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Fantasy stock rising from 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Stone, Pacioretty form elite duo in postseason; Makar among top rookies, Hintz sleeper candidate for next season

by Fantasy Hockey Staff @NHLFantasy

NHL.com identifies players who have seen their fantasy value rise or bounce back as a result of strong production and/or lineup changes in the postseason. Fantasy owners should keep these players fresh on their minds for keeper decisions and early fantasy draft preparation, especially once average draft position data becomes available this summer.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Stanley Cup Playoffs rankings | Daily picks | Top 250 for 2019-20

 

NOTE: This list consists of players from eliminated teams. Players who have gained value from the Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues will be added later.

 

Colorado Avalanche: Cale Makar, D, and Philipp Grubauer, G -- The Avalanche rookie defenseman had six points (one goal, five assists) in his first 10 NHL games, all coming in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Makar had the best shot attempts differential (plus-30) among Colorado skaters despite not playing in their first two games of the postseason and is one of the top rookies to target in fantasy drafts next season with a chance to cut into Tyson Barrie's offensive usage. Grubauer became the full-time starter late in the regular season and has solidified that role for next season with Semyon Varlamov being a potential UFA. Grubauer went 7-5 with a .925 save percentage and one shutout in 12 playoff games and is a top 15 goalie option for next season.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Matt Duchene, C, and Sergei Bobrovsky, G -- The Blue Jackets center had 10 points (five goals, five assists), four on the power play, in 10 playoff games. Bobrovsky improved upon his regular-season save percentage (.913) in the playoffs (.925) and belongs among the top 10 fantasy goalies for next season. Duchene and Bobrovsky can become UFAs on July 1, but their fantasy stock should remain high (Bobrovsky among top 50 overall; Duchene top 75) regardless of where they sign.

Dallas Stars: Roope Hintz, C/LW, and Mats Zuccarello, RW -- The Stars forwards played mostly on the second line together and combined for 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 13 playoff games. Zuccarello, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, would have sneaky value in fantasy drafts if he re-signs with the Stars, with Hintz being a prime sleeper candidate. Hintz and Zuccarello, who also played on the first power play, could fill similar roles next season and take pressure of the elite top line of forwards Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn. With emerging young talent in Hintz and defenseman Miro Heiskanen, the Stars' fantasy ceiling could be even higher next season.

New York Islanders: Jordan Eberle, RW, and Devon Toews, D -- The Islanders right wing played mostly on a line with valuable center Mathew Barzal and the first power play during the postseason and bounced back after a significant decline in regular-season production (59 points in 2017-18; 37 this season). Eberle, another potential UFA, led the Islanders with nine points (four goals, five assists) in eight postseason games and was tied for their lead in power-play points (four) and shots on goal (25). Toews, a rookie who played frequently on the first power play over more established defensemen Nick Leddy and Ryan Pulock, had five points, four on the power play, and should be viewed as a sleeper for next season. Eberle, depending on where he signs, could have bounce-back appeal.

Vegas Golden Knights: Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, F, and Shea Theodore, D -- Stone led the Golden Knights in points (12) and goals (six) in seven postseason games against the San Jose Sharks. It's worth noting Stone had an unsustainable shooting percentage in the playoffs (37.5) but still carries significant fantasy value for next season. Pacioretty also had a successful postseason on Stone's line with 11 points (five goals, six assists) and led Vegas with 30 SOG in seven games. Stastny, the third member of the line, had eight points (two goals, six assists) over the same span, making him an intriguing stacking option for drafts next season.

Based on position scarcity, Stone and Pacioretty are fringe top 50 fantasy players with Stastny providing value in later rounds. Defenseman Shea Theodore emerged as Vegas' top fantasy option at the position with eight points (one goal, seven assists), four on the power play, in the postseason and brings power-play exposure to Stone, Pacioretty and Stastny. Stone and Pacioretty should be targeted ahead of forwards Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson in drafts next season after a glimpse of their chemistry in the postseason.

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