Hey guys, Sven here and we’re headed to Vegas for 31 in 31! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to 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.
Jonathan Marchessault – 77GP 27-48-75. Marchessault was a monster part of Vegas’ Cinderella season last year, and he is one of the few guys I see repeating his totals (somewhat). I think we see Marchessault get back up to 30 goals, and even if the assists regress a bit we’re still looking at 65-70 points. I have been passing on him in drafts, but he is certainly worth taking a look at.
William Karlsson – 82GP 43-35-78. Wild Bill is easily the most overrated player coming into this fantasy season, and how could he not be. In the Golden Knights’ inaugural season, he came out of nowhere and tripled – TRIPLED his points total from the season prior. I’m not saying this type of production is a one-off, but there just isn’t enough of a sample size for me here. I say he plummets to about 60 points, which is still respectable.
Max Pacioretty – 64GP 17-20-37. Patches was traded just before I released my Habs’ 31 in 31, and I have been excited to talk about the former captain. Much like most of his teammates last season, Pacioretty experienced a very disappointing season but will have every opportunity to turn that around in a new locker room and a new top-six to play with. I think Patches gets back up to 30 goals and will chip in a solid amount of PPP, making him a solid pick in rounds 7-9.
Reilly Smith – 67GP 22-38-60. These totals last season were no surprise coming from Smith, especially when we saw what he was capable of in Boston and Florida, posting 50-point seasons with each club. 60 points is an achievable mark for the 27-year-old, but he is ranked a little high (52) on ESPN for my liking.
Erik Haula – 76GP 29-26-55. I’ve been big on Haula since his first season in Minnesota, but I did not expect a 29-goal season from the Finn. Much like most of the Vegas roster last season I think he was playing above his head, though he has established himself as a top-six forward now at 27 years old. Haula will likely score in bunches, making him a drafted player in deeper leagues but I can’t see him producing more than he did last season.
Paul Stastny – 82GP 16-37-53. Stastny is a very yawn-worthy player. He knows his role and will be a consistent #2C for Vegas, but I just don’t see him putting up that many points, playing more of a veteran role. 50 points maybe, but in my eye that makes him a streamer.
Alex Tuch – 78GP 15-22-37. Starting the season on the shelf, I think once Tuch is healthy he could put together a great year. With a respectable rookie campaign behind him, the Boston College grad is a scary power forward that will hopefully see a bigger role down the road. I took him in a deep league just to see what he can do this season, but I’m not going to expect more than 40-45 points.
Shea Theodore – 61GP 6-23-29. Ohhh baby am I excited for this one. With Schmidt sidelined for the first 20 games and a ridiculously low ranking by ESPN, this is Theodore’s time to shine. I think if he impresses early on he will have a prominent role on Vegas’ back-end even with Schmidt in the lineup. For the time being however, I am excited to see how he produces with this opportunity.
Colin Miller – 82GP 10-31-41. Miller has come a long way since walking on with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. With a breakout season last year, he is currently “their guy” on the back-end with Schmidt sidelined, playing top-pair minutes and getting some PP time. He is a very solid #4 or 5 D pick.
Nate Schmidt – 76GP 5-31-36. You can’t help but feel bad for Schmidt, missing 20 games for violating the league’s substance policy a year after breaking out with the Knights. I have every reason to believe he will pick up where he left off once he returns to action, but missing ¼ of the season has a major impact on his fantasy stock. If you’re planning on taking a bench D, he may be worth drafting and stashing.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 46GP 2.24GAA 927SV%. A major part of Vegas’ improbable Cup run last season was the lights-out play of Flower. The veteran net-minder will hopefully stay healthy this season, and I’m confident he will play consistent enough to put his team in the playoff hunt all season. That being said, the uncertainty surrounding Vegas’ ability to repeat their performance has Fleury sliding from a late #1G to an early #2G in some leagues. I think if he stays healthy he’s a safe pick!
Jake Bischoff – AHL: 69GP 7-16-23. After a decent rookie campaign in the AHL one season removed from the NCAA, Bischoff made the Knights roster but has yet to dress. The 24-year-old Dman was a seventh-round pick in 2012 but was signed out of college by the Knights, and will likely head back to the minors once Schmidt returns. With decent size he’s not afraid to use and a quickly-released accurate shot, I’m hoping Bischoff makes his way into the lineup and benefits as much as he can from his NHL stint.
Reid Duke – AHL: 14GP 0-0-0. Calling all sports bar trivia fans, remember this guy? Yes, the first player to be signed by the Vegas Golden Knights, Reid Duke. Missing almost all of last year due to injury, Duke has already pumped home two goals in two games in the AHL. Duke blossomed into a proven goal scorer in his final years in the WHL, and hopefully he has found his touch again. He is one of my current favourite to receive the call-up nod from the AHL squad, and I think we will see him at some point this season.
Tomas Hyka – AHL: 15-33-48. With ten NHL games under his belt from last season, Hyka still didn’t appear ready and was sent back to the minors for what should be a big fish small pond season. He could use a bit more size, but he is a speed demon that has proven to be a threat offensively one season into his North American career. I’m sure we will see him soon, but for now he will likely continue to produce in the AHL (51 in 52 career games).
Cody Glass – WHL: 64GP 37-65-102. Glass has already picked up where he left off last season, having posted 12 points in his first five games for Portland (WHL). Likely a shoo-in for the WJC, the 2017 sixth-overall pick will almost certainly be on an NHL or AHL roster next season. I’m excited to see what he can do in this big fish small pond year.
Erik Brannstrom – SHL: 44GP 2-13-15. Brannstrom was Vegas’ 15th overall pick in the 2017 draft, and he is starting the season with Chicago (AHL) after making the jump from the Swedish leagues. Brannstrom is developing into a reliable two-way defenceman, with tons of offensive upside and hockey sense. He has two goals in two games already in the AHL, and is known for his ability to QB the powerplay. The Knights are currently pretty jammed up on the back-end, but Brannstrom will compete for a roster spot next season.
Nicolas Hague – OHL: 67GP 35-43-78. A 2017 second-rounder to the Knights, Hague is a towering defenceman that enjoyed an offensive explosion in his final season with Mississauga (OHL). He is starting the year in Chicago (AHL), and will likely need the year to transition to the speed of the Pros. With a whopping 212PIM in his last two seasons, if he finds his scoring touch he could be a very attractive fantasy asset down the road.