2023-2024 Atlantic Division Fantasy Hockey Preview Pt.1
Special guest Flip Livingstone – host for the Locked On Fantasy Hockey Podcast, Senior Writer for Dobber Hockey, on-air talent & betting content for Pick Boss – joins us for part 1 of our Atlantic Division Fantasy Hockey Preview!
As we do each off-season, we are going to assess each division (and team) based on results from the previous season; as well as any changes that were made as a result of the NHL Entry Draft and Free Agency. Which teams improved, declined, or remained largely the same? Team statistics, schedule notes, additions/departures, and projections for key fantasy-relevant players in 2023-2024. Our goal is to best prepare our readers and listeners for their fantasy drafts this Fall, and maybe improve their odds of winning a fantasy hockey championship.
65-12-5 (1st in Atlantic) | GF/GM: 3.67 (2nd) | GA/GM: 2.12 (1st) | GF%: 63.37 (1st) | CF%: 51.41 (13th) | PP%: 22.22 (12th) | PK%: 87.28 (1st)
Schedule Notes: The Boston Bruins have 15 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 5th most with seven other clubs. 23 of their games (28%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), tied for 4th most among all teams in 2023-2024.
Key Additions: James Van Riemsdyck (LW/RW), Milan Lucic (LW), Kevn Shattenkirk (D)
Key Departures: Patrice Bergeron (C), David Krejci (C), Tyler Bertuzzi (LW/RW), Taylor Hall (LW), Garnet Hathaway (RW), Nick Foligno (LW), Dmitry Orlov (D)
Top Fantasy Targets
🎯 David Pastrnak, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 26.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 51 Goals, 98 Points
The Boston Bruins had a historic season, winning an NHL-record 65 wins in the regular season. Unfortunately, that success did not translate to the post-season and the Bruins were left wondering, what happened?
Individually, David Pastrnak had a brilliant season, posting a career-high 113 points and 61 goals in 82 games played. To get there, Pastrnak also shot a career-high 15.2 SOG/60 (4.9 SOG/GM), something we should not expect to see in 2023-2024 as he settles closer to his 3-year average of 13.99 SOG/60. 0.66 2A/60 was the second-highest mark of Pastrnak’s career, and a 120% increase from the season prior – a difference of 8 secondary assists year-over-year. The Bruins winger also converted at a slightly higher individual shooting percentage (15.0 iSH%) last season compared to his 3-year average of 13.5%.
Combine all of this with the departures of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Taylor Hall, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Dmitry Orlov, a 15-point decline would appear to be a realistic expectation.
🎯 Brad Marchand, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 124.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 32 Goals, 80 Points
2022-2023 was the first time since 2015-2016 that Brad Marhand finished a season below a point per game (0.92 Pts/GM); though 67 points and 21 goals in 73 games (75-point pace) is not terrible production for a player recovering from off-season surgery on both hips. At 35-years old though, you have to consider that age-related decline is a reality…
It certainly appears that age is becoming a factor, and the long NHL schedule is taking its toll on the veteran forward. In each of the past two seasons, Marchand has performed better during the first half of the season. In 2021-2022, the Bruins winger produced 43 points and 20 goals in 30 games played – a 118-point, 55-goal pace over 82 games. Contrast that with the 76 point pace over 40 games during the second half of the season, and there is cause for concern. A similar issue occurred this past season when Marchand played at a 92-point pace in the first half of the season, but just a 61-point pace in the second half.
There is some reason for optimism though, as Marchand’s luck metrics all suggest that we could see some positive regression this coming season. In addition to his lowest shot rate since 2017-2018 (8.1 SOG/60, 2.5 SOG/GM), Marchand’s individual shooting percentage (iSH%) was a career-low 11.5%, down substantially from his 3-year (14.4) and career (15.4) averages. Looking at the secondary assist rate per 60 (2A/60), we should expect at least a few more secondary assists, as Marchand was down 25% this past season relative to his career average (0.52 2A/60). Lastly, with a 64.4% IPP, this was just the third time in his career that Marchand was below 70%.
All things considered, I’m fading Brad Marchand this coming season; and if I’m able to acquire him at the appropriate price point, I will still likely try to flip him before January 1st.
🎯 Jake DeBrusk, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 34 Goals, 61 Points
We are bullish on Jake DeBrusk for 2023-2024 after watching him post a career-best 50 points and 27 goals with limited time on ice (16:47 TOI/GM, 53% PP Share – 2:57 PPTOI/GM). Unless Boston makes some substantial in-season acquisitions, DeBrusk seems guaranteed top line, top power play deployment; and our projection reflects that.
