ESPN’s Sean Allen was very busy today, posting a set of fantasy hockey previews for the Atlantic Division’s teams, and Allen suggests that fantasy hockey poolies bet on the Wings‘ youth movement:
Kids are all right: The Wings need Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Zadina, Anthony Mantha, Michael Rasmussen and maybe even Evgeny Svechnikov to have solid seasons for the rebuilding squad to show signs of a turnaround. Henrik Zetterberg is still around, and Dylan Larkin, while also young, will be leaned on as the top center, but the pieces around them will largely be filled by the aforementioned group. All of these offensive pieces appear to be coming at reasonable draft prices this season, so going in on high-ceiling players like Zadina and Mantha makes plenty of sense as your offense is filling out. Rasmussen can be left alone in shallower leagues until he officially makes the team.
Who is on D?: I don’t know if there’s a thinner defensive core for fantasy value in the NHL. Mike Green is Mike Green, so he’ll have streaks of value through the season, but that’s about where the buck stops. Filip Hronek is the only guy I’ll have my eye on as the season approaches. He turned some heads in the AHL last season running the Grand Rapids Griffins’ power play, but he’s still only 20.
Can Bernier emerge?: Jimmy Howard is 34 and his ratios took a hit last season, with him unable to follow up a 2016-17 campaign that offered a glimmer of hope. He’s in the last year of his contract and likely on his way to becoming a veteran backup sooner than later. Jonathan Bernier, on the other hand, has offered a tantalizing taste of high-ceiling goaltending as an injury replacement for two consecutive seasons. In short stints filling in for the Colorado Avalanche last season and the Anaheim Ducks the season prior, Bernier put in a body of work among the best in the NHL for short windows. I’ll have plenty of shares of him as a G3 or G4 for fantasy in later rounds and deeper leagues.