2023-2024 Pacific Division Fantasy Hockey Preview (Part 2) Feat. Caleb Kerney

Leon Draisaitl 2023 Pacific Division Preview

Table of Contents

2023-2024 Pacific Division Fantasy Hockey Preview Pt.2 

Special guest Caleb Kerney – Edmonton Oilers site editor, contributor, and credentialed writer at The Hockey News joins us for part 2 of our Pacific 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. 

Calgary Flames

38-27-17 (5th in Pacific) | GF/GM: 3.15 (19th) | GA/GM: 3.01 (20th) | GF%: 51.85 (14th) | CF%: 57.39 (2nd) | PP%: 19.8% (19th) | PK%: 82.6% (5th)

Schedule Notes: The Calgary Flames have 8 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 2nd fewest with Colorado, Florida, and Winnipeg. Jacob Markstrom has an opportunity to be a real workhorse this coming season… 27 of their games (33%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), tied for 8th most for the 2023-2024 season.

Key Additions: Yegor Sharangovich (Trade from NJ)

Key Departures: Tyler Toffoli (Trade to NJ)

Top Fantasy Targets

🎯 Jonathan Huberdeau, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 11 | PTS. PREDICTION: 23 Goals, 83 Points

Jonathan Huberdeau’s 2.5 Pts/60 in 2022-2023 was his lowest since 2014-2015, expect to see that number closer to his 3-year average of 3.5 Pts/60 in 2023-2024. Also, Huberdeau apparently forgot how to shoot the puck last season (or maybe that was part of Darryl Sutter’s system), shooting at a career-low 5.7 SOG/60. It’s also worth noting that Huberdeau’s 56.2% PP Share was his lowest since 2016-2017, nearly a full minute less than the year prior, and a minute and a half less than the year before that. With a new coach in place, better deployment, and a full season to adjust to new surroundings, that number should creep closer to Huberdeau’s career average of 7.125 SOG/60.

🎯 Elias Lindholm, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 45 | PTS. PREDICTION: 30 Goals, 69 Points

As of this writing Elias Lindholm is still a Calgary Flame. Lindholm lost his linemates (Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau) before the beginning of last season, and it was reflected in his goal totals, dropping from 42 in 2021-2022 to just 22 goals in 2022-2023. The Tkachuk-Lindholm-Gaudreau line was absolutely dominant (72 goals, the most of any line that season), so we all expected some regression for Lindholm, but this was quite dramatic. Unfortunately, the Flames top center will still be limited by the talent around him. We’re projecting a healthy increase in goal production, but a similar point total to 2022-2023.

🎯 Nazem Kadri, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 69 | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 66 Points

It was widely expected that Nazem Kadri’s production would regress in 2022-2023 following a career-year in Colorado (87 points, 28 goals); but going from a 100-point pace over 71 games, to just 56 total points over a full season was extreme. The good news is that Kadri dished out 50% more hits last season with 99, and his shot volume was elite at 11.4 SOG/60, putting him in the top 20 among all players that played a minimum of 40 games last season. 

🎯 Andrew Mangiapane, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 180 | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 48 Points

What happened to Andrew Mangiapane you ask? His shooting percentage cratered. Last season Mangiapane had an individual shooting percentage of 9.4%, the previous year was 18.9%. Yes, that is borderline unsustainable, however he will have lots of opportunity this season to try and get it back up there. The Flames winger should be a lock in the top 6 and see some PP1 time.

🎯 Mikael Backlund, C
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 15 Goals, 49 Points

Does Mikael Backlund remain a Flame beyond 2023-2024? It’s interesting to note that Backlund shot a career-best 3.2 SOG/GM (10.4 SOG/60).

