2018 Outlook: Panarin took advantage of the open ice and beautiful dishes that come from playing with Patrick Kane to the tune of 151 points in 162 games with the Blackhawks, but he'll have to create for himself more after being acquired by Columbus in a blockbuster offseason trade. The Blue Jackets don't exactly lack in talent, though, so Panarin should still be plenty effective while skating on the first line and top power-play unit. Notching a third consecutive 30-goal, 70-point campaign won't be easy, but the Russian is capable of doing so if he can find chemistry with his new teammates.
2018 Outlook: Considering Tavares has played his whole career with underwhelming linemates, it's remarkable that the 2009 first overall pick has fallen just 10 points short of performing at a point-per-game pace over the past six seasons. He has also grown as a two-way player, finishing with a positive rating in each of the past three campaigns after starting out at a combined minus-45 over his first five. The offseason addition of Jordan Eberle didn't move the needle much in terms of providing New York's captain with some scoring help, but Tavares comes in healthy after an April surgery fixed a thumb issue that had been bothering him for years. Furthermore, he still has room to grow his game, since he doesn't turn 27 until September.
2018 Outlook: Byfuglien brings an unmatched combination of skill and grit from the blue line, averaging exactly 50 points and 120 PIM over the past three seasons. The former forward has also cleaned up his defensive game recently, posting a positive rating in three consecutive seasons after finishing in the negatives during eight of his first nine NHL campaigns. A healthy Byfuglien is a lock for over 200 shots on goal and double-digit power-play points, making him one of the few players capable of providing sizable contributions in every single category. Just remember that the 32-year-old defenseman has established a clear ceiling for himself, having failed to top 20 goals and 56 points in a season.
2018 Outlook: It was another monster fantasy showing with strong cross-category coverage from Simmonds in 2016-17. He topped the 30-goal mark for the second straight season and propped up his 32 tallies with 54 points, 224 shots, 122 PIM and 162 hits. Simmonds' 25 power-play points were also a career-high mark. Unfortunately, Simmonds' minus-18 rating was a crippling ratio, and he also slowed down significantly after recording 16 goals and 29 points through the first 32 games. The 28-year-old winger remains locked into a top role for the Flyers at 5-on-5 and with the man advantage, so his fantasy floor is still high. Additionally, he also receives a huge boost in formats such as hits and PIM. It wouldn't even be shocking to see improvement in the plus-minus column this season.
2018 Outlook: A groin injury on Opening Night cost Quick the majority of last season, as he wasn't able to return until Feb. 25. While he suited up for just 17 starts, his .917 save percentage and 2.26 GAA were right in line with the numbers he had posted through the previous three years (.917 and 2.18). Quick also affirmed his status as a go-to netminder with a strong .927 save percentage at 5-on-5. The 31-year-old goalie will be leaned on again in 2017-18 with Ben Bishop moving on to Dallas, so Quick should approach 65 starts. The workload alone offers plenty of fantasy value. Additionally, despite having a number of core pieces in clear decline, the Kings' excellent possession game presents a nice fantasy setup for Quick.
2018 Outlook: Only Brent Burns topped Hedman's 72 points from the blue line last season, which was a remarkable achievement, given that Burns had him beaten by 154 shots. Tampa Bay's premier blueliner also tripled his previous career high in power play points, as he collected four goals and 29 assists with the man advantage. Hedman uses his 6-foot-6, 223-pound frame to control the point, block shots and flatten opponents whenever necessary. Case in point: He totaled 155 hits while fearlessly throwing his body in front of 264 shots since the start of the 2015-16 campaign. He ranks in an elite tier of fantasy defensemen, but Hedman very well could regress on the heels of a personal-best shooting percentage of 9.6 in 2016-17.
2018 Outlook: Andersen did just enough to get his team to the playoffs in his first season with the Maple Leafs, but expectations will be higher this time, given the expected progress of Toronto's talented youngsters. The Dane's career-worst 2.67 GAA last season can be blamed on poor defensive play in front of him, as Andersen's .918 save percentage was right in line with his career average. More wins and slightly better peripherals usually go hand-in-hand with greater team success, but then again, this is the Maple Leafs we're talking about, so that success is far from guaranteed.
2018 Outlook: Laine took the league by storm after getting drafted second overall in 2016 and potting 36 goals and dishing 28 helpers in 73 games as a rookie. The 19-year-old winger already possesses a nearly unmatched combination of size and skill, but he still has room to fill out his 6-foot-5, 206-pound frame. Laine also benefits from skating on a line with one of the league's most productive centers in Mark Scheifele, which allows him to avoid the heavy defensive attention and playmaking responsibilities that often limit high picks with mediocre linemates. All signs point to him being a top-10 goal scorer for years to come.
