Training camps are about to open and the value of players is likely to change during that time as the competition for lineup spots heats up before the start of the 2018-19 season. It’s that time of the year to get involved in mock drafts and prepare for the upcoming campaign. Last week, Ryan Dadoun highlighted some players who he feels are being overvalued based on their average draft position (ADP) on Yahoo and you can check that out here. I will be examining players who I believe are being undervalued and who could provide fantasy owners with plenty of bang for the buck this season.
Max Pacioretty (VGK) - LW - Avg. pick 108.5
Pacioretty struggled in 2017-18 with 17 goals and 37 points in 64 appearances. Prior to last year, he had hit the 30-goal plateau in four straight seasons and he posted at least 60 points in each of those campaigns. He was already a good bet to have a bounce-back performance in 2018-19 and his value has improved significantly following his trade to the Vegas Golden Knights. The change of scenery will likely do him some good and improve his draft stock. Pacioretty didn’t have much to work with in terms of centers during his tenure with Montreal, so getting the opportunity to play alongside either William Karlsson or Paul Stastny should provide him with a much-needed boost. Look for him to get back on track with 60-plus points and draft him accordingly.
Roberto Luongo (FLA) - G - Avg. pick 127.1
Luongo’s fantasy value has taken a hit because of injury concerns, but when the veteran netminder has been healthy he has been superb for the Panthers. He has posted a .921 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against average in 198 appearances over the last four seasons. Luongo probably shouldn’t be your number one netminder, but as a depth option he brings plenty of value to the table behind a Florida team that should contend for a playoff spot in 2018-19.
Eric Staal (MIN) - C - Avg. pick 140.2
Staal piled up 42 goals and 76 points last season after he had 28 markers and 65 points during his first campaign with Minnesota. He has been a tremendous addition for the Wild, as a key offensive contributor, and he’s playing for a new contract this year. There are 22 players with center-only eligibility who are being selected before Staal, which speaks to the depth at the position. The 33-year-old should be a great value pickup if you decide to wait to select your pivots.
Jaden Schwartz (STL) - LW - Avg. pick 141.1
Schwartz had a great year in 2017-18 with 24 goals and 59 points in 62 games. He was sidetracked by injuries, but was a productive player alongside Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko when he was healthy. Schwartz may not operate at the same scoring pace this campaign, but his second 60-plus point performance is a distinct possibility. St. Louis has a revamped forward group that appears to be much deeper on paper and Schwartz should benefit from that.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) - C, LW - Avg. pick 149.2
Nugent-Hopkins is slated to get another chance to play alongside Connor McDavid, which provides him with plenty of upside going into the year. The duo enjoyed some success last year when Nugent-Hopkins generated eight goals and 17 points in the team’s final 16 games and that chemistry carried over into the 2018 IIHF World Championship when they were together again on Team Canada. RNH has a legitimate shot to crack 60 points for the first time in his NHL career this season.
Sam Reinhart (BUF) - C, RW - Avg. pick 159.0
Reinhart’s breakout year may finally come to fruition in 2018-19. He is projected to play with Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner on what has the makings of a potent top line for the Sabres. Buffalo still has to work out a contract for the restricted free agent, but once that hurdle is out of the way Reinhart should be able to build off his impressive finish to the 2017-18 season. He collected 15 goals and 30 points in the final 33 contests of the year.
Nico Hischier (NJD) - C - Avg. pick 159.9
Hischier had a productive rookie season in 2017-18 with 20 goals and 52 points in 82 games. Impressively, he played through a chronic wrist/hand injury. The 19-year-old became New Jersey’s first-line center, which put him alongside star winger Taylor Hall. Hischier will likely be paired with Hall again this year and he stands a good chance to surpass 60 points in his sophomore year, especially if he is fully healthy.
J.T. Miller (TBL) - C, RW - Avg. pick 161.6
Miller accounted for 10 goals and 18 points in 19 games with the Lightning last season after he was acquired from the New York Rangers. He saw plenty of action at even strength and on the power play alongside the top-line combination of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Miller has 60-point potential in 2018-19 and he can provide hits as well.
Mark Stone (OTT) - RW - Avg. pick 164.3
Stone was very productive for Ottawa last season despite skating in only 58 games. He notched 20 goals and 62 points. The 26-year-old winger has topped the 60-point mark three times in the last four years and he has reached the 20-goal plateau each time over that span. Stone will also be playing for a new contract and could test the waters as an unrestricted free agent next summer, so he has plenty to play for in 2018-19. He will probably play alongside Matt Duchene, who is also undervalued on Yahoo with an ADP of 164.7.
Jeff Petry (MTL) - D - Avg. pick 170.8
Petry played well for the Canadiens last year while Shea Weber spent the vast majority of the season on the sidelines. He reached personal bests in 2017-18 with 12 goals, 42 points, and 178 shots in 82 games. He also racked up 23 points on the power play, while adding 167 hits and 138 blocks. Petry will be Montreal’s top option from the back end entering 2018-19 with Weber out until at least mid-December because of a knee injury.