🎯 Yegor Sharangovich, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 192 | PTS. PREDICTION: 21 Goals, 42 Points


🎯 Blake Coleman, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: — | PTS. PREDICTION: 18 Goals, 38 Points


🎯 Rasmus Andersson, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 123 | PTS. PREDICTION: 9 Goals, 46 Points


🎯 Mackenzie Weegar, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 78 | PTS. PREDICTION: 7 Goals, 38 Points

Despite seeing a career-high 18.7% PP Share, 2022-2023 was Mackenzie Weegar’s least productive season since 2019-2020; a disappointing start in Calgary to be sure. For banger-league formats though, Weegar is a TOP 10 defenceman in terms of “BASH” or peripheral categories, posting 463 combined SOG, BLKS, and Hits with Calgary last season. 

🎯 Noah Hanifin, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 124 | PTS. PREDICTION: 8 Goals, 40 Points


🎯 Jacob Markstrom, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 30 | PREDICTION: 57 Starts (70% Net Share), 26 Wins


📃Watchlist: 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). 


Edmonton Oilers

50-23-9 (2nd in Pacific) | GF/GM: 3.96 (1st) | GA/GM: 3.17 (17th) | GF%: 53.20 (12th) | CF%: 52.27 (7th) | PP%: 32.4 (1st) | PK%: 77 (20th)

Schedule Notes: The Edmonton Oilers have 10 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 4th fewest with Detroit, New York (Islanders), and Tampa Bay. 31 of their games (39%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), the sixth most among all NHL clubs this upcoming season.

Key Additions: Connor Brown (UFA), Mattias Ekholm (Trade w/ NSH), Drake Caggiula (UFA)

Key Departures: Tyson Barrie (Traded to NSH), Kailer Yamamoto (Traded to DET), Klim Kostin (Traded to DET)

Top Fantasy Targets

🎯 Connor McDavid, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 1 | PTS. PREDICTION: 53 Goals, 140 Points


🎯 Leon Draisaitl, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 2 | PTS. PREDICTION: 51 Goals, 123 Points


🎯 Evander Kane, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 60 | PTS. PREDICTION: 35 Goals, 70 Points

Evander Kane’s tEVSH% (7.7%) and PP SH% (0% on 10 SOG) should see positive regression, though it’s unlikely that Kane sees a spike in power play time. The Oilers winger offers absolutely ELITE shot volume though, firing the puck at 11.42 SOG/60 (just missing the top 20 league wide); and if he can remain healthy for a full 82 games, could offer close to 300 SOG, 250 hits, and 100 PIMS! Check out our Top 10 Bounce-Back Candidates episode/blog for more on Kane, among others. 

🎯 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 148 | PTS. PREDICTION: 26 Goals, 82 Points

2022-2023 was a career-season for “Nuge”, and Oilers fans were over the moon to see this guy break the century mark for the first time in his 12-year NHL career. However, prior to posting 104 points (37 goals) last season, Nugent-Hopkins’ best season was just 69 points and 28 goals… Again, check out our Top 10 Bounce-Back Candidates episode/blog for more on RNH, among others.

🎯 Zach Hyman, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 121 | PTS. PREDICTION: 32 Goals, 72 Points


🎯 Evan Bouchard, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 101 | PTS. PREDICTION: 14 Goals, 62 Points

Which Evan Bouchard will we see this season? Since the trade deadline last season, Bouchard registered a point per game. In the post-season, Bouchard was fantastic, posting 17 points (4 goals) in 12 games, and led ALL Oilers skaters in 5v5 time on-ice (210:42)! Fantasy managers are hoping some of that deployment will continue into 2023-2024. 

My projection is based on Bouchard seeing nearly 80% PP Share, which would bump his overall playing time by 2 minutes. If you consider even-strength time on ice, Bouchard went from 15:41/GM in the regular season to 18:53/GM in the post-season – more than 3 additional minutes per game. I’m not suggesting Bouchard’s deployment from this past Spring will exactly translate this Fall, but an additional 4 minutes per game seems VERY realistic. 

