2016 Outlook: There's no way Pavelski scores another 40-plus goals, we suggested ahead of last season, not after catching the back of the net 18.2 percent of the time in 2013-14. No chance. Well, Pavelski only scored 37 goals in 2014-15 (14.2 percent success on 261 shots), while contributing 33 assists. You just keep doing you, Joe, and we'll mind our own business.
2016 Outlook: After flashing point-per-game potential during the lockout-shortened campaign, but following it up with 62 points in 2013-14, Voracek broke through to the elite scoring threshold last season. With 81 points -- including an impressive 59 assists -- Voracek established himself and linemate Claude Giroux (48 assists) as the deadliest setup duo in the NHL not born within minutes of each other (Henrik and Daniel Sedin combined for 112 assists). The result is that both Giroux and Voracek are fantasy stars and the players around them on Philadelphia Flyers become better. The Flyers power play will have to remain just as deadly for Voracek to approach 80 points again, but even if he slips to 70 points, fantasy owners won't be complaining about his output.
2016 Outlook: Wired to rack up production numbers (predominantly goals) and penalty minutes at a frenetic pace, Perry ranks as a top-10 right wing by any fantasy measuring stick. Some would argue top-five. The 30-year-old remains capable of serving up a point-per-game pace, especially alongside Ryan Getzlaf, with an abundance of shots on the side. There isn't another player in the game that will give you the key category numbers of first-liner while also providing the PIM totals of a fourth-liner.
2016 Outlook: He plays with Corey Perry at even-strength, and like Perry, he remains a point-per-game threat. He reigns fourth in the NHL in first assists, tied with Sidney Crosby and Jakub Voracek (all situations, 2014-15), but if you prorate the lockout season to 82 games, he has also netted at least 25 goals in each of the past three seasons. There aren't a lot of cases against grabbing him.
2016 Outlook: Injury cut into Henrik Lundqvist's workload significantly last season, but by all means, he remains King Lundqvist. His goals against average was eighth-best in the NHL and he was tied for 10th in save percentage. That's typical Lundqvist productivity and, barring another injury, will help him remain a top-five goaltender in fantasy for another season. Antti Raanta won't eat into his starting time anymore than any other backup has, leaving Lundqvist in line to start 65-plus games. He doesn't have flashy upside like some other top-tier goaltenders, but consistency is what you want when it comes to the crease and you know Lundqvist won't be a bust.
2016 Outlook: Given the chance to establish himself as the No. 1 for the Washington Capitals, Braden Holtby more than stepped up to the plate. Turning in 41 wins, a 2.22 goals against average and .923 save percentage, the 26-year-old was better than the Capitals even hoped for. A new focus on defense certainly helped the Capitals, starting with the influx of responsible defensemen like Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. That trend continues with the departure of Mike Green this season. Holtby may not repeat such gaudy numbers, but he could. Given his decent chances of repeating success and the fact the wins will be there either way, Holtby is a safe bet as a top-10 fantasy goaltender. Holtby will be a workhorse again and start in the ballpark of 70 games, after his league-leading 72 starts last year.
2016 Outlook: The combination of Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat was the most dangerous even strength line in the NHL last season. But with the bar set so high, opponents will have to continue to underrate the Lightning's second-line center (which they are unlikely to do) and the chemistry will have to remain strong enough to resist line shuffles for Johnson to earn his lofty status as a top fantasy forward. What if Kucherov or Ondrej Palat get a chance to play with Steven Stamkos and are even more dangerous? It's not out of the realm of possibility. Johnson's position directly clashes with that of the best player the Bolts have (Stamkos) and the Triplets will have to defy the odds to stay together for another full season. But even if he suffers a small fall from grace, you will probably still be very happy with 60 points from Johnson. Just don't draft him thinking that last season's 72 points are the basement for his potential -- that was likely the ceiling.
2016 Outlook: The Predators are pledging to curb Rinne's workload in 2015-16, meaning between 60 and 65 starts. We're A-Okay with that strategy. Part of the cream of the fantasy goaltending crop, Rinne ranks in step with Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby, just a hair behind Vezina winner Carey Price. His 2.18 goals against ranked third in the league, and he plays behind one of the NHL's best defensive groups.
