Since Andrew Copp is expected to miss at least the first week of the regular season due to abdominal surgery, Michael Rasmussen has been centering the scoring line of Jakub Vrana and David Perron. This may not be a long-term placement for Rasmussen, but it is an opportunity nonetheless as he enters his fourth NHL season. The 6-6 Rasmussen fits the profile of a bigger forward and has played only 182 games, so he may need another season or two before he starts to reach his peak. Rasmussen has also shown value in deeper peripheral leagues in hits (nearly two per game last season) and faceoffs (410 FOW, 50.1 FOW% last season).
Dobber passed this along on his Twitter already, but it's worth repeating that Rudolfs Balcers has been used on a line with Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe. Balcers was not a highly-pedigreed player (5th-round pick) in spite of some strong WHL and AHL numbers, but he didn't post huge numbers playing alongside Tomas Hertl in San Jose last season either. Yet as Dobber mentioned in the Fantasy Guide, Florida has been great at bringing in unheralded talent and making them fantasy-relevant – Verhaeghe is one example, and Mason Marchment last season was another. If Balcers maintains his spot on that line, he could be an early-season waiver-wire pickup. Or do it now if you're in a deep league and want to be proactive.
We've forecasted all through the summer that whoever is deployed on the third spot on the Johnny Gaudreau/Patrik Laine line would be in for a significant boost in value. On Saturday, that player was the Blue Jackets' top prospect Kent Johnson. There's a caveat, though, in that