Fantasy hockey is pretty simple. Pick a player that gives you more value than the round (or $ value) you got him Unfortunately finding that value on draft day isn't always easy so we put together a list of 50 players we think are going to take a big jump forward this season.
Try to pick up as many of these guys as possible (assuming they aren't overhyped on draft day) and cruise to victory.
The stats included are from our SuperStats Projection File. Check it out here.
1) Cory Schneider : 64 games with 38 wins, 1.97 gaa & .936 sv%
With the news Schneider was named the #1 goalie in Vancouver his stock shot up dramatically… he’s now a Top 5 fantasy netminder. There is a bit of risk here as Roberto Luongo is still a member of the Nucks (although that will likely change in the next two weeks). If Lu sticks around you should knock down Schneider a few spots on your draft sheets.
2) Tyler Ennis : 76 games with 27+39=66
He was slowed by two ankle injuries last year but was playing at a 58 point pace when he was healthy. Only 55 players scored 60+ last year and Ennis could be a sneaky good pick up in the mid rounds.
3) Justin Schultz : 76 games with 7+32=39
The Ducks loss is Edmonton’s gain. Schultz is NHL ready and will help lead what could be a pretty potent PP. He's been absolutely tearing up the AHL (48 points in 34 games, 2nd in overall league scoring) and is one of the front runners for Rookie of the Year honours.
4) Kyle Okposo : 80 games with 24+34=58
He's expected to move up to take PA Parenteau’s spot on the Tavares line, which can do wonders for his numbers. He had only 45 points last year but we think he has 60 point potential. Is Parenteau (who scored 67 last year) really that much better than Okposo?
5) Jakub Voracek : 79 games with 21+43=64
Like Okposo, Voracek will be a big benefactor of a player (Jagr) leaving. He should be getting the first chance at the tasty assignment of lining up with Giroux and Hartnell… career year is coming.
6) Oliver Ekman-Larsson : 81 games with 13+28=41
He has already picked up 32 points last year but we think he’ll top that by ten or more points this season. He's a stud in the making and it's time to get on board.
7) Brendan Smith : 78 games with 4+33=37
It looks like it’s finally Smith’s time. In addition to the points he’ll help your team with some PIM’s too. With no Lidstrom around Smith should get a decent amount of quality minutes for a youngster. He's not you're typical rookie since Detroit has brought him along slowly... he's a relatively experienced 23 year old. He has seven points in 14 NHL games on his resume.
8) David Perron : 77 games with 27+31=58
If he’s healthy for 70+ games you’ve got a steal of a deal on your hands. He played at a 60 point pace last year but he's a risky pick thanks to his injury history. Try to get him as your first bench forward.
9) Vladimir Tarasenko : 77 games with 19+26=45
Left more money in the KHL to come to NA so you know he’s not going to be toiling in the AHL. He's a big time talent who could out-produce more hyped rookies like Yakupov or Baertschi. He's been playing at a point-a-game pace in the KHL during the lockout.
10) James van Riemsdyk : 73 games with 27+29=56
JVR goes from depth winger on the Flyers to 1st line center with the Leafs. We're not sure he'll be able to handle the 1st line role all year but either way he should see a big increase in his quality minutes.
11) Nail Yakupov : 78 games with 27+21=49
The 1st overall pick should step in right away and contribute. Even though he's on this list we're pretty sure you won't be able to draft him in a spot to bring in good value (especially in one year leagues). He'll have a lot of hype coming into this season and remember he's just 19. 50 points would be a win.
12) Chris Kreider : 81 games with 23+24=47
Speedy winger showed in the playoffs that he’s got some impressive skills. With L2 job, 40-50 pts seems a lock although dismal AHL showing this year is a worry.
13) Anders Lindback : 60 games with 31 wins, 2.66 gaa & .913 sv%
The new #1 in Tampa. Don’t expect gaa and sv% numbers like the ones he picked up in Nashville but he will be a solid fantasy goalie.
14) Sven Baertschi : 73 games with 21+23=44
The only big prospect in the Flames system will be getting his NHL shot this year. Tallied 94 points in 47 WHL games last season. He had a nice debut at the end of last year (three goals in five games) but don't go crazy he's just 20 years. He should be lining up on the second line with Roman Cervenka and Jiri Hudler at least to start the season.
15) Jonathan Huberdeau : 71 games with 20+24=44
He’s a future star and although he won't put up star-like numbers in 2013 he should put up some useful fantasy numbers as a 19-year-old playing on the second line. He's no guarantee to make the team but he doesn't have much to prove in junior so we think the Panthers will give him a chance.
16) Cody Hodgson : 79 games with 24+27=51
He hasn’t really impressed in his short NHL career but he should be the #1C in Buffalo and have some talented linemates (Vanek and either Stafford or Pominville). He was injured earlier this year but came back strong in December. After just eight points in 20 games with the Sabres he should come pretty cheap.
17) Braden Holtby : 52 games with 29 wins, 2.45 gaa & .919 sv%
His AHL numbers are pretty ordinary but he’s been absolutely lights out in the NHL. Will be curious to see what happens if he struggles early on. Michal Neuvirth would be an excellent insurance policy for any owner heavily investing in Holtby.
18) Mikael Granlund : 75 games with 21+29=50
If he ends up playing with Koivu and Parise, his chances of a breakout increase a great deal. There are a few question marks with his foot speed and size though.
19) Andrew Shaw : 74 games with 19+26=45
He’ll need to win a scoring line job but showed he belonged playing at a 51 point pace over 37 games last year. Much further off the radar than some of the other youngsters on this list.
