As part of NHL.com's 30 in 30 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. From most valuable assets to underrated options, impact prospects and more, this guide should help fantasy owners prioritize players for drafts.
Starting at the top: John Tavares, C
Just because Tavares had a down season by his standards with 70 points (33 goals, 37 assists), including 19 power-play points, doesn't make him any less valuable in fantasy. In 2014-15, Tavares had a career-high 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists), finishing second in the League (one behind Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars) and was a Hart Trophy nominee for the second time in his career. Tavares has had at least 24 goals in each of his seven NHL seasons and hasn't had fewer than 54 points during a full season. He has stayed healthy, playing a full season four times and missing four games or fewer two other times. Although his linemates continue to be a revolving door, several things are clear: Tavares will be the Islanders top-line center and should score between 30-35 goals with upwards of 75 points, and likely will score more than the seven power-play goals he had last season, which tied his career low. He may not be worth drafting in the top five forwards, but is a virtual lock to go among the top 10 at his position.
Undervalued: Andrew Ladd, LW
Ladd had 25 goals last season with the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks, and has scored at least 23 in each of the past five full NHL seasons. In 2014-15, he had a career-high 62 points (24 goals, 38 assists) with 72 penalty minutes, and was plus-9 with 19 power-play points, six game-winning goals and 224 shots on goal, proving his worth in category coverage across the board. Ladd had an average draft position of 73.3 and finished 165th in Yahoo's performance-based rankings last season, and it wouldn't be surprising if he finished in the top 100 this season, especially if he plays with Tavares on the top line. He's a lock to score 20 goals and 50 points, and should get between 15-20 power-play points playing on the first unit. Category coverage players are rare, so Ladd is worth considering in the eighth or ninth round in a 12-team draft.
Sleeper: PA Parenteau, RW
Parenteau had his two best seasons with the Islanders from 2010-12, with 120 points (38 goals, 82 assists), including 39 PPP, in 161 games. In 2011-12, he had career highs in assists (49), points (67) penalty minutes (89), and had 19 PPP and 167 SOG (second highest total of career). Parenteau led the Toronto Maple Leafs with 20 goals last season and had 68 penalty minutes with 11 PPP. He likely will be reunited with Tavares, which should help his offensive game. If not, Parenteau will be on the second line and should get plenty of chances to contribute on the power play.
Bounce-back: Ryan Strome, RW
Strome took a step back last season -- he had 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists), 28 penalty minutes, four PPP, 132 SOG and was minus-9 in 71 games. The season before, he had 50 points (17 goals, 33 assists), 47 penalty minutes, 179 SOG and was plus-23 in 81 games. You can bet he's out to prove last season was a fluke. He likely will be the third-line center and could have newcomer Jason Chimera on his wing, a physical player who could help Strome get some room to make plays.
Impact prospect: Mathew Barzal, C
Barzal, the No. 16 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, had 88 points (27 goals, 61 assists), was plus-22 and had 58 penalty minutes in 58 games last season for Seattle of the Western Hockey League, and added 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) in 18 WHL playoff games. The 19-year-old almost made the Islanders out of training camp last season, and it wouldn't be surprising if he makes the jump to the NHL this season. If New York deals with injuries or has problems offensively, Barzal could get a shot, and perhaps become fantasy relevant.
Thomas Greiss outperformed Jaroslav Halak and is the better fantasy option, although coach Jack Capuano often rotates his goalies even if one is playing well. Greiss had NHL career highs in starts (38), wins (23) and save percentage (.925; ranked third in the League), and had a 2.36 GAA. In 25 of his 41 appearances, Greiss, 29, allowed two goals or fewer, and only allowed more than three goals three times, compared to Halak, who appeared in 36 games, allowing two or fewer goals 21 times and four or more six times. Halak, 31, is coming off an injury-plagued season, going 18-13-4 with a 2.30 GAA and .919 save percentage, one season after setting the Islanders single-season record with 38 wins. Despite the fact Halak (105th overall, 18th among goalies) finished higher in Yahoo's final rankings, Greiss (133, 23), is the clear choice between the two. It's not imperative to draft both, but a healthy Halak could mean fewer starts for Greiss, assuming they're both on the roster to start the season. Third-string goalie Jean-Francois Berube (3-2-1, 2.71 GAA, .914 SV%) played well at times, but isn't worth a roster spot barring an injury to Greiss or Halak.