2016 Outlook: Will Big Buff and his expiring contract (2016) be traded during the regular season? Will he serve regularly as a forward or defenseman, or both, in 2015-16? Irksome unknowns, sure, but what isn't in question is Byfuglien's potential as a fantasy beast. When healthy and motivated, the hybrid skater has the wherewithal to put up serious figures in certain categories -- goals, assists, power play points -- and dominate in others, such as shots and PIM. Plus, performing for a new deal will undoubtedly motivate the 30-year-old all the more. We like him as a second- or third-round (if you're lucky) draft pick in most standard leagues.
2016 Outlook: So was that unforeseen, campaign-altering run a fluke last winter? Nah. Not entirely, anyway. Dubnyk put in solid performances for the Coyotes before the mid-season trade brought him to Minnesota. The six-year vet was finally offered a shot on a competent defensive team, after years with the Oilers, and he made the most of it. His 0.929 save percentage and 2.07 goals against ranked second in the league behind only Carey Price, earning him Vezina-finalist honors.
2016 Outlook: While we have offered concerns about Tyler Johnson's fate if the Triplets are broken up, Kucherov, on the other hand, can only fall up. If the deadly trio of Johnson, Kucherov and Ondrej Palat can't carryover their amazing chemistry for another season, a line shuffle would land Kucherov on the wing of Steven Stamkos as an alternative. And yes, that would definitely be falling up. Kucherov's sniper shot is the driving force behind the Triplets' success, and Kucherov could stand to improve on his 64 points from last season. He has the shot of a 35-goal scorer in the NHL and should push that threshold -- with or without Johnson and Palat at his side.
2016 Outlook: There is potential for improvement, following a relatively poor showing for Bobrovsky in the 2014-15 season. His .918 save percentage was still good enough for fantasy hockey owners, but a 2.68 goals against average had Bobrovsky closer to Jonathan Bernier than most owners want their fantasy goaltending ratios to be. The good news is that the save percentage is the statistic more driven by the goaltender's skill of the two ratios and the fact that Bobrovsky remained decent in that category hints at a return to fantasy production, especially with Columbus expected to improve this year. Perhaps the injuries just prevented Bobrovsky from getting into a groove, missing time in each of the past two seasons. After all, he has shown a heavy tendency to pad his stats with great stretches in the crease. A healthy Bobrovsky is a top 10 goalie, but hedge your bets against injury.
2016 Outlook: It's likely Backstrom will be ready for the start of the season, but not guaranteed. He is recovering from hip surgery and has no specific timetable or estimation as to when he will return to the ice at full tilt. But even if he does miss a bit of time, you are still drafting the NHL's reigning assists leader and a threat for almost a point-per-game pace on offense. Like linemate Alex Ovechkin, Backstrom has put up the same huge numbers for three seasons running, making him about as sure a thing as you can find. The addition of either T.J. Oshie or Justin Williams to the top line is an upgrade, too, all but solidifying Backstrom for another run at 60-plus assists.
2016 Outlook: For a guy that consistently comes close to 40 wins and has respectable -- if unspectacular -- numbers, Fleury gets a bit of a bad rap. Playing for a team that is more interested in scoring goals than stopping them isn't an assignment for everyone, and Fleury has done a pretty good job with it. Sure his goals against average and save percentage will be middling when compared to the rest of the league, but his final numbers will play him out as a top 10 fantasy goaltender. The trouble with Fleury is that there isn't a whole heck of a lot of upside to his game. The Penguins aren't changing their feathers this season and will still be looking to outscore opponents more often than stifling them, and their defense might even be worse this season than last, despite Olli Maatta returning. Fleury is also a better goaltender for rotisserie leagues than head-to-head, as his final numbers are solid, but he tends to run hot and cold. Still, you could do much worse than Flower.
2016 Outlook: The real question is whether or not we've seen the peak of P.K. Subban yet. If we haven't -- and it's possible we haven't since the star defenseman is only 26 years old -- peak Subban could be a scary place. Subban continued to improve last season, pushing to a new career high in goals, assists, points, plus/minus and ice time. There is a fair bit of separation from Subban to Erik Karlsson as fantasy hockey's best defenseman, but that gap could potentially close if Subban continues on his upward trajectory as he comes into his prime. The Habs power play should remain a source of value for Subban, as the seemingly ageless Andrei Markov makes for the perfect partner on the man advantage. It's conceivable that Subban adds another minute or two to his average ice time per game, which was a career high at just over 26 minutes per contest last season.