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If you have been listening to our podcast for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard about “John’s List”; which is basically John’s $h!t list of players past and present, as well as interesting and current topics from around the hockey world. If you have any suggestions for players or topics we should add to the list, let us know!
Michael Peca – Just underwhelming nobody.
Breakout Candidates For All 32 Teams
With free agency in the rearview, we wanted to highlight some of the more impactful signings, and what the fantasy outlook is for next season.
Jamie Drysdale (D)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 2, PP1, 40 Pts/8 G
Fantasy Outlook: The addition of John Klingberg last season stifled any opportunity that Drysdale may have had with the man-advantage. However, with Klingberg moving onto Toronto and Kevin Shattenkirk signing in Boston, this is the clearest path Drysdale has to quarterbacking the top power play. Assuming Drysdale can stay healthy, he will only need to contend with Cam Fowler(just 14 PPP last season) for PP1 time. It also appears likely that the 21-year old will have exposure to the Ducks top line with Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry, both competent offensive producers.
HM: Lukas Dostal (G)
Barrett Hayton (C/LW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 60 Pts/24 G
Fantasy Outlook: Barrett Hayton had a fantastic finish to the season, posting 34 points (17 goals) in 47 games played since January 1st – a 30-goal, 60-point season over 82 games. Overall, Hayton finished the season with 43 points and 19 goals in his 4th NHL season. Hayton was a lock on the first power play unit (65% PP Share), and saw top-line duty with Nick Schmaltz & Clayton Keller. With 176 NHL games under his belt, the Yotes forward is approaching the typical 200 game breakout threshold and is primed for a breakout based on his deployment and underlying numbers. There was only one indicator (9.7 tEVSH%) on the LWL regression meter that suggests Hayton’s production was boosted by luck, everything else looks in-line with expectations.
Jake Debrusk (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 70 Pts/35 G
Fantasy Outlook: With the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, DeBrusk looks to be a lock in the top 6 and top power play unit for the Bruins this coming season. The 26-year old posted career-highs in points (50) and goals (27) last season; and he is well-past the 4-year/200-game breakout threshold, but this finally feels like the year that DeBrusk really pops. Excellent shot volume at 3.0 SOG/GM, but also ranks 30th among all skaters at 10.7 SOG/60 (right behind Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Marchessault and Filip Forsberg). There are no regression concerns, and in fact, DeBrusk may benefit from some positive regression in 2A/60 (0.24), PP S% (12.7%), and IPP (56.8).
HM: James Van Riemsdyk, Pavel Zacha
JJ Peterka (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 45 Pts/16 G
Fantasy Outlook: JJ Peterka lit up the World Juniors this past Spring, being named top forward of the tournament with 12 points, good enough for 2nd in tournament scoring while leading Germany to the silver medal. 68 points (28 goals) in 70 AHL games during the 2021-2022 season, then followed that up with a decent rookie year with 32 points (12 goals) in 77 games for the Sabres. Peterka is expected to line up alongside Dylan Cozens again, and the 2 of them combined with the now injured Jack Quinn were often the best line for Buffalo last season. The Sabres depth will keep Peterka off the top power play unit, barring any injuries; and the shot volume (1.6 SOG/GM) is an area of concern. However, there is lots to like about this player and the direction of the Sabres.
HM: Devon Levi (G), Dylan Cozens (C). Cozens should garner plenty of attention in season-long drafts this Fall as well, after posting 68 points (31 goals) in 81 games this past season. 201 games played and entering into his 4th NHL season, Cozens is ready to absolutely explode next season. The Sabres center has experienced positive, linear development in nearly every aspect of his game, particularly with regards to shot volume. Cozens posted 2.6 SOG/GM last season and sat 3rd on the team at 9.47 SOG/60 (70th overall, and better than Malkin, Kreider, Petterson, Larkin, and Stamkos…👀). 2023-2024 Projection: 75 Points, 35 Goals
Yegor Sharangovich (C/LW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6/9, PP2, 50 Pts/24 G
Fantasy Outlook: LWL Regression meter shows Sharangovich was unlucky across the board this past year with New Jersey. 9.9 iSH% down from last year’s 14.4% and career average of 12.9%; 7.8 tEVSH% a touch low too; nowhere to go but up on the 0 PP S% on ONE shot with the man advantage; 0.40 2A/60 actually suggests we see fewer secondary assists. With Calgary’s top six in complete disarray there are spots to be had beside Huberdeau and Lindholm, either of which would be a great spot for the former Devil. With 205 games on his resume, his fourth season about to start, and plenty of opportunity up for grabs in Calgary, Sharangovich should be on your watchlist.
