(photo via thehockeynews.com)
With the NHL season a little over two months away, it’s probably time we started to talk about fantasy hockey.
Now there isn’t much point in talking about the big named players, you all already know what they can do. You’re going to want to find out who can be productive for you later on in the draft.
There are plenty of players out there capable of this role but here are a few I’ve selected:
The Toronto Maple Leafs want Morgan Rielly to be the NHL’s next top offensive defensemen. That is going to mean top minutes for him on both 5 on 5 and the power play, giving him maximum opportunity to put up big points.
Also, in his short amount of time in the league, Rielly’s points total has improved each year.
Yes, the numbers aren’t screaming of the page at you but improvement is improvement. Hopefully, if the trend can continue, he could potentially put up 40-48 points. If we are going off last season’s stats that would have him ranking in the top 20 for defensemen.
Something else that could help out Rielly are the Leafs forwards. With players like JVR, Kadri and now youngsters like Matthews, Marner and Nylander all Rielly has got to do is make the pass. Rielly also led the leafs d-men in first assists/60, a number that will help increase his raw point totals with the added forward talent.
Morgan Rielly is a defenceman you’re going to want on your fantasy team this season. He might not be on the best team in the league but they’re definitely giving him every opportunity to put up numbers this season. He’s also a good idea to grab him if you already have Austin Matthews
If last season’s playoffs are anything to go off then Drouin is going to be a fantasy beast this year. Putting up 14 points in 17 games after barely even playing all season is very impressive. What makes Drouin even more appealing is that he could be line mates with Steven Stamkos, easily a top five scorer in the league. At every level, he has proven that he is a point getter, whether it be Halifax, Syracuse or even team Canada. Now it’s starting to look like his time on the big stage. Even Stamkos has come out and called this kid a stud! Might not be a bad opinion to listen too.
The rankings have Drouin going around the 8th round in a standard fantasy draft, but if you are willing to take him a round or two earlier it might be a risk that pays off. He has all the ability in the world to put up a lot of points for you and your fantasy team this year so don’t be afraid. Also if you get Stamkos in the first round, Drouin should be a must add.
The biggest gamble signing in real life hockey could also be your biggest gamble in fantasy hockey. Yes, he is a wildcard but also a top quality hockey player. Radulov is mostly known in the NHL for his behaviour off the ice but he is also a big-time point producer. During his last stint in the league, he put up 13 points in 17 games, eight of them being playoff games, before being sent back to his home country of Russia. This shows what kind of productivity he could have in the NHL. What else shows of his talent are his performances in Russia, accomplishing a top three finish in scoring twice in the last four years.
That’s 238 points in 181 games. Ridiculous.
Supposedly, Radulov is a much more mature player now which will help his NHL career and your fantasy team (more importantly). He will go completely under the radar in most drafts so make sure you snatch him up, especially if you have Alex Galchenyuk already. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be shocked if he turned out to be one of your most valuable picks. He has everything a top six forward needs and I fully believe he is going to prove himself this season. You need Radulov on your team.