If DeBrusk can maintain his shot rate of 10.7 SOG/60 from last season, he should be a virtual lock for 30 goals in 2023-2024; even if his individual shooting percentage (iSH%) dips closer to his career average of 12.8% (14.1% last year). DeBrusks 56.8% IPP from last year will also certainly improve, likely closer to the +70% we saw in each of the past two seasons; and so too will his secondary assist rate per 60 (2A/60), which was down nearly 40% from his career average. Where we may see the biggest improvement though, is on the power play. DeBrusk had a career-best 47 shots on goal with the man advantage last year, but his PPSH% was down to 12.7% from his career average of 18.4%. With a full season on PP1, DeBrusk should score 12+ PPGs and collect 20+ PPPs.
🎯 Pavel Zacha, C
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 23 Goals, 69 Points
🎯 James Van Riemsdyk, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 22 Goals, 45 Points
🎯 Charlie McAvoy, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 140.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 9 Goals, 59 Points
Charlie McAvoy saw a significant dip in even-strength and power play time on ice in 2022-2023, averaging a total of 22:18 TOI/GM. With the departure of several defenseman, most notably Dmitry Orlov, we should expect to see an increase in ice time for McAvoy. Our projection assumes a return to 24:00 TOI/GM and a +65% PP Share.
🎯 Hampus Lindholm, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 144.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 9 Goals, 45 Points
🎯 Linus Ullmark, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 147.0 | PREDICTION: 49 Starts (60% Net Share), 28 Wins
We spoke about Linus Ullmark in detail in this article, be sure to give it a read. The bottom line: Ullmark, like many of the Bruins, is going to regress this coming season. With just 6 losses in 49 appearances, along with a 1.89 GAA and a .931 SV%, I think most fantasy managers would agree that expectations should be tempered for 2023-2024.
🎯 Jeremy Swayman, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 107.5 | PREDICTION: 33 Starts (40% Net Share), 20 Wins
📃Watchlist: Milan Lucic (LW), Morgan Geekie, Matt Grzelcyk (D), Kevin Shattenkirk (D)
42-33-7 (5th in Atlantic) | GF/GM: 3.57 (3rd) | GA/GM: 3.62 (26th) | GF%: 49.66 (19th) | CF%: 51.01 (16th) | PP%: 23.42 (9th) | PK%: 73.01 (28th)
Schedule Notes: The Buffalo Sabres have 12 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 5th most with Boston and Chicago. 30 of their games (37%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the seventh most among all NHL clubs this upcoming season.
Key Additions: Erik Johnson (D)
Key Departures: Vinnie Hinostroza (C)
Top Fantasy Targets
🎯 Tage Thompson, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 110.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 46 Goals, 92 Points
Tage Thompson absolutely went off last season for 94 points and 47 goals in 78 games! Prepared fantasy managers that took Thompson at an average draft position of 110 were laughing all the way to the bank. Unfortunately, that will not be the case this year as managers reach for Thompson around his Yahoo rank of 15th overall, just outside the first round in most standard leagues. The Sabres center should still return good value as a second-round selection; but don’t expect further improvement on last year’s overall production.
Thompson’s shot rate was elite last year at 12.3 SOG/60 (7th overall, all-strengths, 3.8 SOG/GM), and that statistic alone should ensure 40 goals as a floor for next season. However, there is some cause for concern when evaluating the luck metrics, as Thompson’s performance last season was certainly influenced by luck.
A 15.8 iSH% was a career-high, and may not be repeatable; even a modest drop to his career average (12.7%) would mean a loss of 10 goals last year. On the power play, Thompson crushed his previous career-highs, posting 34 PPP and 20 PPG (24.3 PPSH% on 82 PP SOG).
A team even-strength shooting percentage (tEVSH%) of 10.7% with Thompson on the ice also suggests that some level of regression can be expected as the Sabres puck luck levels out.
🎯 Alex Tuch, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 140.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 32 Goals, 79 Points
Similar to Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch benefited from an inflated tEVSH% of 11%, while also shooting at a career-best 16.5 iSH%. On the power play, Tuch shot a near career-high 22.8 PPSH% (35 PP SOG), well above his career average of 15.6%.
The former Golden Knight will maintain optimal deployment at even-strength and on the team’s top power play, but some level of regression is coming – draft accordingly.
