: 48GP 16-15-31)
An undrafted fin who has parts of four seasons in the top Finnish league under his belt, this can turn out to be a solid organizational depth signing for Dallas. He has never been a guy to be flashy offensively, but he’s consistent and I’m excited to see how his game translates to the North American style in the AHL.
Rhett Gardner (NCAA: 37GP 7-13-20)
A crash and bang-type player at North Dakota (NCAA), I normally wouldn’t cover a guy like this. However, he got off to a great start with Texas (AHL) at the end of last season (11GP 4-1-5). He seems to play with that sandpaper playstyle that the Stars love to have in their lineup. I’d give him at least another year before he has a shot at cracking the roster, but the fact that he’s already 23 plays in his favour.
Adam Mascherin (AHL: 75GP 18-26-44)
With a solid first pro season under his belt, the good news for Mascherin is he seems to be transitioning nicely from Junior. The bad news is with the free agent acquisitions the Stars made this summer, they can be extra patient with their 2018 fourth-rounder. I expect him to do some significant offensive damage this year with Texas (AHL).
Ben Gleason (AHL: 72GP 5-32-37)
Much like Mascherin, Gleason put together a great first season in the AHL. Unfortunately for the OFD Gleason, even in the event of a Dallas injury he is jockeying for a callup with much older players like Gavin Bayreuther, Joel Hanley and Dillon Heatherington. All he can do is continue to flex his offensive muscles in the Always Hungry League.