2023-2024 Metropolitan Division Fantasy Hockey Preview (Part 1)

2023-2024 Metropolitan Division Fantasy Preview (Part 1)

Table of Contents

This week the Hacks are handling part one of the Metropolitan Division without a special guest; but that doesn’t make the episode any less special, right?

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.   

New York Rangers 

46-22-13 (3rd in Metro) | GF/GM: 3.33 (12th) | GA/GM: 2.63 (4th) | GF%: 55.83 (5th) | CF%: 51.39 (14th) | PP%: 24.1 (7th) | PK%: 81.2 (13th)

Schedule Notes: The New York Rangers have 12 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 5th most with Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Toronto. 32 of their games (39%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), tied for 5th most among all teams in 2023-2024.

Key Additions: Blake Wheeler, Niko Bonino, Tyler Pitlick, Erik Gustafsson, Jonathan Quick

Key Departures: Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, 

Top Fantasy Targets

🎯 Artemi Panarin, LW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 36.1 | PTS. PREDICTION: 30 Goals, 96 Points

With 752 career victories, new bench boss Peter Laviolette has the most wins among all American-born coaches, and sits 8th all-time. The Rangers are hoping that Laviolette can get them over the hump, and he may have some fantasy appeal as well. Apparently, Laviolette favors his top two lines, providing heavy offensive zone-starts, while burying third and fourth lines in the defensive zone. If this is the case in 2023-2024, expect another big season from Artemi Panarin.

In 2022-2023, Panarin was about as even-keel as it gets in terms of underlying luck metrics – no concerns to speak of. Very consistent producer, playing at a rate of 1.28 to 1.38 points per game in three of the last four seasons before dropping off slightly to 1.12 last year. 

🎯 Mika Zibanejad, C
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 26.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 37 Goals, 92 Points

The right side certainly looks a little weaker in New York compared to last season with the departures of Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko, does that impact Mika Zibanejad’s production? Beyond potential linemates, there are no serious concerns about the Rangers top center for next season. 

One thing I do wonder about for both Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider – do their offensive zone start percentages (OZ%) improve under Laviolette? Both players were at approximately 48% offensive zone starts, and faced the highest quality of competition among all Rangers skaters, by a wide margin. A change in that deployment could translate to a few extra points over the course of the season.   

🎯 Chris Kreider, LW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 73.3 | PTS. PREDICTION: 40 Goals, 60 Points

Unlikely to score 52 goals again, but 35+ goals and 20+ assists seems like a safe bet for Chris Kreider’s fantasy floor. Great option for bangers leagues, where he averaged 1.62 Hits/GM last season (1.73 in 2021-2022, and 2.30 the year before that). 

We could see some positive regression from Kreider in 2023-2024, as his secondary assists were down (0.18 2A/60 was the third lowest of his career), and so too was his shooting percentage on the power play – just 13.1 PPSH% compared to his career average of 23.7%. The 26 PPGs the 32-year old scored in 2021-2022 probably skewed his career average a bit – he shot 39.3% on 66 PPSOG that season.  

🎯 Vincent Trocheck, C
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 147.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 25 Goals, 62 Points

Vincent Trocheck has been a solid multi-category contributor for many years, and a personal favorite target of mine. For banger leagues, Trocheck has averaged over 2 Hits/GM (2.28 last season) the past three seasons; while also being a solid contributor for penalty minutes, and last season finished with 721 faceoff wins – 15th league-wide! Offensively, a 25-goal, 60+ point season is well within reach. 

My only concern with Trocheck is that he likely finds himself on the second power play next season.

🎯 Blake Wheeler, C/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 162.7 | PTS. PREDICTION: 20 Goals, 58 Points


🎯 Filip Chytil, C/LW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 23 Goals, 54 Points

I will give you one guess who had the second-highest total points per 60 rate, at 5v5, on the Rangers last season. If you guessed Filip CHytil, you are absolutely correct! Only Artmemi Panarin was better at 5v5, with a 2.45 Pts/60, compared to 2.25 for the 24-year old Chytil. Linemates Kaapo Kaako and Alexis Lafreniere were at 7th (1.71 Pts/60) and 11th (1.61 Pts/60), respectively. 

