Fantasy Hockey Q&A 7/28/17: Islanders to Target and Young Defensemen
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: The New York Islanders celebrate a goal by Nick Leddy #2 at 12:01 of the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Barclays Center on February 12, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Is there anyone on the New York Islanders (besides the obvious choice) worth drafting? Are there any young studs on the blue line? Keep the questions coming.

Thursday, we tackled a New York Rangers-based Q&A session. Today, we branch out to the rest of the NHL and answer some queries about the upcoming fantasy hockey season. Note: I only play in dynasty leagues, so these answers are geared for that.

The Islanders don’t have a ton of depth this year, but they do have a few players that are worth targeting besides just Tavares. Three players stand out in particular.

Nick Leddy

Leddy is coming off of his second straight 40-point season. He’s entering his age-26 season, which is when defensemen tend to have their best seasons. He’s a lock to quarterback the powerplay. He’ll have a floor of 35 points with 10 of them coming with the man advantage. If your league counts blocked shots he becomes even more valuable, as he’s averaging more than one per game since joining the Islanders.

Jordan Eberle

Eberle, who played top line minutes in Edmonton before the Oilers drafted Connor McDavid and started playing him with guys like Leon Draisaitl and Milan Lucic, has a chance to deliver a breakout season with the Isles. When he played top line minutes in 2013-14 and 2014-15

When he did play top-line minutes, back in 2013-14 and 2014-15, he scored 65 and 63 points, respectively, with at least 24 goals both years. He’s also netted at least 20 goals in every year that he’s played 70 games or more.

Couple that with the fact that he should see time with Tavares, and you could be looking at 30 goals and 65 points. However, he’s risky because he’ll probably go high in drafts since everybody knows he’ll play with JT and will adjust their draft boards accordingly.

Josh Ho-Sang

Ho-Sang is a player that has a ridiculous amount of skill. He scored 10 points in 21 games as a rookie last season. He was a late first-round pick due to questions about his maturity. He’s answered those by becoming a complete player and admitting that he had to mature. If he plays with the Islanders all year (he definitely should and probably will), he could put up 15 goals and 50 points.

In re-draft leagues, Leddy is the top non-John Tavares target. In dynasty leagues where Leddy probably isn’t available, Ho-Sang is the ideal pick, and if he isn’t available, look for Matthew Barzal as a late-round dynasty sleeper.

Both are excellent options, but the edge goes slightly to Anthony DeAngelo. At age 17 DeAngelo scored 58 points in the OHL, while Mikhail Sergachev scored 57 in the same league as an 18-year-old.

At age 18, DeAngelo’s point total jumped to 71 (in 11 fewer games than his age 17 season), while Sergachev’s fell to 43 (in 17 fewer games). Sergachev’s point per game total fell from .86 to .85, while DeAngelo’s climbed from .94 to 1.39.

Sergachev was a very good player in juniors, while DeAngelo was a dominant offensive defenseman in juniors. Sergachev was much better in the defensive zone than DeAngelo in juniors, and while that’s important, fantasy is more about offense.

One thing that can’t be ignored, however, is DeAngelo’s suspension history. It makes him a bit of a risk. If you want to go with a safer option, Sergachev is your guy.

Both are great players and should help your dynasty team for years to come, but DeAngelo has the higher ceiling.

Answering this question from a fantasy perspective. Charlie McAvoy should have the greatest impact next year. Thomas Chabot and Sergachev both have too much competition for spots in camp next year and are hard to project as having big years.

McAvoy had a great postseason for Boston, slotting in next to Zdeno Chara and showing that he could handle top minutes at just 19 years old. Although with the return of Brandon Carlo, he might not see time next to Chara, dropping down to the second pair.

After putting up 25 and 26 points in his two years of NCAA hockey, it’s fair to think that he can match or exceed those numbers in the NHL. We’ve seen young defensemen exceed their college totals in the NHL recently. Brady Skjei of the New York Rangers had 14 points in his best NCAA season and 39 as an NHL rookie.

McAvoy had three points in six playoff games, while Julius Honka had five in 16 regular season games for Dallas. McAvoy has the potential to crack 30 points this year, while Honka seems more like a 20-to-25 point guy.

For dynasty leagues, I would take Sergachev out of this entire group, as he has the highest ceiling. If you’re looking for immediate results, McAvoy will have the greatest impact in the upcoming season.

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