Hey guys! Sven here with some more 31 in 31 action. 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 fourth stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re headed to check out the Desert Dogs – the Arizona Coyotes. Despite having the second most man-games lost last season, the Coyotes late push almost earned them a wildcard spot. With a couple of key off-season trades, GM John Chayka proved he isn’t afraid to spend it in a Pacific division that is totally up for grabs. If this team stays healthy, watch out!
SURE-FIRE STUDS: Phil Kessel (82GP 27-55-82)
Simply put, Phil is an absolute horse. A horse that scores goals and can provide a lot to this Yotes power play. A change of scenery may bode well.
SVEN’S SLEEPER: Nick Schmaltz (40GP 7-18-25)
Schmaltz was one of my sleepers going into last season, and his trade to Arizona 23 games in looked like just what he needed to have a break out – until his season-ending injury. What makes Schmaltz special this year is the fact that he will likely have top-line-caliber line mates, but Derek Stepan will get the tougher opposing line matches. I think we see Schmaltz smash his old career-high, and can be a real fantasy steal this season.
HOLDS: Clayton Keller (82GP 14-33-47), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (81GP 14-30-44), Antti Raanta (12GP 5-6, .906SV%, 2.88GAA)/Darcy Kuemper (55GP 27-20-8, .925SV%, 2.33GAA)
A bit of a Sophomore Slump for Keller, but that was expected. A Keller-Schmaltz-Kessel line would be amazing, but I’m not sure what will happen there. I like him to bounce back big time this season. As for OEL, he’s as complete as defencemen get in the Show. I can picture him improving his point totals slightly, but 40-50 points is reasonable for Ekman-Larsson.
I’m unsure what to think of this goaltending situation. Kuemper played his tail off in Raanta’s absence last season, but that could just be a one-season fluke. With the influx in two-goalie tandems we saw last season, the Yotes may opt to do the same. If that’s the case, they both hold fantasy value. If Raanta is the true starter, he is a great #2G option for fantasy.
STREAMERS: Christian Dvorak (20GP 2-5-7), Conor Garland (47GP 13-5-18), Michael Grabner (41GP 9-7-16), Alex Goligoski (76GP 3-24-27)
I think the secondary scoring for the Yotes will come by committee. I truly think Dvorak will become a hold by the end of the season (especially with top-six minutes), but the sample size isn’t quite there yet. This is mostly because he only played 1/4 of the 2018-19 season. Garland has proven he can produce at just about every level he has played, and I think he just needs the ice time to make a real impact. Grabner is always good for some hot streaks. Honourable mention to Vinnie Hinostroza as well. Alex “Goose” Goligoski is good to chip in once in a while, and has been pretty consistent.
PROSPECT PIPELINE: Brayden Burke (AHL: 67GP 13-20-33)
Burke had a solid first pro season in Tucson (AHL). It must have been frustrating to only put up 33 points coming off a 113-point season in the WHL. I expect Burke will earn himself a call-up at some point this season if he continues to produce at the AHL level.
Barrett Hayton (OHL: 39GP 26-40-66)
To many, Hayton is ready to make the jump to the NHL this season. With the acquisition of Carl Soderberg, the Coyotes have some new-found depth at the centre position. With that in mind, Hayton may get an early-season stint out of training camp at best. My guess is he will spend the season in Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) or split time between Junior and Tucson (AHL). I’m hoping he will represent Canada and make some noise at this year’s WJC.
Nate Schnarr (OHL: 65GP 34-68-102)
Schnarr is a 2017 3rd rounder coming off a 100-point campaign with the OHL Champion Guelph Storm. A big-bodied centre that tucked home 34 goals last season, hopefully some of his offensive ability can follow him to the Pros.
Victor Soderstrom (SHL: 44GP 4-3-7)
The Coyotes traded up to 11th overall to take Soderstrom in the first round of this year’s draft. Another year at Brynas IF (SHL) playing against men will further prepare the mobile two-way Dman for a couple years down the road when veterans Goligoski, Demers, AND Hjalmarsson all come off the books heading into 2021-22. The Yotes can be patient for their guy to pan out, similar to how patient they were with OEL.
Kyle Capobianco (AHL: 40GP 7-25-32)
An impressive Sophomore campaign with Tucson (AHL) for Capobianco was cut short by a season-ending injury in February – as was the theme for Arizona last season. Expect Capobianco to be a prime call-up candidate this season, and could earn a roster spot next season.
If you think I missed covering a prospect, be sure to check out my article from last season!