Fantasy: 5 aging players you can still bank on
Get ready for your season with theScore's fantasy hockey draft kit.
With some veteran talents getting an extended offseason and the upcoming campaign shortened to 56 games, age may not play as much of a factor next season.
Here are five older players who may be past their prime but can still provide value for your fantasy team this year.
Joe Thornton, C, Maple Leafs
Switzerland isn't the NHL by any means, but Jumbo Joe's ability to lace up his skates after a 10-month hiatus and tally 11 points in 12 games for HC Davos can't be disregarded. The extended time off has afforded the 41-year-old some extra rest, which could help Thornton raise his ceiling this season.
The future Hall of Famer can still produce, contributing 0.56 points per game over his last two NHL campaigns. In Toronto, he'll be surrounded by one of the most talented group of forwards he's ever played with. The Leafs will likely find a spot for Thornton on the power play, too, giving him more opportunities to find the scoresheet.
Ryan Suter, D, Wild
Suter is still one of the league's premier minute munchers. His ability to rack up stats while eating so much ice time makes him a worthwhile fantasy blue-liner, especially in deeper leagues.
The 35-year-old has reached the 40-point mark in six of his last seven seasons and was on pace for a career-best 57 points over 82 games in 2019-20. Suter should benefit from continuing to see top-unit power-play time with the Wild as well. He also provides value in other categories, as the veteran rearguard was on track to record over 100 blocked shots for the seventh straight campaign in 2019-20.
Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ducks
Like Thornton, Getzlaf should benefit from the extra downtime between seasons after spending parts of the last decade making deep playoff pushes with the Ducks. The 35-year-old may have taken a step back in recent campaigns, but he still has plenty to offer.
Getzlaf tallied 42 points in 68 games last season and should produce around 0.60 points per game once again while logging top-line minutes. The 6-foot-4 pivot contributes to non-scoring categories, too. He's racked up 143 blocked shots - ranking fifth among all forwards - and 275 hits over his previous two seasons.
Joe Pavelski, C/RW, Stars
Pavelski struggled to find his game after changing clubs for the first time in his career, but the Stars sniper got better as the year went along to prove he still has offensive upside.
The veteran forward nearly matched his 2019-20 regular-season goal total (14) with 13 playoff tallies in the bubble last summer and co-led the Stars' forwards with 19 points. With Tyler Seguin out for most of the season, Pavelski's ice time should increase, and he'll play in a top-six forward unit that's full of talent.
Eric Staal, C, Sabres
Staal has shown that he's got plenty left in the tank after playing at a 20-plus goal and 50-plus point pace for the fourth consecutive season in 2019-20. After being dealt to the Sabres in September, Staal is in a position to thrive this year.
The 36-year-old should be able to take advantage of some favorable matchups with captain Jack Eichel and marquee offseason signing Taylor Hall grabbing the attention of opponents' shutdown defensive pairings on most nights. He'll also play alongside the likes of Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, and Jeff Skinner and is expected to see time on the power play.
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