Ten Names To Know For Fantasy Hockey
The offseason is very important to players. They try to improve their game, to get faster and stronger. Players know in order to move up the depth chart that they have to please their coaches. When players move up the depth chart, it means they are practicing hard and impressing their teammates and coaching staff. It is also important for fantasy owners because they want to know who will get a lot of ice time this season and who won’t be. Here are 10 players to watch on their respective depth chart.
Daniel Sprong, Forward, Pittsburgh Penguins: He may not start the season on the top two lines, but it is very possible he could be playing on the third line and score goals at will. Sprong was known for being an offensive machine with the Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) last season. He scored 32 goals and recorded 27 assists in 31 games. His plus/minus was 29. In 12-playoff games, Sprong scored 9 goals and recorded 11 assists. Sprong will benefit playing on the same team with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Jake Guentzel. Sprong has the potential to score 20-30 goals this season. I think he will be a third liner for most of the season, but it wouldn’t shock me if he was either on Malkin’s line or Crosby’s line at some point this season.
Mathew Barzal, Center, New York Islanders: Barzal barely played last season with the Islanders and they sent him back to juniors after only playing in two NHL games. The Islanders are going to benefit from it big time this season. Barzal led the Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL Championship last season. He is a true play maker and in 41 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Barzal only scored 10 goals but he recorded 69 assists. His plus/minus was 32. In 16-playoff games, he scored seven goals and recorded 18 assists. Barzal will be the second line center for the Islanders this season and he will create chances for New York. He will probably score 15 goals and record 50 assists.
Anton Forsberg, Goalie, Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford might be the starting goalie in Chicago, but his game is starting to regress. If he shows any sign of that, Anton Forsberg could steal his job. Forsberg is 24 years old and he was traded to Chicago because of the log jam at goalie between Sergei Bobrovsky and Joonas Korpisalo in Columbus. Forsberg has talent but he starting goalie potential as well. Crawford isn’t a free agent until 2021 but the Blackhawks could be faced with a tough decision if Forsberg breaks out. Forsberg only played in one NHL game last season and he lost that game. He had a 4.07 GAA and a .852 save percentage. In the minors, his record was 27-17-2 in 51 games with a .926 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA, along with four shutouts. Forsberg will probably appear in 20-25 games this season.
Frederick Gaudreau, Center, Nashville Predators: Gaudreau spent most of the 2016-2017 season with the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL). In 66 games, he scored 25 goals and recorded 23 assists. His plus/minus was -1. In three-playoff games, he scored three goals and recorded an assist. Gaudreau played in nine games for Nashville after that and recorded an assist. In eight-playoff games with Nashville, Gaudreau scored three goals. Gaudreau will be the fourth line center for them this season. He is a grinder and will score 10-15 goals and record 10 assists.
Nolan Patrick, Center, Philadelphia Flyers: Nolan Patrick was drafted second overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. There is a reason why they drafted him. He will be the future captain of the Philadelphia Flyers and Patrick is a franchise player. Patrick will start the season most likely as the second line center, but it wouldn’t shock me at all if he became the first line center over Claude Giroux at some point this season. Patrick is injury prone but when he is healthy, is he a special talent. In 33 games last season with the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), he scored 20 goals and recorded 26 assists. His plus/minus was 9. I think Patrick will score 30-35 goals this season and record 25-30 assists.
Christian Djoos, Defenseman, Washington Capitals: Djoos will play a major role on defense for the Capitals this season. With losing a couple of key defenseman in the offseason, he will either be on top or second pair of defense for Washington. Djoos played in 66 games with the Hershey Bears last season. He scored 13 goals and recorded 45 assists and his plus/minus was 9. In 12-playoff games, Djoos scored two goals and recorded six assists. He will be either on the first or second power play unit and Djoos will do good quarterbacking the power play. I think he will score 15 goals and record 30-40 assists.
Josh Manson, Defenseman, Anaheim Ducks: The Anaheim Ducks lost a couple of key defenseman in the offseason. Manson is ready to take over on the top line of defense for Anaheim. Manson did play in all 82 games last season for the Ducks. He scored five goals and recorded 12 assists. His plus/minus was 14. In 17-playoff games, he recorded three assists. Manson will have more ice time this season and that will increase his chances to score more and record more assists.
Alex DeBrincat, Forward, Chicago Blackhawks: DeBrincat is an offensive powerhouse and he will provide that spark for the Blackhawks this season. He led the Erie Otters (OHL) to the OHL Championship last season. DeBrincat scored 65 goals and recorded 62 assists in 63 games. His plus/minus was 60. In 22-playoff games, he scored 13 goals and recorded 25 assists. It is very possible DeBrincat could start the season on the second line as a winger. DeBrincat will provide instant offense if Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, or Patrick Kane struggle. DeBrincat could score 30 goals this season and record another 30 assists.
Alexander Wennberg, Center, Columbus Blue Jackets: Wennberg just signed a six-year contract extension with Columbus. They are very high on his impact with the Blue Jackets in the near future. He was back and forth last season on the second and first line. This season he will be on the first line. In 80 games last season, Wennberg scored 13 goals and recorded 46 assists. His plus/minus was 9. In five-playoff games, he recorded an assist. Wennberg will score more goals this season, but he will probably have the same amount if assists.
Jake Guentzel, Forward/Center, Pittsburgh Penguins: When Jake Guentzel started out in the NHL last season, he was playing on the third or second line. It wasn’t until late in the season and throughout the playoffs that Guentzel was playing on the top line with Sidney Crosby. It paid off big time. Guentzel scored 16 goals and recorded 17 assists in 40 games last season. His plus/minus was 7. In 25-playoff games, he scored 13 goals and recorded 8 assists. Guentzel could be very dangerous all season long with Crosby on the top line. It’s very possible Guentzel could easily score over 30 goals and record 30 assists.