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Since it’s almost Labor Day, it’s time for me to pick up the pace with my rankings.  For those who haven’t seen them, you can check out my Top 50 here.  I’m not going to bore you with an intro, everybody wants to see my top 100 and this is going to be incredibly long as is, so let’s get right to it!

Edit: Patrice Bergeron was removed because I already had him in my top 50.  Jason Spezza was added with everyone sliding up one spot to Spezza’s point on 95th.

51) Ben Bishop – The more research that I do, the more I’m tempted to move Bishop up even higher.  Yes, last season was a disaster, but Bishop was the #1 overall player in 2015-16.  But Viz, Dallas has been a train wreck defensively for years!  This is true, but with Marc Methot coming on board and the growth of their young blueliners, they could take a step forward.  More importantly, we’ve seen some goalies with far less talent than Bishop succeed in Ken Hitchcock’s system *cough* Brian Elliott *cough*.  It’s a little risky but I’m expecting Dallas to push for the Central Division title giving Bishop massive upside across the board.

52) Jakub Voracek – The plus-minus could be bad but Voracek is well above-average to elite in four categories (A, SOG, STP, PIM).  If he becomes an even player and his shooting percentage increases, Voracek could be a top 25 player.

53) P.K. Subban – I’m chalking up last season to a lost year for Subban.  It wasn’t long ago that he was a second or third round pick.  The power play points should go back up as should the penalty minutes.  15 goals and 40-45 assists are well within reason; add in potentially elite PIM and above-average contributions elsewhere and Subban should be a clear #1D again.

54) Kevin Shattenkirk – This ranking is assuming Shattenkirk’s shot rate goes back up to the 2.5 range.  Solid PIM, elite STP and assists make Shattenkirk a solid #1D.  Whether he scores around 10 or 15 goals will come down to the shooting percentage but 4o+ assists seem a near-certainly in New York.

55) Henrik Lundqvist – As I talked about on the Metro Division podcast, Lundqvist’s worst season of his career can largely be contributed to Hank facing the highest percentage of high danger area shots in the league.  With Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein plus Brendan Smith in New York for the whole season and Marc Staal looking at a decreased role, I’m expecting a bounce back from The King.

56) Martin Jones – I really wanted to rank Jones lower.  His save percentage was below average last season while being average in his first season in San Jose.  The reason he’s here is simple: volume.  Jones has started 65 games in each of the past two seasons and I expect that to repeat.  The great win total and above average GAA place him as a bottom end #1.  If I did end up with Jones, I’d be sure to get a #2 whose value is driven by save percentage.

57) William Nylander – The power play points and assists could potentially be elite.  Coming off a 61 point season, Nylander should receive a huge jump in even strength minutes building in additional upside for the 21 year old.  25+45 isn’t out of the question.

58) Alexander Radulov – The move to Dallas has me extremely excited.  As talked about on the Central Podcast, Radulov should slot into the first line for the Stars, a line that could be the best in the league.  The shot rate is below average but Radulov is coming off 18+36 with 62 PIM.  The power play is elite meaning that gives him additional upside.  I want Radulov on a lot of teams assuming I load up on shots early.  70 points and 70 PIM are realistic.

59) Nino Niederreiter – I had El Nino in my early top 50 but I’ve tempered expectations over the summer.  That said, I still believe I’ll be the highest on him by far among rankers.  Niederreiter had 25+32 last season while being +17 and adding 53 PIM.  The 14 STP should increase along with his minutes (only averaged 15:04 last season).  It’s crazy to think that he’ll only be 25 when the season starts but Nino hasn’t reached his prime yet.  With the Wild losing some depth this offseason, he might be able to take a bigger step forward like his teammate Granlund did.

60) Jeff Carter – The only reason I have Carter this low is the lack of competent wings in the Kings lineup.  It’s basically Tyler Toffoli and Marian Gaborik (when healthy) with Tanner Pearson prone to hot streaks.  Carter has topped 60 points with elite shots each of the past three seasons making him a very safe pick.  My other concerns are that the power play points skyrocketed and his penalty minutes can go anywhere from average to below average.  The points and shots will be there, it’s whether the other categories come with it to determine his value.

