Friday, August 10, 2018

Dallas Stars fantasy preview for 2018-19

Tyler Seguin, C/RW* (NHL.com rank: 13) -- The only player with more goals than Seguin (173) over the past five seasons is Alex Ovechkin (236), and the Stars forward could be poised for his best season yet for many reasons. The 26-year-old is entering a contract year (potential 2019 unrestricted free agent) and will be playing for new coach Jim Montgomery, who won the 2017 NCAA Division I championship at the University of Denver. Seguin ranks among the top 10 in the NHL in points (384), power-play points (132) and shots on goal (1,488) since joining the Stars in 2013-14, and has been extremely consistent with at least 72 points, 24 PPP and 278 SOG in each of those five seasons. It's fair game to reach for Seguin in the late first round of any fantasy draft.
Jamie Benn, C/LW (14) -- Seguin and Benn form one of the best sets of fantasy teammates, and each is ranked among NHL.com's top 15 overall once again. Benn is the third-ranked fantasy left wing behind Ovechkin and Brad Marchand, and finished 17th in Yahoo despite an inconsistent season. He had some production swings and played center and left wing under former coach Ken Hitchcock, but he was among the most valuable fantasy players from the beginning of December to the end of the regular season (58 points, plus-21 in final 57 games), including two hat tricks in the final week.
John Klingberg, D (50) -- He's coming off a breakout season, leading NHL defensemen in assists (59) and finishing one point behind John Carlson (68) for the scoring lead at the position. Klingberg, who turns 26 on Aug. 14, had NHL career highs in points (67), PPP (23) and SOG (204), is ranked among the top 50 fantasy assets by NHL.com (seventh among defensemen), and could have an even higher ceiling. Montgomery should help the development of younger defensemen Esa Lindell and Julius Honka, as well as defenseman prospect Miro Heiskanen, which would take pressure off Klingberg and improve Dallas' depth and Stanley Cup Playoff chances.
Alexander Radulov, RW (54) -- He had NHL career bests in goals (27), assists (45), points (72), PPP (23) and SOG (217) with frequent exposure to Seguin and Benn at even strength and on the first power-play unit. The 32-year-old remains a fringe top 50 overall asset, in the same range as fellow Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk (52nd by NHL.com) of the Los Angeles Kings. Radulov's elite fantasy status hinges on him playing with Benn and/or Seguin, but he could feasibly end up with veteran center Jason Spezza (potential 2019 UFA), who fell out of favor under Hitchcock last season.
Ben Bishop, G - INJ. (66) -- The 31-year-old goalie is Dallas' fifth player among NHL.com's fantasy top 75 and was shaping up to be a bargain last season prior to his season-ending lower-body injury in March. He went 26-17-5 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 53 games, and his five shutouts (T-4th in NHL) were the biggest reason he finished 70th overall in Yahoo. He is ranked 13th at his position by NHL.com and should have 30-35 wins if healthy for a full season behind a loaded offense in a fresh system.
Valeri Nichushkin, RW (187) -- The 23-year-old signed a two-year contract with the Stars after playing the past two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. His return should boost the secondary scoring of the most top-heavy fantasy team last season (four skaters with at least 67 points; no one else had more than 34). Nichushkin has underwhelming production in the NHL (64 points; 23 goals, 41 assists in 166 games) and KHL (51 points in 86 games over past two seasons), but projected top-six and power-play usage for the Stars instantly makes him a top 200 fantasy target with 20-goal, 50-point upside.
Other players with fantasy upside in late rounds or off waiver wire: Esa Lindell, D** (234); Jason Spezza, C/RW*; Miro Heiskanen, D; Mattias Janmark, LW**; Radek Faksa, C, Julius Honka, D**
*Potential 2019 unrestricted free agent
**Potential 2019 restricted free agent
INJ. -- Injury concern entering 2018-19

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