We’ve reached the halfway point in my rankings and it’s time to approach the finish line. I will keep updating this with info for players as Friday progresses but I wanted to get the top 150 out as soon as possible. Also, sorry for the delay, but the RCL’s will launch this coming Monday in the afternoon. I’ve had a few technical difficulties setting it up but that should be taken care of by then. For those who haven’t seen them, here are my top 50 and top 100 rankings. Without further adieu, here is my top 150:
101) Sean Monahan – Monahan starts a group of players who are fairly consistent and lack penalty minutes. He’s scored 27 goals each of the last two seasons with 30+ assists. The reason I dropped him lower is that his playing time is actually going in the wrong direction. Monahan is fine across the board outside of penalty minutes but I don’t really see much upside. I couldn’t put him lower than this though.
102) Ryan O’Reilly – The bad news for RoR’s fantasy value is that it’s very unlikely he averaged 21:28 again with Disco Dan out of Buffalo. The good news is that it shouldn’t drop that much, the system change should help him and his shot rate is peaking. O’Reilly scored 20 goals and 35 assists last season in 72 games with 26 of those points on special teams. If things broke right, I think O’Reilly gets into the 65-70 point range. You’ll be lucky to get 10 penalty minutes from him but O’Reilly is safe with some upside.
103) Jordan Eberle – I had a very tough time ranking Eberle. My hope is that his power play role increased in New York. The shot rate should be average and his high floor (something like 20+30) keeps him in this range. If everything broke right, Eberle could push 65+ points playing with Tavares.
104) Brandon Saad – This may be too high for Saad given that he’s poor at penalty minutes and was never good on the power play. If he takes the best of the last two seasons, Saad can be a 30+30 player with three shots per game and a solid plus-minus. Just make sure you’re already covered in terms of penalty minutes and power play points.
105) Mats Zuccarello – Zuccarello is coming off a nice season with 15 goals, 44 assists and an average shot rate. It sounds crazy to say but of the previous guys in this tier (Zucc ends the group), he may have the highest upside in terms of point total. With Shattenkirk in the fold, the Rangers power play should improve quite a bit. Assuming his shooting percentage goes to career norms, low 20’s in goals with 40+ assists with slight upside from there is realistic. Given that his plus-minus is solid every year and the penalty minutes aren’t a disaster, I’m starting to convince myself as I’m writing this that he needs to move up when I update my rankings!
106) Kyle Turris – Like Galchenyuk, Turris’ shot rate fell quite a bit but a high shooting percentage led to him scoring 27 goals. The 40 assists from 2014-15 seems like a fluke at this point but Turris is another guy who could be 30+30 while being solid in the other categories.
107) Brayden Schenn – Schenn’s success will come down to two things: can he improve his even strength play in St. Louis while sustaining his power play prowess? Schenn could end up being a top 75 player if things broke right or he can become a bottom end hold if the power play points drop off significantly. I expect him to settle somewhere close to where he’s been in Philly, hence this ranking.
108) Corey Perry – As much as his game has fallen off, this is probably too low on Perry. The goals dropped all the way down to 19 but he also had a career low shooting percentage? Is that the player he is now? Possibly, but if it bounces back at all, the high penalty minutes and average shot rate make him a top 100 player with 55 points. I’m definitely not targeting him anywhere but he’s a nice fit to all rosters, especially those short on penalty minutes.
109) Charlie Coyle – Coyle had his breakout last season with 56 points yet only 9 came on the power play. His shot rate has also improved in every season so if the power play points come around and he continues to grow, 65-70 is within reason.
110) Kris Letang – With word coming out that he’ll be ready to start the season, Letang is going to go up 50ish spots when I update my rankings. I just can’t bring myself to put a guy with his injury history in my top 50. He’s elite in all 6 categories but the downside is far too great to justify a pick in the first four rounds anymore.