61) Nazem Kadri – 32+29 with 95 PIM?  That’s what Kadri did last season making him a poor man’s Marchand.  When I update, I think I’m sliding Marchand down to 10th overall because the assists seem very fluky.  Anyways, Kadri can be taken earlier if you want the balanced stat line.  The plus-minus has been -7 or worse in each of the past four seasons and his shooting percentage jumped up drastically.  I think he settles more in the 25+30 range but with elite shots and PIM, he’s certainly worth this ranking.

62) Evander Kane – I’m sure I’ll be ranked highest again on Kane and that’s just fine with me.  The assists are going to be poor but a top 10 shot rate in the league and 100+ PIM are a certainty.  The nagging injuries are frustrating but things are set up for Kane to top his 28 goals from last season.  If you’re covered in assists early (say with McJesus first overall), Kane fits in perfectly for your team.

63) Corey Crawford – Crawford has been criminally underrated for years.  That said, I’m a bit worried this year.  The defense in front of him continues to get worse which already caused his goals against average to be below average for fantasy.  I’m also scared that Chicago drops off quite a bit in the wins department.  Crawford isn’t a true workhorse (he’s never played 60 games) which caps his upside.  I assume this will price me out on him and that’s just fine.

64) Roman Josi – While Josi’s point totals dropped off last season, I was encouraged by his shot rate reaching elite status.  I’m counting on the power play assists going back up placing 15+45 within reach.  In other words, he can be Subban with a better shot rate but less PIM.  That’s a #1D.

65) Taylor Hall – Hall’s first year in New Jersey was far below my expectations with 20 goals and 33 assists.  The good news is that his shot rate remained elite and his team lucked out to get the #1 pick in the draft.  Nico Hischier should play next to Hall immediately and while I don’t think he’ll be a world beater out of the gate, he’s an upgrade over the centers Hall played with last season.  Worst case, Hall is average across the board but with great shots.  Best case, he’s a top 20 forward.

66) T.J Oshie – I may have Oshie too low considering how terrific he was last season.  Regression is certainly on the horizon (he shot 23.1% last season) but I’m still unsure if I went too far.  His plus-minus is elite every season, the penalty minutes are solid and he remains on a terrific power play unit.  I’m expecting his stat line to look more like 2015-16 than 2016-17.  That’s a strong player but not a fantasy superstar.

67) Jake Guentzel – I still have no idea where Guentzel should be ranked.  On one hand, he played at a 69 (nice!) point pace last season.  On the other hand, the penalty minutes aren’t there, the shot rate is below average and I don’t expect much from Guentzel on the power play.  In other words, he could post something like 30+40 if he sticks on the top line but he doesn’t give you much else.  That’s a Johnny Gaudreau type except with more risk.  It’s nearly impossible for those guys to be a top 35 player so temper your expectations.

68) Pekka Rinne – Rinne still remains a massive wild card when it comes to fantasy goalies.  We’ve seen elite play from him in the past and we’ve seen him be dreadful for entire seasons.  I love the team in front of him so I’m fine with taking him but don’t ignore the downside.  Juuse Saros should earn more starts than last year as well.

69) Ryan Johansen – More Predators!  The shot rate has fallen off quite a bit but Johansen is a near-lock for 45 assists with 60 PIM.  If I thought the shot rate would go back to where it was 3-4 years ago, I’d have RyJo well in my top 50.  Since it’s been trending in the wrong direction for years now, I’m going to assume that won’t happen.

70) Anze Kopitar – Kopitar burned a ton of people last season but I do think a bounce back is in the cards.  His shooting percentage was comically low and he still dished 40 assists.  Considering the Kings window is closing, I also expect them to add a scoring winger which would help Kopitar immensely.  I think he’s back in the 65 point range, albeit with poor PIM and a mediocre at best shot rate.

71) Jonathan Huberdeau – If Huberdeau is the player he was during his 31 game stint last season, this rank is far too low.  I may end up moving him up in case that’s the case, especially since he’s still 24 years old, but his history of being a poor power play player caps his upside for me.  I think he sets a new career high in goals (over 20) while pushing 40 assists, the question is whether that shot rate is real and if he can make power play strides.

