The season is right around the corner, and that means fantasy hockey drafts are underway. The Carolina Hurricanes are hopeful for another great season. With a team’s success often comes individual successes that translate over to the fantasy hockey scoreboard and happy fantasy team managers. I am doing a two part series to give you an insight of who on the Canes is worth picking when it comes time for your draft night. Part 1 is focused on the forwards, and Part 2, coming later this week will look at the defensemen and goaltenders that I think would be valuable additions to your fantasy hockey team. Without further ado, here are the Canes forwards that I think you should consider drafting and where in the draft I would look to get them. (Disclaimer: If you are new to fantasy hockey, it is never a good idea to have too many players from the same professional team on your fantasy team because if the team does poorly, your fantasy team will be hurt even more. I would recommend picking no more than 2-3 players max per hockey team).
I will be using fantasypros to give you all the average draft position (ADP) for each of the players that I mention, to give you all a feel where in the draft you should expect to get each player.
Tier 1: Safe, reliable, consistent
Sebastian Aho (ADP 53)
Sebastian Aho gets a tier of his own when it comes to Canes players in fantasy hockey, and that is because he is basically guaranteed to be a point-per-game player and to score more than 30 goals per season. He has been Carolina’s most consistent player over the last five seasons, and he is a very safe fantasy pick. Additionally, he plays significant time on the powerplay and the penalty kill, bringing in those coveted special teams points. If your league requires starting centers, Aho is a great player to have on your team as well. Having an average pick of 53 across all yahoo and ESPN leagues this year, Aho is going in the 5th round in most drafts. If Aho is available in the 5th round, especially after pick 53, take him!
Tier 2: Good players, with some risk
Andrei Svechnikov (ADP 78), Martin Necas (97), Michael Bunting (240)
Svechnikov is the player that is headlining this second tier, and if he had not been hurt for the last 20 games of last season, he could have easily been listed in the Tier 1 group with Aho. Svechnikov was on pace for a 30 goal season, which would have been his second season in a row. He has one of the game’s most elite shots, and I fully expect him to have a career year as long as he stays healthy. What makes Svechnikov such a valuable fantasy player, however, is that he gets A LOT of penalty minutes and hits. He is a complete fantasy player, and going at an average pick of 78, in the 7th round, is an absolute STEAL. If you get Svech anywhere in the 5th to 7th round, that is a great pick!
Martin Necas was the Canes highest scoring player last year with 71 points. The only problem with Necas is that he has historically been a very streaky player. When he’s hot, there is no one better to have on your fantasy team. When he’s not, you’ll regret drafting him. I would be hesitant about drafting him around the beginning of the 9th round where he seems to be picked most often. I think at this point there are more consistent and reliable players available at that point in the draft that I would lean toward.
Michael Bunting is the sleeper in this second tier. Bunting will most likely be playing on Carolina’s top line along side Sebastian Aho, giving him immediate fantasy value. He will also likely play significant time of the powerplay. He is two years removed from a 63 point performance with the Toronto Maple leafs. Yes, that was while playing on a line with Austin Matthews, but this season is setting up nicely for Bunting to be able to put together a similar season. Bunting has an ADP of 240, meaning that he is actually not being drafted in a lot of leagues. If you are getting down to your last couple picks, take a risk on Bunting because he might just surprise you.
Tier 3: High upside but high risk
Teuvo Teravainen (ADP 226), Seth Jarvis (247)
Teravainen was once a reliable and consistent fantasy player, but he had an abnormal off season last year. For that reason, I would not go out of my way to draft him this season. Jarvis had a great season that saw him truly develop into a two-way NHL player, seeing him earn a spot on the first line centered by Sebastian Aho. But, despite playing with our superstar player, Jarvis only had 39 points. With that said, keep an eye on these two throughout the beginning of the season. They are the two who will likely be fighting for that top line spot along side Aho and Bunting. Right now, I would favor Teravainen over Jarvis, and if you are in a deep league and need a decent player with a late pick, I think that he would be the one I would go with. Otherwise, I would avoid drafting either of them.
Tell me what your think! Come back for Part 2, where I will discuss which Canes defensemen and goaltenders you should pick.