With the 2014-15 NHL season coming to a conclusion, it’s time to start thinking ahead to next year in regards to fantasy. There were many surprises and breakout performances throughout the duration of the season. Lots of young players showed signs of promise and glimpses of how effective they can really be. Here are five players that you may consider drafting for next season.
One of the biggest surprises of the season has been the play of a young Calgary Flames team. A big reason as to why the team has be so successful has been the play of second year standout Sean Monahan. After being taken fifth overall in the 2013 draft, Monahan posted 22 goals in his rookie season, and has eclipsed the 30 goal mark this year. Monahan is proving to be a dynamic power forward in the NHL. He finishes his hits, plays a very sound defensive game, and is a stud on the power play. Look for Monahan’s stock to rise substantially before next season, as he will most likely be taken within the first three rounds in standard drafts.
The Ottawa Senators have been on an improbable playoff push the last 25 games, and are the hottest team in hockey. This is a team loaded with young talent, including 21 year old Mika Zibanejad. After a strong finish to the 2013-14 season, Zibanejad has recorded 20 goals and 46 points in 78 games this season. At 6’2” and 211 pounds, Zibanejad has the size to be a dominant offensive player in the league. Surrounded by young talent, the Stockholm product will continue to improve and emerge as a leader on this young team. The sky is the limit for Zibanejad as he will prove to be a steal in the 2015-16 season.
One of the bright spots from the Buffalo Sabres dismal season, has been the emergence of young Swede, Johan Larsson. In 28 games last season, Larsson failed to record a goal and showed he wasn’t close to being NHL ready. Even as this year got underway, Larsson struggled to contribute, getting limited ice time. But since his last call-up, he has found chemistry with Tyler Ennis and has been one of the Sabres best forwards. In his last 15 games, Larsson has 13 points, and has shown that he belongs in the NHL. Next season there is a good chance that Larsson will have a top six role with the Sabres, so it would be smart to snag him in the late rounds of the draft.
Maybe the biggest surprise rookie performance from the 2014-15 season, John Klingberg has impressed all year, as he has recorded 39 points in 64 games, as a defenseman. After accumulating 12 points in ten AHL games, Klingberg was called up to the NHL, and hasn’t looked back since. He possesses a powerful shot, and has the ability to be one of the top puck moving defenseman in the NHL. Klingberg will definitely help lots of fantasy teams when it comes to the power play department. Klingberg logs plenty of ice time, and when it comes to draft time, look for him to be available in rounds four to five.
Another key factor to the success of the Ottawa Senators has been due to the play of 22 year old Mark Stone. Towards the end of last season, Stone showed flashes of brilliance and also made a case for himself to be a full time NHLer. In 78 games this season, Stone has netted 24 goals and tallied 61 points and is an astounding plus 18. At 6’3” and 200 pounds, Stone has the potential to be one of the leagues most dominant power forwards. Look for him to be taken within the first four rounds come draft time.