5 aging players you can bank on in fantasy
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Age is just a number for some elite producers in the NHL.

Once most players enter their 30s, they're generally past their prime. However, there are still a select few who put up big numbers even while some of their aging colleagues struggle to stay in the league.

Here are five players you can count on in fantasy even though they're entering their mid-to-late 30s.

Patrick Marleau, Maple Leafs

Marleau enters the 2018-19 season having posted consecutive 27-goal seasons, and when the puck drops to commence the Toronto Maple Leafs' season on Oct. 3 he'll be 39 years old.

The veteran forward had a strong first season in Toronto, tallying five game-winning goals and surpassing the 200-plus shot threshold for the 10th time in his career. Following the signing of John Tavares on July 1, head coach Mike Babcock suggested that Marleau would start this season playing alongside Auston Matthews and William Nylander.

Given he spent the majority of last season playing alongside Nazem Kadri on the team's "checking line," the move should put Marleau in line to continue to produce. Meanwhile, with the departure of Tyler Bozak, James van Riemsdyk, and Leo Komarov, Marleau could also see more power-play action, which would set him up to record double-digit points with the man-advantage this season.

Justin Williams, Hurricanes

Williams flourished in his first year with the Carolina Hurricanes. He finished third in scoring with 51 points - just his second 50-plus point season since the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season.

He tallied a respectable 16 goals, and the 36-year-old did so, despite the fact that his shooting percentage dropped 6.3 percent from the previous year (14.4 percent).

Over the last five seasons, Williams has averaged 19.8 goals and 47 points with an average of 10 power-play points. He might slot a little lower in the Hurricanes lineup next season with the addition of Andrei Svechnikov, but if he can maintain his high-level play and get a little more puck luck, he should be in line to hit the 20-goal mark once again.

Joe Thornton, Sharks

Thornton's likelihood of producing this season will depend on his ability to remain healthy.

Last season, he was limited to just 47 games, not dressing in a single contest after Jan. 23 after undergoing knee surgery. Despite the missed time, the 39-year-old still managed to put up a respectable 36 points, including 13 goals - six more than he had in 79 games in 2017.

He also tallied seven power-play goals while recording half of his total points with the man advantage. In a poor 2017, Thornton scored just seven goals, but still managed 50 points. He also put up 19 power-play points, and this past season, he had another 18.

In a full 82-game campaign Thornton should be good for another 60 points, and around 30 points with the man advantage.

Eric Staal, Wild

Following the 2015-16 season, it looked as though Staal might be on his way out of the league. In a combined 83 games he scored 13 goals and 39 points with the Hurricanes and the New York Rangers.

However, he looks to have rekindled his offense with the Wild and has shown no sign of slowing down. This past season, Staal had the second-highest goal total of his career (42) and the highest since his sophomore season during the 2005-06 campaign.

Staal is coming off a 76-point season and will turn 34 in October. Last season, He had a career-high shooting percentage (17.4) and had double-digit power-play goals (11) for the first time in seven years.

With 70 goals in the past two years, Staal should be a safe bet to challenge for another 30 goals this coming season.

Joe Pavelski, Sharks

Pavelski's point totals have dropped over the last two seasons since a 2015-16 campaign that saw him post 38 goals and 78 points. Nevertheless he has remained consistent, still managing to record 68 and 66-point seasons respectively.

The Sharks captain recently saw his shooting percentage drop to 9.8 percent last season, his lowest mark in seven years. Despite the drop, Pavelski still hit the 20-goal plateau for the ninth straight time in a full 82-game season.

This season, he is expected to slot alongside a healthy Thornton and a rejuvenated Evander Kane, who put up 14 points in 17 games after joining the club ahead of the trade deadline.

At 34 years old, there is no reason to think Pavelski won't produce 60-plus points for the eighth time in his career. He should also be a lock to pick up 20 power-play points for the seventh time.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

5 aging players you can bank on in fantasy
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