Fantasy Hockey: Carolina Hurricanes outlook for 2016-2017

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Daniel Dobish (@danieledobish), TSN Fantasy Sports Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. – The puck is set to drop on the 2016-17 National Hockey League (NHL) season and the Carolina Hurricanes have an assortment of exciting and young talent ready to take the ice.

For Fantasy purposes, there are no superstar standouts on the Hurricanes, but there are a few must-have options who will help your team win games this winter and into the spring.

Faulk for the defense

The first Hurricanes player off the board, according to most Average Draft Position (ADP) calculations, will be defenseman Justin Faulk.

He rolled up 16 goals with 37 points, while lighting the lamp 12 times on the man advantage last season.

The only drawback to Faulk, like most of his teammates, is his poor plus/minus rating, which was at minus-22 a season ago.

If the Canes are a little better, his Fantasy appeal which obviously be much better.

He notched four game-winning goals in 2015-16, which was tied for third on the team despite his missing 18 games due to injury.

Fantasy owners in pools which penalize PIM will also find Faulk as a breath of fresh air, as he rarely spends time in the sin bin.

Tuevo offers much upside

The Canes acquired winger Teuvo Teravainen from the Chicago Blackhawks, along with winger Bryan Bickell, for a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, and a third-rounder in 2017.

Teravainen will step into the lineup and give the offense a much-needed shot in the arm.

He potted 13 goals with 36 points in 78 games in the Windy City in his first full season in the league, and he has playoff experience and even has his name etched on Lord Stanley’s grail already.

Teravainen has been coming off the board in the neighborhood of Rounds 10 through 12 in most Fantasy drafts, and he could be a player who takes a big step forward offensively.

He is just 21 years old and only scratching the surface.

Skinner offers consistency

Old reliable winger Jeff Skinner is also a fabulous middle-round selection, especially if you have your heart set on selecting a Hurricanes player you know and love.

He is still just 24 years old, but it seems he has been in the Triangle forever.

He led the team in all offensive categories, posting 28 goals with 51 points, and his plus/minus was a very manageable minus-2, which did not help or hurt his Fantasy owners.

A little more production on the man-advantage would be nice, but that is really the only complaint.

He bagged four markers on the power play, and he netted seven game-winners to lead the team.

Rask possesses breakthrough potential

Among the centers, Victor Rask steps to the top of the heap for Fantasy purposes.

The 6-foot-2 Swede is growing into an immovable force in front of the opponent’s crease, and he really came into his own with 21 goals and 48 points.

More than a third of his offensive production came on the power play, as he banged home five power play goals with 13 assists, leading the team in PPP (power play points).

He is a sniper, too, recording a 13.1 shot percentage, which was second on the team only to center Jordan Staal.

Staal important for depth

Speaking of Staal, like Rask, he is worth a Fantasy draft selection in the area of Rounds 14 through 16.

They’re nice depth players for a Fantasy roster, and they have a ton of upside.

If the Canes are a little better in 2016-17, which is expected, then the plus/minus will be in the black, and they will give you more Fantasy points even if their offense generally remains the same.

Expect to hear from Aho

World juniors stud Sebastian Aho was signed by the team in mid-June, and he has been making noise.

Another Finnish player, the 19-year-old Aho will be comfortable with fellow countryman Teravainen by his side.

He is rather diminutive at 5-foot-11 and under 180 pounds, but there were a lot of doubters about former Tampa Bay Lightning winger Martin St. Louis, and he proved the doubters to be more than wrong.

Aho, Teravainen and forward Elias Lindholm could work on a line together, creating one of the best young trios in the Eastern Conference.

Young Hanifin smart choice for depth on the blue line

In most seasonal pools, defenseman Noah Hanifin is unlikely to be drafted, but in pools with deeper roster and long-term keeper leagues, Hanifin is a great selection.

The rearguard will be a part of the Carolina blue line for many years to come, and you can expect to see him garnering plenty of ice time on the power play, too.

Keep an eye Nestrasil, Nordstrom, and Stemniak

Wingers Joakim Nordstrom and Andrej Nestrasil are also exciting young players who could emerge as useful Fantasy options at some point.

It’s just nice to see Nestrasil back after suffering broken vertebra in February, an injury which threatened to end his promising and fledgling career.

Veteran Lee Stempniak always seems to get hot for stretches and emerge as a useful, albeit temporary, Fantasy option during the season.

Ward and Lack tandem offer possibilities for net depth

Last, but certainly not least, goaltenders Eddie Lack and Cam Ward will be jockeying for starts all season long.

It’s likely that the duo split the starts right down the middle.

While that’s great for Fantasy leagues which require daily lineups, and not a problem in DFS, it is an issue for those in seasonal leagues.

It’s generally beneficial to have a Fantasy netminder logging 55-65 starts.

Last season Ward was in the crease for 52 games, posting 23 wins with a 2.41 Goals-Against Average (GAA).

That’s not terrible, but Ward is more of a No. 3 option for a Fantasy owner, using him when primary options are out due to injury or poor performance.

You can also take a late-round flier on Lack, but use him only for positional depth.

Daniel Dobish lives in the Triangle and writes for RotoExperts.com and VegasInsider.com, as well as doing other various fantasy-related work and some non-fantasy.