🎯 Jeff Skinner, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 166.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 31 Goals, 68 Points
Jeff Skinner also managed to post career-highs in points (82) and power play points (21) as a member of the Sabres last season; but again, luck played a significant factor in the overall production.
A 12.1 tEVSH% in 2022-2023 was also a career-high for Skinner, well above the league average of roughly 8.75%, and obviously not something we expect to be repeated this coming season. While slightly more subtle, Skinner’s individual shooting percentage of 14.5% was the second-highest of his career; well above 3-year (12.2%) and career averages (11.2%).
The last thing I want to mention about Skinner is his 0.67 secondary assist rate per 60, the highest of his career, and significantly higher (116% higher) than his career-average of 0.31 2A/60.
I still like Jeff Skinner at the right price point, but based on last seasons results, it will be very difficult to find value compared to last year’s ADP of 166 and Yahoo’s current rank of 105.
🎯 Dylan Cozens, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 32 Goals, 70 Points
Dylan Cozens should garner plenty of attention in season-long drafts this Fall after posting 68 points (31 goals) in 81 games in 2022-2023. At 201 games played, and entering into his 4th NHL season, Cozens is ready to take another big step in 2023-2024. The Sabres center has experienced positive, linear development in nearly every aspect of his game, particularly with regards to shot rate and points per 60. Cozens posted 2.6 SOG/GM last season and sat 3rd on the team at 9.5 SOG/60 (70th overall, and better than Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kreider, Elias Petterson, Dylan Larkin, and Steven Stamkos).
It looks like a role on the top power play unit should be a lock for Cozens, allowing him to improve on last year’s 18 PPP and overall production.
🎯 Casey Mittelstadt, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 19 Goals, 58 Points
🎯 JJ Peterka, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 19 Goals, 47 Points
🎯 Victor Olofsson, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 168.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 46 Points
🎯 Rasmus Dahlin, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 75.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 16 Goals, 76 Points
With a combined 442 shots on goal, hits, and blocked shots, Rasmus Dahlin is one of the premiere “BASH” defenders available; and runs the top power play unit for an up-and-coming team in Buffalo, that also just happens to have one of the highest ranked prospect pools in the NHL.
Like many of the Buffalo players discussed already, Dahlin posted career-highs in points (73), goals (15), PPP (32), time on ice (25:48 TOI/GM), SOG/60 (6.1), penalty minutes (92) and points per 60 (2.2). Our co-host Tyler Hollman wondered about Dahlin competing for a Norris trophy this season, and I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibilities. Based on his current Yahoo ranking of 42, it would be best to target Dahlin in the third round of 12-team season-long drafts, if possible.
🎯 Owen Power, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 129.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 7 Goals, 46 Points
🎯 Devon Levi, G
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PREDICTION: 41 Starts (50% Net Share), 24 Wins
Devon Levi is still young at just 21-years old; so our projection of 50% net share and 24 wins is probably a bit optimistic. However, Levi should be provided with every opportunity to make the team out of camp this Fall, as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has struggled to maintain consistency (3.44 GAA, .898 SV% in 46 career starts); and Eric Comrie has not fared much better (3.32 GAA, .897 SV% in 47 career starts).
In a very limited sample size of 7 games, Levi posted 5 quality starts with save percentages ranging from .912 to .944. Levi is the type of player I wouldn’t mind taking a late swing on in season-long redraft leagues.
🎯 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PREDICTION: 41 Starts (50% Net Share), 20 Wins
📃Watchlist: Jack Quinn (RW), Peyton Krebs (C)
Detroit Red Wings
35-37-10 (7th in Atlantic) | GF/GM: 2.89 (24th) | GA/GM: 3.35 (22nd) | GF%: 46.29 (25th) | CF%: 47.13 (25th) | PP%: 21.11 (17th) | PK%: 78.31 (18th)
Schedule Notes: The Detroit Red Wings have 10 back-to-back sets this season; tied for the fourth lowest among all NHL clubs in 2023-2024. 27 of their games (33%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the eighth lowest for next season.
Key Additions: Alex DeBrincat (RW), Daniel Sprong (RW), JT Compher (C), Klim Kostin (C ), Shayne Gostisbehere (D), James Reimer (G), Jeff Petry (D)
Key Departures: Dominik Kubalik (LW/RW), Filip Zadina (RW), Robert Hagg (D), Alex Nedeljkovic (G)
Top Fantasy Targets
🎯 Dylan Larkin, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 106.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 33 Goals, 82 Points
Dylan Larkin has been very consistent the past two seasons in terms of shot rate per 60, points per 60, and time on ice; so we can probably assume more of the same in terms of overall production (which our projection reflects). However, the x-factor(s) to consider is the degree to which Alex DeBrincat and Lucas Raymond bounce-back in 2023-2024 (we’ll talk about both in detail below).
