Fantasy Hockey 2021-2022 preview: Buffalo Sabers
Are you ready? We’re back to the 82-game regular-season format, which means more joy and also more pain. It’s a roller coaster of emotions every season, because there are always surprises, and the good ones can make us feel like geniuses while the bad ones feel like they are collapsing their stomachs in an empty pool.
But we’re all hungry for punishment, so you might as well stay as informed as possible to explain later why the gods of fantasy hockey hate you. Yes, they specifically hate you.
Here is your fantastic outlook for the 32 teams. The annual pool guide is available now, and also check out Matt Larkin’s top 250 players for the upcoming season.
Fantastic Outlook 2021-22: Buffalo Sabers
Last season: A final place with just 15 wins put their finger on the coffin of what was supposed to be a very promising young core with Rasmus Ristolainen, Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel, who were taken from consecutive years on the big tank – a-thon from 2013-15. It’s a shame we’ve never seen this core reach their potential as they were truly a talented group, but now this is the ultimate caveat on what happens when lottery picks don’t play out. as you think. The Sabers extended their playoff drought to 10 seasons, the league’s longest active streak. Only the Seattle Mariners of the MLB (19 seasons) and the Sacramento Kings of the NBA (15 seasons) have longer active streaks among the Big Four North American leagues.
Best option: Jack Eichel, C.
Eichel will not be ready for the start of the season and as of this writing, there is a Buffalo Saber remaining, although he is expected to be traded for a few months now. That aside, you can’t ignore Eichel’s abilities, and when he’s healthy he’s a terrifying offensive player who can go from start to finish at any time. In the 2019-20 season where he scored 36 goals and 78 points in 68 games, Eichel placed ninth in G / GP (0.53) and 14th in P / GP (1.15). Even though Eichel plays 50 games, his score will likely surpass even the best second row players who play 82 games, and he’s talented enough to maybe earn a goalie spot. Eichel’s future is uncertain, but he’s well worth the risk for fantasy managers if he can get back on the ice this season.
Hidden Gem: Casey Mittelstadt, LW / C.
Mittelstadt has been the sharpest Saber down the home stretch, scoring 16 points in his last 21 games and has reminded everyone why he was the eighth pick overall in 2017. In retrospect, he should have stayed at the University of Minnesota for another season, but he’s definitely ready for a full-time role in the NHL now. Only Eichel, Reinhart and Victor Olofsson have a higher P / GP than Mittelstadt (0.54), who will fulfill a very important offensive role; he’s just one of two returning Sabers who finished with double-digit goals. Anaheim’s Mittelstadt and Trevor Zegras are two of the most talented young playmakers who will play the top six roles for their clubs, giving them more fantastic value compared to similar players in better teams loaded with quality depth. .
Goalkeepers: It’s “avoid at all costs” with Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell. Anderson is aiming for 300 career wins and only needs nine wins, but he only played two full regular season games last season and started against Aaron Dell and Alex Lyon. For Anderson, he needs the other guy at the end of the ice to be worse than him to win games, but Arizona are the only team that could have a worse tandem with former Saber Carter Hutton and rookie Josef. Korenar.
Outlook: If you ever hear someone say that the Sabers are beautiful, they are talking about their jerseys. Aside from Taylor Hall and Brandon Montour, who were traded during the season, three more of their top eight scorers will not return; Eichel is injured and Reinhart and Ristolainen were traded over the summer. Mittelstadt, Cozens and Rasmus Dahlin have to carry the team out of necessity, and most nights they will be outdone without fail. Olofsson is definitely worth picking in the low round if he’s available, as he’s a high-volume shooter who will likely lead the team in shots and goals. Excluding Eichel’s 83-point projection in the Pool Guide, Olofsson will be the Sabers’ top scorer with 56 points, but barely among the league’s top 100.