Chytil is currently UNDRAFTED in Yahoo, but could be an absolute steal if our projection of 54 points and 23 goals is even close. 

🎯 Alexis Lafreniere, LW/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 171.2 | PTS. PREDICTION: 23 Goals, 44 Points

With 216 NHL games played, and entering his fourth season, it feels like now or never for Alexis Lafreniere, who did post a career-best 39 points (16 goals); but that is still certainly a disappointment for the 2020 1st overall pick. There is reason to be cautiously optimistic though, as Lafreniere did manage to develop some real chemistry with Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kaako last season. Additionally, we have seen his shot rate and time on ice steadily increase in each of his first three seasons. The challenge for Lafreniere is going to be sustaining any sort of meaningful power play time, outside of significant injuries. 

🎯 Adam Fox, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 34.3 | PTS. PREDICTION: 12 Goals, 77 Points

Adam Fox has played at a 70+ point pace in each of the past three seasons, posting double-digit goal totals in each of the last two campaigns (12 last year, 11 the year prior). Playing over 24 minutes per game, and running the 7th best power play last season, Fox has finished with at least 23 PPP since 2020-2021. 

🎯 K’Andre Miller, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 145.1 | PTS. PREDICTION: 10 Goals, 47 Points

K’Andre Miller had an impressive 3rd NHL season with 43 points and 9 goals, despite receiving virtually NO PPTOI. The lack of power play time is concerning for Miller’s fantasy ceiling, and with the addition of Erik Gustafsson to the Rangers lineup, it’s a real possibility that problem persists in 2023-2024.

However, Miller was one of just 3 defenseman last season, along with Kris Letang and Moritz Seider, to post at least 40 points, 150 hits, and 100 blocked shots. With 214 NHL games already under his belt and playing for a contender in his 4th year, Miller could be in for another step forward in 2023-2024. 2.05 Hits and 1.33 Blocks per game provides managers with excellent category coverage, the only glaring issue is Miller’s lack of shot volume at 1.4 SOG/GM, and the previously mentioned lack of power play time. No issue with underlying numbers – performance not boosted by luck.

🎯 Jacob Trouba, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 126.2 | PTS. PREDICTION: 9 Goals, 35 Points

Jacob Trouba is another banger league beauty, and fantasy managers are showing him plenty of love this off-season, selecting him on average in the 11th round. It should be noted that Trouba did lead ALL skaters last season with a combined total of 613 Shots (2.43/GM), Hits (2.66/GM), and Blocks (2.39) to go along with 30 points (8 goals) in 21:12 TOI/GM. The 29-year old’s individual shooting percentage was a touch low at 4%, down from his 3-year and career averages of 4.4% and 4.7%, respectively. Another season with double-digit goals would not surprise anyone. 

🎯 Igor Shesterkin, G
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 13.8 | PREDICTION: 62 Starts (76% Net Share), 38 Wins

Igor Shesterkin is no worse than the number 3 netminder this season, and arguably the first goaltender that should be selected in fantasy drafts in 2023. With Jonathan Quick serving as his backup, Shesterkin is a lock for 60+ starts behind a very good New York Rangers team. 

Looking at the 27-year olds career even-strength save percentage of .929 and adjusting for league averages, Shesterkin should see his numbers improve on the .916 SV% he posted in 2022-2023. Could we see another .930 SV% in 2023-2024? Or is there simply too much talent in the Metropolitan Division next season?  

