2023-2024 Pacific Division Fantasy Hockey Preview Pt.1
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.
31-37-14 (8th in Pacific) | GF/GM: 2.51 (31st) | GA/GM: 4.09 (32nd) | GF%: 38.08 (32nd) | CF%: 43.21 (31st) | PP%: 15.7% (31st) | PK%: 72.1% (31st)
Schedule Notes: The Anaheim Ducks have 11 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 6th most with Boston, Dallas, St. Louis, and Las Vegas. 36 of their games (44%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the most among any team in the NHL this upcoming season.
NOTE: Anaheim’s 4.09 GA/GM was the highest/worst of any team of the past 25 years! A mark not seen since the 1980-1981 Edmonton Oilers.🤢
Key Additions: Alex Killorn (UFA), Radko Gudas (UFA), Robert Hagg, Greg Cronin (HC)
Key Departures: John Klingberg (TOR), Kevin Shattenkirk (BOS), Anthony Stolarz (FLA), Dallas Eakins (HC)
Top Fantasy Targets
🎯 Trevor Zegras, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 110.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 28 Goals, 78 Points
At 180 NHL games, Zegras is approaching his 200-game breakout threshold. For average-sized players (5’10”-6’2”), that means a potential increase of 25% in production year-over-year (Dobber Hockey). Our projection for Zegras in 2023-2024 is 24 goals and 73 points; though, it’s certainly possible those numbers go higher this season.
🎯 Troy Terry, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 144.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 29 Goals, 73 Points
Troy Terry just signed a 7-year contract with the Ducks that carries an average annual value of $7M. From my perspective, this is a very team-friendly team, one that is going to provide serious value as the cap continues to rise over the next few seasons. Terry took a small step back last season (23 goals, 61 points in 70 GP) after posting 37 goals and 67 points through 75 games (73-point pace over 82 games) in 2021-2022. It was not unexpected though, as the Ducks forward shot at an unsustainable rate of 19.3%, a career-high by a wide margin. Terry is a big part of Anaheim’s future though, and this new contract is a glowing endorsement of that.
🎯 Alex Killorn, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 55 Points
🚩Alex Killorn is a serious regression candidate for next season after posting career-highs in goals (28) and points (65). Killorn’s 19.4 iSH% is the second-highest of his career; and his tEVSH% (11.8%) and IPP (63.7%) were career-highs. Left Wing Lock is predicting a 20% drop in production – what is your take?
🎯 Mason McTavish, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 199 | PTS. PREDICTION: 21 Goals, 50 Points
🎯 Adam Henrique, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 50 Points
🎯 Ryan Strome, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 17 Goals, 45 Points
Last season saw a significant decline in TOI (17:02 from 18:19), PP Share (46.5% from 68.4%), shot volume (1.6 SOG/GM or 5.6 SOG/60 from 2.2 SOG/GM or 7.1 SOG/60), and Pts/GM (0.50 from 0.74).
🎯 Jamie Drysdale, D
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 8 Goals, 40 Points
🎯 Radko Gudas, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 135 | PTS. PREDICTION: 3 Goals, 20 Points
Radko Gudas is not going to raise any eyebrows with his offense, but the man is an absolute banger beauty! Averaging roughly 4.5 hits/GM, 1.5 blocks/GM, and 1.10 PIMS/GM the past three seasons, Gudas more than makes up for his offensive shortcomings in fantasy formats that include those categories.
🎯 John Gibson, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 145 | PREDICTION: 54 Starts (67% Net Share), 18 Wins
📃Watchlist: Leo Carlsson (C), Ollen Zellweger (D), Lukas Dostal (G)
Los Angeles Kings
47-25-10 (3rd in Pacific) | GF/GM: 3.34 (10th) | GA/GM: 3.10 (16th) | GF%: 51.89 (15th) | CF%: 51.54 (10th) | PP%: 25.3 (4th) | PK%: 75.8 (25th)
Schedule Notes: The Los Angeles Kings have 12 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 5th most with Buffalo, Chicago, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, and Toronto. 32 of their games (39%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the third most among any team in the NHL this upcoming season. The Los Angeles Kings play 12 games in the final four weeks of the season, tied for the SECOND MOST among all teams during that time period. Five (5) of those games are played on “Light Days”, with ONLY ONE (1) back-to-back. LA is definitely a team worth rostering in general, but also come fantasy playoff time.
