The battle for roster spots is about to begin with training camps set to open. Fantasy leagues will start drafting in the coming days or weeks, while others have already started and there are plenty of chances to get some practice sessions in with mocks. Yahoo keeps tabs on when each player is selected. Last week Ryan Dadoun highlighted some players who he thought were being overvalued based on their average draft position (ADP) and this time around I will be examining players who I believe are being undervalued. Keep an eye on them as they could provide your fantasy squad with plenty of value this campaign.
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Anze Kopitar (LAK) - C - Avg. pick 100.9, Avg. round 9.9
Kopitar struggled in 2016-17 with only 12 goals and 52 points in 76 games, so it's not surprising that his stock has taken a hit. The Kings captain had a long year with Olympics qualifiers and the World Cup, while dealing with some injury issues, but he should be able to get back on track this campaign. The 30-year-old center showed glimpses of his past form when he generated 36 points in his last 44 matches. Kopitar is slated to be reunited with Mike Cammalleri and is determined to be an impact player again. Look for him to surpass the 60-point plateau.
Nick Leddy (NYI) - D - Avg. pick 162.3, Avg. round 16.4
Leddy reached career highs in 2016-17 with 11 goals and 46 points in 81 games last season. He averaged 3:08 of power-play time per match and collected 15 points on the man advantage. The Islanders have a productive offense and Leddy should be a key component of that again this year from the back end. That kind of production should make him a more valuable fantasy asset than Brayden McNabb, Zdeno Chara, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta and a few other defenders who are being selected ahead of him.
Alexander Wennberg (CBJ) - C - Avg. pick 162.9, Avg. round 16.2
Finding talented centers in the later rounds of drafts typically isn’t an issue because the position is so deep and Wennberg is another who is slipping through the cracks. He emerged as a productive pivot for the Blue Jackets in 2016-17 with a team-leading 46 assists in 80 contests. He also led the club with 23 points on the man advantage. Wennberg scored just 13 goals, but that has a chance to improve drastically this year alongside Artemi Panarin. The former Chicago winger distributes the puck as well as he finishes and Wennberg should benefit from his arrival. Cam Atkinson is another productive triggerman who could line up on the top unit in 2017-18. Wennberg should be able to eclipse the 60-point mark this year, while providing plenty of assists and power-play points.
Sam Reinhart (BUF) - C, RW - Avg. pick 164.4, Avg. round 16.3
Reinhart has a wealth of offensive upside and he could break out in 2017-18 if he gets a permanent spot alongside Jack Eichel. They have enjoyed success as a duo in the past and it should be a combination that new head coach Phil Housley gives considerable thought to keeping together. Reinhart has 50-60 point potential if he doesn’t get stuck centering the third line.
Ryan Strome (EDM) - C, RW - Avg. pick 165.7, Avg. round 15.6
Strome appears to have a clear path to starting the season alongside either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is slated to center the third line between Jesse Puljujarvi and Jussi Jokinen, which means Strome should have a top-six spot as a winger. He is excited for the chance at a fresh start and the opportunity to play with Edmonton’s young guns should help him reach another level.
Mika Zibanejad (NYR) - C - Avg. pick 169.4, Avg. round 16.4
Zibanejad will be the top center on the Rangers this campaign. His first year with the team was shortened to 56 games because of a broken fibula, but he still managed to post 37 points. Zibanejad could be a 55-60 point player in 2017-18 with his increased role alongside projected linemates Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider.
Kyle Okposo (BUF) - RW - Avg. pick 170.0, Avg. round 17.0
Okposo is back to 100 percent after a concussion and a reaction to the medication he was taking landed him in Neuro Surgical ICU to get stabilized. He is ready to get going at training camp and should be placed in key roles as the top right winger on the Sabres. Okposo had 19 goals and 45 points in 65 games last year. He also earned a whopping 23 points on the power play. Pencil him in to flirt with the 60-point mark in 2017-18.
Tyler Johnson (TBL) - C - Avg. pick 170.5, Avg. round 17.9
Johnson has dealt with injury issues for the past two seasons, but said he feels great going into the 2017-18 campaign. He has worked hard over the summer and could be in store for a great bounce-back performance, especially if he is reunited with Triplets linemates Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. Johnson had 72 points in 77 outings in 2013-14 and a healthier year could see him return him to the 60-point plateau this season.
Evgeny Dadonov (FLA) - RW - Avg. pick 170.8, Avg. round 16.8
Dadonov is expected to be placed in a great position to succeed in his return to the NHL. The Panthers plan to have him play alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau on the top line. The 28-year-old has been racking up points in the KHL for the last three seasons with his best performance coming last year when he amassed 30 goals and 36 assists in 53 games. Dadonov has the skill and speed to be a serious scoring threat this campaign.
Bryan Little (WPG) - C - Avg. pick 173.9, Avg. round 19.1
Little should not be going this low in fantasy drafts. He produced 21 goals and 47 points in 59 games last season, which would have put him on nearly a 65-point pace had he played the full season. If Little can stay healthy in 2017-18 then he should easily be able to surpass 60 points, while seeing ice time with talented wingers like Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers or Blake Wheeler.
Elias Lindholm (CAR) - C, RW - Avg. pick 175.0, Avg. round 16.8
Lindholm accounted for 25 points in 34 matches after the All-Star break last season. He developed chemistry with Sebastian Aho, who is viewed as a popular breakout candidate going into the 2017-18 campaign. Lindholm will need to step up and help lead Carolina’s offense and his playmaking skills could prove to be invaluable as the team continues to take steps in the right direction.