2017 MLB Spring Training Position Battles Cover Image
2017 MLB Spring Training Position Battles
Howard Bender

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Jaccob Slavin Headshot

Slavin recorded two assists and a plus-2 rating through 25:16 of ice time during Monday's overtime loss to Detroit.

While there is a four-point game in the mix, Slavin has turned up his fantasy production with three goals, 11 assists, 31 blocked shots and a plus-11 rating through his past 16 games. Expecting the rearguard to maintain that offensive pace is ill-advised, but Salvin's a player on the rise going forward. There is potential for another step forward next year, which would make him a serviceable asset in most fantasy settings.
7:58 am (EST)
Justin Faulk Headshot

Faulk scored two goals and registered nine shots on net during Monday's overtime loss to Detroit.

The 25-year-old defenseman flashed his upside Monday, but the offense has been hit or miss of late, as Faulk has hit the scoresheet in just six of his past 21 games for five goals, eight points and 57 shots. For the campaign, he's matched last season's 16 tallies and has 17 helpers, so Faulk has maintained plenty of his fantasy value. Additionally, outside of his minus-11 rating, the peripheral numbers are solid (30 PIM, 101 hits and 76 blocked shots through 67 games). Now entering his prime, look for Faulk to continue providing strong fantasy numbers, and there is room for improvement and more consistency.
7:45 am (EST)
Gustav Nyquist Headshot

Nyquist registered two assists during Monday's win over Carolina.

It was the veteran's second consecutive two-point game and fifth multi-point effort sine returning from his suspension March 4. Nyquist is up to three goals and 13 points during that 13 game stretch and appears poised to finish the campaign strong. However, fantasy owners have to wonder what's happened to Nyquist's sniper ways. Since scoring 28 goals in 57 games during the 2013-14 campaign, he's seen his goal total and shooting percentage decline annually. He currently has just 10 goals with a 6.6 shooting percentage, and while his 32 assists are helpful, more tallies are needed in the majority of seasonal leagues. Counting on a mild rebound next year will likely pay off, but expecting another 25-goal campaign is probably a stretch.
7:34 am (EST)
Andreas Athanasiou Headshot

Athanasiou scored the overtime-winning goal and added an assist in regulation during Monday's win against Carolina.

The 22-year-old speedster has posted four goals, eight points and 24 shots through his past 10 games, and considering his tremendous offensive upside, it's likely a sign of things to come. He entered Monday's game leading Detroit with a 1.37 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five, and his 2.01 points per 60 minutes is also an impressive mark. Athanasiou is worth a long look in all fantasy settings, and his long-term stock is pointing straight up.
7:27 am (EST)
Ryan Reaves Headshot

Reaves delivered five hits over 12:37 of ice time in Monday's 4-1 win over Arizona.

Reaves has played a more controlled game this season, taking fewer penalties and not being so quick to seek out a body for the sake of the punishment, but has picked up the pace in both categories of late. The man who leads the Blues with 209 hits (2.9 per game) and 92 minutes in penalties (1.28 per game) is averaging 4.6 hits and 1.8 PIM per game over the last eight. Reaves' activity is a sure sign we're getting closer to playoffs.
7:24 am (EST)
Anthony Mantha Headshot

Mantha scored two second-period goals and registered four shots on net during Monday's overtime win against Carolina.

The 22-year-old winger is turning in a strong campaign with 17 goals, 36 points and 133 shots through just 58 games. His 48 PIM and plus-12 rating are also impressive marks, and Mantha has recorded just one goal and two helpers with the man advantage. He should build on his strong showing next year, and with modest growth in his power-play production, there is potential for sizable offensive improvement if things break right. Mantha's ability to move the needle in all fantasy categories has him in line to be a coveted asset sooner than later.
7:22 am (EST)
Nick Leddy Headshot

Leddy collected his 41st point of the season -- a career high -- during Monday's loss to Nashville.

The 26-year-old defenseman has established himself as a reliable fantasy contributor since joining the Islanders three seasons ago, and he's now improved in the points column in each of the past two years. Additionally, barring a late-season injury, he's also missed very little time. Durability is often an underappreciated trait in fantasy circles, too. Leddy's lack of production in the peripheral categories limit his ceiling, but his offensive numbers make him a universal fantasy own.
7:16 am (EST)
Filip Forsberg Headshot

Forsberg registered the primary assist on the game-winning goal against the Islanders on Monday.

With just two goals and four points through his past nine outings, Forsberg has cooled off of late. However, his 29 goals and 26 assists through 75 games have him within range of posting his third consecutive 60-point campaign. Additionally, it's been his lack of power-play production (just three goals and eight points compared to 23 points in 2015-16) that has had the most significant impact on his offensive decline this year. Keeping his poor start (two goals and 16 points through 27 games) and weak production with the man advantage in mind, there are plenty of reasons to be encouraged about Forsberg's 2017-18 campaign. His age-23 season could be special.
7:09 am (EST)
Kevin Fiala Headshot

Fiala scored a goal and registered three shots on net with a minor penalty during Monday's win over the Islanders.

The 20-year-old winger has been in and out of the lineup all season but has still provided respectable offensive numbers. His 0.93 goals, 1.45 points and 9.53 shorts per 60 minutes at five-on-five are admirable marks for a freshman, and especially considering his inconsistent -- and often limited -- role. Fiala is nothing more than a speculative flier this year, but he'll likely take a step forward in 2017-18 and show steady progress over the coming years.
7:01 am (EST)
Calle Jarnkrok Headshot

Jarnkrok recorded a first-period assist during Monday's win over the Islanders.

The 25-year-old forward matched his career-high 30 points from last season with Monday's helper, and he's turned in a sold run over the past two months with nine goals and 19 points through 28 games. His uptick in offense aligns with Mike Ribeiro's demotion in late January, and Jarnkrok has proven to be a solid real-world contributor that's capable of playing throughout the lineup. While Jarnkrok is currently best left to deeper seasonal leagues, his keeper/dynasty stock is on the rise and a true breakout campaign could be in store next year.
6:54 am (EST)
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