🎯 Darnell Nurse, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 96 | PTS. PREDICTION: 14 Goals, 40 Points


🎯 Stuart Skinner, G
2022 Yahoo Rank: – | PREDICTION: 47 Starts (57% Net Share), 30 Wins


🎯 Jack Campbell, G
2022 Yahoo Rank: 73 | PREDICTION: 35 Starts (43% Net Share), 20 Wins

Year one in Oil Country was not a pleasant one for Jack Campbell. Although his record was good at 21-9, his save percentage (.888) and GAA of 3.41 were not. Most of Campbell’s wins this season came agaisnt non-playoff teams, and he was eventually benched in favour of rookie Stuart Skinner down the stretch and into the post-season.

📃Watchlist: Connor Brown, Mattias Ekholm, Dylan Holloway, Ryan McLeod, Raphael Lavoie, Philip Broberg.


Seattle Kraken

46-28-8 (4th in Pacific) | GF/GM: 3.52 (6th) | GA/GM: 3.12 (15th) | GF%: 56.64 (2nd) | CF%: 52.75 (5th) | PP%: 19.8 (21st) | PK%: 76.7 (21st)

Schedule Notes: The Seattle Kraken have 7 back-to-back sets this season; the fewest among all NHL clubs in 2023-2024. 29 of their games (35%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), tied with Vancouver and Winnipeg for the eighth most next season.

Key Additions: Kailer Yamamoto (UFA, 1-Year @ $1.5M), Brian Dumoulin (UFA, 2 Years @ $3.15M AAV)

Key Departures: Carson Soucy (Traded to VAN)

Top Fantasy Targets

🎯 Jared McCann, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 34 Goals, 67 Points

In 2022-2023, Jared McCann scored 30 goals on 139 shots at 5v5, a shooting percentage of 21.6%. In three seasons prior to last year, McCann’s shooting percentage 5v5 was just 10.9% – some level of regression is coming. 

🎯 Matt Beniers, C
2022 Avg. ADP: 177 | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 62 Points

Matty Beniers is your 2022-2023 Calder Trophy winner, finishing the season with 57 points and 24 goals. Can he improve on that for next season? With a little more time on the power play (just 47.2% PP Share last season), it is certainly possible. It’s worth noting that Beniers played at a 70-point pace (36 points in 42 games) in the first half of the season, but slowed to just a 45-point pace in the second half of the year. Expect a better second-half from Beniers in 2023-2024 as he continues to adjust to life in the NHL. 

🎯 Andre Burakovsky, LW/RW 
2022 Avg. ADP: 184 | PTS. PREDICTION: 24 Goals, 64 Points


🎯 Jordan Eberle, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 21 Goals, 53 Points


🎯 Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW

2022 Avg. ADP: 139 | PTS. PREDICTION: 26 Goals, 50 Points


🎯 Yanni Gourde, C 
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 19 Goals, 49 Points


🎯 Jaden Schwartz, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 19 Goals, 43 Points


🎯 Vince Dunn, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 165 | PTS. PREDICTION: 12 Goals, 54 Points

Vince Dunn was fantastic for the Seattle Kraken last season, posting a career-best 64 points and 14 goals in 81 games. The former Blue also posted career-bests in +/- (+28), hits (115), PPP (15), PP Share (56.6%), and TOI (23:40). Dunn had previously never eclipsed the 40-point mark in his 6-year career, so this has to raise a few red flags for fantasy managers. Check out our “5 Potential Fantasy Hockey Busts in 2023-2024” post for a detailed breakdown on Dunn for next season. 

🎯 Adam Larsson, D
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 8 Goals, 29 Points

Adam Larsson is an underrated fantasy asset in “BASH” (BLKs+SOG+Hits) formats, posting a combined total of 538 shots on goal, blocked shots, and hits in 2023-204 – THIRD among all defencemen (Min. 10 GP)! As a bonus, the former Oiler provided 33 points (8 goals) and 47 PIMS in a full 82-game season.

