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Fantasy: Preseason standouts worth targeting in 2017-18

Boeser, Yamamoto, Barzal boost value with strong performances

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

In years past, the NHL preseason has provided foreshadowing of strong fantasy seasons to come. Thus, fantasy owners cannot afford to ignore some of the intriguing developments around the League the past two weeks.

Here are some September standouts who either had concerns surrounding their fantasy value or were not relevant at all prior to the preseason. These players should be prioritized in deeper leagues or off the waiver wire in a standard format in case their success carries over to the regular season. NHL preseason stats are courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau.

 

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Jake Muzzin, D, LAK (ADP: 153.4) -- The defenseman led the Los Angeles Kings in scoring this preseason with eight points (three goals, five assists) in five games, and excelled in plus/minus (plus-3) and shots on goal (20). He has a chance to win back a first power-play spot with Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter and put his underachieving performance last season behind him in new coach John Stevens' system.

Brock Boeser, RW, VAN (ADP: 162.8) -- He's a dark-horse Calder Trophy candidate based on his offensive performance at the tail-end of last season, and has followed it up with seven points (four goals, three assists), a plus-5 and 10 SOG in five preseason games. Whether he plays with Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin or Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, his breakout potential is clear.

Video: VGK@VAN: Boeser sneaks a wrister past Ferguson

Dylan Larkin, C/RW, DET (ADP: 162.8) -- A top-six center role is there for the taking, and Larkin has been productive for the Detroit Red Wings this preseason. He has four points (one goal, three assists) with a plus-4 and eight SOG in four games, and the position change could help him rebound from a 32-point season and possibly even eclipse his strong rookie totals (45 points, 221 SOG) of 2015-16.

Patrick Sharp, LW/RW, CHI (ADP: 164.3) -- So much of the talk surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks has been about young fantasy sleeper Nick Schmaltz this preseason, but Sharp looked healthy on the same line with Patrick Kane and could be a potential fantasy steal after an injury-plagued season. He led Chicago with five points (one goal, four assists) in three preseason games and had one power-play goal, a plus-2 and 11 SOG.

Clayton Keller, C/LW, ARI (ADP: 165.6) -- The Coyotes are keeping their youth at the NHL level after their final cuts, and Keller has been dynamic from the start with eight points (three goals, five assists), a plus-4, two PPG and 10 SOG in four preseason games. A top-line spot with left wing Max Domi and center Derek Stepan for the much-improved Coyotes could lead to tremendous fantasy results. His eight points were tied for third in the NHL this preseason behind Connor McDavid (10) and Jake Guentzel (nine).

Video: ARI@LAK: Keller beats diving Quick for nice PPG

Julius Honka, D, DAL (ADP: 166.7) -- We've raved about the Dallas Stars offense all offseason, and the rookie Honka has a chance to reap the benefits of exposure to Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and/or Jason Spezza at even strength. He had three points (one goal, two assists) and 14 SOG in five preseason games. Honka may not be in the lineup to start the season, but is worth monitoring.  

Brendan Gallagher, RW, MTL (ADP: 167.9) -- After Radulov's departure, Gallagher has a spot cut out for him on the top line with left wing Max Pacioretty and center Jonathan Drouin. His production speaks for itself so far: He had five points (three goals, two assists), six penalty minutes and 14 SOG in five games.

Teuvo Teravainen, C/LW, CAR (ADP: 172.4) -- He can play center or wing and has proven chemistry with right wing Sebastian Aho. Teravainen has been a breakout player-in-waiting for years, and has exploded on the power play this preseason. He has five points (three goals, two assists); all three of his goals have come with the man-advantage.

Kailer Yamamoto, RW, EDM (ADP: N/A) -- One of the biggest surprises of the preseason, Yamamoto won a roster spot with the Edmonton Oilers over fellow right wing Jesse Puljujarvi. Yamamoto played mostly among the Oilers' top-six forward group and finished tied for the NHL preseason lead in goals (five) with Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews. His ceiling is sky-high if he sticks in the NHL with McDavid and/or Leon Draisaitl.

Video: EDM@WPG: Yamamoto notches empty-net goal to seal game

Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, CBJ (ADP: N/A) -- He should play right wing on one of the Columbus Blue Jackets' top two lines with either Alexander Wennberg or Brandon Dubinsky (when healthy), and made a strong case for greater offensive usage this preseason with five points (three goals, two assists), a plus-1 and 13 SOG in six games. He had strong NHL totals last season with 13 points (six goals, seven assists), a plus-4 and 55 SOG in 26 games.

Kevin Fiala, LW/RW, NSH (ADP: N/A) -- He's back in business after recovering from a season-ending broken femur, showing similar flashes of offensive potential from the Western Conference First Round against the Blackhawks (two goals in four games) last postseason. Fiala led the Nashville Predators with five points (three goals, two assists) and 15 SOG in five preseason games, and even spent some time on the first line with Filip Forsberg and/or Ryan Johansen.

Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (ADP: N/A) -- The rookie center has burst onto the scene for the New York Islanders this preseason, playing a top-six role with some first power-play usage. He had seven points (three goals, four assists), a plus-3, two PPG and 11 SOG in five preseason games, including a couple of highlight-reel goals. He could be the secondary scorer and power-play piece the Islanders have coveted for years. Along with John Tavares (contract year) and strong goalie depth (Jaroslav Halak: 0.75 preseason goals-against average; Thomas Greiss: 1.13 GAA), New York's rookies are vital to their playoff chances.

Travis Konecny, C/LW, PHI (ADP: N/A) -- Konecny is a lock for the Philadelphia Flyers' top-nine forward group, and could even emerge as the fifth power-play skater on their first unit with forwards Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. He's off to a running start after six points (three goals, three assists), one PPG and 19 SOG in seven preseason games.

Video: BOS@PHI: Konecny finishes nice passing play for PPG

 

Other preseason standouts going undrafted on average:

Nick Ritchie, LW, ANA: Five points (two goals, three assists), 10 penalty minutes, 12 SOG in five games

Mikhail Sergachev, D, TBL: Three points (one goal, two assists), 12 SOG in six games

Timo Meier, LW/RW, SJS: Four points (no goals, four assists), 12 SOG in five games

Sam Bennett, C/LW, CGY: Four points (no goals, four assists), 13 SOG in four games

Alexander Kerfoot, C, COL: Five points (two goals, three assists), plus-2, one PPG, eight SOG in four games

Filip Chytil, C, NYR -- Three points (one goal, two assists), plus-1, one PPG, 14 SOG in four games

Anders Bjork, LW, BOS -- Two points (two goals, no assists), one PPG, 11 SOG in four games

Pavel Zacha, C/LW, NJD: Five points (three goals, two assists), plus-1, two PPG, 11 SOG in four games

Cody Eakin, C, VGK: Five points (one goal, four assists), six SOG in four games

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