2017 Projections

11. B. Bishop, LA G
Bishop is a monster. He brings size, skill and speed to the blue paint, and that has translated into 37, 41 and 35 wins in the past three seasons, respectively -- not to mention two Vezina nominations. Big Ben is heading into the final year of a contract that pays him $5.95 million and he has Andrei Vasilevskiy barking at his heels for playing time. With that in mind, Bishop is going to be traded; it's just a matter of when, as the Bolts just can't afford to pay his asking price. The American netminder will be the top dog in Tampa if he breaks camp with the squad, just as he'll be the top goalie anywhere he happens to play after the trade deadline. Elite is elite, and Bishop's game translates anywhere. If healthy, he should deliver stats just like he did in 2015-16, and that means he'll be at or near the top of the GAA and save percentage leader list. The only caveat? He has suffered some weird injuries in the postseason in each of the past three years. Bishop is fantasy gold as long as he stays healthy.
12. A. Ovechkin, Wsh RW, LW
Ovechkin is the most prolific scorer in the NHL. The Great Eight slammed home 50 goals in 2015-16 (he also had 21 assists), earning his fourth straight Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, an award that's almost expected of the veteran at this point. Turning 31 years old in September, Ovechkin led the Caps to the Presidents' Trophy, and despite an early exit in the playoffs, the superstar should repeat his efforts in 2016-17 with a returning roster starving for its first Stanley Cup. At this point, you know Ovechkin is going to fire on net consistently and effectively, with 400 shots always in the cards (and a scoring rate greater than 12 percent). The 2004 first-overall pick has dominated the NHL in 11 years of service, and while the assist numbers will fail to compare to his early days, Ovie is still the best bet around to score 50 times and absolutely feast on defenses night in and night out.
13. C. McDavid, Edm C
While McDavid has only 45 career NHL games under his belt, he enters the 2016-17 season as an elite fantasy option. The 19-year-old burst onto the scene last year, exploding for 48 points in an injury-riddled campaign that earned him a Calder Trophy nomination. The top-line center is an explosive skater with ridiculous skill who can take over the game on any given night. While the Oilers dealt away top goal scorer Taylor Hall over the offseason, they still have some talented wingers who can line up next to McDavid, including Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic and the recently drafted Jesse Puljujarvi. McDavid scored 16 times last season and was a force on the power play, so it's scary to think what this all-world talent could accomplish in a full 82-game season. Look for the young phenom to be one of the first players taken off the board in fantasy drafts this season.
14. B. Burns, SJ D
If you're looking for an all-around fantasy stud on the blue line, Burns is your guy. The 6-foot-5 rearguard has established himself as one of the most coveted fantasy commodities with his dynamic offensive talents and fearless playing style. Burns finished the 2015-16 campaign with 75 points and just missed cracking the top-10 in NHL scoring. The 31-year-old continued his success in the postseason where he produced at a point-per-game rate, helping San Jose reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. The workhorse logs heavy minutes in all situations and led all defensemen with 30 power-play points last season. The talented Sharks roster from 2015-16 remains largely intact and Burns will continue to lead the charge on the blue line. He is always willing to jump into the play while still delivering hits and earning penalty minutes. Burns should be in for another productive campaign in 2016-17.
15. J. Gaudreau, Cgy LW
After qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in six years two seasons ago, the Flames were a huge disappointment in 2015-16, but Gaudreau certainly wasn't. The diminutive winger cranked things up after a tremendous 64-point rookie campaign, lighting the lamp 30 times while dishing out 48 helpers to finish tied for sixth in league scoring with 78 points in 79 games. Like most elite fantasy forwards, Gaudreau has a highly productive linemate in Sean Monahan -- who's put up 125 points over the past two seasons and is still just 21 -- so it's almost scary to think what these two are capable of as they continue to develop at the NHL level. They'll welcome veteran Troy Brouwer to their line this season after he was signed by Calgary in the summer, and as long as he brings his typical hard-nosed game and 30-40 points to the lineup, Gaudreau should continue to flourish as one of the game's most prolific wingers.
