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 11th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re headed the city of champions, St. Louis! This team of good old Canadian boys rallied from the basement of the league in January all the way to Lord Stanley’s Cup. There isn’t a ton of turnover going into 2019-2020, but there are some significant question marks on whether guys can repeat their historic performances.
SURE-FIRE STUDS: Ryan O’Reilly (82GP 28-49-77)
O’Reilly turned into a mid-draft steal and was the only Blues player that fired on all cylinders for the entire season. For that reason, I think he will retain most of his production heading into 2019-20.
SVEN’S SLEEPER: Robert Thomas (70GP 9-24-33)
This is a team that the scoring seemed to get done by committee. That being said, I see Thomas as a player that can definitely exceed his pre-season ranking. There were times (especially during playoffs) where he was playing on another level, and with the right line mates I think he can really pop off this season. He has a wrist injury to rehab, but I’m excited to see him gain more and more confidence with the puck.
HOLDS: Vladimir Tarasenko (76GP 33-35-68), Alex Pietrangelo (71GP 13-28-41), Brayden Schenn (72GP 17-37-54), Jaden Schwartz (69GP 11-25-36), Jordan Binnington (32GP 24-5-1, .927SV%, 1.89GAA)
Tarasenko’s name had him going rounds 4-6 last season, but he has regressed ever-so-slightly. I think 30 goals is a lock, but there are many other players that will be in that same 65-75-point window that should be taken before him. Pietrangelo is still a solid #2-#3D in my books, and he was ranked criminally low going into last season. I think most people know what he is capable of now. Schenn regressed from his 70-point 2017-18 as expected, and should fall around the 55-65-point range again this year. I see Schwartz as a bottom-end hold this season given his regression, but honestly he could be a great buy-low bounce-back candidate. However, he has caught the injury bug the last few seasons. Binnington will likely have a stupidly high ranking given his performance last season, but I’m not a fan of the small sample size. I said the same thing about Hellebuyck going into last season and he was mediocre, but still got the job done. I predict the same for Binnington.
STREAMERS: David Perron (57GP 23-23-46), Colton Parayko (80GP 10-18-28), Vince Dunn (78GP 12-23-35), Zach Sanford (60GP 8-12-20)
Perron was a great mid-season pickup when he was with Vegas, and he showed glimpses of greatness this season. He’s a streamer depending where he falls into the top-nine. I love Parayko outside of fantasy, but the shutdown role he played in playoffs will likely leave him with some grueling 5on5 minutes this season. For that reason, I just don’t see the same offensive upside that he brought his first three seasons. With the emergence of Dunn, I can’t see him taking too much PP time. With that in mind, I think Dunn will be a hold by mid-season and I think I’m going to take him in at least one league. With two seasons under his belt, he can now be trusted to take some of the load off Pietrangelo. I like Sanford as a streamer solely for the chemistry he showed playing with RoR in the Cup Final. I think Samuel Blais may have some streaming promise as well.
PROSPECT PIPELINE: Dominik Bokk (SHL: 47GP 8-15-23)
Bokk was the Blues’ first-round pick in 2018. Given their depth of young talent both in the NHL and AHL, I don’t think the Blues mind that Bokk is playing against men in Sweden. With this in mind, I think they’re going to be super patient with Bokk and his development. Whether he makes the transition to North America next season or even the year after, he will hopefully be ready to suit up for the Blues once he comes.
Mitch Reinke (AHL: 76GP 12-33-45)
Signed out of Michigan Tech, Reinke had a very respectable first pro season with San Antonio (AHL). The offensive defenceman will continue to develop there this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him with the Blues at some point this season.
Jordan Kyrou (AHL: 47GP 16-27-43)
Kyrou put together an impressive first AHL season, and even logged 16 NHL games (1-2-3). This Blues roster will be tough to crack going into 2019-20, but Kyrou has an outside chance. If he doesn’t we will definitely see him at some point this season.
Erik Foley (2017-18 NCAA: 38GP 16-19-35)
Foley was set to start his pro career with San Antonio (AHL) last season, but was shut down after he suffered a concussion in pre-season. He demonstrated some consistency with Providence College (NCAA) and I am hoping that he will make his way back to hockey this season.