26-Year-Old Center – Vegas Golden Knights
Cody Eakin Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $15.4 million contract extension with the Stars in August 2015.
Eakin scored his third goal of the season and added a helper in Sunday's win over Los Angeles.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Eakin bounced all around the Dallas lineup last year, occasionally seeing big minutes, but the end result was 35 points – right in the same range that he’s occupied for three seasons now. His minutes and shots on goal actually fell a bit from the two prior campaigns, and with Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza comfortably ensconced as the top two centers in Big D, there’s little reason to look for an age-25 spike from Eakin. Still, he’s a valuable third-liner (albeit more in reality than fantasy) who’s excelled as a penalty killer, having put home five shorthanded goals in the last two seasons.
After posting 16 goals and 35 points in 2013-14, Eakin made incremental progress in the scoring column this past season. The 24-year-old rattled home a career-high 19 goals, including a whopping six game-winners. Along with hitting the 40-point barrier, Eakin held down a role on the Stars' second power-play unit, where he contributed two power-play goals and two shorthanded markers. With Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza centering the top two lines, Eakin may not have much further room to raise his production, as a third-line role likely awaits him in 2015-16. Eakin's relative youth makes it difficult to put a firm ceiling on his fantasy upside, but he'll probably need a long-term Seguin or Spezza injury in order to see the type of minutes that would lend itself to a more notable scoring total. In the meantime, he'll function as a perfectly useful depth scorer for the Stars, though his lack of activity in the non-scoring categories makes him a less attractive option to stash on the bench in deeper formats.
Eakin is certainly not lacking in potential. But Dallas' addition of Jason Spezza means that Eakin will spend most of this season in a third-line role. Dallas' third line is no lame-duck checking line, though -- they can score. Eakin figures to start the season with former 30-goal scorer Erik Cole and Ryan Garbutt on the wings. The addition of Ales Hemsky, along with Spezza, may mean Eakin gets slightly less power-play time as well, but the Stars still want him to develop and be a key part of a future Cup contender. Forty points are within reach, but only you know if that output fits your fantasy needs, particularly in those leagues with positional requirements.
Acquired for Mike Ribeiro in the summer of 2012, Eakin managed seven goals and 17 assists in 48 games last year as the second-line center, far exceeding even the most optimistic of projections. He could end up sliding back down to the third line with the offseason arrivals of Rich Peverley and Shawn Horcoff, so temper your expectations a bit. Dallas' scoring just doesn't go deep enough to yield a ton of value outside the top six.
Eakin projects as a nice checking center, something the Stars need after Vern Fiddler struggled in that role last season. He's not going to contribute much on the stat sheet and is unlikely to take over the second-line center duties when Derek Roy is sidelined to begin the season (Roy is expected to be out until early November).
Eakin played in the WHL last season and amassed 83 points during the season. Just under six-foot, the young center shows the skill to someday make it to the NHL level. A few factors come into play when assessing when he could make it, and weighing those it figures to be a few years away before he gets a shot.
Eakin was part of Ahl Hershey's run to the 2010 Calder Cup championship. A third round pick last year, he was named the rookie of the year in the WHL. The young center looks like he may have a chance at making it to the NHL, but will probably be a year or two before he gets a shot.