HM: Dustin Wolf (G) – The 22-year old recorded a mind-blowing 77-20-7 record with seven shutouts and a .927 save percentage over 105 AHL games, 2x Goalie of the year + AHL MVP last year; Jakob Pelletier (LW); Matt Coronato (LW/RW).
Seth Jarvis (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 73 Pts/29 G
Fantasy Outlook: With 10 points in 15 playoff games, Jarvis looked more dangerous in the post-season than he did for most of the year. More interesting is the fact that the 21-year old played nearly 20 minutes per game in the post-season, along with 3:39 per game on the top power play unit. Hoping to see him build on that this season. Regression meter all gray for him as well last season. He will cross the 200 game threshold around midseason this year as well, all signs point to a bigger year for Jarvis.
Lukas Reichel (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 62 Pts/22 G
Fantasy Outlook: Should either line up with Bedard at even strength or on the PP, hopefully both. That alone makes him worth owning, but he also put up 15 points (7 goals) in 23 games on an awful Chicago team last season – a 53-point, 25-goal pace. It’s probably worth noting that Reichel shot at nearly 17% last season, a number I would be skeptical about next season, even next to Bedard. The Chicago winger has yet to score on the PP, I would expect regression in that category as well this year. Low secondary assist totals (0.20 2A/60) but high iSH% against high quality opponents. Needs to be a priority for this season and beyond.
HM: Taylor Hall (LW)
Jonathan Drouin (LW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 56 Pts/16 G
Fantasy Outlook: We’re hoping the Moosehead reunion with Mack brings out the best version of Drouin we’ve seen in a long time. It should be noted that Drouin’s 2.9 iSH% is the second-lowest mark of his career, far from the 8.2% he shot last year and his 8.5% career average. Shot volume is also a real concern, Drouin has shot under 2.0 SOG/GM going back to 2018-2019, bottoming out at 1.2 SOG/GM (4.8 SOG/60) last season. Definitely a boom or bust pick.
HM: Ross Colton (C/LW/RW). The former Bolt is likely to start the season at 3C for Colorado, but has shown that he’s capable of taking on top 6 duties, when required. Playing less than 13 minutes per game the last two seasons, Colton still managed to post 22 and 16 goal seasons, with all but 5 of those goals occurring at even-strength. Particularly valuable in banger leagues, Colton dishes out 2.32 Hits/GM and 0.62 PIMs/GM. Entering his 4th NHL season, Colton could return HUGE fantasy value, depending on where he lands in the lineup.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Kent Johnson (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 48 Pts/20 G
Fantasy Outlook: Kent Johnson experienced good luck across the board last year, but Columbus looks to be fairly improved this year and Johnson is the type of player who will only improve as he gains experience and confidence in the league. A top 6 role next to Adam Fantilli appears likely, but training camp and pre-season will shed light on his deployment.
HM: Adam Fantilli (C)
Wyatt Johnston (C)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 62 Pts/25 G
Fantasy Outlook: Wyatt Johnston was downright dominant at times last year, playing well beyond his years and often being the best player on his line, despite the bounceback year from Jamie Benn. While Johnston’s 41-point, 24-goal debut season was impressive, it should be noted that his 15 iSH% is likely not sustainable, and he benefited from some puck luck with a 10.1 tEVSH%. The 20-year old is one Roope Hintz injury away from top-line deployment alongside Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski; and given Hintz’s injury history, it feels like a matter of when, not if.
