Avs' Matt Duchene could flourish under new coach Patrick Roy.
Photo: Dustin Bradford / Icon SMI
FANTASY INBOX: Is Duchene someone to target early? Where will Brunner end up? And, meet prospect Tyler Benson. Have fantasy NHL questions but don't know where to turn? Don't hesitate, ask us!
Q: I got my copy of the 2013-14 The Sports Forecaster NHL Preview & Fantasy Guide, and once again I must say it's a fantastic read! I noticed that you guys really love Matt Duchene
this season, as you have him among the top 30 scorers this year. Is he someone to target early this year?
Darcy R. (Oshawa, ON)
FI: Thank you for your support and kind words, Darcy. It means a lot to us. We do like Duchene a lot for the upcoming campaign. He has tremendous speed, and we believe he will use it to the max this season under new coach Patrick Roy. We think the Avalanche are going to be among the most exciting teams in the NHL this season, which plays to Duchene's strengths. While Colorado boasts plenty of firepower with the likes of Paul Stastny
, Gabriel Landeskog
, PA Parenteau
and Alex Tanguay
, we like Duchene to lead them in scoring and overall fantasy production in 2013-14. Therefore, we recommend Duchene as a very early draft pick in year-to-year leagues, and a player to acquire in keeper leagues if the opportunity arises. Good luck to you this season, Darcy!
BANKING ON BRUNNER?
Q: Where do you guys think Damien Brunner
will wind up? Is he a good fit in a particular place, or is he going to have to wait until injuries open up a spot for him in the NHL?
Mo A. (Richmond, BC)
FI: Frankly Mo, we're surprised Brunner is still at large. It seems there aren't a lot of people in the NHL that trust him to continue producing solid numbers going forward. However, we still see a little upside in Brunner's game. He adjusted fairly well to the National Hockey League game last season, and should be able to adjust even more in Year 2. Furthermore, the 27-year-old Brunner has the kind of hands you can't teach. He is a natural scorer, so we would be very surprised if he remained un-signed at the NHL level by the time training camps open up in a few weeks. A team like Phoenix would be a good fit for Brunner, as they currently have an apparent opening among their top-six wingers. Another team that might take a shot at him is Pittsburgh, who were reportedly interested in him before Detroit signed him last year. We like Brunner as a super-sleeper going into the 2013-14 campaign.
MEET TYLER BENSON
Q: Is Tyler Benson going to play in the Western Hockey League this season? Is he considered a strong keeper-league prospect at this time?
Jay S. (Regina, SK)
FI: Thanks for this long-term question, Jay. We always love discussing future prospects. To answer your second question first, we definitely consider Benson to be an excellent keeper-league prospect at this point. He won't be NHL draft-eligible until 2016, however, so this is definitely a long-range investment. As for his immediate future, Benson might play a handful of games in the WHL in 2013-14 with the Vancouver Giants--who took him with the first overall pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft--but he's expected to spend most of this coming season playing Midget hockey for the under-18 Pursuit of Excellence Academy in Kelowna, B.C. Benson should be a regular contributor with the Giants in 2014-15 and 2015-16, then is likely to be a top-10 pick in the '16 draft. He stands a very good chance of being in the NHL by '16-17.
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