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Bold fantasy prediction for each team in 2017-18

Tarasenko can lead NHL in goals; Benn, Scheifele may finish higher than McDavid

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

Each and every fantasy season brings plenty of surprises, many straight out of left field.

Here's my chance to take a stab at some potentially stunning developments before they happen with one bold fantasy prediction for each of the 30 NHL teams. Some may seem far-fetched but would pay off big for fantasy owners if they happened.

Take these team-by-team predictions with a grain of salt, but also use them as inspiration to think creatively in your fantasy draft, especially pertaining to line combinations and each player's potential usage. Please note that these predictions are bold yet feasible scenarios that may contradict the rankings in NHL.com's top 250.

 

[RELATED: NHL Network fantasy hockey special for 2017-18Power-play units to target in drafts | Impact of 2017-18 NHL schedule on fantasy leagues]


 
Anaheim Ducks: With a full-time power-play role and production spikes in assists and shots on goal, Rickard Rakell (C/LW) will thrive in Ryan Kesler's absence and reach 70 points.

Arizona Coyotes: Goaltender Antti Raanta will benefit from the Coyotes' much-improved defense and finish with 30 wins in 65 starts and among the top 20 fantasy goaltenders.

Boston Bruins: Rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy will finish with more even-strength points than higher-ranked teammate Torey Krug.

Buffalo Sabres: Left wing Evander Kane will play with center Jack Eichel at even strength under new coach Phil Housley and score 35 goals on 300 shots on goal in his contract year to finish among the top 50 fantasy assets.

Calgary Flames: Center Sean Monahan will finally have a full-fledged fantasy breakout, reaching 35 goals, 70 points and 25 power-play points.

Carolina Hurricanes: Sebastian Aho (LW/RW) will finish among the top 25 overall with at least 70 points, 25 power-play points and 250 shots on goal.

Chicago Blackhawks: Forward Nick Schmaltz will play on a line with elite right wing Patrick Kane for a full season, scoring at least 65 points.

Colorado Avalanche: Forward Sven Andrighetto will emerge over Tyson Jost and Gabriel Landeskog to score at least 50 points playing on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand will latch onto the Blue Jackets' top line with Artemi Panarin and Alexander Wennberg and surpass 50 points and 200 SOG.

Dallas Stars: Left wing Jamie Benn, on a line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, will finish No. 1 overall based on standard-league category coverage.

Detroit Red Wings: Center Henrik Zetterberg has led the Red Wings in scoring each of the past three seasons, but right wing Anthony Mantha will unseat the veteran with at least 60 points in an expanded role.

Edmonton Oilers: Rookie forward Kailer Yamamoto will emerge from the pack of Edmonton sleeper candidates and finish third among Oilers in scoring behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with more than 50 points.

Florida Panthers: Aaron Ekblad will score 20 goals on more than 250 SOG to finish second among defensemen behind Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks in each category.

Los Angeles Kings: Center Anze Kopitar will bounce back in coach John Stevens' system and reach 80 points for the first time since he had 81 in 2009-10.

Video: Anze Kopitar takes the No. 13 spot

Minnesota Wild: Wing Nino Niederreiter will see more first power-play usage, reach 20 power-play points and lead the Wild with 65 points.

Montreal Canadiens: Forward Alex Galchenyuk will eventually move back to center and outperform higher-ranked teammate Jonathan Drouin in standard leagues.

Nashville Predators: Wing Kevin Fiala will lead the Predators with at least 30 goals in a top-line and first power-play role with Ryan Johansen.

New Jersey Devils: Defenseman Will Butcher will emerge as the power-play quarterback on a unit with Taylor Hall, Marcus Johansson, Kyle Palmieri and Nico Hischier and surpass 40 points as a rookie.

New York Islanders: Goaltender Jaroslav Halak will re-emerge as New York's No. 1 goaltender in his contract year, starting 55 games and winning 31 to finish among the top 15 fantasy players at his position.

New York Rangers: Pavel Buchnevich will benefit most from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and lead Rangers forwards in power-play points with at least 20.

Ottawa Senators: Forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau will carry over the momentum from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring 47 points with a Senators-leading 28 goals. 

Philadelphia Flyers: Second-year forward Travis Konecny will feed off a strong preseason, seize the first power-play spot left by Brayden Schenn and score 60 points to finish second on the Flyers behind Claude Giroux.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Playing alongside Sidney Crosby at even strength and with first power-play usage, Jake Guentzel (C/LW) will score at least 70 points with an elite plus/minus to finish among the top 20 overall fantasy assets.

San Jose Sharks: Forward Timo Meier will seize a top-line and first power-play role next to Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski after Patrick Marleau's departure and finish with at least 50 points, 15 power-play points and 200 SOG.

St. Louis Blues: Right wing Vladimir Tarasenko will score 50 goals for the first time to lead the League.

Video: Vladimir Tarasenko comes in at No. 14 on the list

Tampa Bay Lightning: Forward Brayden Point will score at least 60 points playing with Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos at even strength and on the first power-play unit.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Improving on an NHL-worst 14 overtime/shootout losses from last season, Frederik Andersen will finish among the top five goaltenders in wins with 38-40.

Vancouver Canucks: Veterans Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, in their contract year, will help right wing Brock Boeser lead rookies with 30 goals.

Vegas Golden Knights: Shea Theodore will play in the NHL for a full season and score 42 points (more than half on the power play) to finish among the top 25 fantasy defensemen.

Washington Capitals: Wing Andre Burakovsky will set an NHL career-high with at least 50 points, but rookie wing Jakub Vrana will outscore him and be a bigger steal based on Yahoo average draft position.

Winnipeg Jets: Center Mark Scheifele will finish with more points than McDavid on a line with Patrik Laine and Blake Wheeler and a much-improved power play that will finish among the League's top five.

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