🎯 Jonathan Quick, G
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PREDICTION: 20 Starts (24% Net Share), 11 Wins


📃Watchlist: Kappo Kakko (RW)


Philadelphia Flyers

31-38-13 (7th in Metro) | GF/GM: 2.68 (29th) | GA/GM: 3.37 (23rd) | GF%: 46.29 (26th) | CF%: 46.79 (26th) | PP%: 15.56 (32nd) | PK%: 74.68 (26th)

Schedule Notes: The Philadelphia Flyers have 12 back-to-back sets this season; tied for sixth most next season with 8 other clubs. 25 of their games (30%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the sixth lowest among all NHL clubs this upcoming season.

Key Additions: Garnet Hathaway (), Marc Staal (D), Victor Mete (D), Cal Peterson (G)

Key Departures: Kevin Hayes (C), James Van Riemsdyk (LW/RW), Tony DeAngelo (D), Ivan Provorov (D). 

Top Fantasy Targets

🎯 Travis Konecny, RW
2022 Yahoo ADP: 93.2 | PTS. PREDICTION: 33 Goals, 80 Points

Travis Konecny is probably the number one fantasy target for the Philadelphia Flyers this season. The 26-year old was over a point per game last year with 60 points and 31 goals in 60 games played. 

Solid contributor for penalty minutes (1.28/GM last season) and hits (0.92/GM, but over 1.0/GM the two seasons prior). 

Konecny also shot a career-best 9.5 SOG/60 last season, playing over 20 minutes per game and a 60.8% PP Share (2:57 PPTOI/GM)! The individual shooting percentage was the second-highest of his career though at 16.2%; and his individual points percentage (IPP) was a career-high at 82.4%. 

🎯 Sean Couturier, C
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 27 Goals, 71 Points

The big question for Sean Couturier this season is: Will his back be able to hold for the entire season? Couturier has not played a full 82-game season since 2017-18. If his back holds together, the Flyers have themselves a 1st line center that can produce at almost a point per game pace for the season and provide some valuable punch to an offense that was one of the league’s worst last season. In yahoo leagues Couturier is currently going UNDRAFTED. Could be a valuable late round pick if his health is back to 100%

🎯 Owen Tippett, C
2022 Yahoo ADP: 158.4 | PTS. PREDICTION: 30 Goals, 65 Points

The change in scenery from Florida to Philadelphia turned out to be a career-altering move for Owen Tippett, who finished last season with 49 points and 27 goals in 77 games. At 192 games played, the 24-year old is right at the 200-game breakout threshold as he steps into a role on the top line and top power play unit. Tippett’s value is even more evident for managers in banger leagues, as he dishes out 1.62 Hits/GM to go along with a healthy 3.0 SOG/GM (10.3 SOG/60 ranked 39th league-wide). 

It’s worth noting that 4 of 5 metrics (11.7 iSH%, 17 PP SH%, 9.4 tEVSH%, 0.34 A2/60) on the Left Wing Lock regression meter point to performance that has been boosted by luck. Have we already seen the big breakout from this player? Or can we expect more in 2023-2024? If Tippett receives the same deployment we saw in the fourth quarter of last season, 20:25 TOI/GM and 60.8% PP Share (2:34 PPTOI/GM), it’s certainly reasonable to expect more, in my opinion. Our projection is a bit more conservative, assuming 19:00 TOI/GM. 

🎯 Cam Atkinson, RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 26 Goals, 59 Points

Similarly to Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson missed all of 2022-2023 due to injury. Atkinson scored a career-high 41 goals with Columbus back in 2018-2019, and more recently posted 23 goals and 50 points in 2021-2022.  

🎯 Morgan Frost, C
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 18 Goals, 53 Points

A first round selection from the 2017 draft, and coming off a career-high 46 point (19 goals) campaign, Morgan Frost just inked a $2 year, $4.2M contract. The 24-year old will struggle to gain a spot on the top power play, but should still be productive as one of the top 2 centers for the Flyers. If we see another injury-riddled season from Couturier, Frost could see some big minutes…

🎯 Joel Farabee, LW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 1– | PTS. PREDICTION: 22 Goals, 48 Points


🎯 Cam York, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 7 Goals, 37 Points

Cam York appears to be the main man in Philadelphia now with the off-season departures of Ivan Provorov and Tony DeAngelo. York responded well to being sent down to the AHL after training camp last season, and his minutes continued to climb through the season as he gained the trust of head coach John Tortorella. Could be in for a career year. 

