2016 Outlook: Taking a backseat -- from an offensive standpoint -- to an emerging Sami Vatanen, Fowler finished 2014-15 with only seven goals and 27 assists. Still only 23 years old, the former first-rounder (12th overall, 2010) should do better than those mediocre numbers. Particularly if he competes, along with Vatanen, on the squad's No. 1 power play.
2016 Outlook: On the New York Islanders blue line there are three players that sap value from each other as they all take turns playing as the top defenseman. Nick Leddy has to share the wealth with Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic. From a perspective if picking one of them in hopes they emerge as the season-long leader, Leddy has the advantage as being the most consistent last season. He had steady production from wire-to-wire last year, where Boychuk and Hamonic were much better in stretches and much worse in stretches. If you want upside on the blue line, look elsewhere. But if you need steady, take Leddy.
2016 Outlook: With Dougie Hamilton on board, there's the suggestion Wideman -- a fellow right-handed shot -- will see a decrease in opportunities with the man-advantage. We're not so sure. Tied with Johnny Gaudreau for most power play points last season (21), the veteran D-man collected 21 goals and 44 assists altogether. And he's gifted with one of the most vicious shots in the league. Why would the Flames ditch that exceptional weapon from their special teams' arsenal? If anything, defenseman Kris Russell is likely to see more limited play with the extra skater.
2016 Outlook: In June, GM Joe Sakic proclaimed Johnson "100 percent" healthy to the Denver Post. Good news after the defenseman lost nearly half of last season to a knee injury. With a full summer to train and build up strength, the seven-year veteran -- who's just entering his prime as a blueliner -- shouldn't miss a beat, once camp opens. Just below Tyson Barrie on the Colorado's fantasy depth chart, Johnson has 40-point potential.
2016 Outlook: Earlier this offseason, Daley promised his surgically-mended hip would be fine well ahead of the season, and expressed a willingness to fill any role with his new club, the reigning champs: "I'm coming on to a team that just won a Cup. I'm looking to fit in, follow their lead and listen because I want to win one with them. I'm willing to do whatever I'm supposed to do." (Source: CSNChicago). Often undervalued as a fantasy asset in the past, Daley could see serious man-advantage minutes with the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa. On the flip-side, he might be tasked to fill a more defensive role. We'll get a better sense once training camp is in full swing.
2016 Outlook: The trade for Trevor Daley might -- might -- put a minor dent in Seabrook's fantasy value, only in that the career Blackhawk could see a decrease in quality power play opportunities. It's worth noting he notched nearly half (15) of his 31 points with the extra skater in 2014-15. Regardless, Seabrook is slated to remain top-pair partner to Duncan Keith.
2016 Outlook: Currently third on the fantasy depth chart behind Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler, Lindholm is one breakout season away from rising up the ranks. You can smell it coming, watching the young offensive-defenseman in action. After two solid campaigns, the 21-year-old should improve upon his 34-point output from last year. Especially if he sees quality minutes with the extra skater, and clicks on the top-pairing with new Shark Kevin Bieksa.
2016 Outlook: Is the demise of Zdeno Chara greatly exaggerated? Or are we in for another campaign with weak point totals and declining stats? While the majority seems to have settled on the latter, there is room for Chara to be a sneaky gamble in your draft if he slips into the later rounds. Last season was the first time since Chara wore an Ottawa Senators jersey that he missed more than half a dozen games in a season and it was the fewest games he played in a season since he was a sophomore with the New York Islanders in the 1998-99 season. Could dealing with the first significant injury of his career derailed him beyond just the missed time? Is it possible Chara comes back from a summer of healing and becomes even a shadow of the dominating offensive force we have come to love in fantasy hockey? For a physical force like the 6'9" defender, it is well within the realm of possibilities. Just don't forget that it's a fact that he only scored nine points in 34 games after the All-Star break last season and that is the basement of what you are drafting. He will be a calculated risk in drafts, but not one for which you should sacrifice a good pick.
2016 Outlook: Despite taking a demi-step back in his Sophomore year -- at least statistically -- Trouba remains on course to serve as a top-pair defenseman in the NHL. Unfortunately for the young blueliner, last season's trade acquisition of Tyler Myers means the Jets coaching staff can pump the brakes a bit on his development, with special teams play in particular. Now, having said that, a trade jettisoning Byfuglien from the 'Peg would immediately boot Trouba into a more prominent role.
2016 Outlook: Are we still waiting for Jack Johnson to bring out another level in his game? Or is it about time we take a look in the mirror and admit that what we see, is what we get? He now has nine years of NHL experience and has still never eclipsed eight goals or 42 points. In fact, last season's eight goals and 40 points arguably made up the best fantasy season of his career. Unfortunately, those numbers came with a minus-13 rating. Only once in his nine seasons -- plus-5 in 2011-12 -- was Johnson not a minus player. On the plus side, Johnson is certainly a power play specialist on the point. More than half of his total points came on the man advantage for the second consecutive campaign. That doesn't make up for the total package proving to be sub-par for fantasy purposes.
2016 Outlook: He filled the stats sheet when called upon, but Anton Stralman was largely only called upon while Victor Hedman was injured last season. His nine goals and 39 points were a career high that is not likely to be repeated with Hedman at full strength. However, 30-plus points and a solid plus/minus are a repeatable performance for Stralman and that offers low-end fantasy value for defensemen. Especially when you consider the upside if Stralman is pressed into duty on the power play for an injury again.
2016 Outlook: One way or another, Dion Phaneuf will do better this season. The reality is that he can't really do worse. Doesn't it seem like a lifetime ago when Phaneuf scored 20 goals as a rookie with the Calgary Flames? He scored 60 points for the Flames two years later in 2007-08. He has fallen to the point of scoring just three goals last season and finishing with fewer than 30 points. Coach Mike Babcock will be pressed to get the best of Phaneuf, even if it is just to raise his trade stock. At least to begin the season, look for Phaneuf to still be given the nod as the team's No. 1 defenseman. Can Babcock coax out the 200-shot, 10-goal, power play force of years gone by? Phaneuf did have 12 goals and 202 shots in his second full year as a Bud. But with so many forces working against him -- minimal offense up front, Morgan Rielly waiting in the wings -- the safe bet is for Phaneuf as a low-end fantasy defenseman.
2016 Outlook: Continuing to improve, Brodie is coming off a solid season in which he earned 11 goals and 30 assists (plus-15). Paired with captain Mark Giordano, the 25-year-old should enjoy similar numbers this season. As long as he doesn't lose his slot to newcomer Dougie Hamilton.
2016 Outlook: Relatively healthy compared to his two previous season, Edler was the Canucks' top-scoring defenseman in 2014-15 by a good margin, collecting 31 points in 74 contests. And the veteran Swede has the potential to be better than that, as proven in previous campaigns. A top-pair staple, Edler is the club's primary option to anchor the No. 1 power play unit. Only Vancouver's top forward trio -- the Sedins and Vrbata -- notched more points with the man-advantage last season. When fit, Edler has the capability to flirt with the 50-point mark.
2016 Outlook: It seems like Goligoski has been around forever, and yet the veteran D-man just turned 30 years old in July. Regardless, his more productive days are in the rear-view, especially with Sophomore John Klingberg pegged to do the heavy lifting, from an offensive standpoint. A 40-point performance from the former Penguin should please fantasy owners who draft him in later rounds.