Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Nashville Predators
For the last 13 years (12 with The Hockey News) I have reviewed each team from a fantasy hockey standpoint, and graded them. My 14th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – The only impact here is the Subban-for-Weber trade. The defense gets a little more mobile, but loses some size and experience. Given the career-trajectory factor, the Preds got a defenseman on his way up, replacing a defenseman who is going in the other direction (albeit slower than many seem to believe).
The Preds also gain some experience on the blue line with Carle and Weber (Yannick, this time). But they essentially just force the likes of Stefan Elliott, Petter Granberg and Anthony Bitetto to work harder for roster spots. Minor stuff really.
Other than that, it’s addition by subtraction. Hutton is easily replaced by Marek Mazanec; Jackman/Nystrom/Bourque/Hodgson were bit players in the end and their absence opens up a couple of spots for NHL-ready prospects (of which there are a handful, when it comes to the forwards).
Ready for full-time – Kevin Fiala was a highly-touted prospect because he was taken 11th overall in the 2014 draft and was one of the five or six highest-upside forwards of his class. But he started slowly in the AHL, managing just 20 points in his first 37 contests with Milwaukee, so that delayed his Nashville promotion. The 20-year-old turned things up a notch though and tallied 50 points in his last 62 games (though a minus-14). By no means is a roster spot being handed to him, so a strong training camp is imperative. (Read more on Fiala here)
Marek Mazanec will be Nashville’s Maytag Repairman. He’ll be that guy sitting at the end of the bench, bored. But hey, we all remember when Pekka Rinne was injured, and Carter Hutton actually got into 40 games. So Mazanec could turn out to be a fantasy asset. But bet on that not happening and look for similar numbers for Mazanec as you saw with Hutton over the last three years. (Read more on Mazanec here)
Colton Sissons was up and down all season long for Nashville, and in the end he got into 34 NHL games. He proved to be an elite faceoff man – astonishing for a rookie – when he won 141 faceoffs while boasting a 56.0 FO%. He made Gaustad expendable. His production will be modest, perhaps topping out at 40 points over his career, but as a checker and key faceoff guy he’ll be important. (Read more on Sissons here)
Fantasy Outlook – Nashville’s offense improved from 14th in the league in 2014-15 to 12th in the NHL last year. They have a young group of forwards still on the rise and they now have a true No.1 center in Ryan Johansen. As always, offense from the defense is key. Goaltending is no longer the blue-chip fantasy asset that it once was when Barry Trotz was the coach. And after Fiala, Jack Dougherty, Dante Fabbro and Samuel Girard, the prospects in the pipeline leave something to be desired (in fantasy).
Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was C+)
- Ramblings: Power Forwards are the Worst, Gusev, Hughes Bros, Rielly & J.T. Miller (Oct. 16)
- Ramblings: Early team reviews; injury updates; Gustav Nyquist - October 17
- Top 100 Keeper League Defensemen - October 2019
- Injury Ward: Byfuglien News, McCann, Doughty, Eberle, Hischier, & Forsberg
- Forum Buzz: Early Season Pick-Up Guide, Owning Buff, Saros, Arvidsson, and Fowler
- Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Forwards - October 2019
- Eastern Edge: Around the Metro this season
- Capped: Early returns on a cost-per-point basis