As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the Toronto Maple Leafs. For more coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
[Maple Leafs 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers]
Auston Matthews, C (NHL.com rank: 6) -- Along with setting NHL career highs in goals (47), points (80) and power-play points (25) in 70 games last season, Matthews also ranked fourth in the League with 290 shots on goal, behind forwards Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche (318), Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (311) and Max Pacioretty of the Vegas Golden Knights (307). Matthews has solidified himself as one of the top options in fantasy and is worth selecting within the top six of standard 12-team drafts.
Video: Top 10 Auston Matthews plays from 2019-20
Mitchell Marner, RW (22) -- Despite missing 11 games because of an ankle injury, Marner scored 67 points (16 goals, 51 assists) in 59 games last season and was second on the Maple Leafs to Matthews with 24 power-play points. Marner led Toronto forwards in average ice time per game (21:33) and could finish around the top-15 overall this season.
Frederik Andersen, G (43) -- Andersen was 29-13-7 with a 2.85 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and three shutouts in 52 games last season, but his save percentage was the lowest of his NHL career, and his wins were his fewest since 2015-16 (22 in 43 games for Anaheim Ducks). He will likely bounce back this season, but fantasy owners may want to handcuff backup Jack Campbell for insurance, especially with the possibility of a condensed schedule.
John Tavares, C (45) -- The Maple Leafs captain scored 60 points (26 goals, 34 assist) in 63 games last season, but his goal total was his lowest in a season since 2013-14, when he scored 24 goals in 59 games for the New York Islanders. However, his drop in production can likely be attributed to a broken finger that caused him to miss seven games, so if Tavares can return to his normal goal-scoring output, he has a high enough ceiling to finish among the top-20 skaters overall.
Video: 31 in 31: Toronto Maple Leafs 2020-21 season preview
Morgan Rielly, D (48) -- Despite a decline in production last season (27 points; three goals, 24 assists in 47 games) after he scored an NHL career-high 72 points (20 goals, 52 assists) in 82 games in 2018-19, Rielly gained value after Tyson Barrie signed a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 10. Without Barrie, Rielly has the potential to finish top five at the position with more opportunity in key moments for Toronto.
William Nylander, LW/RW (84) -- Nylander bounced back with 59 points in 68 games last season, including an NHL career-high 31 goals that ranked second among Maple Leafs skaters behind Matthews (47). That followed a subpar season of 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in 54 games in 2018-19. Nylander has proven he can be a consistent goal-scorer and should return value if drafted around the top-75 overall.
Other players to consider in late rounds or off waiver wire: Zach Hyman, C/LW (180); Jake Muzzin, D (195); Nicholas Robertson, LW (211); Rasmus Sandin, D (247)
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