Hey guys! 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 17th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re headed to Bean Town, home of the Eastern Conference Champion Bruins! The Bruins were one game away from hoisting Lord Stanley… Dang it, Gloria! That being said, this team had very little turnover from this past season to now, and should be primed for another great season in the extremely competitive Atlantic.
SURE-FIRE STUDS: Brad Marchand (79GP 36-64-100), David Pastrnak (66GP 38-43-81), Patrice Bergeron (65GP 32-47-79), Torey Krug (64GP 6-47-53)
These guys are are sure-fire as they come. ‘The Perfection Line’ is primed for another unreal season, with Krug being the main beneficiary as the PPQB. What makes me excited is in ESPN’s preliminary mock draft rankings, Krug isn’t getting the love he deserves. The key ingredient for this group is to stay healthy.
SVEN’S SLEEPER: Jake DeBrusk (68GP 27-15-42)
DeBrusk didn’t experience a Sophomore slump this year, tallying one less point in two fewer games compared to his rookie season. What makes me excited for him this year is he is bound to add on a few more assists, AND he is usually the down-low guy on the #1PP. 27 goals in his second year is already impressive, so expect a nice healthy jump this season.
HOLDS: Tuukka Rask (46GP 27-13-5, .912SV%, GAA 2.48GAA), Charlie McAvoy (54GP 7-21-28)
Tuukka isn’t quite a hold for me for a couple of reasons, but mainly his workload. Jaroslav Halak had a very good season as backup and took a lot of the pressure and fatigue off Tuukka, which was exemplified in the B’s playoff run. They will likely have a similar workload this coming season, making Tuukka a safe bet for roto leagues but not a must-have in points leagues. That being said, I would still be happy to have him as my #1G. As for Jaro, consider him streamable.
McAvoy hasn’t been able to stay healthy for all 82 games in either of his two NHL seasons, but the kid can play. He’s one of the few Dmen that doesn’t receive #1PP time but I would still consider drafting because he is capable of putting up a good chunk of 5on5 points. If he logs a full healthy season, look for a nice 40-45 points.
STREAMERS: David Krejci (81GP 20-53-73)
Krejci came out of nowhere this past season, matching his career-high he set back in 2008-09. It’s amazing what he can accomplish when he’s healthy for 82 games, but I just don’t see that (or this output) repeating itself. With some more consistency from his young linemates, there’s a chance. Prove me wrong Krejci!
Charlie Coyle becomes a streamer in the event that Krejci goes down, but for now he’s stuck at #3C. Which is a shame, because he looked great in the playoffs. Perhaps he and Danton Heinen can provide some secondary scoring and make each other fantasy relevant? We’ll see.
PROSPECT PIPELINE: Karson Kuhlman (AHL: 58GP 12-18-30)
Kuhlman was almost my sleeper purely for the opportunity he has available to him going into this season. Though he never really had points that jumped off the page in the NCAA or AHL, Kuhlman can skate like the wind and earned himself a few playoff games on the B’s run. Likely to beat out Backes for the #2RW slot, Kuhlman can likely produce enough to jump into at least the streamer conversation at some point this season. He’s an enticing rookie pick solely because the ice time will be there right away, assuming he plays with Krejci and DeBrusk.
Urho Vaakanainen (AHL: 30GP 4-10-14)
Vaakanainen will have to wait at least another season to get his chance with the big club, as they currently have a log jam of NHL Dmen. This isn’t exactly a bad thing for the 2017 first-rounder, as he can continue to work on his game in the AHL and log minutes. With Kevan Miller and potentially Chara coming off the books next year, I see him having a great chance cracking next year’s roster.
Jack Studnicka (OHL: 60GP 36-47-83)
After a very successful OHL career mostly with Oshawa, the 2017 second-rounder will make the jump to Providence (AHL) this coming season. Studnicka plays with an edge and will hopefully transition well. If he does, I wouldn’t be surprised if he earns himself a call-up this year.
Pavel Shen (KHL: 20GP 0-1-1)
This is an extremely interesting one for me. Shen was a 2018 seventh-rounder, so it’s astounding that he is even under contract. After parts of two seasons in the KHL playing against men, he has yet to really produce at that level. He must have really impressed at Bruins camp, and they will be happy to get more looks at him when he suits up for Providence (AHL) this year. Who knows, he could rip it up out of nowhere.
Oskar Steen (SHL: 46GP 17-20-37)
Steen is a 2016 sixth-rounder Who has spent parts of the last four seasons playing for Farjestad BK (SHL). An undersized centreman, he just started tacking on points this past season, and that must have been enough for the Bruins to sign him and want him over in North America. We’ll see how his game translates once he’s in the AHL, but I love the fact that he has a lot of games against men under his belt. Another young European Jakub Lauko will also be joining Providence this season. Lauko spent parts of two seasons in the Czech league before one buffer year in the QMJHL with Rouyn-Noranda where he went 20-20.