NOTEI purposefully put these goalies in a row here because at the turn into the 7th round seems like a great spot to start targeting goalies if you pass on goalies early.  I will dig deeper into ADP and such as time goes on and make a strategy post but my first thought is that in redrafts, I pass on goalies in the first three rounds, potentially take Bishop in rounds 4-6 and if not, take two of these goalies in these rounds.  I wouldn’t take the same goalie over and over again because they all carry risk but they also have top 5 goalie upside.  I love all of these goalies for different reasons which I explain below, I just don’t know yet if it’s feasible to wait on these guys even longer or if they need to move up.  This tier from 73 to 79 may move as we approach the season.

72) Andrei Vasilevskiy – Despite an awful stretch when Bishop was traded, his save percentage still settled at .918.  I think that jumps and since I picked Tampa to win the division, the wins could be great as well.  I’m all in on Vasilevskiy in dynasties and think we see the big breakout this year.  If he’s ranked higher than this by ADP, he’s moving up towards Bishop in my rankings.

73) Robin Lehner – The floor is low but if a goalie is going to shock us as a top 3 goalie from this group, it’s Lehner.  During his time in Buffalo, he has a .921 save percentage.  Now he actually has a defense core in front of him that is approaching competent which should bring down his GAA.  Health is the big risk but if everything clicks for the team in front of him, Lehner could be poised for a massive year.

74) Scott Darling – I assume this is going to be far higher than everyone else on Darling which is exactly what I want.  I love Carolina this year and Darling has been terrific in Chicago.  Could he falter carrying a big workload for the first time?  Sure, but I think he’ll be just fine.

75) Jake Allen – Allen was around league average last season across the board but he was much better once Mike Yo took over.  I still think there’s plenty of upside here even though Allen hasn’t put it together yet for extended stretches.

76) Tuukka Rask – Rask is the one goalie in this tier that I expect to be ranked much higher.  The goals against average went back to elite although his save percentage remained at .915.  Rask is a clear workhorse and clearly has major upside, I’m just worried about the defense core in front of him.

77) Frederik Andersen – Toronto is certainly on the rise which should bring down his 2.67 GAA.  Andersen is also the clear workhorse meaning the wins should pile up.  I’m intrigued by the thought of not drafting him and then buying low when he goes through one of his cold streaks.  Last season was a roller coaster ride and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the case again; the team in front of him is still incredibly young.

78) Craig Anderson – Anderson is a monster last season in his 40 games.  The problem is that he’s now 36 years old and his variance from year to year is the highest of all goalies in the league.  His save percentages over the last 4 years: .926, .916, .923 and .911.  More importantly, the GAA ranges from 2.28 to 3.00.  The Ottawa blue line still scares me which is why he’s at the bottom of this tier but the upside is undeniable.

79) Chris Kreider – For fantasy purposes, Kreider is basically Kadri with less PIM.  Quite frankly, this rank may be too low if he plays on Shattenkirk’s power play unit.  If his STP can jump, 30+30 could be in the cards.  There’s a little more downside with him than the players above him but Kreider has top 50 potential.

80) Anders Lee – Lee is incredibly similar to Kreider across the board.  My only concern with Lee is that he shot 17.8% last season.  I think that drops bringing his goals down to the 25-30 range instead of 34.  Otherwise, assuming he sticks with Tavares, he’s incredibly safe and could be a plus in all categories but assists.

81) Dougie Hamilton – I’m a big fan of Hamilton this year.  He already is a plus contributor across the board outside of PPP which could certainly improve.  Dougie is coming off a season with 50 points, 64 PIM and an elite shot rate and he’s still only 24 years old.  If I pass on defensemen in the early going, I’d be just fine with Hamilton as my #1.  In fact, I don’t want to change this yet because this post is already taking me forever but when I update, he’s moving up towards Josi.  I talked myself into it while writing this!

