Fantasy stock rising from 2019 World Championship
Nylander thrives for Sweden after down season with Maple Leafs; Red Wings skaters Mantha, Hronek gain value from tournamentby Rob Reese @NHLReese / NHL.com Fantasy Editor
NHL.com identifies players who had standout performances for their countries at the 2019 World Championship and how it impacts their fantasy hockey stock for 2019-20. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
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William Nylander, C/RW, TOR -- The Toronto Maple Leafs forward led the tournament with 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in eight games for Sweden. After falling shy of fantasy expectations during the regular season (27 points in 54 games), Nylander has renewed upside from his success at the World Championship. One of the keys for Nylander could be his potential lineup placement with elite center Auston Matthews, who's among NHL.com's top 10 overall rankings. Nylander had consecutive 61-point seasons skating on a line with Matthews but spent the majority of last season on the third line with center Nazem Kadri, who was traded to the Colorado Avalanche on July 1. Nylander, 23, could return significant value if he falls in fantasy drafts.
Jakub Voracek, RW, PHI -- The Philadelphia Flyers right wing finished tied for second with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 10 games for Czech Republic. Voracek's performance is encouraging for fantasy owners after he had 66 points (20 goals, 46 assists) and was minus-16 last season. Voracek also has bounce-back appeal under new coach Alain Vigneault, who was hired April 15, and on a potential line with center Kevin Hayes (acquired from Winnipeg Jets). Voracek was one of five Flyers with at least 20 goals, and their offense could improve if defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere (37 points) and Ivan Provorov (26 points) regain their scoring touch.
Kaapo Kakko, RW, NYR -- The No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft had six goals in 10 games for Finland, which won the gold medal. Kakko's performance at the World Championship was encouraging for fantasy owners, who can expect him to be in contention for the Calder Trophy with the New York Rangers on a potential line with elite forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad.
Anthony Mantha, RW, and Filip Hronek, D, DET -- The Detroit Red Wings right wing finished tied for second with seven goals in nine games for Canada. Despite missing 15 games with a hand injury last season, Mantha tied an NHL career high in points (48) from 2017-18. If healthy, fantasy owners can expect a breakout season from the 24-year-old, who mostly skates with elite center Dylan Larkin on the top line.
Hronek led the position with 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in eight games with Czech Republic at the World Championship and could be a fixture on Detroit's top power play. With Mantha, Hronek, Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Andreas Athanasiou, Mike Green and Jimmy Howard all ranked in NHL.com's top 250, the Red Wings have sneaky fantasy appeal.
Nico Hischier, C, and Nikita Gusev, LW, NJD -- The New Jersey Devils center had nine points (four goals, five assists) in eight games for Switzerland. Hischier was on pace to break his rookie season point total (52) but sustained multiple injuries and finished with 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) in 69 games. Hischier's season was commendable considering elite left wing Taylor Hall missed 49 games with a knee injury after having 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) and winning the Hart Trophy last season. With a strong performance at the World Championship and the additions of center Jack Hughes (No. 1 pick in 2019 draft), elite defenseman P.K. Subban and Gusev, Hischier has a bright fantasy outlook.
Gusev finished tied for second in the tournament with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 10 games for Russia. He led the Kontinental Hockey League with 82 points (17 goals, 65 assists) in 62 games last season and could contribute offensively for the Devils. With the chance to play on a line with either Hughes or Hischier and potentially the first power play with Hall and Subban, Gusev is a deep fantasy sleeper with a high ceiling.