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 Carolina Hurricanes.
[HURRICANES 31 in 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers]
Sebastian Aho, LW/RW -- The 20-year-old has a high fantasy ceiling for the Carolina Hurricanes and should be available outside the top 50 overall. He finished third in goals (24) and fifth in points (49) among rookies last season, and had strong peripherals (17 power-play points, 214 shots on goal). He was second among rookie forwards (minimum 75 games played) in Shot Attempts percentage (53.26) and could jump to 65-70 points in a top-line, first power-play role.
Jeff Skinner, LW -- He quietly finished among the NHL's top seven in goals (37, 6th) and shots on goal (281; 7th) and has shaken off the injury concerns from earlier in his career by playing 238 of a possible 246 games over the past three seasons. This is the best roster the Hurricanes have fielded in the Skinner era, so he's an appealing choice if available outside the top 75.
Video: STL@CAR: Skinner buries a fortuitous bounce in front
Elias Lindholm, C/RW -- He led the Hurricanes in assists per 60 minutes (1.56) last season and ranked 12th League-wide in primary assists (29) even though he missed 10 games. Lindholm, 22, is a relatively unknown name in fantasy circles but a prime sleeper candidate this season.
Teuvo Teravainen, C/LW/RW -- Tri-eligible in Yahoo last season, Teravainen had NHL career highs in goals (15), assists (27), points (42), power-play points (15) and shots on goal (169) playing mostly alongside Aho at even strength and on the Hurricanes' first power-play unit. They formed Carolina's best point pair (23 team goals with each having a point) and are only scratching the surface, so target them together hoping the Hurricanes leap into Stanley Cup Playoff contention.
Justin Williams, RW -- The most notable forward addition this offseason is a familiar face in Williams, who will be 36 when the season starts, but averaged 50 points per season over his two-year tenure with the Washington Capitals. The best offensive seasons of his NHL career came during his previous time with the Hurricanes (2003-09), and he's always a threat to finish in the fantasy top 125 overall with sound category coverage.
Video: 31 in 31: Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 season preview
Victor Rask, C -- The Hurricanes are loaded with talent at wing, so this is a big opportunity for Rask and center Jordan Staal to return value as late-round fantasy picks. Rask saw a big dip in shooting percentage (8.6 last season; 13.1 in 2015-16) but barely regressed in points (45 last season; 48 in 2015-16). This should be his best season yet with at least 50 points in an even-strength spot with likely Skinner or Lindholm.
Video: MIN@CAR: Rask sneaks go-ahead goal past Dubnyk
Justin Faulk -- His career has been hindered by injuries and the inconsistent production that followed. That said, he's tied for third in goals per game (0.22) and ranks fifth in shots on goal per game (2.9) among defensemen over the past three seasons combined. With the Hurricanes on the rise, he could be the biggest fantasy bargain at his position if he falls outside the top 100 overall.
Video: CAR@PIT: Faulk's shot caroms in off glass, Murray
Jaccob Slavin -- From Feb. 28 to the end of the regular season (24 games), Slavin ranked fourth in points (15) and was tied for third in plus/minus (plus-13) among defensemen. He did not have much of a power-play role, but is a high-upside fourth defenseman for any fantasy roster after impressive even-strength results and the best SAT relative percentage (4.5) among Carolina defensemen.
Scott Darling -- An efficient backup over his first three NHL seasons, Darling has the path to a starting goaltender job upon joining Carolina. Only Carey Price (.929) has had a better save percentage than Darling (.923) among goalies with at least 75 games played over that span. Darling has fantasy breakout potential and is a huge upgrade over Cam Ward and Eddie Lack. Target him in the ninth round or later of a 12-team draft.
Others to consider: Jordan Staal (C/LW), Noah Hanifin (D), Trevor van Riemsdyk (D)