We are through the first week of football which means it’s time for hockey to take the forefront. The season starts a month from today so it’s time to pick up the pace on everything, including my rankings. Today I’ll be getting through the top 150, the players that make up the middle rounds of standard drafts. After this group, we’re looking at very few players who are must-draft in 12’ers. Here are the links to the top 50, 75 and 100. Remember, this is the point in the draft where you start drafting for need instead of best player available. If you’re short on shots, get one of the guys who takes a ton. If you need penalty minutes, get someone who spends his time in the sin bin, etc. Let’s get to it!
101) Brian Elliott – The Flames are hoping he’s the answer to their goaltending problem. Elliott was outstanding last season with a 2.07 GAA and .930 sv% in 42 games. The problem is the Flames are nowhere near as tight defensively as the Blues and Elliott hasn’t played more than 46 games in 5 years. He has the upside to be a #1 goalie but he could be a bottom end #2.
102) Tyler Toffoli – Toffoli broke through last season with 31 goals and 27 assists. The penalty minutes, shots and special teams points are all mediocre; besides the goals, Toffoli’s value came from being +35. He’s been +20 or better in his three seasons but we still can’t guarantee that repeating itself. He’s much higher in other places but I’m hesitant to buy the bigger upside.
103) Justin Faulk – Great start to the season last year before injuries cost him 18 games and derailed his play when he returned. Despite that, Faulk still played at a 20 goal pace with 3 shots per game, terrific for a defenseman. While the Canes don’t have great fantasy assets, I do think they’ll be quite improved which will also help Faulk avoid a terrible plus-minus.
104) Patric Hornqvist – He had a horrible start to last season but finished with 22+29. While he’s never been a big point guy, Hornqvist has an elite shot rate with solid PIM and a great +/-. Assuming he sticks with Sidney Crosby and the first power play unit, Hornqvist could have a bounce back season.
105) Jaromir Jagr – Jagr was a monster in his first full season in Florida with 27 goals and 39 assists. He gets to play with two studs and while he won’t shoot 19% again, Jagr could drop to 20 goals and still pay off at this spot.
106) Rick Nash – While last season was a disaster, Nash just scored 42 goals in 2014-15. I’m not all in on a return to those numbers but 25+ goals and 3+ shots a game should be in the cards. Nash has never been a good PP player so make sure you cover yourself if you take him in this spot.
107) Brayden Schenn – Moving onto the first line saw Schenn take the next step in his career scoring 26 goals and 33 assists. The power play points will be terrific with passable shots and penalty minutes. Schenn is entering his prime while his linemates are already in it so there’s a chance Schenn tops last season.
108) David Krejci – After an injury plagued season two years ago, Krejci bounced back with 63 points in 72 games. He’s not great in any of the categories besides assists but Krejci is a safe bet for 40+ if he’s healthy.
109) Mats Zuccarello – Very similar to Krejci, it’s not flashy but the Norwegian Hobbit set a career high with 26 goals and 61 points last season. The rest of the numbers are decent enough that Zucc is worthy of a mid-round pick.
110) Derek Stepan – Goals reached a career high (22) with his best shot rate. He’s been a plus player every season in his career and with health, Stepan should cross 60 points for the first time in his career.
111) Leon Draisaitl – He was outstanding when first called up and finished with 51 points in 72 games. The shots need to take a jump (under 2 per game) with his lack of penalty minutes to push even higher. It’s certainly possible in his second season but it’s uncertain whether he’s going to remain in the top 6 or even fall to the third line.
112) Jeff Skinner – Skinner bounced back in a big way with 28 goals and 23 assists with over 3 shots per game last season. Improvement of the team around him and only 7 PPP last season give Skinner the opportunity for the best season of his career.
113) Milan Lucic – I hate the contract that the Oilers gave him but Lucic is getting first crack at playing with Connor McDavid. If he sticks on the first line, I think he can repeat his season in L.A. with 20 goals, 35 assists and 79 PIM. The problem is that his shots are horrible and he’s never been able to contribute on the power play. I get the temptation to take him earlier but I’ll probably be looking elsewhere from my penalty minutes.
114) Drew Doughty – I’m sure he’ll be ranked much higher than this but I have some issue with Doughty. The shots went down yet the goals doubled, his offensive even strength play fell off and the 9 power play goals is an outlier. It should be solid across the board but not elite anywhere. Doughty should still be a #2 in fantasy but I don’t see him repeating as a #1.
