4. F Valentin Zykov
It’s been a long development road for Hurricanes’ prospect Valentin Zykov, but his time is now. Originally drafted in 2013, the burly forward led the AHL in goals this year. He combined that with an impressive 7 points in just 10 games in a late-season call up to the big club.
The Hurricanes recently inked him to a two-year contract, giving us a confident indication that he’s a lock to make the opening day roster.
Zykov will be very fantasy relevant this year, no matter what type of pool you’re playing in. He spent time last year on a top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Terevainen, finishing as a plus-4 in his brief stint. That line combination is of course no guarantee for next year, but Carolina’s defense is good enough to protect his secondary stats regardless of where he plays in the top six.
As is the case with Andrei Svechnikov, Jeff Skinner rumors are a welcome reality with his potential fantasy owners. He’s already worthy of a selection in your draft, but a Skinner trade opens up a hole that provides more insurance for his minutes on a top line, either 5-on-5 or on special teams. If a trade does come to fruition, keep a close eye on him during your draft and consider picking him up at some point after Aho and Terevainen come off the board. Piggy-backing on a player’s linemates can reap dividends in fantasy hockey and Zykov is in a nice position after his showing this year.