Fantasy: 5 players to stash in keeper leagues
The following players may not be fantasy relevant during the 2022-23 season, but they could eventually become incredibly valuable in keeper leagues.
Most of these phenoms will need to be designated as not active, so be sure to check your league's settings before drafting any of them.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, Sabres
Luukkonen is officially a veteran on this list, making his third straight appearance. But we gave Jake Oettinger similar treatment, and he eventually rewarded patient managers with a breakout season in 2021-22.
The reality is that the Sabres don't have any long-term solutions in net blocking Luukkonen's path. The club is projected to enter the season with the duo of 41-year-old Craig Anderson and career backup Eric Comrie.
Luukkonen got a cup of coffee in the NHL last season, posting a stellar .917 save percentage in nine games. His AHL numbers weren't as promising (.900 save percentage in 35 games), but there's still plenty of reason to believe in the 23-year-old Finn. He's 6-foot-5, highly athletic, and comes with a second-round draft pedigree.
If Luukkonen can grab the starting job and run with it, there's plenty of upside. The Sabres won't be competitive this year, but they're on an upward trajectory and will have cornerstone defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power anchoring them.
Devon Levi could eventually pass Luukkonen on the Sabres' depth chart, but he's only 20 years old and still hasn't signed his entry-level deal. He'd be worth stashing if he turns pro at the end of his NCAA season when he'll be made available on most fantasy sites.
Nick Robertson, LW, Maple Leafs
Robertson is another returnee on this list. If he starts the season with the Maple Leafs, there's a coveted opening in the top six alongside John Tavares and William Nylander that he could make his own.
The 21-year-old got into 10 games with the Leafs last season, producing just one goal. He was mostly relegated to fourth-line minutes, averaging just 10:16 per contest. When he did get a chance to play with Tavares and Nylander, the trio thrived to the tune of a 59.3% expected goals share.
Injuries have hampered Robertson's development, but he was highly productive when healthy in the AHL last season, tallying 16 goals and 28 points in 28 games.
The 2019 second-round pick will be a valuable fantasy commodity if he eventually earns meaningful minutes with the Leafs.
Matthew Knies, Toronto's 2021 second-rounder, is also knocking on the door and could eventually carve out a top-six job. However, he won't make his NHL debut until the end of this season, at the earliest, after heading back to college for another year. That also makes him ineligible to be drafted on most fantasy sites.
Jack Quinn, RW, Sabres
Quinn appears NHL-ready. If he doesn't break camp with the Sabres, he'll surely come up at some point during the campaign.
The eighth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Quinn lit up the AHL last season with 26 goals and 61 points in 45 games. He also looked the part in his two-game NHL audition, tallying a goal and an assist. He's a highly skilled winger with sky-high offensive upside.
While Quinn won't be joining an immediate offensive powerhouse in Buffalo, the Sabres are on the rise and have a decent crop of forwards he could play alongside.
Alexander Holtz, RW, Devils
Holtz, who was selected one pick before Quinn in 2020, also appears close to NHL-ready. He wasn't entirely successful in his nine-game NHL stint, recording only two assists, but he tore up the AHL with 26 goals and 51 points in 52 games.
The Devils are very deep up front, so it may be tough for Holtz to crack the opening-night lineup. However, four of New Jersey's forwards are pending unrestricted free agents, so there'll certainly be an opening for him in 2023-24, if not earlier.
The Swede possesses a lethal shot, so he could find himself on Jack Hughes' wing one day. Playing with an elite playmaker like Hughes would bring the most out of Holtz.
Lukas Cormier, D, Golden Knights
Cormier is the biggest long shot on this list. If managers decide to invest in him in deep keeper or dynasty leagues, we recommend patience. It can be tough for defensemen who weren't high draft picks to make fantasy contributions early in their pro careers.
A third-round selection in 2020, Cormier's just 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, but he's a gifted skater with a great offensive mind. He recorded 33 goals and 81 points in 62 games in the QMJHL last season and added five more points in seven contests at the world juniors, playing a pivotal role in Canada's gold-medal triumph.
The Golden Knights have a pretty strong defensive core, but the left side (Cormier shoots left) is getting older - Alec Martinez is 35 and Brayden McNabb is 31. Vegas also carries plenty of high salaries, so eventually having a defenseman who can contribute on an entry-level contract will be highly valuable.
Cormier will have to prove himself in the AHL first, but he could find himself playing a key role on a talented Vegas squad come 2023-24.
(Analytics source: Natural Stat Trick)
Josh Wegman has been theScore's resident fantasy hockey expert since 2015. Find him on Twitter @JoshWegman_.
- Formenton ineligible for Sens this season after RFA deadline passes
- Renewable energy: Cup-hunting Lightning betting on internal growth
- Guentzel, Kapanen fuel rally as Penguins slip by Golden Knights
- Kings' Petersen loaned to AHL after clearing waivers
- Draisaitl, McDavid help Oilers hand Blackhawks 8th straight loss