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31 in 31

Chicago Blackhawks fantasy preview for 2019-20

Gustafsson has high ceiling on power play with Toews, Kane; Crawford, Lehner could form sneaky tandem

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the Chicago Blackhawks. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.

 

[Blackhawks 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers]

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Top 250 ranks | Mock draft | Team previews | Cheat sheet

 

Patrick Kane, RW (NHL.com rank: 5) -- The right wing had NHL career highs in points (110; second 100-point season of career) and shots on goal (341) last season. Kane played frequently with longtime teammate Jonathan Toews, who had an NHL career-high 81 points; the forwards were rarely on the same line at even strength in previous years, including their Stanley Cup championship seasons (2010, 2013, 2015). Kane is the No. 2 fantasy right wing behind Nikita Kucherov and worth reaching for among the top five overall.

Video: 31 in 31: Chicago Blackhawks 2019-20 season preview

 

Alex DeBrincat, LW/RW (54) -- He was nearly a point-per-game player in his second NHL season with 76 points (41 goals, 35 assists), a huge jump from his rookie total (52). DeBrincat got better lineup placement in the top six and on the first power play, especially after Chicago replaced coach Joel Quenneville with Jeremy Colliton and acquired center Dylan Strome. DeBrincat has a higher ceiling with Strome and potentially Kane on his line over a full season and is a fringe top 50 overall fantasy asset.

 

Jonathan Toews, C (83) -- The center is coming off his best offensive season; he had NHL career highs in goals (35) and points (81). He was moved to Kane's line during Chicago's struggles but could play on a separate unit with a familiar linemate in right wing Andrew Shaw (acquired from Montreal Canadiens) and either wing Brandon Saad, Drake Caggiula or Dylan Sikura this season. Toews is an elite fantasy center option if/when he's playing with Toews but better suited for the 76-100 range with linemate uncertainty.

Video: Top five plays of 2018-19: Toews

 

Erik Gustafsson, D (85) -- One of the biggest fantasy steals of last season, Gustafsson became a fixture on the first power play with Kane, Toews, DeBrincat and Strome, scoring an NHL career-high 60 points (18 on power play). Gustafsson, 27, has far surpassed veterans Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook as Chicago's top fantasy defenseman moving forward and is worth targeting among the 15 best at the position and first 100 overall.

 

Dylan Strome, C (130) -- The center broke out for 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) in 58 games after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 25. He played mostly with DeBrincat at even strength and on Chicago's power play, which ranked tied for third in the NHL (25.2 percent) from Jan. 1 to the end of the season. Strome is worth targeting among the first 10 rounds of standard drafts and easily stackable with any of his power-play linemates.

 

Corey Crawford, G (133) -- The veteran goalie has competition for the starting job in Robin Lehner, a Vezina Trophy finalist with the New York Islanders last season who signed a one-year contract with Chicago. Crawford was limited to 39 games because of two concussions but went 8-4-3 with a .919 save percentage and one shutout over his final 16 games. Crawford is entering a contract year (potential 2020 unrestricted free agent), so drafting him and Lehner as a tandem has risk-reward upside after the additions of defensemen Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta.

 

Other players to consider in late rounds or off waiver wire: Robin Lehner, G (162), Andrew Shaw, C/RW; Dylan Sikura, LW/RW; Drake Caggiula, LW/RW; Adam Boqvist, D

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