🎯 Travis Sanheim, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 7 Goals, 32 Points


🎯 Rasmus Ristolainen, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 5 Goals, 30 Points


🎯 Carter Hart, G
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 130.2 | PREDICTION: 55 Starts (67% Net Share), 23 Wins

Carter Hart had a surprisingly good season considering the team that played in front of him. His .907% save percentage is slightly higher than his career average of .906% and his 10.3 goals made him a valuable 3rd goalie in a number of fantasy leagues last season. With the offseason changes made by the Flyers they are going to need Hart to hold the fort again on most nights. Hopefully he is up for the challenge. 

🎯 Cal Petersen, G
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PREDICTION: 27 Starts (33% Net Share), 12 Wins

Peterson finds himself in a new home after last year’s disaster of a season for him. We project him as the backup goalie for the Flyers as of this writing but that could change again before open night puck drop. At this point Peterson can’t get any worse? Can he? 

Pittsburgh Penguins

40-31-11 (5th in Metro) | GF/GM: 3.18 (16th) | GA/GM: 3.21 (14th) | GF%: 49.81 (18th) | CF%: 52.00 (9th) | PP%: 21.72 (14th) | PK%: 79.09 (16th)

Schedule Notes: The Pittsburgh Penguins have 12 back-to-back sets this season; tied for the sixth most next season, along with 8 other clubs. 28 of their games (34%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the ninth most for next season.

Key Additions: Reilly Smith (RW), Matt Nieto (LW), Noel Acciari (C), Lars Eller (C), Erik Karlsson (D), Ryan Graves (D), Alex Nedeljkovic (G), Magnus Hellberg (G) 

Key Departures: Jason Zucker (LW), Mikhail Granlund (C), Nick Bonino (C), Drake Caggiula (C), Josh Archibald (RW), Jeff Petry (D), Brian Dumoulin (D), Jan Rutta (D), Dmitry Kulikov (D), Casey DeSmith (G), Dustin Tokarski (G)

Top Fantasy Targets

🎯 Sidney Crosby, C
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 19.2 | PTS. PREDICTION: 34 Goals, 92 Points

Sidney Crosby is an absolute model of consistency, and one of my personal favourite players of all-time. Now 36-years old, “Sid the Kid” has managed to play at a 92 to 104-point pace since 2018-2019. The addition of Erik Karlsson can only help Sid’s point totals, both at even-strength and on the power play. 

Interestingly, Crosby’s shot rate has INCREASED in each of the past four seasons (9.3 SOG/60, 3.1 SOG/60); but more importantly, his individual shooting percentage (iSH%) dipped to a 5-year low last season at 12.9%, leaving room for regression closer to his career average of 14.5%. 

The Penguins captain finished 16th in league scoring last season, making him very appealing at his current ADP of 19.2; and worthy of your second round pick this Fall. 

🎯 Jake Guentzel, LW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 55.4 | PTS. PREDICTION: 40 Goals, 87 Points

Jake Guentzel managed to score 36 goals in 78 games last season with an individual shooting percentage of 14.8%, his lowest since 2017-2018 (12.9%). Another 40-goal season is well within reach if the 28-year old winger can get back to his career average shooting percentage of 15.7%. 

Looking at some of the other underlying metrics, it is evident that Guentzel suffered from some poor puck luck last season. 0.25 2A/60 was a career-low, a 44% drop from 2021-2022, and a difference of 4 secondary assists year over year. Pair that with a career-low IPP at 60.8%, an 8.4 tEVSH%, and a lower PPSH% (15% vs. 17.7% career); and you have a real scenario for regression in 2023-2024. A 14-point increase for next season may be bold, but we’re fine with that; particularly for a 4th or 5th round pick. 

