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Fantasy X-factors for 2020 Stanley Cup

Price, Forsberg, Fiala can be difference-makers in qualifiers; podcast analysis

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / NHL.com Fantasy Editor

NHL.com identifies fantasy hockey X-factors for Stanley Cup pools that count the entire 24-team tournament. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Stanley Cup pool rankings

Top 100 'F' | 50 'D' | 25 'G' | Sleepers | Bounce-backs

 

FORWARDS

Jake Guentzel, LW, PIT
Rank among NHL.com's top 100 forwards: 19

Key stat: Tied for sixth in Stanley Cup Playoff scoring with 43 points (24 goals, 19 assists) in 41 games since 2016-17 behind elite forwards Sidney Crosby (49) of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeny Kuznetsov (48), Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins (44).

Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH
Rank among top 100 forwards: 48

Key stat: The Predators left wing is tied with Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning for eighth in postseason goals (23 in 61 games) since 2014-15.

Kevin Fiala, LW/RW, MIN
Rank among top 100 forwards: 49

Key stat: Ranked third in points from Feb. 1 to the end of the regular season (26 in 19 games) behind elite forwards Mika Zibanejad of the New York Rangers (33) and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers (31).

Chris Kreider, LW, NYR
Rank among top 100 forwards: 51

Key stat: Tied his NHL career high in points per game (0.71) from 2016-17 and could be among the biggest difference-makers in the postseason skating in the New York Rangers' top-six forward group with center Mika Zibanejad and first power-play unit with Zibanejad and left wing Artemi Panarin. Kreider (fractured foot) is expected to return in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

Mike Hoffman, LW/RW, FLA
Rank among top 100 forwards: 81

Key stats: Tied for 16th in goals (169) and eighth in power-play goals (59) since 2014-15.

Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ
Rank among top 100 forwards: 88

Key stats: Had an NHL career-low shooting percentage this season (8.1 percent) but could have a big postseason if it reverts closer to his career average (11.5 percent). Scored an NHL career-high 41 goals last season.

Conor Garland, LW/RW, ARI
Rank among top 100 forwards: N/A

Key stats: Led the Coyotes with 22 goals in 68 games and was tied for their second-most shots on goal (158) this season behind Clayton Keller (184). Garland could be among their postseason production leaders in a top-line role with valuable left wing Taylor Hall.

 

DEFENSEMEN

Dougie Hamilton, CAR
Rank among NHL.com's top 50 defensemen: 8

Key stat: Ranked fourth among defensemen with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 47 games through Jan. 16, when he fractured his fibula, and was tied for second in goals at the position (14) behind Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets (15) over the same span. Hamilton is expected to return for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

Oscar Klefbom, EDM
Rank among top 50 defensemen: 27

Key stat: Had 34 points (five goals, 29 assists), 18 on the power play, in 62 games this season and has one of the highest ceilings among defensemen with elite exposure to forwards Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.

Neal Pionk, WPG
Rank among top 50 defensemen: 16

Key stat: Had an NHL career-high 45 points (six goals, 39 assists), 25 on the power play, in 71 games this season and is an intriguing candidate in postseason pools with exposure to Jets forwards Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine and Blake Wheeler on the first unit.

Jake Muzzin, TOR
Rank among top 50 defensemen: 38

Key stats: Finished the regular season strong with eight points (three goals, five assists) in six games averaging 21:22 per game over the span. He has 57 games of postseason experience (22 points) and could return more value than defenseman Tyson Barrie. Muzzin (fractured hand) is expected to return for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

 

GOALIES

Jacob Markstrom, VAN
Rank among top 25 goalies: 10

Key stats: Ranked fourth in the NHL with a .918 save percentage (minimum 40 games), and his .925 even-strength SV% was tied for fourth with Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Carey Price, MTL
Rank among top 25 goalies: 17

Key stat: Tied with Vasilevskiy and David Rittich of the Calgary Flames for second at the position in road wins (15 in 27 games).

Semyon Varlamov, NYI
Rank among top 25 goalies: 21

Key stat: Emerged as the clear No. 1 starter for the Islanders this season playing 45 games compared to backup Thomas Greiss' 31 games. It's worth noting the Islanders are expected to get defensemen Adam Pelech and Johnny Boychuk back from injuries in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, boosting Varlamov's fantasy value.

Corey Crawford, CHI
Rank among top 25 goalies: 24

Key stat: Tied with Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals for fourth in postseason wins (48 in 87 games) since 2008-09. 

David Rittich, CGY
Rank among top 25 goalies: N/A

Key stats: Tied for second in road wins (15) and tied with Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers for ninth in wins (24) overall at the position.

 

X-Factors from round-robin teams: Steven Stamkos, C/LW/RW, TBL; Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL; Travis Konecny, C/LW/RW, PHI; Jakub Vrana, LW, WSH; Philipp Grubauer, G, COL; Jake DeBrusk, LW, BOS; Paul Stastny, C, VGK; Miro Heiskanen, D, DAL

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