It’s certainly getting to that time of year where fantasy owners have to accept the harsh and unavoidable reality – this is not the year. For many of you in keeper leagues, it’s time to start making moves for the future. Whether you’re still in denial, the analysis is over and it’s time to strip things done. Start stacking some picks and even more importantly – try acquiring some potential breakout talent.
There’s no question that it’s easier said than done. With that in mind, I present to you some players who could potentially be had for a moderate price and could help you down the road.
Jonathan Drouin – LW, RW – Tampa Bay Lightning
Given all their salary cap issues, something has to give in Tampa. That should bode decently well for Drouin owners. We’re finally seeing a breakout of sorts. Through 50 games, the 21-year-old has notched a respectable 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points. There’s still another level he can get to and only time will tell if that holds true. I’d be aggressively pursuing this file with hopes of a further breakout. I don’t want to call it a sure bet but he definitely has all the potential tools to do it.
Matthew Tkachuk – LW – Calgary Flames
This 19-year-old is quickly becoming a fantasy monster. He’s a stat stuffer as Boomer Gordon likes to call it. Through 55 games, he has 11 goals and 26 assists and his +9 rating is rather impressive considering he’s on a team that loves to surrender goals. Tkachuk is also not shy to muck it up. His 92 penalty minutes to date make him that much more important if you have PIMs in your respective leagues. He’s young – can only sit here and what he’ll be down the road. It’s scary.
Anthony Mantha – LW, RW – Detroit Red Wings
It’s been a trying season in Detroit both on the office and off of it. One of the positive stories has been the emergence of Mantha. In 44 games, he’s potted 13 goals and 17 assists while notching a respectable +13 on a team that has surrendered its fair share of goals. Now, there’s no doubt Jeff Blashill has been easing Mantha in but if he continues to produce – he can’t hold him back much longer. We all forget that he has less than 60 games of NHL experience. You need time to develop. Making a play for a guy who has scored at every level he’s been at isn’t a bad idea. The sky is the limit.
Sebastian Aho – LW, RW – Carolina Hurricanes
Aho may go down as one of the biggest steals of the 2015 draft. Without question, his dazzling rookie campaign has been lost in the shadows of the likes of Matthews, Marner and Laine. While he’s not the biggest in stature, his IQ, skillset and shiftiness makes up for it. As the Canes continue to grow, Aho is only going to get better and better. You should be all over this guy right now. Furthermore, Carolina has the most games remaining out of any team (27) in the NHL so he can certainly help you this season too.
Colton Parayko – D – St. Louis Blues
For those of you who aren’t new to my fantasy musings, you’d know by now that I’ve been pushing Parayko seemingly since he made his NHL debut. While it’s unfair to compare, he’s got a lot of Brent Burns in him and that’s petrifying. Once Kevin Shattenkirk is out of the fold in St. Louis, you’ll most likely see a massive jump for Parayko. From his strong skating to his massive frame to his booming shoot – the 23-year-old has all the tools to be a legitimate fantasy powerhouse from the back end. I’m so HIGH on this guy that I should start hanging with Snoop Dogg. Jokes aside – ACQUIRE HIM..now!
Shayne Gostisbehere – D – Philadelphia Flyers
You better pounce now because Gostisbehere is still the real deal despite his season long struggles. While he’s currently experiencing the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’, he’ll be back and you better realize the inevitable before it’s too late. His numbers are down across the board this year. He’s been a healthy scratch FIVE times but whatever. There are a lot of contributing factors as to why it’s has been such a bad year – utilization, confidence and puck luck, among them. He’ll turn things around and I’d be BUYING all day long on this file.
Ivan Provorov – D – Philadelphia Flyers
Staying in Philadelphia, I think it’s inevitable that we see a surge in the fantasy value of Provorov. While it’s unlikely that it happens this year, stashing him on your roster is a strong move. As Philadelphia’s young core continues to evolve as a group, you’ll start to see more and more why the Flyers took Provorov 7th overall in the 2015 draft. In his two seasons with Brandon in the WHL, he tallied 74 and 86 total points respectively. While the NHL is surely a whole different ball game, it normally takes young defenseman significant time to get acclimatized to the pro ranks. This kid is going to be a stud.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – G – Tampa Bay Lightning
If you have goaltending needs, come on down! Go out and acquire Vasilevskiy. Considering his inconsistent play this season, he can undoubtedly be had in the fantasy world. The writing is on the wall for Ben Bishop. Tampa cannot afford him and we’ll see the two sides split eventually. The organization has a lot of faith in Vasilevskiy.
In closing – for the sake of this exercise, I picked a handful of names. I’m well aware that there’s an abundance of young talent out there. I’m looking at you, Mikko Rantanen and Christian Dvorak. They’ve been smoke. So, yeah, don’t lose it when your boy’s name isn’t here. It’s going to be okay.
Tanner Pearson – LW – Los Angeles Kings
Mikko Rantanen – LW, RW – Colorado Avalanche
Christian Dvorak – C, LW – Arizona Coyotes
Joel Armia – RW – Winnipeg Jets
Derick Brassard – C – Ottawa Senators
In Episode 16 of the Fantasy Fix Podcast, I covered a variety of topics including the dreaded BYE week. Have a listen!
You can hear it exclusively ON DEMAND with the SiriusXM APP and online at Siriusxm.ca or SiriusXM.com
For all inquiries and thoughts, you can find me on twitter: @thegoldenmuzzy
#NAFantasyFix for your questions. I’ll answer them on my podcast.