Fantasy Forecast: Northeast Division Player Predictions

Photo courtesy of Business Insider Sports

By Todd Cordell

In case you missed the first edition, I am doing team-by-team fantasy predictions sorted by division. In this six-part series, I will make fantasy predictions on two players from each team in every division and say why or why not I think that player will perform well, or fail to reach expectations.

Note: The first edition (Southeast fantasy forecast) can be found here.

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the second part of this series. Today I will be looking at the Northeast division.

Toronto Maple Leafs

1. Phil Kessel will hit the 70 point plateau for the first time

Phil Kessel had his best year in the NHL last season, as he put up a career high in points with 64. With the Leafs improving at center, and adding two puck-moving defenseman in John-Michael Liles and Cody Franson, I expect Kessel will have another career year, and hit the 70 point plateau for the first time.

2. Dion Phaneuf will score 15+ goals

Late last season Dion Phaneuf started to come out of his shell and play the way he used to in Calgary. With Phaneuf playing with a lot of confidence, starting to shoot more (like he used to), and the Leafs adding two more puck-moving defenseman who can feed him one-timers, I think Phaneuf could score 15 or more goals for the first time since the 07/08 season.

Montreal Canadiens

1. PK Subban will have a massive year

Subban had a great rookie campaign last year tallying an impressive 38 points in 77 games. He also posted four points in seven playoff games. With that in mind, he is only going to get better and I truly believe that 50 points is a reasonable expectation for this season.

Now before you point out that Andrei Markov will be back this year, you also need to realize that he is injury prone and will likely miss some time again. It’s also worth noting that the Canadiens lost James Wisnewski, so PK’s playing time won’t be impacted much, if at all.

Draft Subban if you can. You won’t regret it.

2. Max Pacioretty will tally 50 points

Last year ‘Patches’ was putting up very impressive numbers (24 points in 37 games) before his season was ended on a hit by Zdeno Chara.

With Pacioretty now healthy and ready to go, I think he will have a very nice season and hit the 50 point mark.

Ottawa Senators

1. Erik Karlsson will have a huge year

Last year Erik Karlsson tallied 45 points in just 75 games on a horrible offensive team in the Senators. With Karlsson’s continual development, Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek back to 100%, and the addition of Nikita Filatov I think Karlsson could put up 55-60 points.

The sky is the limit for this kid, so if you have a chance to draft him, do it!

2. Nikita Filatov will put up 45

I think we can all agree that Nikita Filatov is a scary talent, he just never really had a chance to prove himself in the NHL. In Ottawa, Filatov has been promised a spot in the sop-six as well as powerplay time this year. When you combine talent, motivation and ice time, you get results. Nikita Filatov will put up 45 this year. Book it.

Boston Bruins

1. Tyler Seguin will have a solid sophomore season, put up 40+

Tyler Seguin is a breakout waiting to happen. After a disappointing regular season, Seguin took his game to another level in the playoffs and played relatively well. With Seguin expected to see top-six time this year, there is no telling what he can do.

I’m going to stay on the safe side and say he will put up 40+ points this season, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him hit 50.

2. Tim Thomas will not repeat his 10/11 season

Suggesting Tim Thomas will not have as much success this season as last is by no means going out on a limb, as it is almost impossible to do so.

With that said, I don’t think Tim Thomas’ numbers will drop, I think they will dramatically drop. His save percentage will not be .938 or anywhere close. It’s unrealistic to expect that. Though his goals against average will be similar, he will not win 35 games. Tuuka Rask will start 30 games or so, which means Thomas will have to win 35 out of 52 starts to repeat last years win production. That is simply not going to happen like it did this past season.

While I am by no means suggesting he isn’t a good goaltender or will get taken over, I am saying he will not be a #1 fantasy goaltender this season.

Buffalo Sabres

1. Ryan Miller will win 40 games

Last year Ryan Miller won 34 games in 66 starts. With the Sabres vastly improving their defense core, the addition of Ville Leino and Derek Roy returning to 100% health, I don’t think it’s a stretch to expect Miller to win 40 games; especially considering the fact he has done so twice in his career.

2. Thomas Vanek will score 40

My final prediction for this blog is that Thomas Vanek will score 40+ goals for the first time since the 08/09 season.

The Sabres added an extremely skilled puck-moving defenseman in Christian Ehrhoff this offseason. With that addition, the Sabres now have four defenseman who can move the puck in Jordan Leopold, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Tyler Myers and of course, Ehrhoff.

Top that with the addition of Ville Leino and the return of his center Derek Roy, and you have yourself a 40+ goal scorer in Vanek.

Follow me on twitter @ToddCordell for the latest news & notes surrounding the New Jersey Devils, and NHL in general.

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