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30 in 30

Dallas Stars fantasy outlook

Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin among top 10 overall; Radek Faksa could be deep sleeper

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Fantasy Insider

As part of NHL.com's 30 in 30 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. From most valuable assets to underrated options, impact prospects and more, this guide should help fantasy owners prioritize players for drafts.

Starting at the top: Jamie Benn, LW; Tyler Seguin, C

Benn, the NHL's leading scorer the past two seasons combined (176 points in 164 games), is the fourth-ranked fantasy asset by NHL.com. Last season, he finished second in points (89), third in goals (41), tied for second in power-play points (30) and tied for 21st in shots on goal (247) with a plus-7 rating and strong peripheral coverage (64 penalty minutes; 118 or more hits in six full seasons). Benn has even performed at an elite level with Seguin out of the lineup. He scored four points in the final game of the 2014-15 season to claim the Art Ross Trophy in a game where Seguin was scratched, and was better than a point per game in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (15 points in 13 games) with Seguin injured.

Stars 30 in 30: Season outlook | Top prospects | Burning questions, reasons for optimism | Fantasy: Top 200

Seguin is among the top five in goals (107), points (234) and SOG (852) the past three seasons combined. He has at least 73 points in each of the past three seasons despite missing 23 games in that span. Seguin joins Benn among NHL.com's fantasy top 10 with the only concern surrounding him being his recent injury history; he missed nearly a month because of a knee injury in 2014-15, and was sidelined late last season with Achilles and calf injuries. He has been working his way back to full strength this summer and is expected to be ready to compete for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in September.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm6: Spezza adds to lead in 1st period

Undervalued: Jason Spezza, C

The only active players in the League with a higher points-per-game average than Spezza (1.01) since 2005-06 (minimum 50 games) are Sidney Crosby (1.33), Evgeni Malkin (1.18), Alex Ovechkin (1.15) and Joe Thornton (1.07). Spezza has three straight seasons of more than 60 points and added yet another top-50 Yahoo finish (49th) to his resume in 2015-16. He plays on the first power-play unit (24 PPP) with Benn, Seguin, Patrick Sharp and John Klingberg, and is a self-sustainable player at even strength. Spezza, 33, is a no-brainer fantasy pick in the fifth or sixth round of a 12-team draft, especially after the Stars signed Jiri Hudler, who could return to relevance in a top-six role.

Overvalued: John Klingberg, D

Klingberg, 24, is coming off a breakout season, where he jumped from 40 points as a rookie to 58 (fifth among defensemen) in his second NHL season. His rating (plus-22), PPP (22) and SOG (171) also improved last season. So why is he 13th at his position in NHL.com's fantasy rankings? His point production declined significantly from his remarkable first 42 games (38 points, .90 per game) to his next 34 games (20 points, .59) to his 13 playoff games (four points, .31 per game). The Stars lost veterans Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers, and added Dan Hamhuis this offseason, so the onus will fall on Klingberg to improve defensively. His plus/minus could regress as a result in the challenging Central Division. The points and PPP should be there from Klingberg, but there are at least 10 defensemen in more stable situations worth taking ahead of him given the questions on Dallas' back end. There also should be adjustments made around the League after seeing how vital Klingberg is to the Stars' offense (3.23 goals per game, first) and power play (22.1 percent, fourth).

Video: STL@DAL, Gm1: Faksa jams home rebound for the lead

Sleeper: Radek Faksa, C

Faksa, 22, played mostly a bottom-six role, scoring five goals with seven assists in 45 regular-season games. But with a greater emphasis placed on depth scoring in the playoffs, Faksa broke out for five points and two game-winning goals in 13 games. It's hard to get a pulse on Stars forwards outside of their first power-play components because of even-strength line shuffling under coach Lindy Ruff, but Faksa has a chance to emerge as a full-time, top-six forward this season. He's not worth drafting in a 12-team league because of questions surrounding his role and coverage, but a trial centering Benn and Seguin or flanking Spezza could be all he needs to skyrocket in fantasy.

Bounce-back: Patrick Sharp, LW/RW

Age (34), line juggling and poor puck luck have caught up to Sharp, who had 55 points last season but again fell way short of his lofty 2013-14 totals (78 points, plus-13, 313 SOG) with the Chicago Blackhawks. His power-play numbers (24 PPP) were back up to standard in his first season with Dallas, but his high shot volume again failed to translate to goals; he scored 34 goals (10.9 shooting percentage) three seasons ago but has combined for 36 goals on 456 SOG in the two seasons since (7.9). He has back-to-back minus seasons, but still has a glimmer of hope if he can stick on one of the Stars' first two lines more regularly. Ranked 84th in fantasy by NHL.com, Sharp still has the position flexibility in Yahoo leagues and scoring track record to give him buy-low potential if available outside the top 100.

Impact prospect: Julius Honka, D

Honka appears ready to go when called upon. The 20-year-old defenseman has played the past two seasons for Texas of the American Hockey League, totaling 75 points (19 goals, 56 assists) in 141 games. Excluding Honka, the Stars have enough defensemen under contract to fill their active roster out of training camp, but he's still the caliber of prospect that likely won't be sent down again once he's finally given the green light. If the 2014 first-round pick (No. 14) was thrust into a prominent offensive role as an injury replacement with one of the most dangerous forward groups in the League, he could become fantasy-relevant right out of the gate with 30 or more points. Draft Honka late in a keeper league and monitor him in other formats as a potential waiver-wire pickup.

Video: DAL@STL, Gm6: Lehtonen's late saves ensure Stars' win

Goalie outlook

Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi combined for 50 wins but had suspect category coverage otherwise. Among 44 qualifying goalies, Lehtonen was tied for 38th in save percentage (.906) and Niemi was 40th (.905). Lehtonen had the edge in starts over Niemi (10 to 3) in the postseason, but the regular-season start split was nearly even (Niemi 43, Lehtonen 39). Given the Stars' defensive issues, this is not an appealing goalie tandem to draft together because their wins could regress and their other categories likely won't improve much. Neither is ranked inside NHL.com's fantasy top 200 and they should only be targeted in a wins-only league. In a standard league, Lehtonen and Niemi should be viewed as low-level third or fourth goalies and decent streaming options. If one missed a large chunk of time with injury, the other would be worth owning because of a heightened workload.

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