🎯 Evgeni Malkin, C
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 105.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 27 Goals, 82 Points

Evgeni Malkin played a complete 82-game season for the first time since 2008-2009 – 14 years! At age 37, I’m not sure we can expect another 82-game effort from the Russian center; but I’m also not sure it matters. When Malkin plays he is simply fantastic, averaging 1.15 points per game through his 1,063 game career; missing the point per game mark just twice (2020-2021 and 2010-2011). 

Malkin will again have very capable linemates at even-strength, including one of either Kris Letang or Erik Karlsson, and a prominent role on the power play. Additionally, Malkin shot at just 11.3% this past season, down from his 3-year (12.5%) and career (13.5%) averages; so it’s certainly possible we could see another 30-goal season out of the lifelong Penguin, if he can maintain his shot rate (9.5 SOG/60) and deployment (18:30 TOI/GM) from last season.  

🎯 Rickard Rakell, LW/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 102.8 | PTS. PREDICTION: 27 Goals, 66 Points

From November 29th to the end of the season, Rakell played at a 63-point, 26-goal pace; while playing 18:52 TOI/GM and receiving 65.3% PP Share (3:47 PPTOI/GM). With dual-eligibility, Rakell provides decent value in the 9th round of 12-team redraft leagues. 

🎯 Bryan Rust, RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 170.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 26 Goals, 62 Points

For Bryan Rust, there are a number of contributing factors to what was his worst offensive season since 2020. First, and possibly most important, Rust saw a decline in even-strength and power play minutes. In total, the Penguins winger saw just 38.2% PP Share, his lowest since 2018-2019. In terms of PP SH%, Rust’s 8% last year was BY FAR his lowest over the past 5 seasons. Looking at the LWL regression meter, Rust is primed for positive regression in all 5 categories – 2A/60 (0.39), tEVSH% (7.6%), iSH% (9.5%), IPP (59), PP SH% (8%). 

Unfortunately for Rust, there is a real possibility that he will be relegated to a secondary power play role with the arrival of Erik Karlsson, and the team’s willingness to play Rickard Rakell on the top unit. Rust saw regular PP1 time in the first quarter of the season, but it was all Rakell for the remainder of the season. Obviously this all limits the 31-year old’s upside; but with some positive regression, he could still be a serviceable fantasy asset, particularly given his ADP of 170.5 (14th round). 

🎯 Reilly Smith, LW/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 153.4 | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 60 Points

Breakout candidate, has a good chance to outperform his current ADP of 153.4 (13th round). Top 6 minutes next to Malkin, exposure to Karlsson or Letang, and probably a role on PP2. 

🎯 Erik Karlsson, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 40.4 | PTS. PREDICTION: 16 Goals, 75 Points

Erik Karlsson had a historic season in 2022-2023, posting 25 goals and 76 assists enroute to his third Norris trophy. Moving from San Jose to Pittsburgh, is an obvious boost for Karlsson’s fantasy value as he has exposure to generational talents in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, along with a strong supporting cast. Unfortunately, fantasy managers would be unwise to expect a repeat of last year’s results, as Karlsson’s numbers regress from an exceptionally luck driven season.

Let’s start with Karlsson’s individual shooting percentage (iSH%), a career-best 12.9%, way above his 3-year and career averages of 9.9% and 6.9%, respectively. Even just a 3% decline to his 3-year average would have equated to a 21-goal, 97-point season. 

Turning out attention to the power play, Karlsson finished the year with his 3rd highest PPSH% at 11.3% – a 64% increase over his career average of 6.9%! To put this into context, consider that the 33-year old had scored just 6 PPGs in 211 games played over the past FOUR SEASONS (0 PPGs in 2021-2022)!! Karlsson is moving to a significantly better power play in 2023-2024 though, so we should expect him to be productive with the man-advantage again this season.

With 19 secondary assists last season (also a career high), Karlsson finished the campaign with a 0.68 secondary assist rate per 60 (2A/60), the second highest mark of his career, and nearly 40% above his career average. It would not surprise me if Karlsson lost 5 or 6 points in secondary assists alone.  

