Hey guys! Sven here with the Smashville themed edition of 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.
Filip Forsberg – 67GP 26-38-64. Once traded from Washington in exchange for Martin Erat, Filip Forsberg has panned out into quite the rockstar in Smashville. At just 24 years old, I don’t believe he has hit his ceiling yet. Similar to Marchand, Forsberg was able to put up near career-best numbers despite missing 15 games. 82 games of Forsberg in a yellow bucket can make for a scary season for everyone else in the Central Division. Depending on the draft lottery, I will for sure be looking to take Forsberg in the second round, maybe even late first round in a 12-teamer.
Ryan Johansen – 79GP 15-39-54. At the age of 26, this is a fork-in-the-road season for Johansen. We have seen plenty players in the past reach this point in their career and become irrelevant, and we have seen players explode for career-highs in their late 20s. With a steady regression from his 70-point 2014-15 campaign, Johansen will likely continue to be the #1C in Smashville. However, I see him as a high-risk pick from a fantasy perspective as he likely won’t be able to lift his goal total back up over 20. Though 50-60 points is a solid output, I would want more production than that out of an eighth-round fantasy pick, as he is ranked 85th by ESPN.
Viktor Arvidsson – 78GP 29-32-61. Labelled as one of my picks for most overrated player heading into the 2017-18 fantasy season, Arvidsson was able to repeat his totals from the season prior. The 25-year-old appears primed to reach the 60-point mark again this season as a #1 winger for the Preds, and appears to be a solid pick between rounds seven and ten.
Kyle Turris – 76GP 16-35-51. There is a seismic drop-off from first line to the rest of the Predators’ forward corps, as Coach Laviolette tends to roll his lines. Turris as the #2C likely won’t receive a ton more ice time than any of the bottom-six forwards, but will see some #2PP time. 50 points seems attainable once again for Turris, making him a solid mid-teen round pick.
Kevin Fiala – 80GP 23-25-48. After a solid 48 points in his first full season in the NHL, I’m not sure if I believe the hype around the 22-year-old Swiss winger. The 2014 first-rounder has slowly developed into a top-six forward, however as I mentioned before I don’t see him getting top-six ice time. Though he may receive some #2PP time, I think ESPN has Fiala ranked a little high (110). Though I loved being proven wrong by players breaking out, he will likely fall further into the teen rounds in my draft.
Craig Smith – 79GP 25-26-51. Known as a streamer for much of last year, Smith will look to be a permanent top-six player in favour of Ryan Hartman. This coupled with PP time could improve his stock, and this potential is reflected in his top-200 ESPN ranking. Though he is not on my short list, 55 points seems attainable for the 29-year-old.
P.K. Subban – 82GP 16-43-59. There’s no question Subban is an offensive stud, nearly hitting 60 points for the second time in his eight-year NHL career. Fully adjusted to the Wild Western Conference, Subban is due for another great offensive campaign. It is likely he will quarterback Nashville’s #1PP and continue to be a big part in their excellent top-four. Everyone takes defencemen in fantasy at their own pace, but Subban will be available in rounds three to five regardless.
Roman Josi – 75GP 14-39-53. Josi was able to put up great numbers in his first season as captain of the Predators. His consistency from both a play and production perspective coupled with solid PP time makes Josi a very safe pick to be a #1 or #2 (if you’re lucky!) defenceman for your fantasy team. Much like Subban but likely after him, Josi will be available in rounds three to six.
Ryan Ellis – 44GP 9-23-32. Despite only playing half of last season, Ellis nearly reached his career-high in points in 27 less games. He will definitely continue to receive PP time and produce at even strength, but I don’t think this rate of production will be sustainable for the 2009 first-rounder. That being said, he is a low-risk pick just inside the top 100 of the draft that has plenty of upside.
Mattias Ekholm – 81GP 10-24-34. Despite being the least attractive fantasy target of Nashville’s big four, Ekholm has panned out nicely since being drafted fourth-round in 2009. With top-four minutes but a lack of PP time, Ekholm has likely hit his ceiling at around 35 points. For this reason, he is likely only going to be owned in deeper leagues.
Pekka Rinne – 59GP 2.31GAA 927SV%. 35-year-old Rinne was able to put up very impressive numbers last season en route to helping Nashville secure the Presidents Trophy. With young backup Juuse Saros likely to slowly take over more and more of the work load as Rinne ages, Rinne will likely see more days off than last season especially if Nashville coasts into the playoffs like they did last season. There is no question he is still an elite goalie, but he is not my #1 pick personally. As Viz mentioned in his top 40 goalies article, it was worth noting here that Saaros is a solid pick up in roto leagues.
Eeli Tolvanen – KHL: 49GP 19-17-36. Though there is a ton of hype surrounding the 2017 first-rounder, I anticipate we will have to be patient with the 19-year-old Finn. Tolvanen has received a ton of praise for his scoring prowess and I am sure he will pan out into a solid NHLer, but he will need a season to adjust. I wouldn’t be surprised if he bounces in and out of the lineup this year, but I would keep my eye out to see if he finds his footing in the second half of the season. Though he is ranked #249 in ESPN’s rankings, there are a lot of question marks surrounding Tolvanen’s success in his rookie season and I don’t think he would be my pick in a league that requires a rookie.
Zachary Magwood – OHL: 65GP 27-32-59. Signed directly out of major-junior by the Preds, Magwood will look to transition to the Pros this season with Milwaukee in the AHL. The 5’10” centre will likely need a year or two to get comfortable in the Pros, however he seems to fit the mould of the speedy energy player that made Smashville what it is today.
Frederic Allard – AHL: 55GP 8-16-24. With one season in the minors under his belt, the 2016 third-round pick likely won’t crack Nashville’s blue line until they move one of their big-four pieces. That being said, the two-way defenceman will hopefully blossom into a hard-nosed NHLer that can chip in offensively.
Tanner Jeannot – WHL: 72GP 40-40-80. Jeannot is a big-bodied winger signed out of major-junior by the Preds, and will start the year in Milwaukee (AHL) this season. With good hands in tight and good speed despite his big frame, hopefully Jeannot’s scoring touch will transfer over to the Pros from his 40-goal campaign in Moose Jaw.