For Larkin, his shooting percentages, particularly on the power play, may take a step back next season. With the man-advantage, the Red Wings captain smashed his previous career high of 42 shots on goal, firing 71 pucks on net and converting on 22.5%, also a career-high. At all-strengths, Larkin’s 13.1 iSH% is above his 3-year (12.2%) and career (10.3%) averages, but in-line with what we saw from him in 2021-2022. Our projection assumes that Larkin maintains a similar shot rate (9.2 SOG/60, 3.01 SOG/GM) and shooting percentage (13.4%) in 2023-2024.
🎯 Alex BeBrincat, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 34.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 40 Goals, 80 Points
For most players, 66 points and 27 goals would be a wonderful season. For the newest Red Wing though, those numbers represent a step back from the 78 points and 41 goals he posted in 2021-2022; and the 88 point, 50 goal pace he was on in 2020-2021. Looking at the underlying luck metrics, DeBrincat is due for positive regression nearly across the board – expect to see more secondary assists, even-strength goals and PPGs from DeBrincat next season.
0.21 2A/60 was a career-low for the former Hawk, a far cry from his career average of 0.41 2A/60 (49% drop) – expect substantial regression in secondary assists. A shooting percentage of 13.7% on the power play was by far the lowest of DeBrincat’s career (very consistently between 20-25%). Had the 25-year old converted closer to his norm on the PP, say 22.5%, the difference would have been another SEVEN PPGs; at which point we’re looking at a 34 goal season overall. A 10.3 iSH% was the second-lowest mark of Debrincat’s career to date, who has averaged 14.5% through 449 regular season contests.
It’s also worth noting that DeBrincat’s time on-ice took a fairly significant dip in Ottawa last season. After averaging 20:32 and 20:51 in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, respectively, DeBrincat only received 19:00 TOI in 2022-2023. Most of that was lost at even-strength, and a bit on the PK (PPTOI went up). I expect to see that number increase next season, as the Red Wings don’t have quite as many offensive options to work with this coming season.
🎯 Lucas Raymond, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 156.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 23 Goals, 62 Points
After posting 57 points and 23 goals in 2021-2022, Lucas Raymond took a step back last season with 45 points and 17 goals. The “sophomore slump” is nothing new, but in Raymond’s case the results were certainly influenced by poor luck as his tEVSH% (7.6%), 2A/60 (0.31, 40% deline from the previous season), and IPP (60%) were all down this past season. The secondary assist rate alone accounted for a 5 point drop in production, albeit in 8 fewer games. Raymond also saw a dip of roughly 1 minute at even-strength this past season, and shot the puck at a slightly lower rate (6.3 SOG/60 vs. 7.4 SOG/60).
Assuming Raymond’s deployment remains consistent, and the luck metrics regress, the Red Wings forward should easily have a bounce-back season. If healthy, Raymond will cross the 200-game breakout threshold in January and could provide great value in the draft, if taken anywhere past the 12th round in 12-team season-long redraft leagues. Note: Raymond’s 44.4 Offensive Zone Start Percentage (OZ Start%) was the THIRD LOWEST among Red Wing forwards last season – this needs to change, and likely will.
🎯 David Perron, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 161.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 26 Goals, 62 Points
🎯 Andrew Copp, C/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 18 Goals, 47 Points
🎯 Shayne Gostisbehere, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 159.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 17 Goals, 51 Points
It is my belief that Shayne Gostisbehere was acquired to man the top power play unit in Detroit. Why else would a poor puck possession team acquire the 30-year old? While “Ghost-Bear” is a capable power play quarterback, my theory is that Detroit also wants to limit Moritz Seider’s point production (by keeping him off the power play) heading into a contract year, similar to what the Oilers did with Evan Bouchard.
With that in mind, my expectation is that Gostisbehere plays approximately 22 minutes per game with 65-70% PP Share, similar to his time in Arizona. The only luck metric that was slightly inflated last season was Gostisbehere’s PPSH%, up to 10.8% compared to his career average of 8.2%. Not a huge concern, but again, worth noting.
We’ll have to wait and see how Gostisbehere is deployed in training camp and pre-season, but based on last year’s ADP of 159.5 (13th round in 12-team leagues), that seems like a reasonable bet.
