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30 in 30

Edmonton Oilers fantasy outlook

Connor McDavid leads way; Adam Larsson could take big step

by Ben Zweiman @BZweimanNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

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: Connor McDavid, C

After a fractured collarbone shortened McDavid's rookie season, the 19-year-old should be ready to give us a glimpse of what he can do over 82 games. McDavid had 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 45 games, a pace that would have landed him in the top five in the NHL in scoring last season. He is the type of player who elevates the play of those surrounding him, so though his linemates aren't as important, the addition of left wing Milan Lucic certainly helps. McDavid also will have longtime Oilers forward Jordan Eberle or 2016 first-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi beside him at right wing on the first line. The budding star should be targeted in the middle-to-late first round with the potential to finish in the top five among forwards in fantasy scoring.

Undervalued: Leon Draisaitl, C/RW

Draisaitl experienced a surge while playing on a line with Taylor Hall last season. Despite Hall's departure (traded to the New Jersey Devils), Draisaitl's production shouldn't take much of a hit with the forwards the Oilers added this offseason. The 6-foot-1, 214-pound center had 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 72 games and will be one of many young forwards who will be overlooked in drafts. Draisaitl is 175th in NHL.com's top 200 overall rankings for August, which would mean he's worth taking no earlier than the 14th round in a 12-team league. At 20 years old, Draisaitl has plenty of room for improvement and should see additional time on the power play now that Hall is gone. It won't be hard for him to outplay his draft position centering the second line on a rising offense.

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

Video: 30 in 30: Edmonton Oilers 2016-17 season preview

Overvalued: Milan Lucic, LW

Many believe Lucic will begin the season playing on a line with McDavid. This isn't set in stone, but owners will take this into consideration when targeting the veteran left wing, which will force them to reach for him. The only way you'll be able to get Lucic is if you beat your competitors to the punch, something that could put you in a bind if it means sacrificing one of your first 10 picks. Lucic is five seasons removed from an NHL career high 30 goals and 62 points in 2010-11 with the Boston Bruins, and though those numbers are attainable with McDavid, he's more likely to land in the 50-point range and take a big hit in the plus-minus category.

Sleeper: Adam Larsson, D

Oilers fans were mostly upset after Hall was traded to acquire a much-needed right-handed defenseman. But what many fans don't realize is how much untapped offensive potential Larsson has. With the Devils, Larsson was primarily used in a shutdown role, never scoring more than 24 points in a full season. But he came into the League as a future power-play quarterback, something that never came to fruition. We already know Larsson is going to play big minutes, but he also will get a chance to showcase his skill on the power play, which could lead to a breakout fantasy season. Larsson won't be on the radar of many owners, and you should be able to find him in the later rounds of drafts as a top-pair defenseman with upside.

Bounce-back: Jordan Eberle, RW

After having back-to-back 60-plus-point seasons, Eberle had his lowest total (47) in a full NHL season since he had 43 as a rookie in 2010-11. A shoulder injury, which forced Eberle to miss the first month of last season, was a big factor in his performance. A healthy shoulder and full season playing with McDavid is the perfect fantasy remedy for the 26-year-old right wing. Eberle (No. 94) is ranked seven spots lower than Lucic (No. 87) in NHL.com's top 200 overall rankings but has more offensive upside with better category coverage; he had more goals (25), power-play points (11) and shots on goal (173) than Lucic last season in 12 fewer games played.

Video: EDM@LAK: Eberle ties game early in the 1st period

Impact prospect: Jesse Puljujarvi, RW

The No. 4 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Puljujarvi put on a show at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship with 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 15 games. Now he'll try to make the Oilers roster out of training camp, and if he does, he's a potential linemate for McDavid or Draisaitl. Playing with either would make Puljujarvi someone to consider as a late-round flier; otherwise, he's no more than an addition to your watch list.

Goalie outlook

Let's face it, the Oilers' goalie situation has seen better days. But the presence of Cam Talbot gives Edmonton, and prospective fantasy owners, a shred of hope. Talbot was 21-27-5 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in an NHL career high 56 games last season. His 27 regulation losses led the League, but that should decrease if the Oilers become more competitive. Talbot had an even-strength save percentage of .920 and three shutouts, the same as Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. Talbot isn't worth drafting in standard formats, but he is worth keeping an eye on and would be a streamer option depending on the matchup.

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