111) Jonathan Quick – Quick hasn’t topped a .918 sv% in any of the past five seasons. There is no debate over who I think is the most overrated player in the NHL. The goals against average will be above average and he should have the volume if he can stay healthy but I don’t think the Kings are going to improve much, if at all. I expect him to be long gone at this point and that is fine with me.
112) Thomas Greiss – Greiss was a mess at the end of last season but should be the starter opening night for the Islanders. I expect his numbers to settle in around his averages since coming to New York: a .918 sv%, 2.45 GAA and a solid win total. He’s far from a world beater but if you miss the wave of #2 goalies, you could do worse than Greiss as a bottom end #2.
113) Cory Schneider – Last year was an epic disaster but before that, Schneider was a top 7 goalie for 3+ years. I’m not predicting that again because the team in front of him is bad and in an awful division but Schneider should get his save percentage back above league average. That alone would make him a #2 goalie.
114) Alexander Wennberg – Everything for Wennberg’s fantasy value comes down to whether or not he starts to shoot the puck more. If he gets it to at least two shots per game, he could be a top 100 fantasy player. If Wennberg stays below 1.5, he’ll struggle to make the top 150. I think we see some progress but not as much as some hope.
115) Jaden Schwartz – Schwartz set a career high with 36 assists last season and was +14, his fourth straight year of being +8 or better. Otherwise, it’s a very average stat line. There is some potential upside if Schwartz becomes more of a focal point on the power play this year but I have my doubts. He’s very safe but boring.
116) Logan Couture – Couture had a solid season in 2016-17 after being riddled by injuries in 2015-16. Couture scored 25 goals and added 27 assists in 73 games with an average shot rate. What’s the dream scenario? Couture gets back to three shots per game and instead of getting 4 power play assists, he gets back to 15+. Then we are looking at a top 50 player. What scares me is that his linemates don’t belong on a second line and he’s not giving you penalty minutes.
117) Mark Stone – Stone is another glue guy who isn’t going to do anything spectacular but won’t hurt you anywhere outside of potentially shots. He’s either had 60 points or played at a 60 point pace for three straight years so while he doesn’t do much else, Stone is worthy of a pick in this range.
118) Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Last year was the year from hell for OEL and the majority of Coyotes players. I think we see Arizona improve by a decent margin this year and a lot of it comes from Ekman-Larsson. Two seasons ago, OEL had 55 points, 96 PIM and over three shots per game. That’s a true #1D. While I think the penalty minutes should come back down towards 50, the rest of those numbers are attainable. I won’t necessarily predict that but I hope people are off him completely after he burned so many fantasy owners last season.
119) Duncan Keith – Tons of assists, good plus-minus, average every else. Keith is a #2D year in and year out, not much else to say about him.
120) Drew Doughty – Another clear #2D, just in different ways than Keith. Doughty will chip in 10-15 goals but with 30ish assists. Everything else will be average or better making him an incredibly safe pick. Just don’t expect a repeat of 2015-16.
121) Kyle Okposo – Somewhat of a forgotten man in Buffalo, Okposo is thankfully healthy going into the season after an illness ended his year prematurely. Like the rest of their forwards, Okposo should benefit from the improvement on the blue line and the coaching change. He’s not going to be great in any category but he should be solid across the board.
122) Rickard Rakell – Rakell broke out last season scoring 33 goals in 71 games. I’m not fully buying in because of an absurd shooting percentage but Rakell should play at a 30 goal pace this year. The penalty minutes won’t be there but the minutes should increase and his shot rate has improved every season.
123) Nico Hischier – I don’t love Hischier for this season but I can’t put his upside lower than this. My concern is that John Hynes eases Hischier in and lets Zajac or Henrique play with Hall to start the year. I’m all in long term but I’ll probably pass on him in redrafts with the intention of trading for him midseason if it looks like his role is going to increase.
124) Derek Stepan – As mentioned in the OEL blurb, I’m starting to like the Coyotes to be respectable this season. Rick Tocchet comes in and should open things up compared to Tippett. Stepan’s point per game rate was actually the lowest in five years last season but that shows you how high his floor is (55 points in 16/17). 20+40 with a solid shot rate should be in the cards.
