Updated fantasy hockey rankings – What’s changed from last season?

NHL


It’s been a minute.

We last checked in with a rankings update in June, when the NHL was very much in limbo. Since then, we’ve had an extended playoffs, a draft, a long delay, and the start of a very different NHL season.

Since then, we’ve revamped the default scoring to better reflect positional value and diverse skill sets to better measure the on-ice values that players have developed. Previous versions of these rankings had been roto-forward, but it is time to make the rankings better reflect the way fantasy managers play the game.

ESPN.com’s offseason rankings and top 300 are not mine, but I will use them to show a baseline in these initial rankings. You will see a lot of change from the top 300 – because they aren’t my personal rankings, but also because a lot has changed since November when the NHL announced it would be back in action.

Not as much as has changed since June, but I digress.

These rankings are on a go-forward basis. They are meant to represent our hope for what is yet to come, not list what has already been. But the future is informed by the past, of course. So, for example, while Semyon Varlamov’s opening shutouts don’t account for squat on the rankings, they do inform our opinion of the Isles’ goaltending tandem going forward.

The idea of the accompanying article with each ranking is to highlight some of the big swings and offer explanation. I will also provide a list highlighting all the new entries to the rankings, all the players who shifted off the rankings and a list of those that just missed inclusion.


Forwards on the move

Brayden Point, F, Tampa Bay Lightning (up 27 spots to No. 38): The missed season for Nikita Kucherov will shorten the Lightning bench to the benefit of Point. Taking every shift so far with Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat, the opportunity is here for Point to come closer to his 2018-19 production (2.46 fantasy points per game).

Tomas Hertl, F, San Jose Sharks (up 51 spots to No. 87): He’s in a solid spot on the depth chart — skating with Evander Kane at even strength, and with Kane and Logan Couture on the top power play. Hertl has averaged 2.03 fantasy points per game (FPPG) during the past two seasons and has come out guns blazing this season.

Mike Hoffman, F, St. Louis Blues (down 43 spots to No. 115): Perhaps with time, Hoffman can move into a better role. At the moment, he ranks 12th on his own team in ice time per game and only spent his first game with the top power-play unit before bumping down. We want to see him earning shifts with Brayden Schenn and Ryan O’Reilly, which isn’t happening yet.

Sam Reinhart, F, Buffalo Sabres (up 31 spots to No. 125): Bumped back up the depth chart to play alongside Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel, Reinhart could be in for a wild ride. He’s a bit of a surprise choice here, with Viktor Olofsson earning the role this offseason via pundits and Tage Thompson playing in the role for the first two games of the season. But Reinhart has been Eichel’s most reliable linemate in the NHL, so the choice also makes sense. Reinhart potted two goals set up by his superstar linemates on Monday.

Cam Atkinson, F, Columbus Blue Jackets (up 109 spots to No. 145): We are at that awkward early moment of the season when Michael Del Zotto leads the Blue Jackets in scoring. That won’t be the case for long. Atkinson, who is trying to shake off a rough 2019-20 season, has been spotted so far with Boone Jenner and Max Domi, as well as on the team’s top power play. Don’t forget Atkinson scored a scorching 2.05 FPPG in 2018-19.

Anthony Cirelli, F, Tampa Bay Lightning (down 117 spots to No. 230): Injury or not to Kucherov, his offseason ranking was too high. Now stuck playing with none of Kucherov, Steven Stamkos or Brayden Point, expectations for fantasy production can be lowered.

Defensemen on the move

Morgan Rielly, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (up 68 spots to No. 62): I will admit I must quantify defensemen value differently than the creators of our offseason top 300, because Rielly is just one of many examples of D-men that I raised way up the rankings here. Tyson Barrie is another. So are Shea Weber and Matt Dumba. Admittedly, in the case of Rielly, hits and blocked shots (the new standard ESPN.com categories) are not his forte, but he still managed an incredible 2.46 FPPG under the same scoring system in 2018-19. I think he can get back there again this season.

Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames (down 58 spots to No. 99): Giordano has not been held off the power play completely, but he’s definitely on the second unit and trailing well behind Rasmus Andersson for time on the man advantage. A lot of his value was generated by his role on the power play, so a lot of it will be missing if this move is permanent.

Alexander Edler, D, Vancouver Canucks (down 61 spots to No. 122): I get that Edler has been a standout in the new ESPN.com scoring system. But I don’t think he has the same role he’s had in recent seasons. Even as recently as two seasons ago, Edler was carrying this blue line group on his back. But with the support added by Tyler Myers, Quinn Hughes, Nate Schmidt and even Travis Hamonic to play big minutes, I don’t think we’ll see the same Edler that averaged 2.67 FPPG during the past two seasons (for context, that’s virtually equal to Kucherov).