🎯 Moritz Seider, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 34.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 7 Goals, 46 Points
Moritz Seider may be denied full-time duty on the number one power play unit this season; but he is still a very valuable fantasy asset for the upcoming season, and particularly so in keeper or dynasty leagues that value multi-cat contributors.
In 2022-2023, Seider posted 42 points (5 goals), along with a combined total of 537 shots on goal, hits, and blocked shots – ranked FOURTH among all NHL defenseman last season. Only Jacob Trouba, Radko Gudas, and Adam Larsson were bigger producers in “BASH” formats.
🎯 Ville Husso, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 155.5 | PREDICTION: 53 Starts (65% Net Share), 25 Wins
🎯 James Reimer, G
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PREDICTION: 29 Starts (35% Net Share), 14 Wins
📃Watchlist: JT Compher (C), Darren Sprong (RW), Robby Fabbri (C), Jeff Petry (D)
42-32-8 (4th in Central) | GF/GM: 3.51 (6th) | GA/GM: 3.32 (12th) | GF%: 51.43 (16th) | CF%: 54.17 (3rd) | PP%: 22.83 (10th) | PK%: 75.95 (23rd)
Schedule Notes: The Florida Panthers have 8 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 2nd fewest with Calgary, Colorado, and Winnipeg. 27 of their games (33%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), tied for 8th fewest with Calgary, Carolina, Detroit and Toronto.
Key Additions: Evan Rodrigues (C), Dmitry Kulikov (D), Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Anthony Stolarz (G)
Key Departures: Radko Gudas (D), Marc Staal (D), Alex Lyon (G)
Top Fantasy Targets
🎯 Alexander Barkov, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 16.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 37 Goals, 95 Points
Aleksander Barkov took a step back in 2022-2023, particularly in the goal-scoring category, where he posted just 23 goals in 68 games, compared to the 39 he posted in 67 games during the 2022-2023 season. Barkov’s shooting efficiency dropped to a 5-year low at just 11.1%, so fantasy managers can rest assured that regression in that category is almost guaranteed. If Barkov had converted at his 3-year average of 14.7%, we’re talking about 31 goals in 68 games, and 37 goals over a full 82-game season.
The only luck metric I have concerns about is Barkov’s secondary assist rate per 60 at 0.72, the second highest of his 10-year career, and nearly 40% above his career average of 0.52. This won’t account for a huge point correction, but it is worth noting.
The Panthers captain has not played a full season since 2018-2019, but consistently produces at a +95-point pace. Certainly a player worth gambling on in the second round…
🎯 Matthew Tkachuk, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 14.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 40 Goals, 112 Points
Full Disclosure: It was around this time last Summer that I confidently stated Matthew Tkachuk would NOT improve on his then career-high 104-point, 42-goal campaign with the Calgary Flames. Tkachuk flat-out proved me and all of his doubters wrong, posting a new career-high of 109 points in three fewer games (79 GP)!
Players with new addresses typically need time to acclimate to their surroundings, Tkachuk thrived. What’s most interesting for me though, is the significant increase in shot volume the past two seasons. The former Flame never exceeded 9.6 SOG/60 during his first five NHL seasons before going off for 10.3 SOG/60 in 2021-2022 and 12.0 SOG/60 in 2022-2023, 9th league-wide (all-strengths). Interestingly, Tkachuk’s IPP (69.4), iSH% (12.3%), and PPSH% (14%) were all below career averages, leaving room for additional production.
Conversely, Tkachuk’s secondary assist rate per 60 minutes played (2A/60) ranked 15th in the NHL last season at 0.75, nearly 20% above his 3-year average. Paired with a higher than normal team even-strength shooting percentage (tEVSH%) at 10.6% and the end result could be a wash.
🎯 Sam Reinhart, C/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 63.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 32 Goals, 73 Points
🎯 Carter Verhaeghe, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 40 Goals, 73 Points
Carter Verhaeghe broke out in a big way last season with 73 points and 42 goals, despite seeing just 38.2% PP Share (just 13 PPP) and 17:30 TOI/GM. At least part of Verhaeghe’s success can be attributed to two factors – prime deployment with Barkov and Tkachuk; and a serious improvement in his shot rate at 11.8 SOG/60 (3.1 SOG/GM), good enough for 14th league-wide (all-strengths). Assuming similar deployment and shot volume, Verhaeghe’s performance should be repeatable next season.
