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Fantasy Hockey Preview: Atlantic Division

Boston Bruins (44-31-7, 95pts, 3rd in division)

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

Brad Marchand       39-46-85

David Pasternak      34-36-70

David Krejci              23-31-54

Top Prospects (position, age)

Charlie McAvoy, D, 19

Zach Senyshyn, RW, 20

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C, 20

Must Pick: Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron

Marchand is easily one of the top-drafted players in fantasy hockey the last couple of years. Although I expect that he reached his scoring peak last year, I still believe he will produce in the 65-75 point range this season. Pastrnak is the future in Boston and fantasy hockey. He more than tripled his point total from the year before, and I don’t see him regressing at all. I can see him scoring in the 75-85 point range. Bergeron, at 32, has leveled off to be a 55-65 point guy and is a faceoff machine. If your league is points only, then he is not a must-own player; however, if you have faceoffs as a stat, then his value is significantly higher.

Sleeper pick: Charlie McAvoy, Zach Senyshyn

These two rookies should make the team this season. McAvoy will hands down be a top Calder candidate, and I look for him score anywhere from 45-55 points, which is an excellent total for a defenseman. Senyshyn could slide in on the third line and score a healthy 35-45 points or more if he can overthrow David Backes on the second line.

Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask

Rask should get 30-35 wins on the season depending on how the Bruins do.

Buyer Beware: Ryan Spooner, David Backes

Spooner and Backes both are trending down. Spooner scored 10 fewer points last season than the season before and played only two fewer games. I believe he has peaked and will steady out at about 35-40 points. Backes, on the other hand, has had a steady decline over the last three seasons. He may score 30-35 points at best.

Hit, Blocked Shots, and PIM: Andy McQuaid, Zdeno Chara, and Brad Marchand


Buffalo Sabers (33-37-12, 78pts, 8th in Division)

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

Jack Eichel          24-33-57

Ryan O’Reilly      20-35-55

Sam Reinhart      17-30-47

Top Prospects (position, age)

Alexander Nylander, RW, 19

Casey Mittelstadt, C, 18

Rasmus Asplund, C, 19

Must Pick: Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly

Even though Eichel missed 21 games, he still led the team in scoring last season with 24 goals 57 points. If he can stay healthy (which has been an issue with him), look for him get anywhere from 75-85 points. O’Reilly will be the second line center and should see a lot of power play minutes as well. His numbers should increase, leading to around 55-65 points.

Sleeper pick: Sam Reinhart

Reinhart went from a goal scorer to a setup man in the span of a year. His 23 goals dropped to 17, but his 14 assists rose to 30. If he can round his game out and do both, then the sky is the limit. I can see Reinhart scoring 55-60 points this season or more if he gets top-line minutes.

Buyer Beware: Benoit Pouliot, Jason Pominville

Pouliot has pretty much played everywhere: six teams in 10 years, and he is only 30. He will mostly play third line minutes. If he is lucky, he could see some time on the second line, but I wouldn’t count on it. I don’t see him scoring more than 25-35 points, meaning he’s not really worth drafting unless you are in a deep pool. Pominville isn’t getting any younger, and at 34 won’t do much in terms of making a huge splash in Buffalo. He will probably be stuck on the third line behind Okposo and Reinhart, which will limit him to scoring maybe 30-35 points.

Starting Goalie: Robin Lehner

I don’t see Lehner running away with anything — around 20-25 wins max unless he plays 70 games. He is an above-average goalie on a young team, and that doesn’t bode well for wins.

Hit, Blocked Shots, and PIM: Rasmus Ristolainen, Evander Kane,  Jake McCabe


Detroit Red Wings (33-36-13, 79pts, 7th in Division)

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

Henrik Zetterberg   17-51-68

Gustav Nyquist        12-36-48

Tomas Tartar           25-21-46

Top Prospects (position, age)

Evgeny Svechnikov, LW, 20

Michael Rasmussen, C, 18

Dennis Cholowski, D, 19

Must Pick:  No One

That’s right. For the first time in a long time, there is really no one on this team that you must own. Zetterberg isn’t what he used to be, and I wouldn’t say anyone else is considered a must-have.

Sleeper pick: Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha

Even though there are no must-have picks from this team, they do have a few sleeper picks. Larkin and Mantha could surprise everyone and be the point leaders of this team. Both look like they can slot in on the first line with Zetterberg and produce nicely while there. Count on them scoring around 45-55 points apiece this season.

Buyer Beware: Frans Nielsen, Gustav Nyquist

Nielsen’s first season with Detroit wasn’t anything special, as he scored 41 points playing on the second line. At 33, he is starting to decline, and I don’t see him improving anytime soon. He should score 40-45 points this season. Nyquist has peaked and looks like he is plateauing. He hasn’t scored 20 goals in two seasons and probably won’t this year. There is a very high chance he gets bumped from the top line and is just another 40-45 point scorer.

Starting Goalie: Jimmy Howard?

Could be Howard, could be Petr Mrazek. It’s really a toss-up with both goalies struggling to get to 20 wins.

Hit, Blocked Shots, and PIM: Luke Glendening, Justin Abdelkader, and Danny DeKeyser


Florida Panthers (35-36-11, 81pts, 6th in division)

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

Vincent Trocheck                    23-31-54

Aleksander Barkov                 21-31-52

Jonathan Marchessault         30-21-51

Top Prospects (position, age)

Owen Tippett, RW, 18

Henrik Borgstrom, C, 20

Ian McCoshen, D, 22

Must Pick: Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trochek

These three guys should lead the Panthers into the future. All are under 25 and can score points. I expect all three to score between 65-75 points this season, with Huberdeau (if he stays healthy) scoring close to 80.

Sleeper pick: Evgeny Dadonov

Dadonov is a KHL signing that could either be a huge success or a huge bust. I’m looking more to the success side, especially with Marchessault going to Vegas. He is a good candidate to play on the first line with Huberdeau and Barkov. Expect him to score 45-55 points.

Starting Goalie: Roberto Luongo

Even at 38, Luongo can still be a difference-maker in net. He may not play 70-75 games, but look for him play about 55-60 games and get 30-35 wins.

Buyer Beware: Radim Vrbata, Nick Bjugstad

Bjugstad had a horrible year last season, scoring only 14 points in 67 games. I don’t see him getting much better this year. He will improve but score only around 25-30 points. Vrbata comes over from Arizona, where he was the team scoring leader with 55 points. He won’t get top-line minutes in Florida but should play on the second line with Trocheck. This should allow him to get 40-45 points.

Hit, Blocked Shots, and PIM: Derek McKenzie, Vincent Trocheck, Aaron Ekbald

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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