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31 in 31

New York Rangers fantasy preview for 2017-18

Shattenkirk will be big part of power play; Zibanejad could break out after departure of Stepan

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

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 New York Rangers:

 

[RANGERS 31 in 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers | More team fantasy previews]

 

FORWARDS

Mats Zuccarello, RW -- Although he took a step back in goals (15 after scoring 26 in 2015-16), Zuccarello had 59 points, a number he's managed to reach in three of the past four seasons. He also has a knack for finding teammates (.46 assists per game in career). Zuccarello has increased his SOG in each of the past three seasons and could reach 200 for the first time in his career. He's also never had a negative plus-minus rating in any of his seven NHL seasons.

Mika Zibanejad, C -- In his first season with the Rangers, Zibanejad missed two months because of a broken fibula, but scored 37 points (14 goals) in 56 games. That extrapolates to 54 points in a full season, which would have been his career high. Zibanejad has a high upside, having scored 20 goals in each of the two prior seasons, and with the trade of Derek Stepan to the Arizona Coyotes, could see his fantasy value increase.

Chris Kreider, LW -- In the past three seasons, Kreider has scored at least 21 goals and 43 points, with career highs of 28 goals and 53 points last season. He had a career-best 15.1 shooting percentage and 186 SOG in 75 games last season and the 26-year-old top-line wing is poised for another big season.

Video: OTT@NYR, Gm6: Kreider tallies on strong solo effort

Rick Nash LW/RW -- The 33-year-old isn't the offensive threat he was 5-10 years ago and is an injury risk. He missed 15 games last season and 22 in 2015-16. Although he scored 23 goals last season, only nine points came on the power play. He has the ability to get on hot streaks but the low PIM and plus-minus totals, combined with his decline in production in recent seasons, hinder him from becoming a must-own player.

J.T. Miller, LW/RW -- In addition to not missing a game the past two seasons, Miller scored 22 goals in each, including 11 game-winning goals. He has yet to take more than 135 SOG in a season and only had 21 PIM last season, but is plus-27 the past two seasons and plays on the power play and penalty kill, so he could provide value.

 

DEFENSEMEN

Kevin Shattenkirk -- After an NHL career-high 56 points last season with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals, he's likely to hit the 50-point mark again. Shattenkirk is a power-play machine, with at least 25 PPP in each of the past four seasons, and will be a big part of that unit for the Rangers. Although he doesn't take many SOG (161 last season), he's arguably the most important player on offense for the Rangers.

Ryan McDonagh -- The captain finished with 42 points, one behind his career high in 2013-14. He had a career-high 15 PPP last season, a number that could take a dip this season. McDonagh has been a plus-20 or better in each of the past three seasons and even chipped in with 37 PIM last season. He'll still see plenty of ice time, but could take a back seat to Shattenkirk as far as fantasy is concerned.

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm5: McDonagh tips in Grabner's shot

Brady Skjei -- If his rookie season is any indication, Skjei could be in line for another good season. He finished second in assists (34) and points (39) and tied for second in plus-minus (plus-11) among first-year defenseman, and had seven power-play points. The addition of Shattenkirk could cut into his power-play time, but expect Skjei to put up solid numbers across the board.

 

GOALTENDING

Henrik Lundqvist -- His save percentage has gone down and his goals-against average up in each of the past three seasons, culminating in a career-worst .910 SV% and 2.74 GAA last season. However, Lundqvist, has won at least 30 games in each of his 11 full NHL seasons and should hit that number if he remains healthy, something the 35-year-old hasn't been able to do in two of the past three seasons.

Video: OTT@NYR, Gm6: Lundqvist lays out to rob Karlsson

Others to consider: Pavel Buchnevich (LW/RW), Kevin Hayes (C/RW), Michael Grabner (LW/RW), Jimmy Vesey (LW), Nick Holden (D)

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