NHL Fantasy drafts are drawing closer and closer everyday. It is always an exciting time of year. Making quality mid-round quality picks is critical to the success of a fantasy team. There are always players who look like strong picks, but actually are risky and dangerous picks. It is important to look at last year’s numbers, but often time’s players do not continue that upward trend. Here is a list of five players that may look like strong picks, but buyer beware. They might not be as strong as you think.
Ryan O’Reilly – Colorado Avalanche
The offseason was not a calm and quit one for O’Reilly. A pesky contract issue with management may have hurt his reputation with the team. Both sides claim that is in the past, but is it? He is a very versatile forward, but is he capable of putting up 64 points again? He led the Avalanche with 28 goals, but that will probably be the last time that happens. Numerous strong forwards may push O’Reilly into more of a defensive roll. He is good at that, and will get the job done for Colorado, but it may in turn hurt his fantasy points.
Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
This one is pretty self-explanatory. It was confirmed by GM Doug Wilson that Brent Burns will be moved back to defense this season. He will be a very productive defenseman, and will also see power play time upfront. This means points, but unfortunately he will not post numbers like last season based on the position he will be playing. He will be a great pick for a defenseman.
Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
Coming off a Calder Trophy winning season, you all might think I am crazy for having him on this list. Don’t get me wrong MacKinnon will have a strong season. I just do not think that he will live up to the huge sophomore expectations that people have for him. Colorado is going to have a much tougher time this season in the Western Conference, and I think some of their players will struggle. I look for MacKinnon to have a strong season posting 60 points. I just don’t see him exploding to the 80 point mark like many have him pegged at.
Mats Zuccarello – New York Rangers
Lets face it Zuccarello was a non-factor until last season. The small and shifty Norwegian star had a great season last year, leading the Rangers with 59 points. He played on a line with Derek Brassard and Benoit Pouliot last season, and it was golden. With Pouliot off to Edmonton things will change for Zuccarello. I look for a difficult season for Zuccarello, and the Rangers.
James Neal – Nashville Predators
Goals are what make NHL and fantasy teams successful. The problem is Neal is now a member of the Nashville Predator,s and not the Pittsburgh Penguins. Goals do not and will not come easy for the Nashville Predators. He will help their offense, but there is no way that he will be able to post the same numbers he did in Pittsburgh. Oh yeah, he is not playing with Sidney Crosby, and that should be a factor!
*photo by Getty Images
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