Are you prepared? We’re again to the 82-game common season format, which implies extra pleasure and likewise extra ache. It’s a curler coaster of feelings each season as a result of there are all the time surprises, and the nice ones could make us really feel like geniuses whereas the dangerous ones really feel like stomach flopping into an empty pool.
However we’re all gluttons for punishment, so we’d as properly keep as knowledgeable as we are able to to later rationalize why the fantasy hockey gods hate you. Sure, they particularly hate you.
2021-22 Fantasy Outlook: Colorado Avalanche
Final season: The Avs have been one of many favorites for the Cup and anticipated to make the Finals, however succumbed to the Golden Knights regardless of taking a 2-0 sequence lead. It was the third straight season the Avs exited within the second spherical and so they might’ve simply pointed to themselves for the loss: Nazem Kadri bought himself suspended, Philipp Grubauer wasn’t as sharp as he wanted to be and so they allowed the Knights to mount comebacks quite a few instances. It wiped away a few of the goodwill they head earned in the course of the season, the place they tied the Knights for probably the most factors (82) and highest factors share (.732).
Most suitable choice: Cale Makar, D
Makar was the one defenseman to common some extent per recreation, voted because the league’s second-best defenseman and have become simply the fifth defenseman in historical past to win the Calder and end top-five in Norris voting the next season. He follows Ray Bourque, Denis Potvin, Bobby Orr and Jacques Laperriere; we gained’t anoint Makar as a Corridor of Famer simply but, however he’s really on an thrilling path to superstardom. In simply two seasons, he’s established himself as a perennial Norris candidate along with his potential to show high-stakes skilled hockey into an informal hold away. No defenseman has been as spectacular as Makar of their first two seasons, and the shortage of depth at that place in fantasy arguably makes him extra priceless than Nathan MacKinnon or Mikko Rantanen, each of whom completed prime 10 in league scoring. Makar is projected to guide all defensemen in scoring in accordance with THN’s Pool Information with 15 objectives and 74 factors, forward of John Carlson (68), Quinn Hughes (64) and Adam Fox (61).
Hidden gem: Alex Newhook, C
The Pool Information has Newhook pegged to attain 34 factors, but when he will get top-six alternatives his ceiling could possibly be significantly larger. It was a whirlwind season for Newhook, who scored 16 factors in 12 video games in an abbreviated NCAA season for Boston Faculty, starred for Workforce Canada on the World Juniors, turned professional and scored 9 factors in eight video games within the American League, earned a spot on the taxi squad, and ended up scoring his first NHL purpose within the playoffs. Newhook’s velocity and agility is a good match and he’s the kind of potential high-rising participant fantasy groups ought to goal within the late rounds when everybody else has both give up in frustration or fallen asleep.
Goalies: No goalie’s inventory improved greater than Darcy Kuemper, going from a group headed for the lottery to probably the greatest. The knock in opposition to Kuemper has all the time been his incapability to remain wholesome; he’s performed greater than 30 video games simply twice in his nine-season profession, but he’s anticipated to get the lion’s share of the begins with backup Pavel Francouz additionally getting back from harm after lacking all of final season. Since 2013-14, Kuemper ranks thirteenth with a .917 Sv%, tied with Connor Hellebuyck, Marc-Andre Fleury, Robin Lehner, John Gibson, but in addition Steve Mason, which tells you that there’s nonetheless an opportunity this doesn’t pan out. Goaltending is the largest query mark for the Avs, but when Kuemper can keep wholesome, he’ll be on observe to have a profession season, and given how a lot purpose assist he’ll get, might simply surpass his career-high of 27 wins and rank within the prime 10. If fears about his harm historical past might be put aside, Kuemper ought to be one of many first few goalies drafted after Hellebuyck and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Outlook: Should you thought chickpea pasta was disgusting, what till you see what MacKinnon will unleash. The Avs roster seems to be weaker on paper with the lack of Grubauer, Brandon Saad, Joonas Donskoi and Ryan Graves, however they’re additionally one yr wiser and nonetheless have extra expertise to usher in with Newhook, Martin Kaut and Bowen Byram. A loss to the Knights left a bitter style, giving one of the fanatical, driven players within the league extra purpose for revenge, and he’s eligible for an extension on the finish of the season. With a high-powered offense, the Avs ought to have the ability to roll their approach to the highest of the league with loads of fantasy choices in each tier. Following MacKinnon, Rantanen and Makar, Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Devon Toews and Samuel Girard are additionally strong fantasy choices. Byram, Newhook, Kaut and Tyson Jost symbolize a youthful class who might shock to the upside however might not attain their potential simply but.