Detroit Red Wings
Daniel Sprong (RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 9, PP2, 48 Pts/24 G
Fantasy Outlook: While Danie Sprong appears to have had some luck last year (ok a lot of luck – 14.3 iSH%, 16.2 PP S%, 12.4 tEVSH%, 80.7 IPP, 0.29 2A/60), he did so in very limited minutes (JUST 11:25 TOI/GM) and with 3rd/4th line players in Seattle. Sprong’s deployment should improve in Detroit and with a few extra minutes per game we could see even better numbers from the underutilized Sprong in Motown. NOTE: The DeBrincat/Kubalik trade hurt Sprong’s fantasy value in my opinion; as I could have seen him surpass Kubalik TRADED!!! at times on the depth chart, but now he is buried behind DeBrincat and Perron on the right side.
Connor Brown (RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 53 Pts/21 G
Fantasy Outlook: This one is a simple calculation. PLayer + McDavid/Draisaitl = more valuable player. There is a spot in the top six open in Edmonton and with Brown’s Erie connection to McDavid as well as his 2 way prowess it isn’t hard to see a great fit there for Brown. His career high is 21 goals (in 56 games – 31-goal pace), 43 points but I think you can count on Brown for 50 points if he stays healthy.
HM: Dylan Holloway (C/LW)
Anton Lundell (C/LW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 63 Pts/20 G
Fantasy Outlook: Another player with bad luck across the board. Lundell is a player who wins matchups, and with the addition of Evan Rodriguez I expect Lundell to be stapled into the top six this year. Reinhart was his most common linemate last year, expect more of the same this year but potentially we will see more of Verhage/Tkachuk with those 2 this year. Lundell played at a 56-point pace in his rookie year, posting 18 goals and 44 points in 65 games. The 21-year old will cross the 200-game threshold this season, and averaged over 18 minutes per night in the playoffs, so keep a close eye on his deployment in pre-season.
Los Angeles Kings
Brandt Clarke (D)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 35 Pts/7 G
Fantasy Outlook: Not a lot of advanced stats to be had for Clarke so we’ll go with the traditional stat lines here. 23 goals, 61 points in 31 OHL games last year. Pushed 2 ppg across the reg season and playoffs, and he’s got a clear path to the PP in LA this year. A healthy Fiala and Clarke manning the point, expect big things from the kings pp this year and Clark will be a large part of that. Projection above is based on 18 minutes per game, and reviewing Owen Power (1st overall pick), Jake Sanderson (5th overall pick), and Evan Bouchard (10th overall pick) as comparables.
HM: Quinton Byfield (C)
Matthew Boldy (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 76 Pts/33 G
Fantasy Outlook: Bad luck everywhere except IPP for Boldy, which makes a lot of sense as he’s often doing it on his own on line 2 in Minnesota. Overall, Boldly had a great second season for the Wild with 63 points and 31 goals in 81 games. The shot volume improved significantly in year 2, firing 3.1 SOG/GM, or 10.2 SOG/60 – just outside the top 50 league-wide; putting him ahead of players like Alex DeBrincat, Mikko Rantanen, Kyle Connor, and Jared McCann! 128 games played, expect big things as he crosses the 200 games threshold this season.
HM: Marco Rossi (C), Calen Addison (D)
Arber Xekaj (D)
2023-2024 Projection: 3RD Pair, 26 Pts/8 G
Fantasy Outlook: Arber Xekaj is another banger-league beauty, posting 3.12 HITS PER GAME, and adding 1 Block per game. Not a ton of offense to be had, particularly with 3rd pairing deployment; but he could flirt with 30 points and 10 goals, which would be a real bonus given his peripheral coverage.
HM: Kirby Dach (C/RW) – 210 Games played over 4 seasons. Career-best 38 points and 14 goals in 58 games played last season – a 54-point pace over 82 games. Playing with Caufield and Suzuki, I expect another step this season – if healthy.
Thomas Novak (C)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 65 Pts/25 G
Fantasy Outlook: Novak is hoping to improve on his 43 point performance from last season. In just 51 games the 85th pick from the 2015 draft put up 17 goals and 26 assists. Projected to be the 2nd line center this season and if he can secure PP1 time looks to continue what has been a great start to his NHL career.
HM: Luke Evangelista (15p – 7G, 8A in 24 games)
New Jersey Devils
Luke Hughes (D)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 4, PP2, 45 Pts/10 G
Fantasy Outlook: 2 points in 2 regular season games, 2 points in 3 playoff games. PP! May be spoken for by Hamilton, but NJ is going to score a lot of goals with their stacked top 9 and a formidable 2nd pp unit. Hughes may very well find himself in the Calder Trophy conversation come the end of the season.
