As part of NHL.com's 30 in 30 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. From most valuable assets to underrated options, impact prospects and more, this guide should help fantasy owners prioritize players for drafts.
Starting at the top: Vladimir Tarasenko, RW
Tarasenko has improved in goals and points each of his four NHL seasons. He has finished in the top six in goals each of the past two seasons (tied for fifth in 2014-15; fourth in 2015-16). Ranked No. 10 among fantasy forwards on NHL.com, Tarasenko was tied for eighth with 12 power-play goals and had 24 points with the man advantage last season. He also had seven game-winning goals, finished fourth in shots on goal (292) and was a plus-7; he has been a plus player in each of his four NHL seasons. The only area holding him back from complete category coverage is penalty minutes; he had 37 in 2015-16 and has 94 in 259 games. His NHL career shooting percentage is 13.8 and he is a lock to be taken in one of the first two rounds of a standard 12-team draft.
Video: STL@SJS, Gm6: Tarasenko garners first point of series
Undervalued: Robby Fabbri, C/LW
Fabbri had 18 goals and 37 points last season, tying for sixth among rookies in goals and 10th in scoring. The 20-year-old thrived in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 15 points (tied for Blues lead), including five on the power play. He should be in for an increased workload with the departures of forwards David Backes (Boston Bruins) and Troy Brouwer (Calgary Flames) in free agency, and could easily get overlooked in drafts. There is also a chance he could earn a spot on the top line and/or first power-play unit with Tarasenko. Target Fabbri in the ninth or 10th round of a 12-team draft.
Blues 30 in 30: Season outlook | Burning questions, reasons for optimism | Top prospects | Fantasy: Top 200
Overvalued: Paul Stastny, C
Stastny has scored 20 or more goals six times and 70 or more points three times in his 10 NHL seasons, but hasn't had more than 16 goals or 49 points in two seasons with the Blues. Stastny's SOG total was low last season (103 in 64 games) and he was inconsistent when healthy. He will be the first- or second-line center for St. Louis, but barely finished in Yahoo's top 200 (196th). Stastny has missed notable time because of injury in seven of his 10 seasons, including 18 games last season because of a broken right foot. He had 19 points and a plus-12 in his final 15 games of the regular season and 13 points in 20 playoff games, but his age (30), injury concerns and having to compete with Jori Lehtera and Alexander Steen (if he moves to center) make him worth passing on in middle rounds.
Video: STL@DAL, Gm7: Stastny beats Lehtonen in tight
Sleeper: David Perron, LW/RW
Perron was selected by the Blues with the No. 26 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft and spent his first six seasons in St. Louis. He has underachieved and has been traded twice in the past two seasons, but salvaged his fantasy value last season with eight goals and 20 points in 28 games after joining the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 15. Perron was also a plus-12 with Anaheim and should have a solid rating for another balanced team in St. Louis. Though he has been a streaky player through the years, he will likely be available in the final rounds of a draft as a low-risk, high-reward flier.
Bounce-back: Jaden Schwartz, LW
Schwartz was limited to 33 regular-season games because of an ankle injury, but was productive with 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists). Over an 82-game season, that would average to 55 points. Schwartz had 63 points in 2014-15 and 56 in 2013-14, remaining healthy for most of each season. He also averaged 13 power-play points in the two seasons. Schwartz likely will be the top line left wing, meaning he should figure into the scoring with Tarasenko on his line and also see significant power-play time. Schwartz has always had a high shooting percentage; he has 70 NHL goals on 491 shots (14.3 percent). His category coverage makes him a safe pick after the eighth round of a 12-team draft.
Video: STL@CHI, Gm3: Blues take lead with tic-tac-toe goal
Impact prospect: Jordan Schmaltz, D
Schmaltz, the No. 25 pick of the 2012 draft, had 36 points in 71 games with Chicago of the American Hockey League last season. The 22-year-old could make a push for a roster spot and find himself in the NHL this season -- especially if the Blues decide to trade Kevin Shattenkirk, who's entering the final season of his four-year contract. Even if Schmaltz starts the season in the AHL, there's a good chance he will see time in the NHL as an injury replacement at some point. The offensive-minded defenseman could be a nice sleeper pick late in a keeper-league draft.
With Brian Elliott traded to the Calgary Flames, Jake Allen finally has the crease to himself. Allen was 26-15-3 with a 2.35 goals-against average, .920 save percentage (tied for 12th; minimum 25 games) and six shutouts (T-2nd) in 44 starts last season. His 47 games were an NHL career high, and he should exceed 60 starts if healthy this season. In Allen's three seasons, he's 57-26-7 with a 2.34 GAA, .915 SV% and 11 shutouts, and is out to prove he is capable of handling a heavier workload. Allen is worth drafting in the 6-10 range among fantasy goalies in any format. … The Blues signed Carter Hutton, who went 7-5-4 with a 2.33 GAA, .918 SV% and two shutouts with the Nashville Predators last season, to be Allen's backup. Hutton should make 15-20 starts and isn't worth drafting, but could become fantasy-relevant if Allen misses time with injuries again. Last season, Allen missed more than a month with a knee injury and the final week of the regular season with a lower-body injury.