2018 Outlook: Only two players have at least 30 goals, 60 points and 250 shots in each of the past four seasons: Pacioretty and Alex Ovechkin. The Montreal captain has cemented himself as a high-floor, high-ceiling fantasy asset and enters 2017-18 locked into the same scoring role. After all, Pacioretty logged 19:25 of ice time per game -- 2:31 with the man advantage -- through 23 games after head coach Claude Julien took over. Entering his age-29 season, there could potentially be room for offensive improvement, too. Pacioretty has shown excellent chemistry with Alex Galchenyuk, and the duo combined for 3.5 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 last season. If Julien deploys Patches and Galchenyuk on the same line, it should provide an offensive boost for both.
2018 Outlook: Kopitar hit a career low in 2016-17, as his points per 60 minutes dropped all the way to 1.4, and he scored just 12 goals. Now entering his age-30 campaign, it's likely that Kopitar is clinging to the final year or two of his offensive prime. However, even with his down season and age in mind, there is reason to believe a rebound showing is ahead this season. Kopitar's 8.0 shooting percentage last year was a career low, so with statistical correction in his efficiency, approaching 20 goals again seems likely. Additionally, Kopitar logs huge minutes (20:46 last year) and is locked into a role on the No. 1 power-play unit -- both of which prop up his fantasy value. The Slovenian is a strong candidate to have a bounce-back season in 2017-18.
2018 Outlook: With Frederik Andersen out of the picture, the Ducks turned the starting reigns over to Gibson last season, and the youngster didn't disappoint when he was healthy. Although Gibson was limited to just 49 starts, he posted a high-end .924 save percentage and 2.22 GAA, which included a fifth-ranked .935 save percentage at 5-on-5 among all goalies with at least 35 games played. Anaheim returns a strong defensive corps in front of Gibson, and the addition of Ryan Miller shouldn't be viewed as a negative, as Gibson is the better netminder and the clear No. 1. Staying healthy is all that's left for Gibson to warrant mention among the top fantasy goalies. After all, he already owns a career .922 save percentage and 2.22 GAA.
2018 Outlook: Scoring more than 1,000 NHL points like his dad, Keith, did will be a tall order for Matthew, but he got off to a solid start with 13 goals and 35 assists in 76 games after being selected sixth overall in the 2016 draft. Almost as importantly for fantasy purposes, Tkachuk inherited his father's mean streak. His 105 PIM ranked 11th in the league, and only Wayne Simmonds and Dustin Byfuglien finished with more points among players with at least 100 minutes in the sin bin. The 19-year-old offers a much higher growth potential than either of those established veterans, and his plus-14 rating as a rookie was already better than anything Byfuglien or Simmonds have put forth with their current teams.
2018 Outlook: After scoring just three goals with a 3.8 shooting percentage through the first 38 games of last season, Forsberg caught fire with 28 tallies and an 18.7 shooting percentage over his next 48 contests. The 23-year-old winger finished 2016-17 with 31 goals, 58 points and 234 shots, and he played all 82 games for a third consecutive campaign. Forsberg hit stride with Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson atop the Nashville depth chart, and the trio projects to remain the go-to scoring line for the Predators entering 2017-18. Looking back at last season's numbers, Forsberg recorded just nine power play points after collecting 42 over the previous two campaigns. Production with the man advantage can fluctuate year to year, but considering his skill set, improvement is probably ahead. As a result, a career-best showing could be in store with Forsberg entering his offensive prime.
2018 Outlook: The addition of Lucic's toughness helped Edmonton make its first playoff appearance since 2005-06, though some would argue that Connor McDavid's ascension to league MVP in just his second season had a little more to do with it. Either way, Lucic's presence in front of the net made a massive difference with the extra man, as he led the team with 12 power-play goals and topped his old career high of 14 power-play points by 11. The veteran power forward ultimately exhibited more skill and less toughness than ever before, finishing with only 50 PIM and a career-best 175 shots on goal. Both of those numbers should return closer to their respective per-season means of 90 and 125, while 40 points is a reasonable floor given, that Lucic has topped that mark in seven of 10 NHL campaigns, including six of the past seven.
2018 Outlook: Kessel is a shining example of both durability and production. The speedy forward hasn't missed a game since 2009 while notching at least 20 goals in each of the past nine seasons. He's surrounded by more talent than ever before on a stacked Penguins team, as evidenced by last season's career-high 47 assists. Consistently skating alongside a top center in either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin also helps mask Kessel's defensive deficiencies, as he has finished both of his seasons in Pittsburgh with a positive rating after landing in the red during eight of his first nine campaigns. The Wisconsin native doesn't turn 30 until October and has a clear path for improvement if his shooting percentage rebounds to his career 10.6-percent mark after dipping below that the past three seasons.