115) Shea Weber – While I have ripped Montreal for making the trade, Weber still has plenty of fantasy value. 20 goals and 31 assists is very nice; the worry is the penalty minutes fell off as did the shots. I’m guessing that both bounce back some. I expect Weber to get back in the 50-55 point range so on the surface, the trade looks fine, when in actuality the Canadiens get crushed by the opposition’s top line. They are so thin defensively that Weber’s minutes could get into the 27-28 range.
116) Tuukka Rask – I was right to drop Rask much lower than ADP last season and I expect that I will be low on him again. The Bruins defense is a hot mess so while the wins and save percentage could be strong, the goals against average definitely won’t be. At this point in a draft, I’d take the gamble on Rask but I’m not drafting him as my #1.
117) James van Riemsdyk – Injuries cut JVR’s season in half but he looked great in those 40 games scoring 14 goals and adding 15 assists despite the Maple Leafs being horrible. The shots have always been terrific and he managed to be a plus player last season after being -33 two seasons ago. I expect totals on last year’s pace over 82 games; the main question is whether or not the penalty minutes come back.
118) Sam Reinhart – My first breakout call outside of the top 100, Reinhart is in perfect position to succeed in his second season. The 20 year old scored 23 goals and added 19 assists despite playing in the bottom six the first couple months of the season. Now, Reinhart is a lock on the first power play unit (10 PPP will go up) and should be on Jack Eichel‘s wing. The penalty minutes are non-existent but a 30+30 season could be in the cards if the shots increase. You’ll be able to wait much longer than this for him but I think Reinhart could be a top 100 player this year.
119) Kyle Palmieri – Palmieri’s first season in New Jersey saw him play at a level nobody knew he had him in. Palmieri scored 30 goals and added 27 assists with a big jump in shots to above average. Add in decent penalty minutes and a power play presence and there’s a lot to like. Taylor Hall should be on his line as well giving him every chance to duplicate his first year in New Jersey. I’m keeping Palmieri a little lower only because last season is such an outlier for him.
120) Nazem Kadri – Kadri’s shot rate took a massive jump last season getting 260 on goal in 76 games. If it wasn’t for a horrible shooting percentage much lower than his career norms, Kadri would have scored 25-30 goals. With 28 assists and 73 penalty minutes, Kadri would be worth this spot. Add in that JVR will be back on his wing and that the young guys will get the attention of the opposition and Kadri is well positioned for a top 100 season.
121) Ondrej Palat – Last season was a mess but if he can get the shot rate backs towards 2 per game, Palat can easily pay off this spot. He’s not far removed from a 63 point season and was better than +30 two years in a row before +11 last season. Palat’s excellent possession play added with his great linemates gives him a floor of 55 points assuming he stays healthy with 70 points upside as we’ve seen. The penalty minutes and shots are what keeps him down.
122) Adam Henrique – Another guy who has low shots and penalty minutes, Henrique set a career high in goals with 30. While I don’t think that repeats itself, the addition of Hall should let him increase his assists and set a career high in points. He’s a great example of a guy who you draft based on team needs in this spot; if you don’t need the points, let him drop.
123) Robby Fabbri – Breakout number 2! Fabbri showed his potential with 4 goals and 11 assists in 20 playoff games. He finished his rookie season with 18 goals and 19 assists despite little power play time and only 13:19 of ice time a game. The shots need to take a big jump forward in year two but the 20 year old is oozing with offensive potential. Now with a clear top 6 role, there’s a chance we see a 25+30 season or better from Fabbri. Like Reinhart, you won’t have to take him anywhere near this high, ESPN doesn’t even have him in their top 250 <rolls eyes> but I want Fabbri on every team this year.
124) Rasmus Ristolainen – There were plenty of encouraging signs in Ristolainen’s 2015-16 that lead me to believe a huge year is on the horizon. 41 points in 82 games is nothing to sneeze at with a solid shot rate but the best is yet to come. The Sabres are going to be vastly improved which will help Risto’s bad plus-minus. He’ll also have a new partner who will be miles better than Josh Gorges. He’ll be a staple on the first power play unit and with the quality of his slapshot, I expect more than 4 PPG. I’m think Ristolainen gets to around 12+40 this season with above average shots for a defenseman but there’s upside for even more.
125) Derick Brassard – Brassard moves to Ottawa where he should center the second line. He scored a career high 27 goals although that was accompanied by a career high shooting percentage. The shots finally reached average but I’m not reaching for someone who hadn’t topped 20 goals until last year. There’s also a fairly good chance Brassard isn’t on the first power play unit as well which is a blow to his value.
