Player Fantasy Categories: Goals, Assists, PIMs, Plus/Minus, PPP, Shots
Goalie Fantasy Categories: Wins, GAA, SV%, Shutouts
Nick’s NHL Fantasy Breakout Players
Torey Krug – D, Boston
Nazem Kadri – C, Toronto
Andrew’s NHL Fantasy Breakout Players
Nikolaj Ehlers, RW, Winnipeg
Mika Zibanejad, C, New York
Mika Zibanejad has shown a lot of promise with solid results since entering the league in 2011. He’s improved on his points per game every season and slowly earned more and more ice time. With his trade out of the low-budget tire fire that is the Ottawa Senators, Zibanejad has a chance to really break out on a team that’s in need of young, offensive firepower. While he’s not a high volume shooter, Zibanejad excels at creating scoring chances and will see lots of time on the powerplay this year. I expect him to break the 60 point mark this year, with 20 of those coming on the power play
Brendan’s NHL Fantasy Breakout Players
Elias Lindholm, C, Carolina
Lindholm has failed to meet the expectations set for him when he was selected in the 2013 draft, and the 2016-2017 season will be a big test to see where he will be taking his career. He put up an almost identical statline in 2015 (11G, 28A) as he did in 2014 (17G, 22A) and has not shown as much growth as the Hurricanes were hoping for. However, with a shooting percentage of just 6.3% last season, I believe Lindholm could be posed for a breakout season. With the addition of Teovo Teravainen and highly touted prospect Sebastian Aho, Lindholm could have the talented linemates he needs to take the next step in his career to being a top-end two-way center. If Lindholm can establish some chemistry with his new projected linemates, I can see him putting up 25 goals and 35 assists in 2016-2017.
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Florida
After being selected third-overall in 2011 and having a breakout Calder trophy season, Huberdeau has slowly developed into a solid first line player. Huberdeau bounced back from a poor second season in 2013 to post solid totals in 2014 (54 points) and 2015 (59 points). I would bet that this is the season Huberdeau reaches that elite plateau as one of the top wingers in the NHL. You can already expect to see Huberdeau as a high-mid round pick in drafts this year, but look for him to take a step forward this season towards elite status. With Florida’s strong core of young studs coming into their prime and ever growing chemistry with linemate and freak of nature Alexander Barkov, Huberdeau is primed to explode. I could easily see Huberdeau posting 30 goals and 45 assists in 2016, giving the Panthers solid value for the new extension they just signed him to this offseason.
Spencer’s NHL Fantasy Breakout Players
Joonas Donskoi, RW, San Jose
You might remember Donskoi from the Sharks’ playoff run last year. The 24-year-old had 36 points (11G, 25A) in 76 games in his rookie season and 12 points (6G, 6A) in 24 playoff games, yet some are still concerned about his age. Would you feel better knowing he won the Finnish version of the Conn Smythe in 2014-15? (Past winners include Saku Koivu, Niklas Backstrom, Olli Jokinen, and most recently, Patrik Laine). Donskoi also won back-to-back Liiga Championships before competing for the 2016 Stanley Cup. Playing on a line with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau, it’s safe to assume Donskoi is just getting started.
Beau Bennett, RW, New Jersey
I don’t want to pick many Devils either but hear me out. The former 20th overall pick showed promise in Pittsburgh but was always pushed down the depth chart by guys like Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, Steve Downie, Craig Adams, and Lee Stempniak. Bennett was flipped for a third round pick in the draft and now finally has an everyday spot on an NHL roster. We can expect Bennett to take full advantage of his new opportunity.
The vast majority of the Devils’ roster will be available in the middle and later rounds, so don’t be hasty with Bennett.