125) Max Domi – Last year brought a sophomore slump for Domi but he still played at a 52 point pace, the same as his rookie year. Having a center like Stepan to play with should elevate his game and with the high penalty minute upside, I’m buying Domi stock again.
126) John Carlson – Another player with a disappointing 2016-17, Shattenkirk’s arrival hurt Carolson’s production at the end of the season but thankfully Carlson won’t have to deal with him anymore. I assume he’ll get back on PP1 which gives him 50+ points with elite power play totals.
127) Justin Faulk – The one concern with Faulk is that he’s always had a horrible plus-minus. My hope is that Carolina’s vast improvement will fix that. Faulk is a lock for 15+ goals and an incredible shot rate for a defenseman. I would be perfectly content with Faulk as my #2.
128) Vincent Trocheck – Trocheck failed to take a step forward last season but still totaled 54 points, 43 PIM and almost 3 shots per game. The 24 year old will play a ton of minutes giving him a very high floor. Trocheck doesn’t have a super high ceiling but should be a plus player in all categories.
129) Brendan Gallagher – Another bounce back candidate, Gallagher’s 2016-17 was filled with injuries and disappointment. I’m buying into the breakout this year. In 2015-16, Gallagher had 40 points in 53 games with an elite shot rate and solid penalty minutes. I fully expect him to play with Patches and Galchenyuk giving him that type of upside. Regardless, it should be an elite shot rate with solid contributions everywhere.
130) Bo Horvat – I wrote a Bo Horvat sleeper post. Dr. Bo is ready to make some noise!
131) Ondrej Palat – The return of Stamkos should make a lethal power play get even better. Palat finally has a big power play role and his shot rate finally jumped to respectable levels last season. Very good assists, solid PIM and a good plus-minus seem likely.
132) Nick Foligno – Foligno’s last three seasons have seen him hit his ceiling, his floor and a relative middle ground. Everything really comes down to his shooting percentage. Foligno has shot anywhere from 8 to 17% which is the difference between 20 and 30 goals. 25 assists should be expected (2014-15 was a fluke) but solid to great penalty minutes and very good power play points should be in the cards.
133) Shea Weber – The goals, power play points and shots should be elite for a defenseman. Everything else is up in the air, but his lack of assists (25 last season) drags him down into bottom end #2 territory.
134) Dmitry Orlov – Gamble time! Orlov is poised to play on the first pair at even strength for the first time in his career giving him additional minutes. Orlov should also play more minutes on the power play. Those two factors alone have me excited. Now add that Orlov should have a great plus-minus, solid penalty minutes and his shot rate jumped significantly last year and I have the excites. You won’t have to take him this early but I want to be clear that I want Orlov everywhere for the upside.
135) Bryan Little – Injury concerns keep Little down here but 47 points in 59 games is no joke. You’ll need to be covered in PIM and shots but Little should score at a terrific rate playing with the elite Winnipeg wingers.
136) Matt Duchene – Duchene should pay off this ranking even if he isn’t traded. Like a lot of players in this section, I’m simply dismissing last season for Duchene. 20+30 is easily attainable and there’s massive upside from there no matter what team he’s on.
137) J.T. Miller – Stepan’s departure clears the way for Miller to become a top 100 player. Miller was quietly solid last season with 56 points and a +17 rating. He also had only 7 PPP giving him great upside in terms of points. The problem for Miller’s fantasy value is his shot rate is very poor and the penalty minutes vary from year to year. I would not be surprised if Miller pushed 70 points if things broke right but the downside is much larger for him than most players in this range because of the lack of contributions in the extra categories.
138) Kyle Palmieri – Palmieri proved that his breakout in 21015-16 wasn’t a fluke scoring 26 goals and 27 assists. His contributions are plus across the board and there’s some extra upside here if Hicshier is great right away. Palmieri is a safe pick that fits all teams in the middle rounds.
