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Florida Panthers fantasy hockey outlook

by Pete Jensen / NHL.com

As part of NHL.com's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: Roberto Luongo and Aaron Ekblad

The Florida Panthers sport an impressive nucleus of young forwards to complement Jaromir Jagr, but those players will be on the board well outside the fantasy top 100. When examining Florida's roster in the first 10 rounds of drafts, you should only consider Luongo and/or Ekblad -- anchors at more scarce positions. Luongo missed time in March with a shoulder injury, but still started 60-plus games and remains an elite fantasy goalie. He leads active players in career wins (401) and posted strong peripheral numbers (2.35 goals against average, .921 save percentage) in 2014-15 despite little goal support.

PANTHERS' FANTASY-RELEVANT PLAYERS

Below is a list of the fantasy-relevant players in the Florida Panthers organization. These players have been arranged by NHL.com's fantasy staff based on projected value and by position. These players range from top-tier assets to deep sleepers and should be on your radar in standard Yahoo leagues.

FORWARDS

Jaromir Jagr
Jonathan Huberdeau
Nick Bjugstad
Aleksander Barkov
Brandon Pirri
Reilly Smith

DEFENSEMEN

Aaron Ekblad
Brian Campbell

GOALIES

Roberto Luongo

* Red indicates newcomer to team

Ekblad, meanwhile, won the Calder Trophy last season after one of the greatest seasons in NHL history by an 18-year-old defenseman. He was one of 10 D-men in the League with 10-plus goals, a plus-10 or better rating and 150-plus shots on goal, and has a chance to finish among the top 20 players at his position as a sophomore logging top-flight minutes for a Stanley Cup Playoff contender.

Undervalued: Jaromir Jagr

Jagr, the oldest active player in the NHL (43), may not be worth an early-round fantasy pick like he was for so many years of his illustrious career, but that doesn't mean he should be overlooked. He had 67 points with the New Jersey Devils in 2013-14, and finished last season strong with 18 points and 50 SOG in 20 games after being traded to Florida in February. Don't be surprised if he feeds off linemates Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau and posts 60-plus points in 2015-16 with 15-20 coming on the power play. He will definitely be available after the 10th round of drafts on average, so he’s a low-risk, high-reward option yet again.

Overvalued: Jonathan Huberdeau

Outside of Huberdeau's career-best assist total (39) in 2014-15, he has yet to build off his standout rookie season. The 22-year-old finished with 15 goals in 79 games last season, one more than he had in 48 games during his first season in 2012-13. Huberdeau's rank among forwards in SOG per game (T-115th) and true shooting percentage (185th) were far from impressive. Until his fortunes or category coverage improves, it would be tough to justify reaching for him before the 12th or 13th round of your draft.

Deep sleeper: Brandon Pirri

Pirri still hasn't played close to a full NHL season, but fantasy owners should take note of his strong shooting percentage (15.4), SOG total (143; 2.9 per game) and power-play production in 49 games last season. His assist total (two) was alarmingly low, but he proved he can score goals at this level with 22 while playing 14:46 per game. That amounts to 1.82 goals per 60 minutes, which ranked third in the League behind Alex Ovechkin and Rick Nash. He also scored seven goals with the man-advantage despite playing 1:43 per game in those situations. Even if his shooting percentage dips next season, he could do serious damage with anything close to that rate of goal-scoring over an 82-game season. His past experience at center and wing helps his chances of seeing an expanded role. I like his chances of being a fantasy steal.

Goalie outlook: Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya

Luongo has handled 70-plus appearances numerous times in his career, and the 36-year-old proved he's still capable of elite-level stats with a heavy workload. He was the backbone of the Panthers with a .932 even-strength save percentage last season -- fourth in the League among goalies with 60-plus games. Montoya is a more-than-capable backup when Luongo needs occasional rest, but the Panthers' playoff hopes hinge solely on Luongo being a one-man show and a top-10 goalie. If you stock up on forwards in early rounds of your draft, Luongo is the ideal goalie to target in rounds 6-8.

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