As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. Fantasy-relevant players are listed in order of rank in NHL.com's top 250. Today, we look at the Calgary Flames.
[FLAMES 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers]
Johnny Gaudreau, LW -- To say Gaudreau had a disappointing season by fantasy standards would be an understatement. Selected on average in the first round of a Yahoo standard draft, Gaudreau finished 141st overall, scoring 61 points (18 goals, 43 assists) in 72 games. He went from a combined plus-15 the previous two seasons to minus-7, and regressed in both power-play points (16) and shots on goal (182). A slow start for the Calgary Flames and a fractured finger is likely what caused the regression, so a bounce back is probable this season. Gaudreau could be a steal should he fall outside the first two rounds.
Sean Monahan, C -- Gaudreau's running mate, Monahan has centered the scoring left wing for much of the past three seasons. In that stretch, Monahan ranks 14th among centers with 183 points (85 goals, 98 assists) in 244 games. If you like pairing teammates together in fantasy, Monahan and Gaudreau is a decent place to start.
Matthew Tkachuk, LW -- In an underrated rookie season, Tkachuk nearly finished among the top 50 overall in Yahoo (53rd) thanks to impressive category coverage. He finished with 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists) and was second on the Flames at plus-14. Tkachuk was 11th in the League with 105 penalty minutes, and has the potential to put up Wayne Simmonds-like numbers this season.
Mikael Backlund, C -- Known widely for his defensive acumen, Backlund showed off some scoring ability last season with an NHL career-high 53 points (22 goals, 31 assists) in 81 games. It was a slight jump from his 2015-16 numbers, but Backlund also took a big step forward in SOG with 197, which was also a career high. Backlund finished among the top 100 in Yahoo, but will likely be overlooked in drafts. Don't make that mistake.
Video: CGY@ANA, Gm2: Backlund dazzles on breakaway
Dougie Hamilton -- After struggling in his first season with the Flames following a trade from the Boston Bruins in 2015, Hamilton seemed to reach his potential last season. He set NHL career highs in pretty much every statistical category: goals (13), assists (37), points (50), penalty minutes (64) and SOG (222) in 81 games. That led to a top 5 fantasy finish at his position, and with Calgary's roster only improving, there's no reason to believe Hamilton can't put together another stellar year.
Mark Giordano -- The Flames captain took a back seat to Hamilton in Yahoo, but still finished top 15 among defensemen. For where you can draft Giordano on average (71.3 last season), he's as valuable a defenseman as they come. Giordano is 10th among defenseman in points (190) the past four seasons combined, and is top 20 in PPP (67, 18th) and SOG (700, 15th).
Video: LAK@CGY: Giordano's long-range shot finds twine
Mike Smith -- Smith has a chance to revitalize his fantasy stock with the Flames, who acquired him in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on June 17. The 35-year-old hasn't had a strong season since 2011-12 (38 wins, .930 SV%, 2.21 GAA), but that's mostly because of the Coyotes' struggles. Despite playing for poor teams, Smith had a .916 save percentage in six seasons with the Coyotes. Joining Calgary should give him the potential to be a top 10 fantasy goalie.
Others to consider: Michael Frolik (RW), Sam Bennett (C/LW), TJ Brodie (D), Travis Hamonic (D), Troy Brouwer (RW), Spencer Foo (C/RW).