As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the Buffalo Sabres. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
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Jack Eichel, C (NHL.com rank: 50) -- The center was better than a point per game (82 points in 77 games) with NHL career-highs in goals (28), assists (54), power-play points (26) and shots on goal (303) last season. He centered a potent top line with valuable left wing Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart playing right wing, but that trio was also broken up at times. Eichel belongs among the top 20 rankings at the deepest fantasy position, especially with Buffalo having renewed upside under new coach Ralph Krueger.
Rasmus Dahlin, D (113) -- He scratched the surface of his long-term fantasy upside with 44 points, 20 on the power play, as an 18-year-old rookie defenseman. Dahlin, who brings added value in hits leagues (97 last season), has a chance to grow under Krueger, especially with Buffalo adding right-shot defensemen Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju. Dahlin, who played on the first power play with Eichel, Skinner and Reinhart as a rookie, is a top 25 fantasy defenseman with a ceiling of finishing among the 10 best at the position.
Video: 31 in 31: Buffalo Sabres 2019-20 season preview
Jeff Skinner, C/LW (115) -- The left wing signed an eight-year contract to remain with the Sabres after scoring an NHL career-high 40 goals and tying his best point total (63) on a line with mostly Eichel. But Skinner's underwhelming finish (six points in final 19 games) is concerning for potential fantasy owners because he scored 19 points fewer than Eichel and has an unclear fantasy ceiling. Skinner is worth targeting among the first 10 rounds of drafts.
Rasmus Ristolainen, D (137) -- The defenseman has scored at least 41 points in each of the past four seasons but is minus-143 in his NHL career. The Sabres are loaded with right-shot defensemen in Ristolainen, Miller, Jokiharju and Brandon Montour, indicating Ristolainen could be traded before the start of the season. Dahlin had more PPP than Ristolainen (17) last season, but the latter remains a valuable specialist as long as he's on the first unit; he has 86 PPP over the past four seasons (T-9th among D-men).
Sam Reinhart, C/RW (193) -- The forward had a breakout season, finishing second on the Sabres in points (65). He is a lock to remain on the first power play with Eichel, Dahlin and Skinner but could be moved to the second line to balance Buffalo's scoring. Reinhart could potentially play with offseason addition Marcus Johansson, who has been a high scorer before (58 points in 2016-17 with Washington Capitals), making each worth targeting in late rounds.
Other players to consider in late rounds or off waiver wire: Marcus Johansson, LW (196); Brandon Montour or Colin Miller, D; Carter Hutton or Linus Ullmark, G; Victor Olofsson, LW/RW; Dylan Cozens, C (INJ.)
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