20) Derick Brassard : 76 games with 18+37=55
Somebody has to score in Columbus and Brassard finished strong last season. He’s the #1C and should get top PP minutes as well. Most owners have probably long forgotten about him but he's still just 25 years old. He could be a late round steal as long as your league doesn't count plus-minus.
21) Colin Wilson : 80 games with 23+26=49
Nashville is going to be desperate for scoring this season so if Wilson shows he can bring the goods, he’ll get plenty of chances. He played at a 40 point pace last year and we're expecting him to take the next step up.
22) Kyle Turris : 75 games with 20+26=46
Turris is out of Phoenix and happy. He played at a 43 point pace last year and we think he’ll top that as the 2nd line center in Ottawa.
23) Cam Atkinson : 71 games with 21+23=44
Should have a scoring line job this year and be up with the Jackets all season. Watch out for that plus-minus but he played at a 40 point pace over 27 games last year and has been killing it in the AHL so far this year.
24) Travis Hamonic : 79 games with 5+28=33
Heavy hitter who could be a nice contributor in both points and PIMs for your team.
25) Devan Dubnyk : 57 games with 30 wins, 2.58 gaa & .916 sv%
Last year he and Khabibulin split duties almost 50-50. This year we'll see Dubie getting the majority of the starts and if Edmonton improves as much as many think they will, he could hit the 30 win mark.
26) Victor Hedman : 78 games with 5+27=32
Improving each year although very slowly. One day he'll get to 40 points. Not yet though. Shots are not one of his strengths.
27) Marcus Foligno : 70 games with 19+23=42
Scored 13 points in 14 games last year and it looks like he is going to be lining up on the second line with Buffalo.
28) Gustav Nyquist : 75 games with 18+25=43
He’ll need to find his way on to a scoring line for him to breakout. Lucky for him Detroit has some pretty fragile players ahead of him on the RW depth chart. Great late round pick.
29) Artem Anisimov : 82 games with 19+27=46
He might not have as much talent around him but he should get an expanded role with the Jackets. Expect his PP TOI to rise dramatically.
30) Marcus Johansson : 80 games with 21+34=55
Tabbed to start on L1 with Ovechkin and Backstrom, not a bad spot to be in. He picked up 46 last year so 50+ is a definite possibility.
31) Jamie McBain : 79 games with 10+26=36
McBain and the other young dmen on the Canes are starting to pick up the slack for the older guys.. expect McBain to take another big step forward this year on a much improved team.
32) Stefan Elliott : 56 games with 5+29=34
He played at a 27 point pace last year, we think he’ll top that in his first full season.
33) Brayden Schenn : 72 games with 24+16=40
His upside was limited with his third line role last year but with Jagr and JVR gone he will have less competition for key minutes.
34) Ryan Ellis : 67 games with 7+22=29
With Suter gone Ellis will be getting more TOI than he did last year (less than 15 minutes per game) and should see his PP TOI rise as well.
35) Jacob Markstrom : 16 games with 9 wins, 2.58 gaa & .921 sv%
Probably a year too early but if one of Theodore or Clemmensen gets hurt he could have a big season. Next year he’s at the top of the list.
36) Roman Cervenka : 78 games with 19+19=38
He was a point-a-game player in the KHL and at 26-years-old he’s not a regular rookie. He’s a bit of an unknown quantity but he’s got a top 6 role from day one. There are some injury concerns here so he might not start the season as expected.
37) Adam Larsson : 75 games with 3+27=30
Expect him to improve on his rookie season where he scored 18 points over 65 games. We’d like to see him get more PP TOI than the 1:39 / game he received last year.
39) Nazem Kadri : 75 games with 17+24=41
Maybe the Leafs will actually let him stick around in the NHL all year? If he does and he can get himself on a scoring line he’ll pick up between 40-50 points.
40) Brandon Sutter : 82 games with 23+22=45
He’ll still be working away on the third line but if you’re going to be a third liner then you want to be on the team with the #1 offense in the league.
41) Justin Faulk : 75 games with 10+18=28
The Canes PP should be much better this year with Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal around. Faulk should benefit from the extra talent and pick up 25-30 points.
43) Jakob Silfverberg : 78 games with 14+23=37
He might be playing with Spezza and Michalek all year on L1. If that’s the case then add 10 more points on our projection.
44) Brett Connolly : 75 games with 11+27=38
Only 15 points last year means you can get him really cheap. Looks like he’ll get a shot on Lecavalier’s line and could more than double his production.
45) Dougie Hamilton : 71 games with 4+21=25
Lead all OHL dmen in scoring last year and looks NHL-ready but we're not sure if he’ll make the team or not.
46) Ryan Murphy : 63 games with 2+20=22
Murphy should be making his debut this year but PP TOI is going to tough to come by on the Canes. Should be a 40+ point dmen one day.
47) Ryan Johansen : 77 games with 18+23=41
Only 21 points last year but he’s just 20 so we’ll cut him some slack. He’s a big time prospect who’s going to take a big step forward this year.
48) Matt Niskanen : 64 games with 5+22=27
Should see more PP time this year and getting minutes on that Penguin PP is sweet work if you can get it.
49) Jaden Schwartz : 71 games with 10+13=23
Not a sure thing to make the team and if he does he’ll probably be on the third line… but lots of potential here.
50) Jared Spurgeon : 77 games with 6+23=29
He’s already seeing a good amount of PP TOI (2.44 / game). With Suter around he drops down one spot on the depth chart but it really shouldn’t impact his minutes. Look for him to approach 30 points.