It’s finally September. Rookie camps open at the end of this week and main training camps the week after that. National Hockey League teams have to finalize their rosters by Oct. 1 and everyone will have to lock down their fantasy hockey rosters before too long.
How are the various fantasy hockey forecasters predicting the major Calgary Flames players will fare in 2019-20? We took a look at NHL.com, The Hockey News and the Sports Forecaster to see where the consensus (or lack of it) lies.
There’s some consensus here, but it’s not unanimous. NHL.com and the Forecaster have David Rittch sticking as the top dog – with 28 and 25 wins respectively – while Hockey News predicts Cam Talbot will find his swagger again and win 30 games.
Between the three outlets, the team’s top goalies will win 40 (Forecaster), 43 (NHL.com) or 47 games (Hockey News).
All three outlets predict Mark Giordano will back-slide a little bit from last season’s 74 point performance. NHL.com has him with 62 points, the Forecaster with 59 and Hockey News with 57. He’ll still be the Flames’ highest-scoring defender by a country mile.
The second highest-scoring defender? Noah Hanifin, who both the Forecaster and Hockey News predict will have 36 points. TJ Brodie and Rasmus Andersson are vying for third place – all three outlets predict they’ll both have around 30 points, albeit with some variation.
After flirting with 100 points last season (and ending up with 99), Johnny Gaudreau will hit 103 according to the Forecaster. NHL.com has him at 96 and Hockey News with a more conservative 90.
From there, we have a lack of consensus regarding who the second highest-scoring forward will be. Sean Monahan is projected to have between 75 (Forecaster) and 83 points (NHL.com). The spread for Matthew Tkachuk is much tighter, between 74 (NHL.com) and 79 points (Hockey News) – Hockey News and Forecaster have him out-scoring Monahan. Elias Lindholm is closely behind that duo, with between 68 (Hockey News) and 72 points (Forecaster).
Everyone agrees that Mikael Backlund is a lock for 40 points, with forecast of 42 (NHL.com), 45 (Hockey News) and 47 points (Forecaster). The remainder of the Flames’ forward group has a ton of variation, which may mean it’s smart to avoid picking the likes of Derek Ryan, Mark Jankowski and Milan Lucic until it’s clear what their roles will be this season.