Dobber’s Top 10 Players He’s Targeting for Next Year

by Dobber on March 14, 2016


Dobber offers up 10 players he’s targeting in the offseason in his keeper league…


Tommy Collins is on a much-needed holiday and I’ve always wanted to step in with my own Top 10. So here I am! The alternative would be Tom’s Top 10 mixed drinks he’s enjoying at the resort, and that just wouldn’t fit in here. Or…would it?

With the trade deadline hitting all three of my leagues over the last two weeks, I found myself studying each league pretty thoroughly. More often than not, I would see a player that I would get very interested in making a pitch for…before showing restraint. Now is not the right time. But in the summer it’s another matter. As long as they don’t get too ridiculous with their production over the last three weeks, I think I can probably get a good deal on these 10 players. And they’ll probably pay off for me in 2016-17.


10. Chris Kreider – Kreider came in with high expectations, especially after making a splash in the playoffs back in 2012. And after four seasons of not really doing a whole lot, his owners are thinking less of him. They have lowered their expectations of him considerably. But really, since 2012-13 was just 23 games I consider 2016-17 as his fourth NHL season. And as a power forward he would need an extra year or two to hit his stride versus the average young skilled player. Now is not the time to ‘sell’ this 24-year-old (he turns 25 next month).


9. Cam Atkinson – Yeah, yeah, spare me your eyerolling. I like Atkinson and have since he was a prospect. And as far as I’m concerned, his progression is going exactly as expected. Not quite as I’d hoped, but absolutely as expected. He’s a big shooter (he’ll get 250 shots next season, mark it), his ice time has been steadily increasing and so has his points per game. He’s 26 now and he still has one more gear. Will that ‘gear’ mean 65 points next season? That’s what I’d roll the dice on – 60 with a good shot at 65-plus. In my leagues he was drafted in 2011. Assuming the same owner still has Atkinson five years later, that owner thinks he or she has him figured out as a 50-point guy.


8. Mikkel Boedker – Two things we know for sure. One, that Boedker has never played with an elite center. And two, he’ll be vastly overpaid as a UFA signing in July. Given his hefty contract, he’ll get his pick of linemates. A player with his sniping skills playing with a top center will make all the difference. This is one player on this list, however, who may actually be overrated by his owner once he signs so I’ll try to acquire him prior to July 1st.


7. Elias Lindholm – Another “fourth year” target, Lindholm has been improving slowly year-over-year (0.36, 0.48, 0.49 points-per-game respectively). He may not have tremendous upside for the next couple of years as Carolina tries to rebuild, but he has enough upside for the short-term to make him a worthy own. It’s the long-term upside that is worth sitting on. In the meantime, his current owners may be getting tired of the wait.


6. Gustav Nyquist – Nyquist’s third full season has been a major disappointment. Under the new coach his ice time his down by nearly two minutes per game. I’d like to see what the fourth year brings before I judge. Today, teammate Dylan Larkin buries him in fantasy value. But while I wouldn’t argue Larkin’s all-around real-world talent on the ice, I would argue the fantasy component being above Nyquist’s. Remember – Nyquist had 60 points in his first 90 NHL games and 47 in 57 during his first full season. Larkin sits at 40 in 67. The hype for Nyquist three years ago was huge; he’s just no longer the flavor of the month. So to me that means he’s now affordable.


5. Kyle Turris – The 26-year-old made himself a target for fantasy acquisition by trying to play through a high-ankle sprain and thus driving his value down. He had just two assists in his last 21 games and his points-per-game average (0.53) is his lowest since 2012.


4. Nail Yakupov – After a promising rookie season Yakupov has had three years of nothing. So is he another Patrik Stefan or has he been a victim of a weak roster with a poor system? If it’s the latter, than things should be turning around for him soon. The Oilers are better. Better coached, better players, better system. If it’s the former, well…all you can do is play the odds. And to me the odds of a first overall draft pick becoming a bust are reasonably low. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But right now I know Yakupov could be had for cheap in fantasy leagues I’ll certainly inquire.


3. Tyler Johnson – Johnson will follow up his 72-point season with what will be a 45-point season. That’s quite the drop and even though his owners won’t be selling him off cheap, this production will still act as a drag on both expectations and on the asking price. Last summer it would take a 70-point player to acquire him, or maybe a 60-point guy with upside plus a pick and a prospect. This summer it won’t take near that much and yet I think his outlook is just as bright as I considered it last summer. He has 11 points in his last 12 games, in case you were having questions about whether or not he can repeat what he was doing last season.


2. Ryan Strome – Chalk this one up to a sophomore slump, even though he wasn’t technically a sophomore. A 30-point season is disappointing, and that’s an understatement. But of everyone on this list he could have the highest upside. Also next year is his fourth NHL season, when magic often happens.


1. Valeri Nichushkin – You’ll have to excuse Nichushkin for his slow start after missing almost the entire season last year. And by the time he got back into the flow of things, the Stars had already moved on. The lines were set and clicking well. So he’s been used as a utility guy who bounces around from line to line, not really clicking with anyone. Next year he will enter training camp healthy and fit and will find his niche on the team immediately. Here are his most frequent line combos and as you can see, he hasn’t settled in on any particular line for long: