Hello everybody and welcome in for the seventh installment in this series. Over on my Twitter feed I’ve been spamming everyone with arbitrary lists, just quick hitting lists to get my thoughts on several fantasy hockey related topics (and several non-fantasy hockey related topics) out and on the record. In these posts I’ll dig a little deeper into those lists and give you a bit of the “why” behind them. Without further ado, let’s get into it:
Adam Boqvist is the heir apparent to Duncan Keith as the Hawks’ PP1 quarterback for the next decade or so. Unfortunately for Boqvist, unseating Keith hasn’t proven to be too easy and he’ll need to step up to the challenge in order to do so. If and when he is able to do so however, he should be in line for a lucrative increase in point potential just by virtue of sending the puck over to Patrick Kane and letting him work his magic on the half wall. With the Hawks not likely to be in contention for anything other than the #1 overall pick, it stands to reason that Boqvist will get a chance at running the PP sooner rather than later.
I seem to be in a minority of people who think Nazem Kadri is capable of repeating or at least approximating his 2019/20 output. The big key here is whether he is able to stick on the explosive PP1 unit alongside Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, and Gabriel Landeskog. If he can hold off the Andre Burakovskys of the team and cement his role there, I don’t see any statistical reason to suggest he can’t be an impact fantasy player this year. Kadri elevated his game in the playoffs last year to a whole new level and should benefit from having a full season with the Avalanche under his belt at this point.
I’m not sold on Alexandre Texier personally, but there are several people whose opinions I respect that are in on him. He seems likely to open the season on Columbus’s top line alongside Pierre-Luc Dubois and Oliver Bjorkstrand (easily the Blue Jackets’ top two offensive threats). If that deployment comes to fruition, Texier could be worth a speculative add in deeper leagues to see if he can make good on the opportunity. I’m certainly willing to give the 21-year-old some attention if he can develop his speed and skill game to consistently beat NHL defenders.
Denis Gurianov stole all the headlines this past year with his eye-catching speed and shot, but Roope Hintz was quietly just as good. Now Tyler Seguin is on the shelf to open the season and Dallas will demand more (and especially more offensively) of the talented and smart 24-year-old. Dallas has opened camp with Hintz centering captain Jamie Benn and Gurianov, which would mean increased ice time and offensive chances for Hintz. Others have posited that veteran Joe Pavelski may take over the top line, but if Hintz gets to center the Stars’ two best wingers in Benn and Gurianov he will provide sleeper value in the late rounds of your drafts.
Filip Zadina’s underlying stats jumped off the page at me when I was doing Detroit’s projections for this season. For my money he’s probably already Detroit’s third-best forward in terms of scoring ability behind mainstays Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha. Zadina has opened camp on a third line with Robby Fabbri and Bobby Ryan, but I’m still expecting PP1 deployment. If he were to ever get a look on the Red Wings’ top line in place of Tyler Bertuzzi, I’d be touting a 60-point pace as a very real possibility for the explosive youngster.
I don’t think I’m shocking anyone choosing Jesse Puljujarvi as my player to watch from the Oilers. When projecting Puljujarvi for this season I went back into his first few seasons in the NHL and was pretty surprised to find not just above average but very good shot and chance for rates. He was criminally mismanaged by the Oilers and for my money is a real 60 point threat should he see top six deployment and exposure to either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. He may not get that opportunity immediately, but I expect a now older, more mature Puljujarvi to dominate lesser competition early and force himself into that top six early in the season. If he gets that coveted fourth forward spot on the Oilers’ vaunted PP1 alongside McDavid, Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Puljujarvi could very well turn into a league-winner.
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