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Fantasy Hockey Preview: Atlantic Division – Part 2

Montreal Canadiens (47-26-9, 103pts, 1st in division)

2016-17 scoring leaders (G-A-Pts)

Max Pacioretty         35-32-67

Alexander Radulov   18-36-54

Alex Galchenyuk       17-27-44

Top Prospects (position, age)

Noah Juulsen, D, 20

Ryan Poehling, C, 18

Nikita Sherbak, RW, 21

Must Pick: Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Drouin

Price is probably the best goaltender in the league, maybe the world. He will win 40-45 games despite Montreal’s lack of offense. Pacioretty is one of the few offensively talented players on the team. He is a pure goal scorer and annually scores 35-40 goals. Those numbers shouldn’t change this year, so he should finish the season with 65-70 points. Newcomer Drouin is young and fast and should provide a spark to the Canadiens’ fledgling offense. I can see him scoring in the 60-65 point range.

Sleeper pick: Artturi Lehkonen

[the_ad id=”384″]Lehkonen was a solid rookie for the Habs last year, scoring 18 goals and 28 points, which wasn’t bad considering he spent most the season on the third line. This season he should see more top six minutes playing on the second line. Look for him to pretty much double his scoring numbers and register between 40-45 points in 2017-18.

Starting Goalie: Carey Price

I already said everything there is to say about Price. He will win 90 percent of the Canadiens’ games and be a Vezina Trophy candidate.

Buyer Beware: Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault, Paul Byron

Gallagher has the potential to be a top forward in the NHL. He’s fast, gets in front of the net, and plays a physical game. He last played a full season in 2014-15, when he scored 24 goals and 47 points, both career highs. Last season, injuries hit again. When he did play, he was mediocre at best. Look for Gallagher to score between 30-35 points, healthy or not. Both Denault and Byron had career years, scoring 43 and 40 points, respectively, with Byron scoring 22 goals. This was a result of Montreal playing them in the top six out of necessity. Danault will still get top six minutes unless Tomas Plekanec can get his game back and center the second line. Byron will be bumped from the second line by Lehkonen and won’t see the ice time to produce like he did last year. I see Danault scoring 35-40 points, or possibly fewer, while Byron will probably get only 25-30.

Hit, Blocked Shots, and PIM: Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw, Karl Alzner


Ottawa Senators (44-28-10, 98pts, 2nd in Division)

2016-17 scoring leaders (G-A-Pts)

Erik Karlsson    17-54-71

Mike Hoffman  26-35-61

Kyle Turris         27-28-55

Top Prospects (position, age)

Thomas Chabot, D, 20

Colin White, C, 20

Logan Brown, C, 19

Must Pick: Eric Karlsson

Karlsson is the top offensive defenseman in the NHL and provides the Senators with most of their scoring spark. Karlsson will once again be a Norris Trophy candidate and should score in the 70-80 point range.

Sleeper pick: Colin White

Prospect Colin White will make the team and could make an immediate impact. He has the skill to play top six minutes, and by season’s end, should be there. I can see him stealing the second line center role and scoring 35-40 points

Buyer Beware: Ryan Dzingel, Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Dzingel was a bit of a surprise for the Senators, coming out of nowhere to score 38 points. He started on the top six, but by the end of the year, he was a bottom six player. He will likely stay there this season. I don’t see him improving on his point total, which means he’ll net 25-30 points, at best. Pageau had a breakout season in 2015-16 with 19 goals and 43 points. He regressed last season, however, registering only 33 points with 12 goals. I don’t see him getting any more than 30 points or so this season.

Starting Goalie: Craig Anderson

Anderson split last season with Mike Condon due to his wife’s cancer treatment. He should see the majority of starts this season, though he does struggle with consistency. At 36, he is getting older and is entering the downswing of his career. Look for him win 30 games this season.

Hit, Blocked Shots, and PIM: Mark Borowiecki, Erik Karlsson, Dion Phaneuf


Tampa Bay Lightning (42-30-10, 92pts, 5th in Division)

2016-17 scoring leaders (G-A-Pts)

Nikita Kucherov   40-45-85

Victor Hedman    16-56-72

Jonathan Douin    21-32-51

Top Prospects (position, age)

Mikhail Sergachev, D, 19

Cal Foote, D, 19

Libor Hajek, D, 19

Must Pick:  Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos

Kucherov really stepped up when Stamkos got injured last season, scoring a career-high 40 goals and 85 points. He will remain a top scorer in the NHL, especially with a healthy Stamkos on the same line. There’s no reason to think Kucherov can’t score 90-100 points in 2017-18. Stamkos is poised to return to the lineup at the start of the season after a major knee injury ended his last campaign early. If Stamkos is good to go, it shouldn’t be too hard for him to score in the 75-80 point range.

Sleeper pick: Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev

Point had a very good rookie season, scoring 40 points with 18 goals. He could challenge Tyler Johnson for the second line center job and get top six minutes. Whether or not he plays on the second or third line, I can see him improving and scoring between 45-50 points. Sergachev started the season in Montreal but played only four games. He should crack the Bolts’ lineup and slide into a top four spot on the defense. This should allow him to get 25-30 points in his rookie campaign.

Buyer Beware: Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson

Killorn has never scored more than 41 points and never will. He has peaked and will probably end up in a bottom six role, seeing his minutes diminish. He will score in the 30-35 point range playing on the third line. Johnson had 72 points in 2014-15, and, due to injuries, has not had more than 45 points since. He’s also never played more than 66 games. With his constant injury issues and Point pushing for more ice time, I can’t see Johnson scoring more than 45 points this season, either.

Starting Goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy

Vasilevskiy finally took hold of the No. 1 role last season, overthrowing Ben Bishop. He had quality numbers, winning 23 games in 47 starts with a .917 save percentage. This season, he will be pushed by Peter Budaj, who had an excellent comeback season last year. Look for him win 30-35 games this year depending on how well the Bolts play.

Hit, Blocked Shots, and PIM: Cedric Paquette, Victor Hedman, Andrej Sustr


Toronto Maple Leafs (40-27-15, 95pts, 4th in division)

2016-17 scoring leaders (G-A-Pts)

Ayston Matthews          40-29-69

James Van Riemsdyk     29-33-62

Nazem Kadri                 32-29-61

Top Prospects (position, age)

Kasperi Kapanen, RW, 21

Timothy Liljegren, D, 18

Carl Grundstrom, RW, 19

Must Pick: Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner

Toronto’s big three are all scoring machines and are a major reason the Leafs are successful early in their rebuild. All three have potential to score 50 goals and 100 points. Having said that, in reality, Matthews and Nylander should score between 75-80 points, with Marner hitting the 65-70 plateau.

Sleeper pick: Connor Brown

Brown was another rookie that debuted last year with the Leafs. He scored 20 goals and 36 points playing mostly third line minutes. If Toronto moves Van Riemsdyk, this will open up a spot on the wing in the top six. Look for Brown to improve on his stats this season, scoring 40-45 points in the process.

Starting Goalie: Frederik Andersen

Andersen got the starting job he wanted when he was traded to from Anaheim Toronto last season. He played well, winning 33 of his 66 games. Although inconsistent at times, he still got the job done. He should win between 35 and 40 games this year.

Buyer Beware: Nazim Kadri

Kadri’s 61 points last season were more of a product of playing a lot with Nylander and Marner. He is an annual 40-45 point scorer and will stay in that range this season.

Hit, Blocked Shots, and PIM: Matt Martin, Nikita Zaitsev, Leo Komarov

If you have any questions or if you agree or disagree, feel free to comment or leave me a message on Twitter.

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