16. J. Tavares, NYI C
The Isles' franchise center took a step back in 2015-16. Sure, Tavares' 70 points were still the eighth-most among centers, but it was a significant reduction from the 86 he rattled off in 2014-15. Much of that can be attributed to a slow start (by his standards), as the 25-year-old recorded just 29 points in 39 games, punctuated by a 16-game stretch in December and January that featured just seven points. Tavares' feast-or-famine production continued in the playoffs, as he went bananas with 11 points in the first seven games before being held scoreless for the final four contests against Tampa Bay. Tavares probably shouldn't crack the first round in fantasy drafts this season -- especially since longtime productive linemate Kyle Okposo left for Buffalo in the offseason -- but odds are that he'll once again make magic, no matter who lines up with him. Andrew Ladd and P.A. Parenteau were brought in and are the most logical choices to get the first shot at flanking Tavares, so it'll be interesting to see how the Isles' revamped top six comes together as the season gets underway.
17. C. Schneider, NJ G
Schneider is almost certainly the best goalie in the NHL without a 30-win season to his name. He's posted superstar numbers each season, never finishing with a save percentage under .921 in any of the past six seasons. But Schneider has never really gotten his due credit because career circumstances have conspired to limit the rewards for his incredible performances. First he had to escape from Roberto Luongo's shadow in Vancouver, then Martin Brodeur's in New Jersey; Schneider finally emerged as a franchise netminder during the past two seasons, but has had the misfortune of doing so for a Devils team that's been allergic to scoring. Things were trending up last season, and this offseason's acquisition of Taylor Hall should provide a serious boost to the offense, helping Schneider earn some more victories and making him one of the most valuable goalies in fantasy.
18. A. Panarin, Chi C, LW
With the Calder Trophy in his back pocket, the sky is the limit for Panarin entering his second NHL season. The Russian sniper thrived on a line with Art Ross Trophy winner Patrick Kane in 2015-16, piling up 30 goals and 77 points in 80 games. Considering he cracked the top-10 in scoring in his rookie season and delivered in the clutch with seven game-winning goals, Panarin is one of the most appealing left wingers entering the 2016-17 campaign. The 24-year-old will likely continue to skate alongside Kane at even strength and be a key piece on a talented Blackhawks power play anchored by Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. It's hard to see Panarin improving on the totals from his rookie season, even if he does stick with Kane all year. However, the talented sophomore has a knack for finding the back of the net and should be a top fantasy forward once again on a skilled Chicago team.
19. C. Crawford, Chi G
With the talented Blackhawks a threat to contend each year, Crawford remains one of the most reliable fantasy netminders in the game. The 31-year-old had arguably his best season to date in 2015-16, posting a 35-18-5 record with a .924 save percentage and seven shutouts. In each of his past five full seasons, he has appeared in 55-plus games and posted save percentages in the .917 to .924 range. Crawford's consistency makes him one of the most sought after goaltenders in fantasy, and a dynamic Chicago blue line that includes Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson doesn't hurt, either. Aside from the return Brian Campbell, Chicago didn't make any huge acquisitions this offseason, but the core remains intact, powered by 2016 Art Ross Trophy winner Patrick Kane. Crawford is the go-to guy in the Windy City, and after posting three consecutive seasons with 30-plus wins, he should be in for another successful campaign in 2016-17.
20. H. Lundqvist, NYR G
They call him "King Henrik," but the blue-caped backstop was easily knocked off his throne in 2015-16. In the months of December, March and April, the Swede carried GAA's of 3.27, 3.38 and 3.32, respectively. He was obliterated against the Penguins -- the eventual Stanley Cup champions -- in the conference semifinals, allowing the puck to travel past him 15 times on 113 shots for a putrid save mark of .867. Still, the forgettable campaign is a small passing cloud over an otherwise bright career. The 34-year-old remains one of the best goalies in the league having been named the Rangers' MVP in seven seasons, an All-Star in three, and the Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top netminder in 2012. With the Rangers ranking in the top-third of the league in goals per game in each of the past two seasons and a good shot at making it three in a row, expect Hank to be a dependable source of wins in fantasy; only once in his 11-year career has he finished with fewer than 30 in a single season. Lundqvist's stinker of a year will have plenty of fantasy owners shopping elsewhere, but that could be a mistake given his overall track record. Buy low.
* - Projected