Neal Pionk, D, Winnipeg Jets (down 52 spots to No. 132): In a move we expected last season (but that never happened and allowed for Pionk to storm onto the scene), Josh Morrissey is the quarterback of the Jets power play so far. It’s to soon to abandon Pionk, but Morrissey is a must-add.

Goaltenders on the move

Juuse Saros, G, Nashville Predators (up 22 spots to No. 71): I keep expecting some kind of formal ceremony in which Pekka Rinne literally hands Saros a burning brand, then bows and walks slowly into the fog. But I suppose Saros playing more minutes last season and then starting all the playoff games was a passing of the torch in and of itself. And this season has started no different, with Saros posting two quality starts and Rinne playing one that was rather subpar.

Semyon Varlamov, G, New York Islanders (up 127 spots to No. 84): Is this too knee-jerk? Maybe this is too knee-jerk. What many, including myself, were concerned would be a timeshare out of the gate with upstart rookie Ilya Sorokin, has actually been a “Varlamov’s still got it” commercial. Two shutouts to open the season really compare favorably with Sorokin’s five-goals-against debut. But I don’t think it’s too knee-jerk after all, as this makes him the 14th goalie in the rankings – and if it looked like either Isles goaltender would get more than 50 percent of the starts, I don’t think anyone would quibble with such a rank.

New to rankings

For this week, this will include a quick list of players that are in my initial rankings here but were not included in the offseason top 300. In the future, this will include players new to my top 250.

Kevin Fiala (152), Viktor Arvidsson, (159), Rasmus Andersson (166), Andre Burakovsky (180), Alex Killorn (194), Adam Boqvist (196), Nikita Gusev (197), Josh Norris (202), Tyler Toffoli (206), Pius Suter (221), Dylan Strome (228), Max Comtois (237), Nolan Patrick (240), Jake DeBrusk (246), Robert Thomas (247) and Jack Hughes (249).

Just missed

Drake Batherson, Nick Schmaltz, Mark Borowiecki, David Krejci, Alec Martinez, Tim Stutzle, Thatcher Demko, Nino Niederreiter, Casey DeSmith, Connor Murphy, James van Riemsdyk, Joel Farabee and Joe Thornton.

Dropped out

For this week, I’ll include a sampling of some of the players who missed my rankings, but were among the top 300 from the offseason. Going forward, this section will list the players who fell from the top 250.

Nikita Kucherov (9), Jonathan Toews (148), John Marino (159), Marcus Pettersson (182), Frank Vatrano (195), Vladislav Namestnikov (202), Travis Sanheim (203), Kevin Labanc (234) and Ben Bishop (236).

