Bold fantasy prediction for each team in 2020-21

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STAT PROJECTIONS: F | D | G

 

NOTE: These bold yet feasible scenarios should be taken with a grain of salt but also used as inspiration to think creatively in fantasy drafts, especially in terms of potential line combinations and a given player’s ceiling in different stat categories. These predictions are a collaborative effort by Pete Jensen and Rob Reese and, in many cases, contradict NHL.com’s fantasy top 250 rankings and projections.

 

ANA – Forward Trevor Zegras will lead the Anaheim Ducks in scoring this season by at least 10 points and finish among the top five rookies in goals, assists and points.

ARI – Defenseman Jakob Chychrun will lead the position in goals this season from the Arizona Coyotes with at least 15 in 56 games.

BOS – Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will capture a spot on the Boston Bruins’ top power play this season after Torey Krug’s departure and finish top five at the position with at least 20 power-play points in 56 games.

BUF – Left wing Taylor Hall will thrive on the Buffalo Sabres’ top line with center Jack Eichel, each finishing among the NHL’s top five in points to help them end their long Stanley Cup Playoff drought (nine seasons).

CAR – Forward Andrei Svechnikov will lead the NHL in goals this season from the Carolina Hurricanes with at least 30 in 56 games, and linemate Sebastian Aho will join him among the League’s top five in the category.

CBJ – Forward Emil Bemstrom will emerge as the left wing on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first line and lead them in points this season with at least 40 in 56 games.

CHI – Rookie forward Pius Suter will capture a top-line role playing center with exposure to elite right wing Patrick Kane and lead the Chicago Blackhawks with at least 20 goals in 56 games this season.

CGY – Forward Elias Lindholm, playing center on a line with left wing Matthew Tkachuk, will lead the Calgary Flames in scoring, ahead of Tkachuk and left wing Johnny Gaudreau.

COL – Center Nathan MacKinnon will outscore Edmonton Oilers forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and MacKinnon’s frequent linemate Andre Burakovsky will lead the Colorado Avalanche in goals with at least 25 in 56 games.

DAL – Rookie right wing Joel Kiviranta will carry over his momentum from the 2020 postseason and lead the Dallas Stars and all rookies in goals and their forwards in plus/minus.

DET – Defenseman Filip Hronek will lead all Detroit Red Wings skaters in scoring and finish top 15 at the position in points.

EDM – Forward Jesse Puljujarvi will capture a top-six role at even strength with either McDavid or Draisaitl, score at least a point per game this season and finish third on the Oilers in scoring.

FLA – Wing Anthony Duclair will excel on the top line with forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau and finish top 10 in the NHL with at least 25 goals in 56 games.

LAK -.Goalie Calvin Petersen will emerge as the starter over veteran Jonathan Quick, lead the Honda West Division in wins and help the Los Angeles Kings qualify for the postseason.

MIN – Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen will finish with more wins than Minnesota Wild teammate Cam Talbot, be one of three rookie goalies (others: Ilya Sorokin, Igor Shesterkin) with at least 15 victories and lead all qualifying rookies in save percentage.

MTL – Defenseman Alexander Romanov will make a smooth transition to the NHL, see time on the top power-play unit and lead Montreal Canadiens defensemen in points with more than teammates Shea Weber and Jeff Petry.

NJD – Center Jack Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, will play on the New Jersey Devils’ top line with valuable wings Nikita Gusev and Kyle Palmieri and finish top 15 in NHL scoring with at least 60 points in 56 games during his second season.

NSH – Goalie Juuse Saros will be the Nashville Predators’ No. 1 option over veteran Pekka Rinne and lead the Discover Central Division in wins with more than Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

NYI – Rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin will thrive for the New York Islanders under coach Barry Trotz, finish with more wins than fellow Russian starters Shesterkin and Ilya Samsonov (Washington Capitals) from the MassMutual East Division and win the Calder Trophy.

NYR – Defenseman Adam Fox will earn a spot on the first power-play unit over teammate Tony DeAngelo for the New York Rangers with exposure to elite forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad and lead the position with at least 50 points in 56 games.

OTT – Forward Tim Stuetzle will lead all rookies in points with at least 40 in 56 games and shots on goal this season playing in a top-six, first power-play role for the Ottawa Senators.

PIT – Defenseman John Marino will outscore Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Kris Letang and lead their defensemen with at least 35 points in 56 games.

PHI – Left wing Oskar Lindblom will lead the Philadelphia Flyers in goals with at least 20 in 56 games this season.

SJS – Rookie forward John Leonard, who led the NCAA in goals (27) last season for University of Massachusetts Amherst, will stick in a top-six role for the San Jose Sharks with exposure to either valuable center Tomas Hertl or Logan Couture and lead them in goals with at least 17 in 56 games.

STL – Forward Robert Thomas will thrive in a consistent top-six role, have a breakout season in his contract year (potential 2021 restricted free agent) and lead the St. Louis Blues in scoring with at least 45 points in 56 games.

TBL – Rookie Alexander Volkov will earn a right wing spot in the top six with elite forward Nikita Kucherov out for the season and finish fourth on the Lightning in scoring behind forwards Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman.

TOR – Veteran Joe Thornton, at 41 years old, will stick on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top line with elite forwards Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner and score 45 points in 56 games this season.

VAN – Thatcher Demko will establish himself as the clear No. 1 goalie over Braden Holtby for Vancouver and lead the NHL in shutouts with more than fellow Scotia North Division workhorse goalies Frederik Andersen (Maple Leafs), Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets), Carey Price (Canadiens) and Jacob Markstrom (Flames).

VGK – Forward Cody Glass will be elevated to the top line with valuable wings Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone and lead the Vegas Golden Knights in scoring with at least 45 points in 56 games.

WPG – Defenseman Ville Heinola will take the spot on the Jets’ first power-play unit from Neal Pionk and finish top 10 at the position in points this season.

WSH – Left wing Jakub Vrana will continue his upward career trajectory, see more first power-play time under new coach Peter Laviolette and lead the Capitals in goals with more than teammate Alex Ovechkin.

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