The former Shark also benefited from career-bests in team even-strength shooting percentage, and individual points percentage at 10.5 tEVSH%, and 67.3%, respectively.

I still really like Erik Karlsson in Pittsburgh next season, but I think it will be hard to return value on his current Yahoo ADP of 40.4 (early 4th round). Karlsson was a steal last season with an ADP of 140.8 (12th round).

🎯 Kris Letang, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 113.9 | PTS. PREDICTION: 12 Goals, 59 Points


🎯 Tristan Jarry, G
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 92.5 | PREDICTION: 54 Starts (66% Net Share), 31 Wins

Tristan Jarry has a career .914 SV% and 2.65 GAA, given the personnel changes in Pittsburgh, and a statistical regression, Jarry should be better than the 2.90 GAA and .909 SV% he posted in 2022-2023. Also, consider that during the three seasons prior to last year (2019-2021), Jarry had an overall save percentage of .917 and an even-strength save percentage of .922. Jarry’s EVSV% last year was the third lowest of his career at .915. 

The Pens netminder should outplay his ADP of 92.5 (8th round) next season, in my opinion. 

📃Watchlist: Jeff Carter (C), Ty Smith (D), Ryan Graves (D), Alex Nedeljkovic (G)


Washington Capitals

35-37-10 (6th in Metro) | GF/GM: 3.09 (20th) | GA/GM: 3.18 (15th) | GF%: 49.22 (20th) | CF%: 49.8 (19th) | PP%: 21.22 (16th) | PK%: 81.86 (11th)

Schedule Notes: The Washington Capitals have 15 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 2nd most with Minnesota next season. 37 of their games (45%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), tied for the most with Anaheim.

Key Additions:  Max Pacioretty (LW), Joel Edmundson (D)

Key Departures: Connor Brown (RW), Connor Sheary (LW), Craig Smith (C)

Top Fantasy Targets

🎯 Alex Ovechkin, LW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 18.2 | PTS. PREDICTION: 48 Goals, 83 Points

Just 72 goals shy of tying Wayne Gretzky’s record for all-time NHL goal scoring leader, you can bet that Alex Ovechkin will be very motivated to make up ground this season. With our projection of 48 goals for 2023-2024, Ovi would still be 25-goals short of claiming the record; but it would be a lock for 2024-2025. At 37-years of age, we should expect to see some signs of age-related decline; and that became evident in the second half of last season. Ovechkin slowed from 49 points in 45 games (89-point pace over 82 games) during the first half of the season to just 26 points in 28 games (76-point pace). Given his age, should slower second-halves be expected from the Great 8? 

🎯 Dylan Strome, C/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 161.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 26 Goals, 72 Points

Dylan Strome played at a 104-point pace (28 points, 11 goals in 22 games played) from February 25th to the end of the regular season; and developed some real chemistry with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. Being drafted in the 13th round of 12-team redraft leagues, Strome offers great value as a top center, PP1 option. 

🎯 Max Pacioretty, C/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 166.7 | PTS. PREDICTION: 25 Goals, 49 Points

Max Pacioretty underwent surgery after tearing his achilles tendon for the second time this past January. Washington’s new head coach, Spencer Carbery, was unable to provide a firm timeline on the 34-year old’s status heading into the 2023-2024 season; but “November or December” were mentioned. With that in mind, our projection for Pacioretty will assume that he does not play a game until Monday, December 4th against the Arizona Coyotes (followed by two off-days, then a two-game home stand). 22 games lost to injury obviously limits “Patches” upside, but at an ADP of 166.7, this man is certainly worth a stash in season-long redraft leagues. 

This may be optimistic, but we’re projecting 49 points and 25 goals in 60 games played – a 67-point, 34-goal pace over a full 82-game schedule. Excluding the 5 games played with Carolina last season, Pacioretty has played at a 76 to 87 point pace over 82 games the three seasons from 2019-2022.

