Monday, August 3, 2015

Edmonton Oilers fantasy hockey outlook

Leading the way: Taylor Hall
Hall had arguably the least productive season of his five-year career in 2014-15 with 14 goals and 38 points in 53 games (.72 points/game). A shooting percentage of 8.9 percent could've had something to do with his low goal total, but health continues to be Hall's biggest question mark. If he can avoid injury, Hall has the potential to be one of the better fantasy performers of the future. With the possibility of playing on a line with rookie Connor McDavid and usual suspect Jordan Eberle, Hall should be in line for a big bounce-back season.
Undervalued: Jordan Eberle
Including his breakout 34-goal, 76-point season in 2011-12, Eberle has 241 points in 287 games (.84 points/game). Those 241 points are tied for 17th most in the NHL during that stretch, and Eberle has proven to be extremely durable as well, missing seven games. Let's also not forget he had 32 points in his final 32 games last season after a tough start. Target Eberle between rounds five and six with hopes he exceeds that draft position by the end of the season.

Overvalued: 
Justin SchultzIncluding his breakout 34-goal, 76-point season in 2011-12, Eberle has 241 points in 287 games (.84 points/game). Those 241 points are tied for 17th most in the NHL during that stretch, and Eberle has proven to be extremely durable as well, missing seven games. Let's also not forget he had 32 points in his final 32 games last season after a tough start. Target Eberle between rounds five and six with hopes he exceeds that draft position by the end of the season.
Schultz came into the NHL with high expectations prior to the 2012-13 season but has yet to live up to the hype, with last season being the worst of the three (six goals, 25 assists, minus-17). With Andrej Sekera now in the picture on the blue line, Schultz could see a smaller role offensively and on the power play. Schultz is still worth drafting, but I'm not sure he'll ever live up to the expectations placed on him coming out of the University of Wisconsin.
Deep sleeper: Leon Draisaitl
With all the hype surrounding 2015 No. 1 draft pick Connor McDavid, fantasy owners need to remember Edmonton's first-round pick from 2014, Draisaitl (No. 3 pick). The 19-year-old forward could switch to the wing and end up in a top-six role, and that could lead to big things. While his first stint in the NHL didn't go as planned (two goals, seven assists in 37 games), he did have 53 points in 32 games after being sent back to the Western Hockey League. At 6-foot-1 and over 200 pounds, Draisaitl has the makeup to contribute right away, it's a matter of finding the right opportunity. Keep an eye on him.
Goalie outlook: Cam Talbot and Ben Scrivens
I expect Talbot to win the starting goaltending job out of training camp, and while the team still has question marks defensively Talbot could end up with sneaky fantasy value. Over the past two seasons with the New York Rangers, Talbot posted a 33-15-5 record with a 2.00 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and eight shutouts in 57 games. He was arguably the best backup goalie in the NHL over the two-year span and was even more impressive when called upon as the everyday starter with Henrik Lundqvist on injured reserve last season. People might point to the Rangers defense as a reason for Talbot's success, but the Rangers allowed 29.5 shots against per game last season which ranked 14th in the NHL. The Oilers allowed 30.0 shots against per game and ranked 20th. Talbot should be Edmonton's No. 1 goalie, but whether he can handle a full workload is still up in the air. Scrivens could end up with 30-plus starts, which would still make him fantasy relevant. Regardless, Talbot is the goalie you want to draft because of his upside, likely after the first 20 starting goalies are selected.

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