🎯 Phillip Grubauer, G
2022 ADP: 179 | PREDICTION: 54 Starts (65% Net Share), 29 Wins


📃Watchlist: Kailer Yamamoto, Shane Wright, Eli Tolvanen, Justin Schultz
  • Justin Schultz – Schultz played with Brian Dumoulin in Pittsburgh, who could provide the stability needed for Schultz to focus on offense. Is a 40-point season possible?

Vancouver Canucks

38-37-7 (6th in Pacific) | GF/GM: 3.37 (13th) | GA/GM: 3.63 (20th) | GF%: 46.81 (23rd) | CF%: 47.62 (23rd) | PP%: 22.7 (11th) | PK%: 71.6 (32nd)

Schedule Notes: The Vancouver Canucks have 9 back-to-back sets this season; tied for 3rd fewest with Arizona and Nashville. 29 of their games (35%) are played on “light days” (days where fewer than 50% of teams are in action), tied for 8th most with Seattle and Winnipeg.

Key Additions: Anthony Beauvillier (Trade w/ NYI), Vitali Kravtsov (Trade w/ NYR), Filip Hronek (Trade w/ DET), Ian Cole (UFA), Carson Soucy (UFA)

Key Departures: Bo Horvat (Traded to NYI), Luke Schenn (Traded to NYI), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Buyout – 4 Years @ $8.25M AAV, Signed as a UFA W/ FLA @ $2.25M AAV)

Top Fantasy Targets

🎯 Elias Pettersson, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 48 | PTS. PREDICTION: 38 Goals, 88 Points

In 2022-2023, Elias Pettersson shot a career-low 9% on the power play. If Pettersson plays roughly 4 minutes per game with the man advantage, and converts at his career average of 15.5 PP S%, 10-12 PPGs is a real possibility. 

🎯 JT Miller, C/LW
2022 Avg. ADP: 22 | PTS. PREDICTION: 30 Goals, 85 Points


🎯 Andrei Kuzmenko, LW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 30 Goals, 62 Points

Bruce and I talked about Andrei Kuzmenko in a previous episode – 5 Potential Fantasy Hockey Busts In 2023-2024 – give that a read for more info. Kuzmenko had an incredibly productive first season in the NHL; but there is real cause for concern after looking at his advanced metrics – 26.8 iSH%, 1.00 2A/60, 13 tEVSH%, 36.8 PP SH%! Is it possible that Kuzmenko is simply an elite-level shooter? Sure, but we’re not taking that bet in fantasy hockey drafts this Fall. 

🎯 Brock Boeser, RW
2022 Avg. ADP: 149 | PTS. PREDICTION: 25 Goals, 58 Points


🎯 Ilya Mikheyev, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 21 Goals, 46 Points


🎯 Anthony Beauvillier, LW/RW
2022 Avg. ADP: – | PTS. PREDICTION: 18 Goals, 42 Points


🎯 Quinn Hughes, D
2022 Avg. ADP: 47 | PTS. PREDICTION: 8 Goals, 73 Points


🎯 Thatcher Demko, G
2022 Avg. ADP: 55 | PREDICTION: 60 Starts (73% Net Share), 32 Wins

Thatcher Demko returned from injury on February 27th, and his second-half of the season was drastically improved; posting an 11-4-2 record with a 2.52 GAA and .918 SV%. 17 games is obviously a small sample size, but that level of play projects to a 39-win campaign over 82 games. From February 27th to the end of the season, Demko had the same 5v5 SV% (.930) as Ilya Sorokin; and was better than Juuse Saros, Ilya Samsonov, Alexander Georgiev, and Connor Hellebuyck!

📃Watchlist: Connor Garland, Nils Hoglander


2023-2024 Way-Too-Early Predictions

Caleb Kerney’s Picks:
  • Who wins the Pacific Division next season? Edmonton Oilers
  • Who wins the Stanley Cup? Not Toronto
  • Who wins the Rocket Richard Trophy? Leon Draisaitl
  • Who wins the Art Ross Trophy? Connor McDavid
  • Who wins the Norris Trophy? Roman Josi
  • Who wins the Vezina Trophy? Ilya Sorokin

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