82) Rasmus Ristolainen – Risto should finally have a competent defensive partner meaning his plus-minus shouldn’t be a total drag on your team.  The assists and power play points are already elite along with great penalty minutes.  The shot rate is there for him to score 10+ goals and with the team improving around him, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the last year you’ll be able to take him outside of the top 50.  He’s not a safe pick but Risto could be a huge difference maker.

83) Claude Giroux – Boy, Giroux fell off a cliff last season.  That said, I couldn’t drop him any lower.  The power play points remain elite, he’s a lock for over 40 assists and the penalty minutes are solid.  The shot rate has plummeted from elite down to league average and if I thought it would go back, I’d have Giroux in my top 50.  Only 26 points at even strength last season is too concerning for me to place him higher.

84) Conor Sheary – Perhaps it’s unfair of me to have Sheary this low when his numbers compare favorably to Guentzel.  I have him lower because I think his spot on the first line is more tenuous than Guentzel and there’s less of a chance he goes on the first power play unit.  The shot rate is better than Guentzel which is a plus but again, his ceiling is capped by the lack of PIM and PPP.

85) Jonathan Drouin – Drouin is still 22 years old which is mind boggling.  Or mind bottling as Jackie Moon would say.  Montreal clearly believes in him trading their future #1 defenseman and former top 10 pick for Drouin, who they immediately signed to a contract extension.  The drastic jump in shot rate last season has me encouraged.  He has as much downside from a fantasy perspective as almost anyone in the top 100 but Drouin should eventually become a top 50 fantasy player, if not top 30.  Whether that is this year or not is the question.

86) Eric Staal – Bruce Boudreau brought Staal back from the dead to have a terrific season in Minnesota.  Not Melisandre bringing back Jon Snow from the dead but you know what I mean.  Staal scored 28 goals and 37 assists while being a positive contributor in all six categories.  The only concern that I have is that with slight downticks in most categories, Staal becomes significantly less valuable.  I have faith that he will be a 60 point player again and quite frankly, he needs to be in order to be a top 100 player.

87) John Klingberg – Sure, last season was a mess, but Klingberg remains in the perfect position to succeed.  I’m banking on the shot rate getting back to around 2 per game and that’s a necessity for Klingberg to be a bottom end #1 or even #2.  If that happens, he’ll be a #1 with his elite assists and power play points.

88) Zach Werenski – Werenski was fabulous last season to become a finalist for the Calder in one of the best rookie classes in recent memory.  Werenski scored 47 points while being +17 and having a strong shot rate.  I’m a little worried about a sophomore slump but the main reason he’s lower is his lack of penalty minutes (14).  The minutes should increase giving him potential to top 50 points with a great shot rate.

89) Shayne Gostisbehere – Ghost Bear also had the season from hell like Klingberg.  The drop in goals can be blamed on shooting percentage but the -21 has to disappear or this ranking will look hella bad.  That said, I’d be thrilled to have Gostisbehere as my #2 for the elite power play points along with a solid shot rate and potentially top 10 goals from a defenseman.

90) Alex Pietrangelo – Safe pick?  Check.  Upside?  Check.  Okay, sign me up!  With Shattenkirk gone, Pietrangelo gets a huge power play boost.  He’s coming off 14+34 with a good shot rate and while the goals could drop a bit with his shooting percentage dropping to career norms, his shooting percentage was fairly normal for defenseman.  The assists could jump up so we could see Pietrangelo becoming a bottom end #1.

91) Jonathan Toews – Toews was great last season posting 58 points in 72 games with a big jump in shot rate.  You can also depend on him for a quality plus-minus.  My worry is that his quality of linemate continues to get worse and he already plays over 20 minutes per game.  Toews hasn’t been a great power play player in 7 years which also caps his upside.  If he repeats last season, this ranking is too low but I doubt that happens.

92) Anthony Mantha – I already gave you my Anthony Mantha sleeper post.  I wrote it while dreaming of him on all of my teams in both redrafts and dynasties.