New York Islanders
Oliver Wahlstrom (RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top line, PP1, 51 Pts/21 G
Fantasy Outlook: Will this be Oliver Wahlstom’s year? Projected to be on the top line next to Horvat and Barzal, the 11th overall pick from 2018 has the opportunity to blossom this season. He may not see PP1 time but could be in a prime position to put up points this season. Will surpass the 200-game breakout threshold, and really just needs better deployment to provide some fantasy relevance. Wahstrom has been shooting at an impressive rate over the past three seasons, ranging from 10-10.7 SOG/60! As Michael Scott once said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take… or something like that.
New York Rangers
2023-2024 Projection: Top 4, PP2, 50 Pts/10 G
Fantasy Outlook: K’Andre Miller had an impressive 3rd NHL season, producing 43 points and 9 goals, despite receiving virtually NO PPTOI. Better yet, 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 is in for another big 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. No issue with underlying numbers – performance not boosted by luck.
Josh Norris (C)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 62 Pts/30 G
Fantasy Outlook: Josh Norris is one year and one season-ending shoulder injury removed from a campaign where he scored 35 goals in 66 games – a 43-goal pace over 82 games! While he has made appearances in four NHL seasons, Norris’ games played remains low at just 133. However, the 24-year old is locked in at 2C and will get time on the second power play unit. Injuries will remain a concern, but there is no denying the talent, and there is a great supporting cast in Ottawa. With a 5.6 tEVSH% and 33.3 IPP (both well below average), it was clear that Norris was dealing with an injury through 8 games; which could also explain the drop in his individual shooting percentage – 13.3% vs 18.5% career.
HM: Shane Pinto (C), Ridley Greig (C)
Owen Tippett (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 75 Pts/32 G
Fantasy Outlook: The change in scenery from Florida to Philadelphia turned out to be a career-changing move for 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 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. It’s worth noting that 4 of 5 indicators (11.7 iSH%, 17 PP SH%, 9.4 tEVSH%, 0.34 A2/60) on the LWL regression meter point to performance that has been boosted by luck.
Reilly Smith (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 65 Pts/25 G
Fantasy Outlook: Reilly Smith should slot beside Evgeni Malkin this year, easily the best center he has played with to date in his career.
San Jose Sharks
Alexander Barabanov (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 60 Pts/20 G
Fantasy Outlook: The 29-year old is entering his 4th season with just 160 games of NHL experience. A breakout season at his age is uncommon, but certainly possible given the circumstances. After posting 47 points (15 goals) in 68 games (57-point pace), Barabanov showed he’s a capable top 6 option, and was a staple on PP1 for most of last season (63% PP Share). That deployment may be in some jeopardy though with the additions of Filip Zadina and Anthony Duclair, not to mention the development of William Eklund and Fabian Zetterlund. The shot volume (1.8 SOG/GM) is a bit of a concern, but it has improved with each passing season.
HM: William Eklund (LW), Filip Zadina (RW)
Eeli Tolvanen (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 9, PP2, 52 Pts/20 G
Fantasy Outlook: 27 points in 48 games with Seattle, a career best ppg with minimal luck. With Geekie + Sprong leaving Seattle we may see heavier minutes for the second and third lines there which is great news for Tolvanen owners. He got big minutes with Gourde and Bjorkstrand last year as well, a great spot for Eeli going forward.
St. Louis Blues
Jakub Vrana (LW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP1, 55 Pts/31 G
Fantasy Outlook: 10 goals in 20 games as a blue, seems to have rediscovered his scoring touch and hopefully put whatever his issues were behind him. Top 6 deployment and a spot on the top power play unit put Vrana in a prime position to breakout this season. It’s possible Vrana sees a career-high in ice time as well.
