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Fantasy stock rising from 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Binnington brings upside, risk after winning title as rookie; Krug gains value after power-play surge; goal leader Couture benefits from Sharks re-signing Karlsson

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. For more fantasy hockey coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGETop 250 for 2019-20 | Rookies | Sleepers | Cheat sheet

FANTASY DIVISION PREVIEWS: Atlantic | Metropolitan | Pacific

 

Boston Bruins: Torey Krug, D -- The Boston Bruins defenseman was second at the position with 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games behind Alex Pietrangelo (19) of the St. Louis Blues. Krug had 12 power-play points, tied with teammate Brad Marchand for the most among all skaters and double the next highest total by a defenseman (Erik Karlsson: six). The Bruins finished with the best power play in the playoffs (32.4 percent) and were third in the regular season (25.9) behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (28.2) and Florida Panthers (26.8). Boston's first unit will likely feature the same personnel next season, lifting Krug, who led the playoffs with 10 power-play assists, into the top 10 defenseman rankings.

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 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 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, who signed a five-year contract to remain with the Islanders on Friday, has bounce-back appeal if he plays a full season on Barzal's wing.

San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture, C -- Despite the Sharks not advancing to the Stanley Cup Final, Couture led the NHL in playoff goals with 14. He also led San Jose in points (20) and shots on goal (67) in 20 postseason games mostly skating on the top line with forwards Timo Meier and Gustav Nyquist, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Despite the uncertainty surrounding forwards Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, who can also become UFAs, Couture should return value if selected in the middle rounds of a standard, 12-team fantasy draft. Especially with exposure to elite defenseman Erik Karlsson, whom the Sharks re-signed to an eight-year contract Monday, Couture could have an even higher ceiling than his NHL career-high 70 points this season.

St. Louis Blues: Jordan Binnington, G -- He followed up an impressive regular season by winning the most playoff games by a rookie goalie (16) in NHL history to lead the Blues to their first Stanley Cup title. Binnington went 16-10 with a .914 SV% and one shutout in 26 postseason games, including 10-3 with a .925 SV% in 13 road games. He's sixth in NHL.com's fantasy goalie rankings for next season but may struggle to replicate his 24-5-1 record, .927 SV% and five shutouts from his first season. Even with a strong defense in front of Binnington, fantasy owners should be wary of reaching for the Stanley Cup champion goalie among the top five at the position.

Here are how the four goalies (prior to Binnington), who won the Stanley Cup as rookies, fared the following regular season:

Matt Murray, PIT (won Cup in 2016) -- 49 games in 2016-17: 32-10-4, .923 SV%, 4 SO

Cam Ward, CAR (won in 2006) -- 60 games in 2006-07: 30-21-6, .897 SV%, 2 SO

Patrick Roy, MTL (won in 1986) -- 46 games in 1986-87: 22-16-6*, .891 SV%, 1 SO

Ken Dryden, MTL (won in 1971) -- 64 games in 1971-72: 39-8-15*, .930 SV%, 8 SO

*Indicates ties rather than overtime/shootout losses

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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