As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the Tampa Bay Lightning. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
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Nikita Kucherov, RW (NHL.com rank: 1) -- He won the Hart Trophy as NHL most valuable player last season after leading the League with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists) in 82 games, his second straight season with at least 100 points. The 26-year-old also leads the NHL in power-play points over the past two seasons (84). With his high shot volume (at least 209 in each of the past four seasons), chemistry with Point on the top line and Stamkos and Hedman on the power play, Kucherov should again be among the top scorers in the NHL and be drafted in the top two overall in all leagues.
Video: Top 10 plays of 2018-19: Kucherov
Andrei Vasilevskiy, G (12) -- He won the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in the NHL after he went 39-10-4 with a 2.40 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and six shutouts. Over the past two seasons, Vasilevskiy's first two as Tampa Bay's starter, he leads the League in wins (83) and is tied with Sergei Bobrovsky for first in shutouts (14). Provided Vasilevskiy can stay healthy -- he missed time last season because of a fractured left foot -- he should again start at least 60 games and could match his career high in wins (44 in 2017-18). Vasilevskiy is arguably the most valuable fantasy goalie and worth taking in the late first or early second round.
Video: Andrei Vasilevskiy claims the No. 1 spot on the list
Victor Hedman, D (26) -- Although his offensive output dipped a bit last season, Hedman still ranked 11th among defensemen with 54 points (12 goals, 42 assists). Over the past three seasons, he ranks second at the position in scoring (189 points) behind Brent Burns (226) and first in power-play points (84). Because of Hedman's high shot volume (182, 2.6 per game) and average ice time (led Lightning with 22:46 per game), he should return to the 60-point range if he stays healthy (missed time with lower-body injury last season) and is one of the top three fantasy defensemen.
Video: Victor Hedman is ranked No. 2 on the list
Steven Stamkos, C (28) -- He set an NHL career high with 98 points last season, including 45 goals, the most he's had since he scored 60 in 2011-12. Playing alongside Kucherov on the NHL's best power play (28.2 percent), Stamkos ranked second in the League in both PPP (40) and PPG (19). The 29-year-old is a high-volume shooter (at least 210 shots in seven of his eight full seasons; 3.1 per game in career), and his excellent shooting percentage (19.2 last season; 16.9 in career) doesn't suggest his goal total will dip anytime soon. Stamkos is also strong on face-offs (led Tampa Bay with 953 attempted last season; 53.1 percent) and worth selecting in the first three rounds.
Video: Top 10 plays of 2018-19: Stamkos
Brayden Point, C (33) -- He found chemistry with Kucherov last season and, as a result, had NHL career highs in goals (41), assists (51) and points (92). The 23-year-old also led the NHL in power-play goals (20) and ranked second in shooting percentage (21.5; minimum 100 shots) behind Leon Draisaitl (21.6). Point also was strong on face-offs, attempting 856 last season (50.8 percent). As a player who has continued to improve each season, it's not far-fetched to think he could top 100 points, making him an appealing option in the third round, especially if stacked with Kucherov.
Mikhail Sergachev, D (153) -- The 21-year-old's point total dipped a bit last season (32 points in 75 games) compared to 2017-18 (40 in 79 games), largely because of his power-play point decline on the second unit (six last season; 16 in 2017-18). Sergachev is still a valuable fantasy defenseman because of his efficiency -- he led Tampa Bay with a plus-178 shots attempt rating last season -- and covers hits (97), blocks (93) and shots (128). He's still young, so those totals should improve as he continues to round out his game, making him capable of setting an NHL career high in points this season and worth targeting in later rounds.
Other players to consider in late rounds or off waiver wire: Yanni Gourde, LW/RW (202); Ryan McDonagh, D (212); Tyler Johnson, LW/RW (229); Ondrej Palat, LW; Anthony Cirelli, C; Mathieu Joseph, RW; Curtis McElhinney, G; Kevin Shattenkirk, D
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