Hey guys! Sven back with another 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 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 third stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re in Sin City covering the Vegas Golden Knights! After a movie-script-esque inaugural season, Vegas saw no Sophomore Slump, securing the #3 seed in the Pacific Division. Their recent stockpiling of former Atlantic division studs has left them cap-strapped, and they have had to deal away a couple of their players they absolutely SNAKED from opposing GMs. According to most sites, the Golden Knights have the highest odds to win the West. Here are the players that may make that possible:
SURE-FIRE STUDS: Mark Stone (77GP 33-40-73), Marc-Andre Fleury (61GP 35-21-5, .913SV%, 2.51GAA)
Funny how Stone went from undrafted in a few leagues to a hot commodity this season. He put up decent numbers in his 18 games post-deadline with Vegas, so a repeat seems achievable. I love him away from the puck so I really hope he continues to produce offensively. I’m going to shy away from most Golden Knights forwards this year because of how spread out their scoring will seemingly be, but I will likely take Stone in at least one league. Expect another heavy work load for the Flower, and another solid season. He’s a #1G in my books.
SVEN’S SLEEPER: Nate Schmidt (61GP 9-21-30) OR Shea Theodore (79GP 12-25-37)
Honestly, whoever ends up being the #1PP quarterback. With Miller shuffling off to Buffalo it’s a two-horse race, with the advantage to Theodore because he is younger and seemingly has more vision. I like Schmidt a lot more in real life though.
HOLDS: Jonathan Marchessault (82GP 25-34-59), William Karlsson (82GP 24-32-56), Reilly Smith (74GP 19-34-53), Paul Stastny (50GP 13-29-42), Max Pacioretty (66GP 22-18-40)
As I said, I’m going to lay off here given how spread out the scoring is going to be with this group. If I had to pick a guy, it’d be Marchessault (at the right point in the draft obviously). Expect Patches to have a little more consistency with a full season in Sin City under his belt.
STREAMERS: Alex Tuch (74GP 20-32-52)
Tuch was one of my big sleepers going into last season, and he certainly had a breakout first-half. Frig, I used him as a sweetener to get Barkov in my main league. However, deadline acquisition Stone made Tuch pretty much obsolete, and he slipped into a checking role down the stretch. That leaves his role going into this season uncertain given the depth Vegas has up front, so I may hold off on drafting him unless he is for sure going to be in the top-six mix. Also, quick shout-out to Brandon Pirri in case he catches fire at random points.
PROSPECT PIPELINE: Jimmy Schuldt (NCAA: 39GP 10-25-35)
Serving as captain three of his four years at St. Cloud State, Jimmy Schuldt was signed at the end of his college career by the Golden Knights and played one regular season game last season. He appears to be destined to have a solid spot in Vegas’ D corps with Miller gone, but the Golden Knights don’t have the cap to pay him. I’m sure they will get a deal done, and I can see him panning out nicely.
Cody Glass (WHL: 38GP 15-54-69)
It appears the first ever Golden Knights draft pick (2017 6th overall) got bit by the injury bug last season, but still put up a ridiculous big-fish-small-pond season in the W. In six AHL games at the end of the season, he notched five points. I am sure we’ll see Glass at some point this season up in the Grey and Gold – the only question is when.
Jake Leschyshyn (WHL: 68GP 40-41-81)
The 2017 second-rounder will graduate from Regina (WHL) and head to Chicago (AHL) for his first pro season. Scoring 40 goals in junior as a centreman will make for some high expectations this season.
Benjamin Jones (OHL: 68GP 41-61-102)
You just can’t overlook a 100-point season. Leaving Niagara (OHL) a year early to start his pro career, we will see how he fares playing against men. A 2017 7th rounder, we could be looking at a diamond in the rough.
Marcus Kallionkieli (USHL: 58GP 29-24-53)
I love covering interesting prospects, and Kallionkieli fits that to a tee. First, he’s 2019 fifth-rounder, it’s amazing that Vegas has already signed him to an entry-level deal. Second, he has Finnish and Brazilian citizenship – interesting mix. Third, he came overseas to Sioux City (USHL) likely to attract NCAA schools. He must have shown incredibly well at camp to earn a contract, but the 18-year-old has yet to play against men. I’m excited to see where he ends up for 2019-20. Nevertheless, welcome to the Razzball database!
If you think I missed covering a prospect, be sure to check out my article from last season!