2014 Outlook: Despite playing in just 24 games this past season due to injury, Anderson finished the 2013 campaign as the No. 1 goalie (and No. 2 overall player) on ESPN's fantasy hockey Player Rater. The reason? He posted an eye-popping ratios split of 1.69 in goals-against average (you read that correctly), and .941 in save percentage. Save percentage is not a stat that is officially kept by the league -- so the record for it is unofficial as well -- but that mark by Anderson would have set a new bar if it qualified (Brian Elliott is the current all-time seasonal leader with a .940 mark in 2011-12). Ottawa underwent a big psychological change this offseason with the departure of Daniel Alfredsson, but they brought in Bobby Ryan, and are getting Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson back fully healthy. Expect nothing short of another elite fantasy campaign out of Anderson.
2014 Outlook: After sitting out of training camp and the start of an ultra-compact 2013 season, Subban put in a superlative performance for the Montreal Canadiens and subsequently won the Norris Trophy. As far as fantasy assets go, it's hard to find fault with 38 points, 126 shots, plus-12 and 57 PIM through only 42 games. A tough act to follow, surely, but don't anticipate too much of a letdown in 2013-14. In the second of his two-year bridge deal, Subban will be looking to earn max dough and term on his next one.
2014 Outlook: It certainly makes Pavel Datsyuk's mantle-full of Frank J. Selke Trophy's more impressive when you consider that he isn't just one of the top defensive forwards, but one of the best fantasy forwards around, too. Datsyuk's creativity with the puck makes him a threat every time he is on the ice, and makes his linemates better. A virtual lock for a point-per-game pace, Datsyuk also contributes on the power play, and is liable for a rock-solid plus/minus. Though he doesn't appear to be a threat to approach 100 points like he was five or six seasons ago, Datsyuk's reliability make him a great choice as your first forward if you are picking late in your draft.
2014 Outlook: While the Sedin brothers may have peaked in the 2009-10 season, they -- by no means -- are plummeting in value. Both a threat for 85 to 90 points, the twins are still a great anchor for your fantasy squad. Henrik, as you will recall, is the playmaking brother that will finish with close to 75 assists and chip in upward of 20 goals. So if the ESPN Standard Game and most other fantasy leagues put a premium on goal scoring, why is Henrik ranked better than Daniel? Because Daniel's goal-scoring did plummet last season. In fact, Henrik scored 11 goals to Daniel's 12 last season, completely nullifying Daniel's only advantage in the battle for twin supremacy. If Daniel isn't going to threaten to double-up Henrik's goal tallies, then we'll take Henrik's extra assists as the difference when ranking them.
2014 Outlook: If Jonathan Quick was the most disappointing fantasy goalie in 2013, Rinne wasn't too far behind: also thought of as an elite option heading into the season, the Predators' franchise netminder finished No. 24 among goalies on the Player Rater, with ratios that fell off considerably (2.43 and .910) from recent seasons, and only 15 wins in 42 starts (a .357 winning percentage, compared to .597 and .516 the two seasons prior). The good news for Rinne (and Nashville) is that the top defenseman prospect in the draft -- Seth Jones -- fell to them at No. 4, and he should bring help to the unit right away, hopefully helping to put 2013 out of mind for Rinne. He may be downgraded a bit based off of last season, but another elite campaign is certainly right around the corner.
2014 Outlook: Toews has quickly transformed into a point-per-game, versatile centerman that can take over a game when he needs to. Already a two-time Stanley Cup champion captain at the age of 25, Toews will continue to lead the dynamic Blackhawks offense and pick up plenty of fantasy value along the way. It is even conceivable that if Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp manage to stay healthy, the Hawks' offense -- and therefore, Toews -- could even put up improved numbers when compared to the last couple seasons. One notable trend when selecting Toews to anchor your fantasy offense is the lack of power-play production when compared to other elite forwards. The Blackhawks' glut of talent has limited Toews' power-play points in recent seasons. With a similar offense returning and coach Joel Quenneville set in his ways, that doesn't appear likely to change.
2014 Outlook: Unlike in years gone by, Byfuglien looks positively svelte going in to camp this September. Still physically intimidating, and very "Big Buff"-like, just not sporting as much unnecessary padding as before. This bodes well for the Winnipeg Jets and his fantasy owners, alike. Fitness is a big factor in Byfuglien's case; the more he plays, the more he produces. A full 82-game campaign would conceivably see the imposing 28-year-old flirt with the 60-point mark, all the while racking up nearly 300 shots and around 80 PIM.
2014 Outlook: When provided with an improved supporting cast last season, Staal showed renewed vigor on the ice. In fact, his numbers were better than a point-per-game for the first time since his sophomore season in 2005-06. Alexander Semin proved to be a potent linemate for Staal and his actual value last season was closer to that of a Top 5 forward. But we can't draft him in that realm without some reservations. For one thing, relying on another player for value is a dangerous game, especially a player with Semin's injury history. Staal is, however, an exceptional talent, and as close to a lock for 75 points as you can find in the NHL. Drafting him will be an exercise in just how much faith you have in the Hurricanes' offense this season. The nice part about Staal is that if you take your chances on him and things don't work out, you aren't stuck with a dud. Worst-case scenario you are stuck with a Top 25 forward instead of a Top 15.
