As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the New Jersey Devils. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
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Taylor Hall, LW (NHL.com rank: 27) -- He's entering a contract year (potential 2020 unrestricted free agent) after an injury-plagued season. He had 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games last season but didn't play after Dec. 23; he won the Hart Trophy with an NHL career-high 93 points (37 on power play) in 2017-18. If healthy, Hall will likely begin the season with frequent linemates center Nico Hischier and right wing Kyle Palmieri but could also play with rookie center Jack Hughes (No. 1 pick in 2019 NHL Draft). Hall has by far the best supporting cast of his time with the Devils and is a fringe top 25 overall fantasy player.
Video: Taylor Hall comes in at No. 15 on the list
P.K. Subban, D (35) -- Acquired from the Nashville Predators on June 22, Subban immediately becomes New Jersey's top defenseman and clear-cut power-play quarterback. He dealt with injury and struggled offensively with 31 points (10 on power play) in 63 games last season, but, if healthy, could return to 55-60 points and score 20-25 on the power play with exposure to Hall. Subban is a bounce-back candidate ranked among the top 10 fantasy defensemen and is likely to become the first Devils player at the position with at least 50 points in a season since Brian Rafalski (55 in 2006-07).
Jack Hughes, C (98) -- The 18-year-old is poised to finish among the top fantasy rookies and likely will work his way up to the top line with Hall at some point and also see time on the first power play. Hughes is capable of reaching 60 points, which would be a rare feat considering Hall is the only Devils player to score that many in any of the past five seasons (next highest total: Kyle Palmieri's 57 in 2015-16). If Hughes ends up on the second line, he'll have a potentially high-end linemate in left wing Nikita Gusev (top scorer in Kontinental Hockey League last season) and also some protection in right wing Wayne Simmonds. Hughes is ranked among the top 100 overall based on upside in standard leagues and will go much higher in keeper formats.
Kyle Palmieri, RW (127) -- Palmieri scored 50 points (18 on power play) in 74 games last season, the third time in four seasons with the Devils he's reached that mark. He has averaged 27 goals over those four seasons and totaled 41 power-play goals over the span (T-10th in NHL since 2015-16). With Hall, Subban and two of Hughes, Hischier and Gusev on the first power play, Palmieri could set a new NHL career high in PPP (has had 23 twice) and finish among the top 100 overall given his coverage of hits (98 last season; 1.3 per game).
Video: NJD@CGY: Palmieri tips one home with deft touch
Nico Hischier, C (169) -- The No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Hischier has averaged 50 points in his first two NHL seasons and is a breakout candidate after New Jersey's improvements. He had 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) in 69 games last season and saw a larger power-play role (11 PPP; six in rookie season). Like Hughes, Hischier will have viable linemates whether he centers the first or second line but should be attainable in later rounds because he plays the deepest fantasy position.
Mackenzie Blackwood (178) and Cory Schneider (179), G -- This could end up being a quality timeshare tandem, but Blackwood and Schneider have also gained individual fantasy appeal from the Devils' offensive upgrades. Schneider, 33, went 6-13-4 with a .903 SV% in 26 games but was 6-6-2 with a .927 SV% in his final 14 games. Blackwood, 22, was a valuable streaming option in his first season (10-10-0, .918 SV%, two shutouts in 23 games) and remains rookie-eligible with a higher ceiling than Schneider.
Other players with fantasy upside in late rounds or off waiver wire: Nikita Gusev, LW (206); Wayne Simmonds, RW (236); Jesper Bratt, LW/RW; Will Butcher or Sami Vatanen, D
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