If you were rebuilding your fantasy team for next season, who would you target to have a better season in 2016-17?
Brian Rosenbaum: I could name most of the Ducks' and Penguins' stars, but I will focus on Ryan Getzlaf. Much has been written about his struggles this season. Getzlaf is only 30 years old so he certainly is capable of a comeback season. Looking at his track record, he has averaged 23 goals, 54 assists and 77 penalty minutes over an 82-game period. His current stats of three goals, 28 assists and 31 penalty minutes over 43 games pales in comparison. Look for Getzlaf to come back strong next season.
Ryan Dadoun: The way the 2015-16 campaign has been going, I think Sergei Bobrovsky is going to be pretty inexpensive in fantasy drafts come September, at least relative to where he's gone in the past. This has been a rough couple of seasons for Columbus and that, plus groin injuries, have weighed heavily on Bobrovsky. Still, I think CBJ is going in the right direction, even if this season showed that road is bumpy, and I believe that when healthy Bobrovsky can still be a top tier goaltender. He's definitely a gamble given his injury history, but he's one I wouldn't mind taking a chance on.
Michael Finewax:I want to switch gears and talk about a player who was not previously an All-Star, Andrei Vasilevskiy. Although many believe that Ben Bishop's job is completely safe in Tampa, I think Vasilevskiy could establish himself as the Lightning starter some time next season. His vast potential has come to the surface as he has won his last five starts allowing a combined 12 goals in the process. Vasilevskiy certainly has the pedigree to be a number one goalie in the NHL as he was drafted by Tampa in the first round of the 2012 entry draft. He is just starting to come into his own making him a solid candidate to breakout next year.
Corey Abbott: Logan Couture has appeared in just 18 games this season and he's produced 10 points, including just three goals. He was sidetracked by injuries and even though he has been better lately, he is still trying to regain his rhythm. Couture should return to the 60-70 point range in 2016-17. The Sharks will probably give him plenty of ice time and place him in key situations in what could be Joe Thornton's last year with the organization.
Brian Rosenbaum: Perhaps the most hyped player coming into this season was Phil Kessel. Moving from a sad-sack Maple Leaf club for whom he annually scored between 30-40 goals, to the powerhouse Penguins was thought by many to be what he needed to become a 50-goal man. I mean who would you rather play alongside--Tyler Bozak or Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin? Well for whatever reason the Penguins collectively have been awful and Kessel is producing at a lesser rate than he did in Toronto. I am willing to bet that won't be the case next season. In my humble opinion Kessel will have that breakout, albeit one year delayed.
Corey Abbott: Tyler Johnson followed up a great rookie season with an even better sophomore effort in 2014-15. He was also a star during Tampa Bay's run to the Stanley Cup Final. I don't believe for a second that he is a flash in the pan. He didn't come into the season at 100 percent because of a broken wrist and he's been sidetracked by other injuries. I'm looking for him to do more down the stretch this year and return to the form he displayed in his first two seasons in 2016-17.
Ryan Dadoun: I agree with Corey about Johnson and think that fellow Lightning triplet, Ondrej Palat, is another great bounce back candidate for 2016-17. He had 59 and 63 points in his last two campaigns going into 2015-16, but injuries have slown him down this season. He'll get a chance to regroup over the summer and come back strong though.
Michael Finewax: I also expect Palat and Johnson to rebound next season, but I also am predicting that John Tavares will put a disappointing 2015-16 campaign behind him as well. After registering a point-per-game over the last four seasons, Tavares has laid an egg this year with only 34 points in 44 games. He will almost certainly resume his previous level of production in 2016-17.