93) Ryan Kesler – Alright Viz, we know you hate Kesler and that’s why you have him so low.  Yes, I did whiff on him last season.  He’s a safe pick for 20+30 with 70+ PIM, I’m just not sure how much better it gets than that.  The power play points were much higher than in recent years and Kesler played over 21 minutes per game last season.  It would be a bit crazy to play a 33 year old that much again.  I’d rather take a high PIM guy that has more upside earlier on or just wait for a specialist later on.

94) James van Riemsdyk – JVR was right around a 30+30 player with an elite shot rate last season.  In other words, I should probably move him up to around 75th.  I’m just a bit worried that Toronto trades him for a defenseman and if that happens, it will almost certainly be to a worse spot for point production.  Also, Mike Babcock gives him heavy offensive zone starts which limited his minutes to 15:53.  If you think that will increase and he’s staying in Toronto, move him up your board.

95) Jason Spezza – I’m a little worried about his production dropping to the second line but the important thing is that Spezza should remain on the first power play unit.  Health is also a concern but I’m willing to gamble on Spezza here because 65 points with great STP are within reach.

96) Alex Galchenyuk – Galchenyuk is the first of 5 very high upside plays to close out the top 100.  I’m chalking up last season’s pitiful shot rate to post-injury issues.  I think Galchenyuk gets back on track this season to push 30 goals once again while setting a new career high in assists.

97) Nathan MacKinnon – Speaking of high upside, I suspect MacKinnon will be lower than this on most boards given that he burned so many people last year.  He’ll still be only 22 when the season starts and while MacKinnon had only 53 points last season, it was the year from hell for Colorado and his shot rate remained over three per game.  I’m optimistic that MacKinnon takes a jump this season.

98) Justin Schultz – If Kris Letang was out for the season, Schultz would be around Josi.  The problem is that Letang caps Schultz’ ceiling when he plays.  The good news for Schultz’ fantasy value is that Letang should miss the beginning of the season.  Schultz was the #5 overall fantasy defenseman last season with Letang missing half of the season.  That is certainly possible once again but even if he plays 60-65 games, which seems like a stretch at this point, Schultz will pay off this value.

99) Evgeny Dadonov – Gamble gamble!  Dadonov comes over from the KHL and should immediately slot onto the top line with Barkov and Huberdeau.  His offensive abilities are through the roof so I want to take the gamble on him in all leagues.  This could be one of those rankings where I have him here but am able to wait to take Dadonov for 50+ picks because I’m so much higher than consensus.  I’m not expecting much in terms of penalty minutes (last year was his first quality contribution in 5 KHL years) but I think we see 60+ points right away.

100) Sebastian Aho – Superman that Aho!  The 20 year old Finnish player scored 24 goals and 25 assists as a rookie with a solid shot rate.  His role and as a result, time on ice, should increase this year.  Again, I love Carolina this year and a big part of that is Aho.  30+30 with a great shot rate could be in the cards as soon as this year.

That’s all for now guys.  Please leave your thoughts or any questions in the comments section below, I’d appreciate any feedback that you have.  I will try to get my next set of rankings through the top 150 out next week.  I’m going to let this post sit for a while and will start the process on 101-150 tomorrow so my next post will be on Friday morning previewing the New Jersey Devils to wrap up the Eastern Conference.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. Paul says:
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    Thanks, Viz.

    I believe you posted Bergeron twice, once in the top 50 and once in the 51-100.

    Could you please provide input on what 8 keepers you would go with. League format is G,A,SOG,STP, BLK, W, SV%, GAA, SO, SV. Budget is $260.

    Here is what I was currently thinking: These 8 add up to $210

    1. Holtby $50
    2. Eichel $40
    3. Murray $35
    4. Backstrom $35
    5. Bergeron $30
    Allen $30
    Voracek $25
    Weber $25
    6. Krug $20
    7. Drouin $15
    8. McAvoy $5
    Point $5
    Greiss $5

    • David says:
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      I’m assuming the Top 50 will be revised as well there are 4 players duplicated between the two lists not just Bergeron. Others are Jones, Niederreiter and Crawford.

