Toronto Maple Leafs fantasy preview for 2019-20
Three forwards among top 25 overall; Barrie, Rielly among elite defenseman optionsby 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 Toronto Maple Leafs. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
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Auston Matthews, C (NHL.com rank: 10) -- The elite center had an NHL career-high 73 points (37 goals, 36 assists) despite missing 14 games. Matthews has been better than a point per game in each of the past two seasons but was also limited by injury in 2017-18 (62 games). Matthews has a ceiling of 100 points if he stays healthy for a full season, especially with more even-strength exposure to bounce-back candidate William Nylander.
Video: Top 10 plays of 2018-19: Matthews
Mitchell Marner, RW (13) -- The elite right wing led the Maple Leafs with an NHL career-high 94 points (26 goals, 68 points) as a fixture on a line and power-play unit with center John Tavares. Marner finished tied with defenseman Morgan Rielly for the Toronto lead in power-play points (21) and is fourth among right wings in NHL.com's rankings. It's worth noting Marner lost dual-eligibility in Yahoo leagues (previously C/RW).
John Tavares, C (23) -- The elite center had NHL career highs in points (88) and goals (47; third in NHL) on a line with Marner and left wing Zach Hyman; it was Tavares' fourth season with more than 80 points (three with New York Islanders). Tavares, one of three Toronto players in NHL.com's top 25 overall, should improve his PPP total (19; NHL career-high 31 with Islanders in 2014-15) with exposure to offseason addition Tyson Barrie.
Video: 31 in 31: Toronto Maple Leafs 2019-20 season preview
Frederik Andersen, G (42) -- The goalie has had at least 33 wins (36 last season), a .917 save percentage and 60 starts in each of his three seasons with the Maple Leafs, making him one of the most valuable fantasy workhorses. Toronto, who allowed the eighth most shots per game (33.1) last season, now has three fantasy-relevant defensemen (Barrie, Rielly, Jake Muzzin), which should help Andersen's cause. He's sixth in NHL.com's fantasy goalie rankings and one of the few candidates for 40 wins.
Tyson Barrie, D (55) -- The elite defenseman ranks sixth at the position in points (116) and is tied for third in PPP (55) over the past two seasons combined. That said, he goes from being the clear power-play quarterback with the Colorado Avalanche to potentially splitting or sharing that role with Rielly after being traded to Toronto on July 1. Barrie, a potential 2020 unrestricted free agent, is one spot ahead of Rielly in NHL.com's defenseman and overall rankings with a chance to play on PP1 with Matthews, Marner, Tavares and either Rielly or Nylander.
Morgan Rielly, D (56) -- The defenseman could lose some value with Barrie's arrival but also has a chance to mesh with his new teammate at even strength and/or on PP1. The latter scenario would give Toronto two elite options at the position, similar to what the San Jose Sharks have in Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns. Rielly, who finished third among NHL defensemen in points (72) and led them in goals (20) last season, is a fringe top 50 overall player and top 10 option at the position.
Video: Morgan Rielly lands at No. 7 on the list
William Nylander, C/RW (102) -- The forward had a late start to last season because of a contract dispute and then a significant dip in points-per-game average (0.50 in 54 games) compared to his first two NHL seasons (0.75). Nylander skated mostly on the third line with center Nazem Kadri (acquired by Avalanche in Barrie trade), taking a hit in fantasy value playing away from Matthews. If Matthews has a full-fledged breakout, Nylander could be along for the ride and have his best season yet with 70-75 points.
Other players to consider in late rounds or off waiver wire: Jake Muzzin, D (161); Andreas Johnsson, LW/RW (195); Kasperi Kapanen, RW (230); Alexander Kerfoot, LW/RW
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