126) Henrik Sedin – I don’t see the worse Cyborg ending up on any of my teams because I hate guys who refuse to shoot the puck. However, Sedin still needs to be ranked and at this point, you can justify taking someone who has 50+ assist upside. If you need assists and power play points, Henrik will fill the void. Don’t expect better than average anywhere else, especially in shots.
127) Jaroslav Halak – It’s a must to pair him with Thomas Greiss in roto leagues but combined you’re definitely getting a strong #2 goalie, if not a number one. Both of them finished as a #2 last season individually despite the lack of wins because of their strong numbers across the board. I expect more of the same this year.
128) Alexander Radulov – I admittedly have no idea where to rank Radulov; his variance is larger than any other forward in the league. Radulov is incredibly talented but he’s 30 years old now and has a coach that could staple him to the bench after defensive gaffes. He has 60+ point upside but there’s also a chance you have to cut him a month into the season so plan accordingly.
129) Kyle Turris – Let’s forget that the injury and subsequent horrible play in the middle of last season ever happened. Turris had 64 points in 2014-15 and was on his way to at least repeating that before his season was derailed. It’s not great in any specific category but it’s good enough across the board. The plan is for him to stick on the first line with Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone so Turris will have every chance to return to his previous level.
130) Tyson Barrie – If not for missing 4 games, Barrie would have had over 50 points for the second straight season. The shots took a nice boost and he’s become an excellent PPQB. With Patrick Roy gone, the Avs will have better team structure which should help Barrie get to 55ish points, a number that would be a career high.
131) Jiri Hudler – Hudler has been one of the best scorers in the entire league in recent seasons. Now, he gets to play in Dallas after the Stars got a bargain one year deal. If he plays with the two superstars, Hudler could get back to 70 points. If he plays on the center line, there’s still a good chance he gets to 60 points. He won’t be on the first power play unit barring an injury and his shots will be low but he’s a perfect fit in Dallas.
132) Gustav Nyquist – Last season was a big disappointment but I’m expecting a bounce back this season. Nyqvist scored 28 goals in 57 games three seasons ago and 27 in 82 games two seasons ago. I don’t expect him to be a 40 goal scorer but now that he’s on the first line, 30 goals is possible. Playing with Dylan Larkin and Henrik Zetterberg should be great for his career. The big thing to me is that he’ll be on the first power play unit and Nyqvist only played 15 minutes a game last season, a number that will surely increase. The shot rate will need to get back up into the 2.5 per game range but at this point, the upside can’t be put off anymore.
133) Ryan Suter – He set a career high with 8 goals and 43 assists with 188 shots last season. The lack of goals lowers his ceiling but you know Suter is going to play 28+ minutes a game and pile up the assists. With Bruce Boudreau in the fold, Suter could slightly improve but don’t reach for him; he’s not going to score the 15+ goals necessary to move into elite fantasy status.
134) Duncan Keith – This is a reminder to not reach for big name players in fantasy drafts. Keith’s shot rate fell just below 2 per game, the penalty minutes vanished and he’s heavily dependent on power play assists for his value. I admit that I fully expect the Blackhawks power play to be great again but outside of assists and probably a strong plus-minus, his stat line isn’t great. Something like 10+40 has its value but don’t reach for it.
135) Ryan McDonagh – This is a leap of faith for a player that has a career high of 43 points but I think McDonagh pushes 50 this season. Now that Keith Yandle is gone, McDonagh will be back running the first power play unit. Additionally, McDonagh averaged only 22:21 last season; with how thin the Rangers defense is, I see him pushing 27 a game. I think he gets his totals at least back to 2013-14 when he scored 14 goals and 29 assists with over 2 shots per game and solid PIM. The other bonus is that McDonagh has been at least +11 every season of his career.
136) Semyon Varlamov – We’ve seen what Varlamov can do in 2013-14 when he was one of the best goalies in the league. With Patrick Roy gone, the Avs should play much better defensively which will help Varlamov immensely. He’ll have to get off to a solid start with Calvin Pickard looming but there’s a chance Varlamov plays at a #1 goalie level.
137) Petr Mrazek – The numbers last season were terrific despite falling apart down the stretch. My worry is that the Red Wings are going to be a mess this season without Pavel Datsyuk and a defensive core that’s simply not good. I think the Red Wings shift to attempting to outscore teams with their young guys which will really hurt Mrazek’s save percentage. He was a top 5 goalie halfway through last season so in that regard, I’m way too low on him but I don’t like the situation.