139) Tyler Toffoli – I’ve never been a big fan of Toffoli in terms of fantasy hockey. He’s never been a good power play player, the penalty minutes aren’t there and a lot of his value comes from his plus-minus. Toffoli should get back to 25+25 with an above average shot rate and good to great plus-minus.
140) Henrik Zetterberg – Zetterberg was a monster last season despite the fact that Detroit fell off tremendously. My concern is that his shot rate keeps trending in the wrong direction and if he loses 14 assists (the drop from 2015-16 to 2016-17), he’s barely ownable in 12’ers. The good news is that Zetterberg is coming off a 68 point season and should have a full season of playing with Mantha, a duo that dominated for stretches. It’s very assist heavy but Zetterberg hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down outside of the drop in shots.
141) Radim Vrbata – Vrbata had a great season last year with Arizona scoring 20 goals and 35 assists with an above average shot rate. He moves to Florida where he’ll probably play with Trocheck on the second line and on the point of the first power play unit. With little penalty minutes, there’s a realistic scenario where Vrbata is cut from your team a month into the season but he also could become a top 100 player if the power play total increases.
142) Roberto Luongo – See below
143) James Reimer – I’m intentionally putting these two back to back because if I’m taking one, I definitely want the other. If healthy, I expect each goalie to get 30+ starts so there is more value in the sum of the parts than the individuals. Since I expect Florida to bounce back, the wins should be there and both goalies could give you a boost in save percentage. They should combine to a solid #2 with an outside shot of being a bottom end #1.
144) Kyle Connor – More high upside plays! I’m banking on Connor playing his way onto the second line. No matter who that is with (Little and Wheeler probably), he’s in the perfect spot to succeed. Connor has all of the tools to be a great goal scorer with his speed and puck handling. If it looks like Connor will start in the bottom six, I will drop him down to being a late round gamble, but if he’s getting top six time, it wouldn’t shock me if he pushes for the Calder.
145) Patrick Marleau – Toronto paid Marleau a large amount of money for his age 38-40 seasons. In San Jose last season, Marleau scored 27 goals with a solid shot rate. There’s a good chance he plays with Matthews at even strength and this ranking is solely on that assumption. It probably won’t be great in any category besides goals but Marleau would have 30 goal potential playing on the top line.
146) Mike Smith – Calgary’s blue line is as good as it gets in the league. In comes Smith to be the #1 goalie behind that excellent group. Smith has been an average or worse goalie throughout his career but the upside is through the roof in this situation. The downside is that Calgary finds a new stopgap before one of their prospect goalies is ready and Smith becomes a backup. If I can get Smith as my #3, I’d do it on every team, but I wouldn’t want him as my #2 everywhere solely because of the risk.
147) Mika Zibanejad – Like Miller, Zibanejad now gets a bigger role as he moves into the #1C spot for the Blueshirts. My hope is that his shot rate gets back to average like it was in 2015-16 and that his power play points increase with Shattenkirk’s arrival. If that happens, he could push a top 100 player, but the poor penalty minutes and the lack of an elite category keep him down here.
148) Jacob Trouba – Trouba made nice incremental increases across the board in year three. If everything goes right, he could have a year like Dougie Hamilton did last year which makes him a #1D. All of the categories should be plus which is why I’m a big Trouba fan this year. He may not top 40 points (I expect 45ish) but that is enough to make him a #2.
149) Torey Krug – I am guessing people will be down on Krug because of McAvoy’s arrival but I don’t think it’s going to hurt him at all. Krug had 40+ assists for the second straight year with great shots and special teams points. He’s incredibly safe but has some upside if his shot ever manages to find the back of the net with any consistency.
150) Patrick Maroon – His point total will probably be the worst out of anyone in the top 150 but Maroon had 27 goals and 95 PIM last season. Getting to play with McJesus does wonders and also assures Maroon a solid plus-minus as well. He’s poor on the power play and the shot rate is only average but you can’t ignore those goals and penalty minutes.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Monday previewing the St. Louis Blues. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!