Fantasy hockey season is upon us, so prepare for another season of both unbridled euphoria and bottomless pessimism. It's easy to pick the players that are proven commodities early in the draft, but to win your league you need to be able to identify those lined up to exceed expectations.
Shrewd late-round picks and waiver-wire pickups is what separates the contenders from the bottom-feeders, so here's a list of 10 players that could make the difference. It is by no means an exhaustive list, and some names will already be familiar, but having a few of these in your back pocket come draft day could prove fruitful.
1. Roope Hintz, C, Stars
Only 21 forwards averaged over a point per game (minimum 28 games played) last season, and everybody knew Hintz played hurt, drawing in and out of the lineup but still scoring consistently. It was a breakout campaign for the 24-year-old, but it received little attention because the Stars struggled and missed the playoffs after reaching the Stanley Cup Final the year prior. Most of the Stars' core is in or entering their 30's, and at some point, they'll have to turn the reins over to Hintz and Jason Robertson, who made up two-thirds of their top line with Joe Pavelski.
2. Jared McCann, C, Kraken
Yanni Gourde was slated to be the No. 1 center in the Emerald City, but he's expected to miss the start of the season, paving the way for McCann