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @David: I double checked and it’s just Bergeron. Perhaps you are looking at my Way Too Early Top 50 from April? I had those three originally in the top 50 but they dropped out after my revision. If you go to the Top 50 under the rankings tab, that is the current one

        • David says:
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          @Viz: You’re right I just checked the rankings tab. Thanks for the reply!

          • Viz

            Viz says:
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            @David: No problem, any time!

        • David says:
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          @Viz: Is it possible one of those slots would be for Monahan? I find it interesting that he is slotted outside of the top 100.

          • Viz

            Viz says:
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            @David: The spot went to Spezza. Monahan will be just outside the top 100, mostly because he isn’t great in any categories and below average in PIM. He’s fine and you could easily slot him into the 90-95 range, I just put some higher upside players there first. Once I’m done with my top 200 and look at where current ADP’s are, I will do some slight adjusting and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s one of the players who moves slightly up.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Paul: You’re right Paul, I messed that up. I’ll edit it when I get a chance. Interesting format to not include plus-minus or PIM but add a ton of goalie stats. I think I would keep Voracek over Krug and keep the other 7 you suggest but it’s very close. Voracek gets a huge boost without plus-minus being included.

      • Paul says:
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        @Viz:

        Hey Viz,

        I think I am going with Krug over Voracek just due to positional scarcity. I was offered my Allen for his Forsberg. Would Forsberg $30 in the picture change your top 8 keepers? I suppose I could sub Forsberg for Krug and just draft cheap D-men who get blocks and nothing else.

        ($260 budget, $230 of which is used with these 8)

        1. Holtby $50
        2. Eichel $40
        3. Murray $35
        4. Backstrom $35
        5. Bergeron $30
        6. Krug $20
        7. Drouin $15
        8. McAvoy $5

        Forsberg $30
        Voracek $25

  2. Chris says:
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    Thanks for the rankings, Viz! I was really pumped up when I found those rankings this morning. I currently have a problem with my goalies in a 12 team H2H. I need to pick one keeper out of those 3 goalies: Gibson, Quick and Rinne. At of the end of last season, I was leaning towards Gibson because he had better stats than the other 2 and he was younger, which is perfect for keeper leagues. As you pointed out in your 1 to 50 rankings a few weeks back, the signing of Ryan Miller in Anaheim will steal a couple of start that Gibson would’ve have had. I’m currently leaning towards Quick and I will try to trade Gibson to an owner in need of a keeper goalie for a draft pick in our next draft. Am I making a bad decision?
    Thanks

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Chris: I think that would be a mistake; Quick would definitely be last in that group for me. He hasn’t had one season with an above average save percentage in the last 5 years. Sure, the GAA is very good, but with the team in front of him progressively getting worse, I think that could fall off a bit. I personally think he’s the most overrated player in the NHL and it’s the same in fantasy; it’s why he is outside of my top 100. I would try to trade him based on name value if possible and just keep Gibson. Rinne is close but the age difference plus Rinne’s variance from season to season makes me like Gibson even if he plays 55-60 starts instead of 65.

  3. jon says:
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    What are your thoughts on dealing Ovi for Simmonds, Schenn and a nice spec (TBA later) plus 1st rounder.

    League stats G A P PP+- HITS

    or If i was to trade Ovi (Cap league) which two players as a rough guess would you want back?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @jon: I generally lead towards keeping a superstar than trading him for multiple pieces, especially since Ovechkin is a monster in hits leagues. If you included PIM in your league, I could see a case, but without PIM, Simmonds takes a huge hit and he’s been a plus-minus blackhole for a few years running now.

      If you wanted to move Ovechkin, I would want an elite young player back plus a second or third piece that you can count on. It’s hard to give an example without knowing what players are on what teams in your league. Unless you’re extremely desperate to move him for cap reasons, I would hold onto Ovechkin. The settings are literally perfect for him and there’s a good chance he’s the #1 overall player

  4. Jermaine says:
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    Pietrangelo or Doughty in a 12 team head to head keeper league?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Jermaine: Give me Pietrangelo for the upside with Shattenkirk gone. Doughty will get you more PIM but I think Pietrangelo will be marginally (in some, very marginally) better everywhere else.

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