🎯 Sam Bennett, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 160.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 26 Goals, 56 Points
🎯 Anton Lundell, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 172.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 17 Goals, 50 Points
Anton Lundell played at a 56-point pace in his rookie season, a range that should be achievable again in 2023-2024; despite being buried on the depth chart and limited to third line minutes. However, it’s worth mentioning that Lundell’s performance last season was influenced by poor luck when assessing each of the underlying luck metrics.
Lundell’s individual shooting percentage (iSH%) fell to 7.8% last season after shooting at 14.3% the year prior. If Lundell can maintain a shot rate of 7.7 SOG/60 or better and play a full 82-game season, a 20-goal season is certainly possible (with some regression in his iSH%).
🎯 Evan Rodrigues, C
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 18 Goals, 47 Points
🎯 Brandon Montour, D
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 16 Goals, 66 Points
Brandon Montour shocked everyone last season, exploding for a career-high 73 points and 16 goals in 80 games. Equally (maybe more) surprising, was the fact that Montour completely assumed power play duties from Aaron Ekblad, receiving 74% PP Share (4:17 PPTOI/GM) and posting a career-best 33 PPP. The 29-year old will miss some time at the start of the season recovering from a shoulder (labrum) injury, but that should not stop fantasy managers from drafting this player with confidence.
Our projection assumes that Montour will continue to receive top power play duty and play an average of 24:00 TOI/GM. It’s worth mentioning though, Montour’s production was at least partially boosted by luck, as we saw slightly higher than normal values for tEVSH% (9.5% a career high), 2A/60 (0.46, 2nd highest of his career), and iSH% (6.6% versus 6% career average). The shooting percentage is less concerning though, as the former first rounder has averaged an iSH% of 7% the past three seasons.
🎯 Aaron Ekblad, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 35.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 17 Goals, 54 Points
For as well as things went for Brandon Montour last season, the opposite can be said for Aaron Ekblad, who posted just 38 points (14 goals) in 71 games last season. A large contributor was the diminished role on the power play (59.1% PP Share, 3:21 PPTOI/GM), but Ekblad’s production was also limited by bad luck.
PPSH% was the only metric that was above average last season for Ekblad at 12.6% (10.8% career average), every other luck metric should regress positively this coming season. 0.16 2A/60 was a career-low for Ekblad, representing just 3 secondary assists in 71 games – an 80% decline from 2021-2022 (3 vs. 14) and a 57% decline compared to his career average (0.37 2A/60). Ekblad’s IPP was also at a 4-year low 36% compared to an average of 43% the three seasons prior; and his individual shooting percentage was at a 3-year low (6.4%), down from his 3-year (8%) and career (7%) averages.
With Ekblad seemingly losing his top power play role, and scheduled to miss time recovering from off-season surgery; this represents a real opportunity for fantasy managers to acquire the 2014 1st overall pick at a significant discount. Expect a bounce-back season!
🎯 Gustav Forsling, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 187.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 12 Goals, 42 Points
🎯 Sergei Bobrovsky, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 77.5 | PREDICTION: 54 Starts (70% Net Share), 32 Wins
Sergei Bobrovsky’s 4th season in Florida was less than impressive with a 24-20-3 record with a 3.07 GAA and .902 SV%. Bob redeemed himself in the post-season though. In 15 games from April 26th to June 8th, the 34-year old posted a 12-3-0 record with a 2.26 GAA and .931 SV%. In 19 total games, Bobrovsky would lead all NHL netminders in goals saved above expected (GSAx) at 16.3 – well-above second ranked Igor Shesterkin, who posted an 8.8 GSAx through just 7 playoff games. The wheels fell for the Florida netminder in the Stanley Cup Final though, posting a 1-4-0 record with a 4.70 GAA and .844 SV%.
So the question most fantasy managers are probably asking – is Sergei Bobrovsky worth reaching for at any point in fantasy drafts this Fall?
🎯 Spencer Knight, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 72.0 | PREDICTION: 28 Starts (30% Net Share), 16 Wins
📃Watchlist: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D)
2023-2024 Way-Too-Early Predictions
Flip Livingstone’s Picks:
- Who wins the Atlantic Division next season? Toronto Maple Leafs
- Who wins the Stanley Cup? Edmonton Oilers
- Who wins the Rocket Richard Trophy? Auston Matthews
- Who wins the Art Ross Trophy? Connor McDavid
- Who wins the Norris Trophy? Miro Heiskanen
- Who wins the Vezina Trophy? Ilya Sorokin
- Who wins the Calder Trophy? Devon Levi