With the regular season just under a month away many of you are beginning to join fantasy hockey leagues. Today, I am going to put New Jersey Devils players into tiers based on fantasy value.
* All player projections are based on the player playing an 82 game season
Let's be honest with ourselves here, Ilya Kovalchuk is and will be a top-tier fantasy player regardless of what team or system he plays in. He is just that good.
Now that Kovalchuk is a member of the Devils heading into training camp, he will have more time to get familiar with the Devils players and system, which means he will be ready to put up points come October.
Don't expect Alex Ovechkin numbers from Kovalchuk; however, I think it is safe to say he will be a top-tier fantasy player this season.
Fantasy prediction: 49 goals, 42 assists, 91 points
Parise is a top-tier fantasy player regardless if Kovalchuk is a Devil or not. Parise proved that as he tallied 26 points in the 25 games of the season. He also went on a very impressive streak to end the season by tallying eight points in the final five games.
I am not saying Parise will score 100 points, but 90 to 95 is certainly not out of the question.
Fantasy prediction: 42 goals, 51 assists, 93 points
What should fantasy owners expect from Brodeur this season?
I am going with yet another 40-win season.
Some of you would argue that they now have a legitimate backup goaltender in Johan Hedberg so Brodeur will not get as many starts. Well, I agree with you. Brodeur will not see 77 starts like he did last season; however, it is safe to say he will be in the 70-start area and on a team like the Devils a 40 win season is not out of the question.
Fantasy prediction: 41 wins, 2.26 GAA, .918 SV percentage
Zajac posted an impressive point total last season as he tallied 67 points (25 goals, 42 assists) in 82 games.
Will that number go up?
You bet, last season Zajac played on a line with Zach Parise for the start but they moved Zajac around when other lines didn't produce. With Zajac being the Devils number one center, it is safe to say he WILL be playing with Ilya Kovalchuk or Zach Parise at almost all times and when he is not, he will likely be on a line with at least one of Patrik Elias or Jamie Langenbrunner, which isn't have bad either.
I am not saying to go out and draft Zajac in the first round or anything; however, when you are considering Zajac and someone else, keep in mind who Zajac will be playing with.
Fantasy Prediction: 27 goals, 50 assists, 77 points
Elias had a good season last year as he tallied a respectable 48 points (19 goals, 29 assists) in 58 games; however, you should expect more from Elias this season assuming he stays healthy.
Elias will now be playing on the right wing and will be on a line with some sort of combo involving Jason Arnott, Travis Zajac, Zach Parise, or Ilya Kovalchuk at almost all times, which should only help him produce points.
Fantasy prediction: 25 goals, 43 assists, 68 points
There is not too much to say about Langenbrunner. He is a very good player on a very deep team. I expect him to put up solid numbers but they will probably be lower than last years point total (61).
Fantasy prediction: 17 goals, 40 assists, 57 points
Greene is by no means a "top flight" offensive defenseman but he is the only real talent the Devils have at that position. With that being said he will be playing approximately 25 minutes a night and will see a ton of powerplay time.
With the strength of the forwards on the powerplay units, I think it is safe to say he will produce some points.
Fantasy Prediction: 8 goals, 37 assists, 45 points
Rolston still has a bomb of a slap shot, but that is about it. Rolston's point per game average has consistently dropped over the last four years and it doesn't look good if that pattern continues this season.
Last year Rolston produced a decent point total tallying 37 points (20 goals, 17 assists) but that will likely drop again this year.
I am not here trashing Rolston, I am just warning you not to overrate him. On a side note he is a good late round pick in a deep league as he will likely produce 10 to 15 goals.
Fantasy Prediction: 12 goals, 19 assists, 31 points
This is the group of capable players who could produce decent point totals but are too unreliable to draft in a small league.
Clarkson has always been a solid fantasy performer but never to flashy. It is pretty simple with Clarky, he will score some goals, put up some points and tally some pims. In a deep league I would say he is a very good pick (especially if pims is a category).
If not, he is a solid player you could likely add off the waiver wire to replace a slumping or injured player.
Fantasy prediction: 20 goals, 24 assists, 44 points, 160 pims
If he could stay healthy for a full season I would have Arnott in the middle tier category, but that is not the case.
Arnott has proved over the last few years that when healthy he is a very productive player. The only problem is he has only played 70 or more games once in the last four seasons.
I expect Arnott will fit in the Devils lineup nicely; however, with all the star power around him, he will not produce like he did in Nashville.
Fantasy prediction: 23 goals, 28 assists, 51 points
This concludes my in-depth look at the New Jersey Devils fantasy wise, enjoy.
If you have any questions or comments about anything (news, rumors, etc...), feel free to email me at NHLToddCordell@Gmail.com anytime, thanks.
Follow me on twitter for the latest news and rumors @ToddCordell