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2015-2016 Early NHL Favorites (Forwards and Defensemen)

With the Conference Finals upon us, it is now time to start looking ahead to next season’s best fantasy options. As we all know, every season brings new emerging talent along with a few surprises to go along. On the other side, we unexpectedly see a players tank and produce next to nothing. Going into this off-season, it is always a little tricky to predict success for the following season but based off how players performed toward the end of the season and in the playoffs, gives us some idea of what to expect.

Forwards

For the past eternity (or at least it feels like,) Sidney Crosby has always been the best overall fantasy player (and forward) but this year, we will see a changing of the guard. Alex Ovechkin’s breakout season under new Coach, Barry Trotz has Ovie poised to be the best fantasy player next year. The rest of the list looks like this:

1. Alexander Ovechkin (53 G, 28 A, 81 GP)
2. Patrick Kane (27 G, 37 A, 64 GP)
3. Sidney Crosby (28 G, 56 A, 77 GP)
4. Steven Stamkos (43 G, 29 A, 82 GP)
5. Tyler Seguin (37 G, 40 A, 71 GP)

Patrick Kane was absolutely dominant and has been great in the playoffs, take away his injury during this past season and I think he wins the Art Ross. Tyler Seguin may be the surprise on this list but similar to Kane, he was scoring over point-per-game when he was hurt and with the emergence of his liney, Jamie Benn, Seguin could be poised for a big year.

Defensemen

It is extremely difficult to key on the top defensemen for next season, simply due to the sporadic nature of the sport but we always have a few consistent players and some new emerging defensemen who showed their stuff this season. The number one defensemen, should be no surprise, Erik Karlsson has been consistently filling the net and still provides some fantasy stats in other areas as well.

1. Erik Karlsson (21 G, 45 A, 82 GP)
2. Mark Giordano (11 G, 37 A, 61 GP)
3. Dustin Byfuglien (18 G, 27 A, 69 GP)
4. P.K. Subban (15 G, 45 A, 82 GP)
5. Kevin Shattenkirk (8 G, 36 A, 56 GP)

This list may seem a little odd at first but if you look at the seasons that many of these players had, they were playing top 5 hockey but were sidelined by injuries. I think Mark Giordano would have been a Norris finalist without a doubt. Some may say that Shattenkirk is too low on this list but after his playoff performance, he did not earn better than the 5th position. Both Subban and Karlsson are pretty easily explained and I think Buff is going to have an off the charts next season, if he can keep his head on straight.

GRFF Staff

GRFF Staff

Where the hell am I and where are my shoes.

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