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St. Louis Blues fantasy preview for 2018-19

Tarasenko can benefit from addition of O'Reilly; Allen has bounce-back potential

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from each team for 2018-19. Today, we look at St. Louis Blues players, listed in order of rank in NHL.com's top 250. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy.

 

[Blues 31 IN 31: Season preview3 QuestionsTop prospectsBehind the NumbersNHL.com/Fantasy]

 

Vladimir Tarasenko, RW - INJ. (NHL.com rank: 25) -- Although he had offseason shoulder surgery, Tarasenko is expected to be ready for training camp. The 26-year-old had 66 points (33 goals, 33 assists) in 80 games last season, the fourth straight he's led the Blues in goals, and is one of two players, along with Alex Ovechkin, who has scored at least 30 goals in each of the past four seasons. Tarasenko covers multiple categories, with at least 260 shots on goal, six power-play goals and 16 power-play points in each of the past four seasons. He's also been a plus-15 or better in three of the past five seasons and covers hits (89) which became a standard category in Yahoo leagues this season.

Video: 31 in 31: St. Louis Blues 2018-19 season preview

 

Brayden Schenn, C (68) -- Schenn flourished in his first season with the Blues on mostly the top line with Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, but will at least begin training camp on the second line with the addition of Ryan O'Reilly. Schenn had NHL career highs in goals (28), assists (42), points (70), SOG (210) and rating (plus-10). However, Schenn took a step back in terms of PPP (19; 28 in 2016-17) and PPG (eight; tied for first in NHL with 17 in 2016-17) and his usage could take a hit with the addition of O'Reilly. However, Schenn offers great value in hits leagues; his 154 ranked second on the Blues and he's had at least that many in five straight seasons.

Video: NYR@STL: Schenn spins and scores overtime winner

 

Jake Allen, G (105) -- He went 27-25-3 with a career-worst 2.75 GAA last season and struggled with consistency; he was 0-4-1 with an .882 save percentage in his final five starts but was 8-1-0 with a .919 save percentage in nine previous starts. Allen was 2-14-0 in 19 games prior to that stretch and allowed at least three goals in 29 of his 59 appearances. However, the Blues bolstered their offense this offseason which should only help Allen; St. Louis ranked 24th in goals last season (223) and tied for sixth in goals allowed (222). Because of his down season, he likely will be available later than usual and would be a bargain if available outside the top 15 goalies.

 

Alex Pietrangelo, D (112) -- Over the first two months of the season, the Blues captain was tied for first in the NHL in scoring among defensemen with 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 22 games. He finished with career highs in goals (15), points (54) and SOG (216), but was bumped off the first power-play unit in favor of Vince Dunn at times late in the season. If Pietrangelo regains his grasp on the first power-play unit with Tarasenko, and possibly O'Reilly, he has a ceiling of a top 10 fantasy defenseman.

Video: Alex Pietrangelo lands at No. 9 on the list

 

Ryan O'Reilly, C (129) -- He could be in line for his first 30-goal, 70-point season in the NHL playing alongside Tarasenko on the top line. O'Reilly has scored at least 20 goals and had at least 55 points in four of the past five seasons and has been effective on the power play with at least 22 PPP in four of the past five seasons, including 15 PPG in 2017-18. O'Reilly should also see an increase in plus-minus. He was a minus player in each of the past eight seasons, including a career-worst minus-23 last season with the Buffalo Sabres. O'Reilly also has added value on face-offs; he finished second in the NHL last season with a 59.98 winning percent, behind Antoine Vermette (60.00).

 

Jaden Schwartz, LW - INJ. (141) -- Schwartz was tied for ninth in NHL scoring last season with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in his first 30 games before missing seven weeks with an ankle injury. Although his scoring pace regressed when he returned (24 points in 32 games), he still put up respectable numbers (plus-15, 11 PPP, 157 SOG) including a career-high 15.3 shooting percentage. He sustained an upper-body injury this offseason, but should be ready for training camp and is fantasy relevant as long as he remains in the top six.

 

Other players with fantasy upside in late rounds or off waiver wire: Colton Parayko, D (165); David Perron, LW/ RW (205); Alexander Steen, C/LW/RW (240); Robby Fabbri, C/LW - INJ.**; Vince Dunn, D - INJ.

**Potential 2019 restricted free agent
INJ. - Injury concern entering 2018-19

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