2014 Outlook: What Kunitz turned in from a value standpoint last season was beyond exceptional. He was selected in most fantasy leagues, but not as a top forward. He was probably your fourth winger or sixth forward, but turned in fantasy value comparable to that of the very best NHL players. Let's not mince words here: Kunitz rode Sidney Crosby's coattails every step of the way to that value. Now, that isn't a knock on Kunitz in any way. As we've seen over the seasons, not just anybody can ride coattails and turn in ridiculous fantasy value. Being a star by association is a skill in and of itself. However, at the end of the day, Kunitz is still a star by association. Without Crosby at his side, he might not have any fantasy value at all. Now that we've been clear about that, here is the good news. Kunitz is going to line up beside Crosby again, play with Evgeni Malkin on the power play and have Malkin to fall back on if anything should befall Crosby. As stars by association go, Kunitz is in a pretty darn good situation.
2014 Outlook: Despite all the positive comments that have percolated through the media over the past few months, it would seem to be an awkward situation in Vancouver. Luongo appeared to be on his way out of town for months, and just as it looked like we were on the cusp of a trade, it was his crease-mate, Cory Schneider -- the team's starter, mind you -- that was traded instead. In any event, Luongo is back, and there's a new coach behind the bench in Vancouver in John Tortorella. If Torts' system with the Canucks is anything like what he did in New York, this is very good news for Luongo (as Henrik Lundqvist will attest), since defensive responsibility is a key part of that package. And let's face it: this Canucks team still has one of the best defensive groups in the league, along with a lot of offensive firepower up front. There's a distinct possibility that Luongo will finish the season ahead of Schneider in the fantasy ranks, and he's worthy of being selected as a No. 1 in drafts.
2014 Outlook: Where did all of Daniel Sedin's goals disappear to? Scoring just one more goal than his brother Henrik last season, Daniel's fantasy value bread and butter was missing. Now, the Canucks were without a secondary attack on offense for most of the season, and that forced reliable linemate Alex Burrows away from the twins more often than they would have liked, but it is still a concerning drop in goals. Expect a bounce-back from Daniel this season, but perhaps not back into the 35- or 40-goal range as he once was. The Canucks still have plenty of questions on offense, and Daniel has given us reason to question his durability in two of the past four seasons. Daniel will be hanging around in the second round of your fantasy draft this season, and while he has earned the low ranking, he may be one of the only lottery tickets with Top 5 upside, too.
2014 Outlook: Though Neal's second season with the Penguins wasn't as spectacular as the first, it is a better example of what we should expect going forward. While Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz will create a dangerous top line for the Pens, Evgeni Malkin and Neal are more than an adequate secondary attack. Then there is the power play, where Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin and Neal all come together to create a force that few teams can stop. Neal will generate plenty of his fantasy value from the power play, top it off at even strength and give you great return on your investment. As with Kunitz, there is less risk to Neal's star by association status with the Penguins because the team boasts two superstar centerman. If one goes down, you can be sure that a top supporting talent like Neal will join with the other.
2014 Outlook: As anticipated, after a slightly bumpy start, Suter managed just fine without long-time partner Shea Weber. And by "fine", we mean played well enough to become a finalist for the Norris Trophy. In his first season with the Wild, the elite defenseman amassed 32 points in 48 games, while averaging over 27 minutes per contest. Poised to partner with Jonas Brodin full-time in 2013-14, Suter is in position to (bold prediction alert) hit the 50-point mark for the first time in his career.
2014 Outlook: Being dished off to the Stars does two major things for Seguin in the upcoming campaign. It establishes him as the clear-cut top forward on a franchise, which will result in increased minutes on the ice. It should also motivate him to make the Boston Bruins sorry. Seguin has a respectable selection of linemates to choose from, including the exceptionally-skilled Jamie Benn. If Seguin can score 29 goals as the second-line winger on the Bruins as a sophomore, here's betting he can pot a few more than that two seasons later as the keystone of the Stars' offense. Will the plus/minus be what it once was with the Bruins? No, but Seguin's increased power-play responsibility should help offset the value. There is a limit to Seguin's overall potential, however, as the Stars will be hard-pressed to have significant secondary scoring to help take the focus off the Seguin-Benn combo.
2014 Outlook: Unceremoniously dumped by the Flyers in the offseason preceding the 2013 campaign, Bobrovsky only went on to post a Vezina Trophy season in Columbus, and almost single-handedly bring the Blue Jackets back to the postseason. While his work was a sore subject for Flyers fans, it came as little surprise to those who paid attention to Bobrovsky's play in 2010-11 -- when he was a Calder Trophy candidate for much of the season -- as well as his dominant play in the KHL during the lockout -- when he posted a 1.94 goals-against average, 932 save percentage and an 18-3-2 record. Some regression from his 2.00/.932 numbers is expected, but given that he only turns 25 years old this fall, the consensus is that many standout seasons (both in real life, and for fantasy purposes) are on the horizon. And remember, Columbus has a collection of young talent around him that will only get better as time marches on. A true No. 1 in fantasy, he's worth that pick in the first few rounds that it'll take to snag him.