HM: Sammy Blais
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tanner Jeannot (RW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 50 Pts/25 G
Fantasy Outlook: Tanner Jeannot is one-year removed from a 41-point, 24-goal season in which he collected 130 PIMS, 318 Hits, and 64 Blocks in just under 16 minutes of ice time per game. Tampa is noticeably thinner upfront and it’s not a stretch to suggest that Jeannot sees large amounts of time in the top 6 this year. If the former Pred can improve his shot volume (just 1.4 SOG/GM last season), and experiences some positive regression in his 5.6 iSH% (21.7%, 19.4% in years 1 and 2), another 20+ goal season should be no problem. NOTE: 6.6 tEVSH%. 40% PP S% in 2021-2022 (2 goals on 5 shots, 40 MIN PPTOI), did not score a goal in 32 minutes PPTOI last year with 5 shots on goal.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Tyler Bertuzzi (LW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 67 Pts/33 G
Fantasy Outlook: The former Red Wing had a career year in 2021-2022, producing 62 points and 30 goals in 68 games (a 75-point pace). This past season was a disappointment though, as he only appeared in 50 games posting 30 points and 8 goals. Bertuzzi looked more himself after joining the Bruins though, putting up 16 points (4 goals) in 21 regular season games; and 10 points (5 goals) in 7 post-season games. Bertuzzi’s shot volume was a career-best in the playoffs at 3.0 SOG/GM (10.0 SOG/60) and for banger leagues he threw a healthy 2.57 Hits/GM! 7 games is obviously a small sample size, and Bertuzzi did shoot at 23.8%, but it does offer some optimism for this coming season. Playing next to Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, two elite fantasy producers, will certainly make Tyler Bertuzzi very appealing in season-long fantasy formats next Fall. Expect a career season.
HM: Matthew Knies (LW)
Anthony Beauvillier (LW/RW)
2023-2024 Projection: LW1, PP1, 57 Pts/24 G
Fantasy Outlook: Daily Faceoff has the former Islander lined up at LW1 (and PP1) next to Elias Petterson and Andrei Kuzmenko, who he spent the majority of his time with last season. With that kind of deployment, Beauvillier should easily surpass his previous career-highs of 21 goals and 40 points. In fact, through 33 games with the Canucks last season, Beauvillier played at a 50-point, 22-goal pace while seeing ~17 minutes of ice time per game and 50.1% PP Share (2:39 PPTOI/GM).
HM: Ilya Mikheyev (LW/RW) – Entering his 5th season at 192 games played. 50-point pace in each of the last two seasons. Could play 2LW with Miller and Boeser.
Vegas Golden Knights
Ivan Barbashev (C/LW)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP2, 54 Pts/22 G
Fantasy Outlook: Ivan Barbashev played at a 67-point pace during Vegas’ Stanley Cup run, building some real chemistry with linemates Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault. A common assumption would be that production will carry into the next regular season. However, Barbashev’s shot volume continues to be a concern at 1.5 SOG/GM and his individual shooting percentage was even worse at 21.7%. The 27-year old’s 14.7 tEVSH% also indicates some further regression could be coming next season. Given the right deployment though, I’d be willing to gamble on Barbashev establishing new career-highs next season.
HM: Pavel Dorofeyev (LW) .5 ppg pace last year, got some good deployment, very good shot.
Rasmus Sandin (D)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 4, PP2, 45 Pts/8 G
Fantasy Outlook: Rasmus Sandin posted career-highs last season in points (35), goals (7), TOI (19:28), Hits (1.92/GM), and Blocks (1.23/GM)! Sandin remained effective after his move to Washington, posting 15 points and 3 goals in 19 games; though much of that production occurred with John Carlson out of the lineup. Still, Sandin will have a larger top 4 role with exposure to the Capitals top 6, and a role on the second power play unit.
HM: Matthew Phillips
Gabriel Vilardi (C)
2023-2024 Projection: Top 6, PP? 60 Pts/30G
Fantasy Outlook: Vilardi had a bit of a coming out party against the Oilers in the playoffs before being moved to the Jets. A lot of change is potentially still coming to the Jets roster before October so while it’s hard to say what his deployment will look like, surely the Jets will want to give their big trade piece as much opportunity to thrive as possible. Also will be crossing the 200 game mark this year. While the big power forwards can often take a little longer to hit their potential, we saw the best version of Vilardi we’ve seen in the spring this year so he’s someone we’d be willing to bet will be putting up a career year this season.