Fantasy hockey top-250 rankings

1. Connor McDavid, C, Edm (C1)
2. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Col (C2)
3. Jack Eichel, C, Buf (C3)
4. Auston Matthews, C, Tor (C4)
5. Steven Stamkos, C, TB (C5)
6. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Wsh (LW1)
7. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Edm (LW2)
8. Mika Zibanejad, C, NYR (C6)
9. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G1)
10. John Carlson, D, Wsh (D1)
11. Mitch Marner, RW, Tor (RW1)
12. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Wpg (G2)
13. Brad Marchand, LW, Bos (LW3)
14. Patrick Kane, RW, Chi (RW2)
15. Sebastian Aho, C, Car (C7)
16. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pit (LW4)
17. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Fla (LW5)
18. Artemi Panarin, LW, NYR (LW6)
19. Sidney Crosby, C, Pit (C8)
20. Brent Burns, D, SJ (D2)
21. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (D3)
22. John Tavares, C, Tor (C9)
23. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Col (RW3)
24. Blake Wheeler, RW, Wpg (RW4)
25. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vgs (D4)
26. David Pastrnak, RW, Bos (RW5)
27. Mark Scheifele, C, Wpg (C10)
28. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos (C11)
29. Patrik Laine, RW, Wpg (RW6)
30. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D5)
31. Elias Pettersson, C, Van (C12)
32. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (G3)
33. Dougie Hamilton, D, Car (D6)
34. Frederik Andersen, G, Tor (G4)
35. Kyle Connor, LW, Wpg (LW7)
36. Taylor Hall, LW, Buf (LW8)
37. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edm (C13)
38. Brayden Point, C, TB (C14)
39. Aleksander Barkov, C, Fla (C15)
40. Mark Stone, RW, Vgs (RW7)
41. Travis Konecny, RW, Phi (RW8)
42. Carter Hart, G, Phi (G5)
43. Cale Makar, D, Col (D7)
44. Robin Lehner, G, Vgs (G6)
45. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G7)
46. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pit (C16)
47. Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Car (LW9)
48. J.T. Miller, C, Van (C17)
49. Jordan Binnington, G, StL (G8)
50. Kris Letang, D, Pit (D8)
51. Anze Kopitar, C, LA (C18)
52. Seth Jones, D, Cls (D9)
53. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D10)
54. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Col (LW10)
55. Ivan Provorov, D, Phi (D11)
56. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D12)
57. Carey Price, G, Mon (G9)
58. Ilya Samsonov, G, Wsh (G10)
59. Darnell Nurse, D, Edm (D13)
60. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dal (D14)
61. Bo Horvat, C, Van (C19)
62. Morgan Rielly, D, Tor (D15)
63. Anton Khudobin, G, Dal (G11)
64. Sean Couturier, C, Phi (C20)
65. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buf (D16)
66. Jamie Benn, LW, Dal (LW11)
67. Logan Couture, C, SJ (C21)
68. Thomas Chabot, D, Ott (D17)
69. Tyson Barrie, D, Edm (D18)
70. Max Pacioretty, LW, Vgs (LW12)
71. Juuse Saros, G, Nsh (G12)
72. Shea Weber, D, Mon (D19)
73. Dylan Larkin, C, Det (C22)
74. Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (C23)
75. T.J. Oshie, RW, Wsh (RW9)
76. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D20)
77. Philipp Grubauer, G, Col (G13)
78. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Min (LW13)
79. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Cgy (LW14)
80. Teuvo Teravainen, RW, Car (RW10)
81. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Cgy (LW15)
82. Elias Lindholm, RW, Cgy (RW11)
83. William Nylander, RW, Tor (RW12)
84. Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI (G14)
85. Jeff Petry, D, Mon (D21)
86. Ryan Ellis, D, Nsh (D22)
87. Tomas Hertl, C, SJ (C24)
88. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ott (LW16)
89. Quinn Hughes, D, Van (D23)
90. Darcy Kuemper, G, Ari (G15)
91. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Chi (LW17)
92. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (LW18)
93. Jacob Markstrom, G, Cgy (G16)
94. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bos (D24)
95. Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Edm (RW13)
96. Anthony Mantha, RW, Det (RW14)
97. Brayden Schenn, C, StL (C25)
98. Bryan Rust, RW, Pit (RW15)
99. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (D25)
100. Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Cls (RW16)
101. Evander Kane, LW, SJ (LW19)
102. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Wsh (C26)
103. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Fla (G17)
104. Ryan O’Reilly, C, StL (C27)
105. Jake Muzzin, D, Tor (D26)
106. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (D27)
107. Timo Meier, RW, SJ (RW17)
108. Claude Giroux, LW, Phi (LW20)
109. Zach Werenski, D, Cls (D28)
110. Torey Krug, D, StL (D29)
111. Evgenii Dadonov, RW, Ott (RW18)
112. Ryan Suter, D, Min (D30)
113. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nsh (LW21)
114. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Cls (C28)
115. Mike Hoffman, LW, StL (LW22)
116. Tristan Jarry, G, Pit (G18)
117. Adam Henrique, C, Ana (C29)
118. Zach Parise, LW, Min (LW23)
119. Mikko Koskinen, G, Edm (G19)
120. Joonas Korpisalo, G, Cls (G20)
121. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D31)
122. Alexander Edler, D, Van (D32)
123. Aaron Ekblad, D, Fla (D33)
124. Alexis Lafreniere, LW, NYR (LW24)
125. Sam Reinhart, RW, Buf (RW19)
126. William Karlsson, C, Vgs (C30)
127. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D34)
128. Nick Suzuki, C, Mon (C31)
129. Tom Wilson, RW, Wsh (RW20)
130. Sean Monahan, C, Cgy (C32)
131. Ryan Strome, C, NYR (C33)
132. Neal Pionk, D, Wpg (D35)
133. Mackenzie Blackwood, G, NJ (G21)
134. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buf (D36)
135. Ryan Graves, D, Col (D37)
136. Mathew Dumba, D, Min (D38)
137. Braden Holtby, G, Van (G22)
138. Brendan Gallagher, RW, Mon (RW21)
139. Tomas Tatar, LW, Mon (LW25)
140. Shea Theodore, D, Vgs (D39)
141. Elvis Merzlikins, G, Cls (G23)
142. David Perron, RW, StL (RW22)
143. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Ari (D40)
144. Kyle Palmieri, RW, NJ (RW23)
145. Cam Atkinson, RW, Cls (RW24)
146. Joe Pavelski, RW, Dal (RW25)
147. Tanner Pearson, LW, Van (LW26)
148. Nazem Kadri, C, Col (C34)
149. Jakub Vrana, C, Wsh (C35)
150. Petr Mrazek, G, Car (G24)
151. Cam Talbot, G, Min (G25)
152. Kevin Fiala, C, Min (C36)
153. Brock Boeser, RW, Van (RW26)
154. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Wsh (C37)
155. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Fla (RW27)
156. Ondrej Palat, LW, TB (LW27)
157. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vgs (G26)
158. Keith Yandle, D, Fla (D41)
159. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Nsh (RW28)
160. Alexander Radulov, RW, Dal (RW29)
161. Blake Coleman, LW, TB (LW28)
162. Jaccob Slavin, D, Car (D42)
163. Esa Lindell, D, Dal (D43)
164. Anthony DeAngelo, D, NYR (D44)
165. Brock Nelson, C, NYI (C38)
166. Rasmus Andersson, D, Cgy (D45)
167. Victor Olofsson, RW, Buf (RW30)
168. Colton Parayko, D, StL (D46)
169. Anders Lee, LW, NYI (LW29)
170. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, StL (RW31)
171. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ari (D47)
172. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Wpg (LW30)
173. Matt Grzelcyk, D, Bos (D48)
174. Jaroslav Halak, G, Bos (G27)
175. Max Domi, C, Cls (C39)
176. Matt Murray, G, Ott (G28)
177. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, NYR (RW32)
178. Ryan McDonagh, D, TB (D49)
179. Jakub Voracek, RW, Phi (RW33)
180. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Col (LW31)
181. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (D50)
182. Filip Hronek, D, Det (D51)
183. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, NYI (C40)
184. John Klingberg, D, Dal (D52)
185. Joshua Morrissey, D, Wpg (D53)
186. Samuel Girard, D, Col (D54)
187. Anthony Duclair, LW, Fla (LW32)
188. Phillip Danault, C, Mon (C41)
189. Jason Zucker, LW, Pit (LW33)
190. Nate Schmidt, D, Van (D55)
191. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D56)
192. Damon Severson, D, NJ (D57)
193. Roope Hintz, C, Dal (C42)
194. Alex Killorn, LW, TB (LW34)
195. Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ana (C43)
196. Adam Boqvist, D, Chi (D58)
197. Nikita Gusev, LW, NJ (LW35)
198. Ryan Johansen, C, Nsh (C44)
199. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G29)
200. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vgs (LW36)
201. Eric Staal, C, Buf (C45)
202. Josh Norris, C, Ott (C46)
203. Rickard Rakell, C, Ana (C47)
204. Pavel Francouz, G, Col (G30)
205. Antti Raanta, G, Ari (G31)
206. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Mon (RW34)
207. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Ana (D59)
208. Erik Gustafsson, D, Phi (D60)
209. John Gibson, G, Ana (G32)
210. Matt Duchene, C, Nsh (C48)
211. Mattias Ekholm, D, Nsh (D61)
212. Reilly Smith, RW, Vgs (RW35)
213. Mikael Granlund, LW, Nsh (LW37)
214. Clayton Keller, C, Ari (C49)
215. Linus Ullmark, G, Buf (G33)
216. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Chi (LW38)
217. Kasperi Kapanen, RW, Pit (RW36)
218. Pekka Rinne, G, Nsh (G34)
219. Jeff Skinner, LW, Buf (LW39)
220. Vincent Trocheck, C, Car (C50)
221. Pius Suter, C, Chi (C51)
222. Dustin Brown, RW, LA (RW37)
223. Phil Kessel, RW, Ari (RW38)
224. Kevin Hayes, C, Phi (C52)
225. Jonathan Drouin, LW, Mon (LW40)
226. Charlie Coyle, C, Bos (C53)
227. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Det (LW41)
228. Dylan Strome, C, Chi (C54)
229. Derek Stepan, C, Ott (C55)
230. Anthony Cirelli, C, TB (C56)
231. Jordan Eberle, RW, NYI (RW39)
232. Zach Hyman, LW, Tor (LW42)
233. Jakob Silfverberg, RW, Ana (RW40)
234. Vince Dunn, D, StL (D62)
235. Alexandar Georgiev, G, NYR (G35)
236. Jake Allen, G, Mon (G36)
237. Maxime Comtois, LW, Ana (LW43)
238. Jaden Schwartz, LW, StL (LW44)
239. Alex Iafallo, LW, LA (LW45)
240. Nolan Patrick, C, Phi (C57)
241. Nico Hischier, C, NJ (C58)
242. Noah Hanifin, D, Cgy (D63)
243. Paul Stastny, C, Wpg (C59)
244. P.K. Subban, D, NJ (D64)
245. Josh Anderson, RW, Mon (RW41)
246. Jake DeBrusk, LW, Bos (LW46)
247. Robert Thomas, C, StL (C60)
248. Christian Dvorak, LW, Ari (LW47)
249. Jack Hughes, C, NJ (C61)
250. Boone Jenner, C, Cls (C62)



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