Having burst on the scene in the lockout-shortened 2013-14 season by scoring 15 goals in 37 games (which translates to 33 goals at an 82-game pace), Hertl has failed to hit those same heights, tallying a disappointing 44 goals in 212 regular-season games over the past three campaigns. As the 17th overall pick in 2012, it’s safe to assume that the Sharks were expecting more from Hertl than 17 goals every 82 games over his most recent three campaigns. With Patrick Marleau’s departure, Hertl should assume more responsibility on special teams and receive more ice time overall, but it’s a lot trickier to estimate an impact this will have on the young Czech’s fantasy stock. Consider Hertl as a 20-goal, 20-assist type of player heading into 2017-18, and because he’s capable of producing more, he could turn into a pleasant surprise on your roster.
Hertl got back on the horse last year after a disappointing sophomore campaign, topping 20 goals for the first time (21) and finishing with 46 points, a plus-16 rating and 202 shots on goal. Still just 22, he provided a consistent secondary scoring punch with 11 points across 20 games in the playoffs, all while taking on an increased role with an average of 17:47 of ice time (versus 15:58 in the regular season). Whether he can continue to build on that production largely depends on his linemates, and the arrival of Mikkel Boedker in free agency will make it that much tougher for Hertl to carve out a permanent role in San Jose's already crowded top six. Still, last year’s output suggests Hertl isn’t that far off that coveted 50-point plateau, and with plenty of room for the Czech youngster to continue developing as part of a deep and talented roster, you’ll want to key on him after the more premium scorers are off the board.
After an age-19 rookie season that had him looking like a star in the making, but was shortened by a knee injury, Hertl put in a full 82 last year, but the results were less than impressive. Last year's flash was gone -- his goal-scoring dropped and he barely increased his point total from the season before despite playing more than twice as many games, and he was ultimately finally moved to center and placed on the fourth line. But that's not the young Czech's destiny. He's still only 21 years old -- he'll turn 22 during the season -- and following the sophomore slump, look for Hertl to bust out in Year 3 and give the Sharks a reason to move him up in the pecking order. The team has more needs at wing than at center, and Hertl should win his way into a top-six role while again showing the skills that made him the Sharks' first-round pick in 2012.
The Dave and Busters-loving Czech phenom should play his first full season this year, and expectations are sky-high. A knee injury limited Hertl to 37 regular-season games in 2013-14, but he tallied 15 goals -- including a show-stopping four-goal night that included a between-the-legs-goal -- and 10 assists. Hertl shows all the signs of being a budding star, and there's little doubt that his numbers should improve this year. But by how much? Hertl should get solid playing time and increased responsibility on the power play, both of which should boost his offensive production this season. But that four-goal performance will drive him higher on cheat sheets than expected, and you don't want to get caught overpaying for what is really still somewhat of an unproven commodity. Hertl should improve and has enormous upside, but there's always a risk of a sophomore slump. He's a sexy pick with huge upside, especially when riding shotgun beside San Jose's stars. Just know what you're getting into.
Hertl is the most promising of the incoming San Jose prospects. He was a standout at their summer prospects camp and is expected to compete for a spot on the roster this season. The 17th overall selection in the 2012 draft is the odds-on favorite to fill the vacancy in the Sharks line up created by the departure of T.J. Galiardi and Martin Havlat’s injury status. Hertl notched 30 points in 43 for Slavia Praha in the Czech League last year and is clearly a scoring talent with good hands and an even better hockey sense. His fantasy value is unknown as he hasn’t competed at the NHL level before and he will carry both the rookie and ice size adjustment periods on his back this year. It’s probably best to steer clear of him in single-year leagues until you see if he’s playing, where he’s playing and what kind of ice time he’ll be seeing in that role. He is of interest in deep keeper leagues, though -- he could be a future star.
UPDATE: Hertl is all but a lock to play on one of the top two lines in San Jose opening day. He's young and untested, but in deeper formats he may be worth a second look for sleeper status. All signs are that he's got the scoring touch and he'll be playing on a line that should produce solid fantasy numbers.
Hertl is a talent, but he doesn’t really get the respect he’s due. Drafted 17th overall this past June, he has great hands, better vision and even better set-up skills and he thinks the game like a veteran. His skating needs work, but that can come. He played against men in the top Czech league last season and excelled with 25 points in 38 games (fourth in team scoring). He’s going to have an underrated NHL (and fantasy) career, not unlike his fellow countryman, Martin Erat. There’s real fantasy value in that.