Key Additions: Pierre-Luc Dubois (Trade), Cam Talbot (UFA)
Key Departures: Gabe Vilardi (Traded to WPG), Alex IaFallo (Traded to WPG), Sean Durzi (Traded to Arizona), Calvin Petersen (Traded to PHI), Jonathan Quick (Traded to VGK).
Top Fantasy Targets
🎯 Kevin Fiala, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 68.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 31 Goals, 82 Points
For me, there are a few numbers to watch closely for Fiala heading into next season:
- Secondary assists per 60, 2A/60 (0.70), was at a five-year high
- PPSH% – 14% last season was a touch above his 6-year average of 12.6%
- IPP (78.6) – On-par with Kirill Kaprizov, Jack Hughes, and Artemi Panarin the past 3 seasons, does that continue?
🎯 Anze Kopitar, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 107.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 68 Points
According to the LWL regression meter, the Kings captain is a serious regression candidate for next season, showing inflated numbers in all 5 categories – iSH% (16.6% – 5-year high), tEVSH% (9.6% – 5-Year high), IPP, 2A/60 (0.67 – 5-year high), and PP SH% (22.5% – 5-year high vs. 14.4% 5-year avg.).
🎯 Adrian Kempe, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 140.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 37 Goals, 68 Points
🎯 Pierre-Luc Dubois, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 93.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 30 Goals, 65 Points
PLD was Los Angeles’ big off-season acquisition, a perfect fit for the 2C role. Philip Danault should still shoulder the bulk of the defensive assignments, so does Dubois potentially see some easier competition in 2023-2024? It’s worth noting that the former Jet has been shooting at a career-high 9.1 SOG/60 over the past two seasons; and now potentially lines up with Kevin Fiala at even-strength.
🎯 Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 25 Goals, 60 Points
0.17 2A/60 and 6.9 tEVSH% were the lowest marks for Arvidsson over the past 5 seasons – positive regression is coming in those metrics; but Arvidsson’s PP SH% is a very real concern. While only seeing a 44.1% PP Share (lowest since 2016-2017), Arvidsson converted on 22.7% of his 44 shots with the man-advantage – a 5-year high, and by a sizable margin. The former Pred’s shooting percentage on the power play has averaged 15.2% over the past 5 seasons.
🎯 Philip Danault, C
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 19 Goals, 50 Points
🎯 Drew Doughty, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 84.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 10 Goals, 54 Points
🎯 Cam Talbot, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 148.0 | PREDICTION: 49 Starts (60% Net Share), 35 Wins
📃Watchlist: Brandt Clarke, Quinton Byfield
Brandt Clarke posted 23 goals and 61 points in 31 OHL games last year. Producing 2 points per game across the regular season and playoffs is unheard of for a defenceman. Is it possible that he digs into Doughty’s power play time? In a previous episode, we projected Clarke for 35 points and 7 goals in his rookie season – where do you see him next year? How early are you drafting him in season-long redraft leagues?
San Jose Sharks
22-44-16 (7th in Pacific) | GF/GM: 2.84 (25th) | GA/GM: 3.84 (30th) | GF%: 42.52 (29th) | CF%: 47.89 (23rd) | PP%: 18.4 (25th) | PK%: 82.4 (8th)
Schedule Notes: The San Jose Sharks have 12 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 5th most with Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Toronto. 24 of their games (29%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the sixth fewest among any team in the NHL this upcoming season.
Key Additions: Anthony Duclair (Trade w/ FLA), Filip Zadina (DET Contract Terminated, RFA), Mackenzie Blackwood (Trade w/ NJD, UFA)
Key Departures: Timo Meier (Traded to NJD), James Reimer (UFA – DET)
Top Fantasy Targets
🎯 Tomas Hertl, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 122.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 27 Goals, 69 Points
The team situation in San Jose is dire, to put it lightly; but Hertl should see plenty of offensive zone starts and an improved individual shooting percentage next season. 2022-2023 saw Hertl post his lowest iSH% (12.0%) since 2016-2017, when he converted on just 10% of his shots. Hertl’s shooting percentage was also down on the power play, where he converted 12.5% of his 48 shots – his second-lowest rate over the past 5 seasons (17.4% Avg.).
🎯 Logan Couture, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 125 | PTS. PREDICTION: 26 Goals, 62 Points
🎯 Anthony Duclair, C
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 27 Goals, 60 Points
🎯 Alexander Barabanov, C
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 20 Goals, 60 Points
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.