Lastly, for those of you that are unaware, the shot rate with Pacioretty is absolutely elite – SECOND among all skaters (5v5) from 2019-2022 at 11.64 SOG/60!

🎯 Evgeny Kuznetsov, C
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 159.7 | PTS. PREDICTION: 20 Goals, 63 Points

The arrival of Dylan Strome and presence of Nicklas Backstrom has certainly hindered offensive opportunities for Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was limited to 55 points (12 goals) in 81 games played last season. Worse yet, Kuznetsov saw his power play time drop to a 57.4% PP Share, the lowest since 2016-2017. Starting in January, the 31-year old saw his %PP Share drop each month, falling all the way to just 36.2% in April! Kuznetsov managed just 19 points in the final 37 games, and saw his TOI/GM drop from 18:40/GM to 17:41/GM. 

Not all hope is lost though, as the Caps center did shoot a career-low 7%, far below his 3-year (9.8%) and career (11.2%) averages. 

🎯 Nicklas Backstrom, C/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 15 Goals, 52 Points


🎯 Tom Wilson, C/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 154.1 | PTS. PREDICTION: 29 Goals, 54 Points


🎯 TJ Oshie, C/RW
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 150.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 50 Points


🎯 John Carlson, D
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 92.8 | PTS. PREDICTION: 17 Goals, 70 Points

John Carlson suffered a gruesome injury early in the third period against the Winnipeg Jets on December 23, 2022. The Capitals top defenseman would play just 10 more games in 2022-2023, but was still effective with 8 points (1 goal) in those contests. It was actually pretty amazing that Carlson was able to just step in and play like nothing had happened – 23:23 TOI/GM, 76% PP Share (2:46 PPTOI/GM), and 17 BLOCKS in 10 games post-injury! 

For those of you hoping that your fellow fantasy managers forgot about John Carlson, you’ll be disappointed on draft day, as the Caps PP QB is going on average in the 7th round of 12-team drafts (92.8 ADP). 

Looking at the advanced metrics, Carlson has room for regression when you consider his secondary assist rate (2A/60) was a near career-low at 0.27 2A/60, relative to his career average of 0.41 2A/60. An 8.1 tEVSH% is below both the league average and Carlson’s personal career average; and his individual points percentage (IPP) last season sat at 46.8%, the lowest since 2018-2019 (45.5%). One of the safest selections in fantasy hockey, draft with confidence. 

🎯 Darcy Kuemper, G
2023 Yahoo Pre-Season ADP: 100.5 | PREDICTION: 57 Starts (70% Net Share), 28 Wins

Darcy Kuemper’s career even-strength save percentage is an impressive .922, comparable to both Andrei Vasilevskiy (.925 EVSV%) and Connor Hellebuyck (.923 EVSV%). Yet this past season, Kuemper’s even-strength save percentage fell to .912, and his goals-against average dropped to 2.85 (worst since 2016-2017). 

The Capitals should be largely healthy to start the season, with the exception of newly acquired Max Pacioretty, so I’m banking on positive regression for Kuemper, however slight it may be.  

📃Watchlist: Anthony Mantha (LW/RW), Sonny Milano (LW), Rasmus Sandin (D)


2023-2024 Way-Too-Early Predictions

Hacks Picks:
  • Who wins the Metro Division next season? Tyler – Carolina Hurricanes; Bruce/Devon – New Jersey Devils
  • Who wins the Stanley Cup? Edmonton Oilers 
  • Who wins the Rocket Richard Trophy? Bruce – Leon Draisaitl; Devon/Tyler – Auston Matthews
  • Who wins the Art Ross Trophy? Connor McDavid
  • Who wins the Norris Trophy? Bruce – Miro Heiskanen; Devon/Tyler – Rasmus Dahlin
  • Who wins the Vezina Trophy? Bruce/Tyler – Ilya Sorokin; Devon – Igor Shesterkin
  • Who wins the Calder Trophy? Connor Bedard

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