As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the St. Louis Blues. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
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Vladimir Tarasenko, RW (NHL.com rank: 32) -- He came on strong in the second half of the season with 45 points (22 goals, 23 assists) over the final 38 regular-season games and was plus-24 in the span. Tarasenko is one of two players (other: Alex Ovechkin) with five straight seasons of at least 30 goals (33 last season). Tarasenko has yet to score more than 75 points in a season but tied his NHL career high in power-play goals (12) last season with a high shot volume (275 shots on goal). He's a top 10 right wing and should be targeted in the first three rounds of any fantasy format.
Video: Top 10 plays of 2018-19: Tarasenko
Jordan Binnington, G (47) -- How Binnington does in his second season after being a Calder Trophy finalist and leading the Blues to their first Stanley Cup title is the big question. He was 24-5-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and five shutouts in 32 regular-season games and started all 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games, going 16-10 with a .914 SV% and one SO. Binnington should play at least 60 games and is among NHL.com's top 10 fantasy options at the position, but it's worth noting previous Cup-winning rookie goalies range from Patrick Roy to Cam Ward.
Video: Top 10 saves of 2018-19: Binnington
Ryan O'Reilly, C (91) -- The Conn Smythe Trophy winner finished tied with Brad Marchand for the playoff scoring lead with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 26 games, a continuation of a strong regular season. O'Reilly had the best numbers of his 10-season NHL career with 77 points (28 goals, 49 assists), a plus-22 and had at least 22 power-play points for the fifth time in the past six seasons. O'Reilly plays the deepest fantasy position but should be prioritized in leagues that count face-off wins (led NHL with 1,086 last season) and/or percentage (56.9).
Alex Pietrangelo, D (97) -- He had 41 points (13 goals, 28 assists) in 71 regular-season games (his fewest in the past three seasons) but then led all NHL defensemen with 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 26 playoff games. Pietrangelo quarterbacks the Blues power play, which struggled in the postseason (16.3 percent; 12th out of 16 playoff teams) but could improve under new assistant coach Marc Savard (hired July 24). Pietrangelo is a top 20 fantasy defenseman but could lose value if Colton Parayko and/or Vince Dunn cut into his first power-play minutes.
Brayden Schenn, C/LW (111) -- He declined in every major offensive category last season (goals, assists, points, plus-minus, PPP, SOG) after NHL career highs in 2017-18. That said, Schenn could easily bounce back on the top line with Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz after playing most frequently on that line in the playoffs. Schenn has had a high floor with at least 54 points in each of the past four seasons and brings added value in hits leagues (111 last season; 2.2 per game in NHL career).
Video: 31 in 31: St. Louis Blues 2019-20 season preview
Colton Parayko, D (173) -- He had an NHL career-high 10 goals but also his lowest point total (28). The 26-year-old's ice time has increased each season, and his 22:47 was second on the Blues behind Pietrangelo (24:05). Parayko is durable (six games missed over first four seasons) and could see an expanded role this season, especially with Savard expected to coach the power play. Parayko should be attainable in late rounds and is a sleeper candidate after improved production in the playoffs (12 points, three PPP in 26 games).
Jaden Schwartz, LW (174) -- The left wing had 11 goals and 36 points in 69 games, his lowest totals in five full seasons. But Schwartz had a bounce-back postseason with 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 26 games, including two hat tricks, and carries renewed upside for the new season. Schwartz has excellent chemistry with Schenn and Tarasenko and plays a scarce position but is better suited for the late rounds of a fantasy draft because of his injury history and inconsistent production.
Other players with fantasy upside in late rounds or off waiver wire: Vince Dunn, D (183); David Perron, LW/RW (192); Robert Thomas, C/RW; Jake Allen, G
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