🎯 William Eklund, C
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 19 Goals, 45 Points
William Eklund played in just 8 games toward the end of the season, so it’s very difficult to project heading into 2023-2024. However, Eklund did see nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game, along with 3:37 PPTOI/GM (71% PP Share). If that type of deployment continues into next season, it could be a productive year for the 20-year old. In a very small sample size, Eklund had a 4.0 tEVSH% and 37.5 IPP – expect both numbers to improve.
🎯 Filip Zadina, C
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 14 Goals, 32 Points
🎯 Erik Karlsson, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 156.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 17 Goals, 77 Points
Erik Karlsson had a career year in 2022-2023, posting 101 points and 25 goals enroute to winning his 3rd Norris Trophy. Unfortunately, those point totals were partially boosted by a 12.0 iSH%, another career-high for Karlsson. Combined with an inflated tEVSH% (10.5%), 2A/60 (0.68), and PP SH% (11.3%), Karlsson is due for some significant regression.
🎯 Kaapo Kahkonen, G
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PREDICTION: 42 Starts (50% Net Share), 13 Wins
🎯 Mackenzie Blackwood, G
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PREDICTION: 42 Starts (50% Net Share), 11 Wins
📃Watchlist: Fabian Zetterlund, Kevin Lebanc
Vegas Golden Knights
51-22-9 (1st in Pacific) | GF/GM: 3.26 (14th) | GA/GM: 2.74 (11th) | GF%: 51.78 (15th) | CF%: 52.04 (9th) | PP%: 20.3 (18th) | PK%: 77.4 (19th)
Schedule Notes: The Vegas Golden Knights have 11 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 6th most with Anaheim, Boston, Dallas, and St. Louis. 32 of their games (39%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the third most among any team in the NHL this upcoming season. The Vegas Golden Knights play 12 games in the final four weeks of the season. NINE (9) of those games are played on “Light Days”, with ONLY ONE (1) back-to-back. The Vegas net could be very valuable if your fantasy squad finds itself deep in the playoffs.
Key Departures: Reilly Smith (Traded to PIT)
Top Fantasy Targets
🎯 Jack Eichel, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 44.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 30 Goals, 82 Points
Jack Eichel converted on just 4.7% of his 42 shots on goal on the power play this past season, his lowest over the past 5 years. To date in his NHL career, Eichel has averaged 11.7% on 392 shots with the man advantage. Expect a few more PPGs this season.
🎯 Mark Stone, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 67.5 | PTS. PREDICTION: 28 Goals, 71 Points
🎯 Jonathan Marchessault, C/LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 116.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 29 Goals, 70 Points
Last season Jonathan Marchessault was drafted on average at 104 in Yahoo leagues; how early does the Vegas winger go after winning the Conn Smythe trophy?
🎯 Ivan Barbashev, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 22 Goals, 54 Points
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.
🎯 William Karlsson, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 16 Goals, 47 Points
With the emergence of Chandler Stephenson as a second line center option, and the departure of Reilly Smith, my outlook for William Karlsson is more bearish for next season.
🎯 Shea Theodore, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 92.0 | PTS. PREDICTION: 13 Goals, 60 Points
🎯 Alex Pietrangelo, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 70 | PTS. PREDICTION: 14 Goals, 54 Points
🎯 Adin Hill, G
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PREDICTION: 55 Starts (66% Net Share), 34 Wins
After signing a two-year deal at an average annual value of $4.9M, is Adin Hill the starter by default? Following an impressive Stanley Cup winning performance in the post-season – 11-2-2, 2.65 GAA, .931 SV%, 7.7 GSAx (3rd among all playoff netminders) – one has to think the crease is Hill’s to start the season, right?
🎯 Logan Thompson, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 147.50 | PREDICTION: 27 Starts (34% Net Share), 16 Wins
📃Watchlist: Pavel Dorofeyev (LW)
2023-2024 Way-Too-Early Predictions
Matt Larkin’s Picks:
- Who wins the Pacific Division next season? Edmonton Oilers (Los Angeles Kings a close second)
- Who wins the Stanley Cup? New Jersey Devils
- Who wins the Rocket Richard Trophy? Leon Draisaitl
- Who wins the Art Ross Trophy? Connor McDavid
- Who wins the Norris Trophy? Cale Makar, Miro Heiskanen
- Who wins the Vezina Trophy? Ilya Sorokin (Jake Oettinger a close second)