138) Robin Lehner – He’s a massive risk due to his injury history but Lehner is worth gambling on your number 2 at this point. Lehner only appeared in 21 games last season but his .924 sv% shows his potential. The Sabres are improving around him and they don’t have a backup goalie worth a damn. I would cover myself by taking a third goalie sooner than later but the upside is here.
139) Eric Staal – I’m banking on Staal returning to form in Minnesota. One, Bruce Boudreau is the perfect coach for him. Two, Staal is an excellent possession player and will get to play on the first line. Three, his shooting percentage was horrible last season which will fix itself. There is no four. In 2014-15, Staal scored 23 goals and 31 assists with over 3 shots per game, numbers that I think he can get back to.
140) Dougie Hamilton – Hamilton has the potential to be a post-hype breakout this season. He had a horrible start that saw him being cut in 12 man leagues and deservedly so. Despite that, he finished with 43 points, 46 PIM and 190 SOG. Hamilton should be settled in now on a team that I expect to bounce back. He should be on the first power play unit and his minutes will surely increase to over 20 per game. I could see me moving Hamilton up higher as the season approaches although you won’t have to reach after he burned plenty of people last season.
141) Aaron Ekblad – I want to move him higher because of his talent but I do have some concern. Yandle had a large negative effect on McDonagh’s value during his time in New York and I’m afraid that happens to Ekblad. It should be average or better across the board but I don’t think we see his true breakout yet.
142) Cam Atkinson – The Blue Jackets had a horrible season last year but the first line did not. Atkinson scored 27 goals and 26 assists with almost 3 shots per game, career highs across the board. He had only 10 PPP which gives him a little upside for improvement. The PIM are low but he’s still well worth the mid round pick.
143) Michael Cammalleri – He’s missed significant time in three consecutive seasons but at this point, he’s worth gambling on. Cammalleri scored 14 goals and 24 assists in only 42 games, the best season he’s had in 7 years on a per game basis. I’m not saying he’ll be a 75 point player if he stays healthy but 25+ goals with solid shots would be a near certainty.
144) Anthony Duclair – It’ll take a big boost in shots but if that comes in his second season, Duclair could be a top 100 player already. 20 goals and 24 assists with 49 PIM as a rookie was terrific. However, he’s not going to shoot 19% again and he needs 57 more shots just to get 2 per game. While that’s possible, his shot rate isn’t going to be an asset so you have to make sure you have cover but the rest of his numbers could be a plus.
145) Jussi Jokinen – While I definitely don’t think he can repeat last season, I can’t rank Jokinen any lower than this. 18+42 while being +25 is absurd. I think we see a slight decrease across the board because guys don’t start setting career highs from 33 years old and later besides Barry Bonds. Regardless, 50 points with a strong plus-minus and decent PIM has its value here. The only way I see him topping that is if there’s an injury and he moves to the first line.
146) Scott Hartnell – While he’ll always be piling up the penalty minutes, there were some concerns with Hartnell’s game last season. His shots dropped to below two per game; his 23 goals were largely due to a high shooting percentage. The average time on ice is also decreasing quickly. Hartnell is a guy you take solely because you need the PIM. If you don’t, let him keep falling. If you do, take him here and assume he gets around 20+25.
147) Charlie Coyle – Coyle had a big second half to get over 20 goals and 20 assists for the season. Now, he’s going to be on the first line which should dominate the possession game. The shots need a slight boost but he’s a good bet for 25+25 or possibly slightly better.
148) Sam Bennett – He disappointed in comparison to my lofty expectations but 18+18 is okay for a rookie. I still love Bennett’s long term potential; he’s still only 20 years old. I expect a natural progression in his second season that will have some up and downs but see improvement across the board by the end of the season. I’m gambling on the upside at this point.
149) David Pastrnak – Same story as Bennett although he dealt with an injury in 2015-16. Pastrnak finished with 15+11 in 51 games. The good news is that Pastrnak had only 1 point on the power play all season. If he can carve out a role there, then he’s a good bet to push 30 goals. Like Bennett, I’m still a huge fan for dynasties.
150) Mikkel Boedker – There’s a chance Boedker drops towards 200th overall once more information comes out but right now, my guess is that he plays with the two Joe’s. If that’s the case, Boedker is a good bet to set a career high in goals and shots. The penalty minutes are low and he won’t be on the PP1 but Boedker should do enough damage at every strength to pay off this spot (assuming he plays on the first line).
That’s all for now guys. Be sure to check out the first hockey podcast that was posted yesterday! I’ll be back on Thursday with a preview of the Edmonton Oilers. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Take care!