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Minnesota Wild fantasy hockey outlook

by Matt Cubeta / 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: Zach Parise

Parise totaled 33 goals and 62 points with outstanding secondary stats in 74 regular-season games for the Wild, then had 10 points in 10 postseason games. He finished last season as the 21st-best player in Yahoo leagues, and I have him at No. 25 overall in my offseason rankings. If you can land Parise in the third round of your draft, you'll be completely satisfied with his consistent category coverage. Since joining the Wild in 2012-13, Parise's 0.42 goals-per-game is 11th-best, his 0.83 points-per-game ranks 25th and his 3.63 shots-per-game is sixth in the NHL. His 32 power-play goals are fourth in the League and his plus-32 rating is 21st. Parise should also get you about 40 penalty minutes per season. He really is a complete fantasy player.

WILD FANTASY-RELEVANT PLAYERS

Below is a list of the fantasy-relevant players in the Minnesota Wild 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

Zach Parise
Jason Pominville
Thomas Vanek
Mikko Koivu
Mikael Granlund
Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter

DEFENSEMEN

Ryan Suter
Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella
Mike Reilly

GOALIES

Devan Dubnyk

* Red indicates newcomer to team

Undervalued: Jason Pominville

Despite the fact that he's been in the NHL since 2003, Pominville continues to provide strong fantasy value. In his second full season with Minnesota, Pominville posted 18 goals, 54 points, a plus-9 rating, eight penalty minutes, 14 power-play points and 252 shots on goal. His 18 goals were tied for the fewest he's scored in his career in an 82-game season, but a lot of that had to do with bad luck. Pominville registered a career-low 7.1 shooting percentage on those 252 shots, well below his career mark of 11.2 percent. Expect that percentage to revert to the mean and for Pominville to eclipse the 25-goal mark for the fifth time in his career. As long as he remains on the top line alongside Parise (as he was for the majority of the season), Pominville should once again be near a top-75 fantasy player (he finished 80th in Yahoo leagues last season).

Overvalued: Ryan Suter

We all know how good of a defenseman Suter is in reality. It's a shame his NHL-best 29:03 of ice time per game last season means nothing in fantasy hockey. Don't pay for Suter's name come draft day. The 30-year-old had two goals and 38 points last season with a plus-7 rating, but he still finished 175th among all players in Yahoo leagues and 31st at his position. He won't help you much in the PIMs department and Suter's power-play production has declined in each of the past four seasons. In 2011-12 he averaged 0.32 power-play points per game; last season that number dipped all the way down to 0.14 PPP per game. If you can get him late in your draft, that's fine. But don't waste a top 100 pick on him just because he's great in reality.

Deep sleeper: Charlie Coyle

At some point Coyle, a first-round draft pick by the San Jose Sharks in 2010, is going to break out. I loved him going into last season and it just didn't happen (11 goals, 24 assists, plus-13 in 82 games). At 6-foot-3 and 221 pounds, Coyle has the size and ability to be a fantasy mainstay in what will be his third full NHL season. We've seen minimal progress in each of the past two seasons, but is that 25-goal, 50-point season coming in 2015-16? I think this is the year. The one thing to keep an eye on come training camp is where Coyle falls on the depth chart. In the playoffs he mostly played center on the third line with Thomas Vanek and Nino Niederreiter on his wings, but if he ends up moving back to the wing (as he did in 2013-14) and finds himself in the top-six, he could really flourish. Either way, Coyle's upside is worth the gamble late in your draft.

Goalie outlook: Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper

Dubnyk came out of nowhere last season to deliver a prolific fantasy season between the pipes. After being acquired by the Wild on Jan. 13, he finished with 27 wins, a 1.78 goals against average, .936 save percentage and five shutouts in 39 games. He was the top goalie from that point on and ended up as the second-most valuable fantasy goalie (behind Carey Price) and No. 15 player overall in Yahoo leagues for the full season. After signing a long-term deal with the Wild, Dubnyk is the clear-cut No. 1 goalie with Kuemper serving as a solid backup. But the question is, can Dubnyk come close to repeating last season's performance? The Wild ranked 11th in the NHL last season with 3,453 SAT against (shots attempted against) and had the League's best penalty kill (86.3 percent). The Wild are a good defensive team, but they are not one of the best and that, combined with the fact that Dubnyk has never posted numbers close to what he did last season, would lead me to believe that he is a strong candidate to regress this season. While an improvement on his career averages (2.69 GAA and .914 save percentage) should be expected, a repeat of anything close to what he did with Minnesota last season is likely out of the question. I ranked Dubnyk eighth among goalies going into this season, and he should be off the board somewhere near the fourth round.

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