With the season less than a week away, it’s time to give some bold predictions. I have 5 from JKJ that I’ll start with and comment on then italics before I do 10 predictions of my own. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section on any of these!
JKJ’s Five Bold Predictions:
1) Philipp Grubauer finishes outside fantasy’s Top 10 goalies (standard formats). Riding the Colorado coattails last season and playing for an expansion team this season will catch up to him.
I have him ranked in the top 10 so from that standpoint, I disagree. Goalies are voodoo though and anything can happen, but I have faith that Seattle will be sound defensively.
2) Tony DeAngelo pisses the hockey world off by scoring 50 points and being the most annoying league-winner in fantasy sports history. Carolina will thrive, and he’ll thrive because of it.
I’m all on board with this one. If he stays out of trouble, 50 points is well within reach.
3) Jared McCann scores at least 65 points. I did him a disservice in my Seattle team preview, not diving nearly deeply enough. His expected goals metrics were almost off the charts last year and now he’ll be the C1 in one of the dopest uniforms in sports. I apologize to all who maybe steered clear of him at my behest.
I’m on the McCann bandwagon but I’m not sure he gets to 65 stats. His underlying metrics were incredible last season, but he was also insulated by Crosby and Malkin. I’m a little hesitant to assume that it’ll go as swimmingly in Seattle on the first line, but I hope so.
4) The Buffalo Sabres will have no players worth anything better than a stream. Despite saying in my team preview he is a potential bargain, Rasmus Dahlin will have no help and thus will be largely irrelevant. Jack Eichel likely won’t play a game at all, but I’d bet my family jewels he definitely plays zero in a Sabres sweater. It will be an absolute cesspool of fantasy nobodies.
As the resident Sabres fan, it’s hard to disagree. I do think Dahlin ends up being worth owning topping 50 points, but the plus-minus could be a disaster. It’s hard to see a forward becoming a hold. Maybe Olofsson because of the shot volume?
5) Brady Tkachuk scores 25 goals and records 600 shots+hits. Everyone likes to fade him for his lack of points as a top-line LW, but people seem to forget hits are standard in Yahoo now and he will get 300 (while also shooting the puck on goal as many times, if not more.)
I think Tkachuk is actually a favorite to do this. He’s been on pace for 25 goals the past few seasons with bad shooting percentages. He could easily get to 30 goals and 300+ shots.
Viz’s Bold Predictions
1) Sam Reinhart smashes previous career highs, scoring 30+ goals and finishing over a point per game. The Panthers should be excellent this season and the addition of Reinhart will do wonders for them. He’s an excellent player that’s been stuck on a terrible Sabres team, and Barkov will help take Reinhart to another level.
2) Zach Hyman finishes over a point per game. His 33 points in 43 games last season was the best pace of his career, so he’s got a long way to make up. Getting to play with McDavid and possibly receiving even more minutes than he had in Toronto will make up for that.
3) Kappo Kakko takes the jump in year three, becoming a fantasy hold for most, if not all of the season. His expected goals took a huge jump last season, but it didn’t end up resulting in points for Kakko. This season, it will. He’s locked into playing with Panarin and Strome which will make it difficult for him not to succeed. This season, he ends up being a contributor instead of a passenger.
4) The team that won’t have a player worth holding is the Anaheim Ducks. They’ve been so bad defensively the last two seasons that I don’t want to hold John Gibson. I love the talent of Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale, but I suspect they fall a little short of holding. Zegras could definitely make this look bad because his talent is through the roof, but with a horrible supporting cast, I think he’s a year away from the true breakout.
5) Viktor Arvidsson scores 30 goals. He has 25 in the past two seasons combined, granted he scored at least 29 in the previous three seasons. I’m expecting a big bounce back for Arvidsson with Kopitar feeding him the puck. The shot volume has been there, but Arvidsson hasn’t been as good at getting to the best shooting locations. Kopitar will fix that.
6) Cale Makar has 85+ points, becoming the first defenseman to reach that total in 28 years. It’s not a big increase in production from Makar, but sustaining over a full season instead of half of a season worth of games will be hard enough. The Avs should be a juggernaut once again with Makar being a big reason for that. He’s the favorite for the Norris and rightfully so.
7) Mike Smith regresses to being a fringe hold. I can’t buy into last season being sustainable for Smith after having a .902 and .898 the previous two seasons. He’ll probably be good enough to keep for the wins, but it won’t be pretty.
8) The New Jersey Devils make the playoffs. They haven’t sniffed the playoffs in recent seasons, but my love for Dougie Hamilton is well known in these parts. Add in Graves, Tatar, Bernier, and the growth of the young players, and I think they can get one of the wild card spots.
9) Artemi Panarin wins the Hart Trophy. McDavid is obviously the favorite, but Panarin has played at a 113 point pace in each of the last two seasons. The Rangers are bound to take a jump this season towards making the playoffs to bring the necessary attention to Panarin. You can get 26-1 at some books which I think is an incredible price.
10) The Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup. Their forwards and defensemen are both top 5 groups. This is contingent on Spencer Knight being a viable starter right away. Who knows, maybe Bob randomly finds his form again? I’m counting on Knight though to play as well as he has at lower levels. It’s an absolutely stacked division with four Cup contenders which makes their path even harder, but I love the build of this team.
That’s 10! I’ll be back on Monday previewing the first week of the season. If there’s anything else you want me to write about, please let me know. As always, any questions, comments, or suggestions, please leave in the comments section. Thanks for reading, take care!