Draft Guru - Notes

Landshark Hockey breaks down your Fantasy Hockey Draft. Select the category for insight on NHL players to help plan your draft list.


Breakout

Look for these guys to potentially have a major jump in performance in the upcoming season. You may get some strange looks from the guys who draft strictly off last year's stats. But those guys never win anyway.

Offense

Jamie Benn     DAL Benn has been on the cusp of breaking out as a fantasy star for several seasons. With the retooling in Dallas, this could finally be the year he wins you a championship. If all pans out and he meshes well with newcomers like Seguin, he should easily set some career highs.
Beau Bennett     PIT Bennett should be the one name on everyone's list of potential breakout players in 2013-14. He showed flashes of offensive magic in limited action last season, but couldn't stick on the top 2 stacked lines in Pittsburgh. The Pens made a point of announcing that he will have a much larger role this time around, immediately following the embarrassing playoff sweep.
Jonathan Drouin     TAM It's scary to think how productive this rookie could be, should he find his way onto a line with Stamkos and St. Louis. He's my pick for Rookie of the Year and one of the only rookies I would spend a draft pick on this year.
Alex Galchenyuk     MON Galchenyuk had a fine rookie season and is poised for a potential breakout campaign in his second year with Montreal. Despite playing 3rd line minutes, he made a strong case for the Calder. He should move up the depth chart for the Habs this season and become a worthy fantasy factor.
Evander Kane     WIN Kane had a bit of a breakout in 2011-12 with a 30 goal effort, but with a relatively paltry assist total, he finished with just 57 points. This should be the year that Kane breaks out into clear star status. Another 30 goals should be a given, but expect a better showing in the 2nd column.
Nail Yakupov     EDM Yakupov was good enough in his rookie campaign to give fantasy owners something to be excited about this time around. As the season progressed, he started to earn much more ice time. He finished the year with 6 goals in the final 3 games. Take a chance on a monster breakout season.

Defense

Jonas Brodin     MIN While he has yet to display much goal scoring acumen, the rookie performed quite well for the Wild last season. He logged huge minutes for a first year defenseman and moved the puck well. There is much offensive upside. As the Wild improve, so will Brodin's fantasy value. Look for a potential breakout season here.
Simon Despres     PIT The Pens intentionally held Despres back last season, despite his enormous potential. Minutes after being bumped from the playoffs, the team made a point of saying that Despres will enjoy a much bigger role with the team in 2013-14. With the amount of goal scoring that goes on in Pittsburgh, that means plenty of potential. This will be the breakout season for Despres.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson     PHO Ekman-Larsson continues to progress, heading into his fourth season in the NHL. He has been a bit overshadowed by Yandle in Phoenix, but that shouldn't stop you from snatching him up mid-draft. He should set a career high in points, and may make a go at 50.
Dougie Hamilton     BOS Hamilton entered his rookie season with high expectations. At times, he met those, at other times, he faded from view. Ultimately, he had a respectable set of numbers by season's end. Look for the progression to continue this season. He could easily bust out with a big 40-50 point season.
Travis Hamonic     NYI As an all-around fantasy contributor, Hamonic has the potential to break out this season. Despite his stature, he piles up the pentalty minutes. The playoffs last season showed what an enormous pest he can be. Too bad there's no fantasy stat for annoying. Sticking to the stats that are counted, his production continues to improve entering his fourth NHL campaign. Definite upside here.
Justin Schultz     EDM An ugly number in the plus/minus column scarred an otherwise solid rookie season last year. Given a full slate of games and a more mature team around him, Schultz could become a household fantasy name in 2013-14. He'll be the go-to guy on the backend for an Oilers team prime to score a metric buttload of goals. Don't be surprised if he tops 15 goals himself.
Slava Voynov     LOS Voynov has flown somewhat under the radar outside of the LA in his first two NHL seasons. During that time, he put together two very solid seasons, logging big minutes and putting up decent point totals for the Kings. He was rewarded this summer with a big six year deal, so the Kings believe he's their man on the blueline. His numbers in the playoffs were even better, as he contributed 2 goals in each of LA's 3 playoffs series. Look for a potential breakout season for Voynov as he starts to get the fantasy attention he has earned.

Goalies