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Toronto Maple Leafs fantasy hockey outlook

by Matt Cubeta / NHL.com

As part of NHL.com's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: James van Riemsdyk

My top-rated Maple Leafs player comes in at No. 100 overall in my offseason rankings. Over the past three seasons van Riemsdyk has scored 75 goals, good for 16th most in the NHL during that time. He is a talented player and he can score. No one is denying that. The question is, now that Phil Kessel has been traded, who is he going to play on a line with this season? Van Riemsdyk is certainly capable of scoring 25-plus goals and having 250-plus shots for a third consecutive season even without Kessel, but I'm not sure he'll help fantasy owners in any other category. Look to grab him as rounds 8-9 approach, but use caution.

LEAFS' FANTASY-RELEVANT PLAYERS

Below is a list of the fantasy-relevant players in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. These players have been arranged by NHL.com's fantasy staff based on projected value and by position. These players range from top-tier assets to deep sleepers and should be on your radar in standard Yahoo leagues.

FORWARDS

James van Riemsdyk
Nazem Kadri
Joffrey Lupul
Tyler Bozak
PA Parenteau
Kasperi Kapanen


DEFENSEMEN

Dion Phaneuf
Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner

GOALIES

Jonathan Bernier
James Reimer

* Red indicates newcomer to team

Undervalued: Morgan Rielly

Rielly delivered more than anyone could've expected entering his second NHL season as a 20-year-old. He finished with eight goals, 21 assists, nine power-play points and 148 shots on goal in 81 games. Now entering his third season, Rielly could make the jump to the next level for fantasy defenseman, granted the level is still that of a No. 5 type fantasy blueliner. Rielly is loaded with potential and he's already put together quite a highlight reel in his short NHL tenure, but like van Riemsdyk, there just isn't much talent on the roster to work with. Along with Dion Phaneuf, Rielly should be one of the Maple Leafs' top power-play threats from the blue line, and if all goes well he could eclipse 35 points.

Overvalued: Tyler Bozak

Bozak had the most productive fantasy season of his career in 2014-15 with a career-high 23 goals, 44 penalty minutes and 154 shots on goal. He tied his career high with 49 points. However, his 44 PIMs are skewed by two 10-minute misconducts he received, and losing Kessel on his wing won't help his assist or point totals. Bozak also recorded a career-worst minus-34 rating and with the Maple Leafs in full rebuild mode, I wouldn't expect that number to improve. Bottom line, Bozak is someone you should cross off on your list before your draft even begins.

Deep sleeper: Kasperi Kapanen

Rielly could fall into this category as well, but I'll go with an even deeper sleeper in Kapanen. Everything hinges on whether Kapanen makes the Maple Leafs out of camp, so pay close attention to how things go in September. Kapanen, selected 22nd in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, was the key return piece in the Kessel trade, and at 19 years old he has tremendous upside. If he can somehow land a top-six forward spot, he could end up carrying fantasy value at a cheap draft day price.

Goalie outlook: Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer

Bernier appeared in three more games last season (58) than he did in 2013-14, but his numbers dropped off significantly. He won five fewer games and had a 2.87 goals-against average and .912 save percentage after reeling off a 2.68 GAA and .923 SV% the previous season. He currently ranks as the 26th fantasy goalie in my offseason rankings, but that's largely in part because he should once again make 50 starts, and that's not easy to find in the NHL these days (only 15 goalies made more starts than Bernier's 55 last season). Bernier, 26, still possesses upside and talent, but wins will be even more difficult to come by this season while wearing a Maple Leafs jersey. Reimer will get his usual 30-or-so starts, but the stats won't be pretty and you're better off leaving him undrafted.

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