Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Minnesota Wild fantasy preview for 2018-19

Mikael Granlund, C/RW (93) -- The 26-year-old had 69 points (26 goals, 43 assists) in 2016-17 and 67 points (21 goals, 46 assists) last season. Granlund finished among the top 100 in Yahoo (93) and should have a similar ceiling this season. He has been consistent in category coverage with seven power-play goals and at least 19 power-play points (20 in 2016-17) in each of the past two seasons. Though it's unlikely he'll be selected in the top 100, Granlund has the usage and team security to finish there.
Devan Dubnyk, G (96) -- The 32-year-old was 35-16-7 with a 2.52 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and five shutouts last season. Dubnyk is tied for first in NHL shutouts during the past four seasons (20) with Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. Dubnyk also ranks third among NHL goalies in wins (143) behind Holtby and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and first in save percentage (.922; minimum 200 games) during the same span. Dubnyk has the ceiling to be an elite goalie on a sleeper fantasy team.
Eric Staal, C (111)* -- The 33-year-old tied for fourth in goals (42) among NHL forwards last season with Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was Staal's highest goal-scoring season since 2005-06, when he had 45 with the Carolina Hurricanes, and he led the Wild in points (76), goals, power-play goals (11) and shots on goal (241). His impressive category coverage led to a final Yahoo rank of 35th last season, and he likely should finish in the top 50 again with added motivation in a contract year.
Matt Dumba, D (147) -- The 24-year-old is coming off a breakout season with 50 points (14 goals, 36 assists) in 82 games, which led to a final rank of 113 in Yahoo. He led Minnesota defensemen with 37 even-strength points and could be relied upon more heavily to start the season with injury concerns surrounding No. 1 defenseman Ryan Suter (ankle). Dumba should be available outside the top 120 in season-long fantasy drafts, with the upside to finish top 20 at the position.
Jason Zucker, LW/RW (157) -- The 26-year-old emerged on the fantasy landscape with NHL career-highs in goals (33) assists (31) and points (64) last season. Zucker formed chemistry with Staal on the first line, a spot he'll likely hold this season. He had 222 shots on goal, second on the Wild behind Staal (241), a good sign he can continue to generate offense this season. Zucker could be one of the few 30-goal scorers available in rounds 10 or later.
Ryan Suter, D - INJ. (161) -- The 33-year-old tied his NHL career-high with 51 points (six goals, 45 assists) in 78 games. He led Minnesota in power-play points (23) and ice time per game (26:47), contributing to a final Yahoo rank of 143. Suter was injured against the Dallas Stars on March 31 and missed the final four games of the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but expects to be ready for training camp. His status should be monitored closely before drafts, but he's worth targeting in middle rounds.
Nino Niederreiter, LW/RW (162) -- The 25-year-old, who turns 26 on Sept. 8, was limited to 63 games last season and had an inconsistent spot in the lineup. Despite multiple leg injuries and usage, he finished fourth on the Wild in goals last season (18) and is tied for first in power-play goals (15) the past two seasons. If he earns a spot on the top line and first power-play unit with Staal, Niederreiter could see similar production to his 57 points (25 goals, 32 assists) in 2016-17. He also has added value in hits leagues (1.7 per game in NHL career).
Other players with fantasy upside in late rounds or off waiver wire: Mikko Koivu, C (215); Jared Spurgeon, D (230)
*Potential 2019 unrestricted free agent
INJ. -- Injury concern entering 2018-19

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