We are through 149 players in my rankings; I can’t believe there’s still 101 players to go! Thanks to a commenter, I realized that I had Tyler Toffoli ranked twice. I’m only human! I’ll update everything once I get through 250 with some slight player movement into one big list. Anyways, things are already getting thin at this point in drafts. There will be some guys who are here for their safety but I’m deferring to players with upside at this point in the draft. Locking in 45-50 points is fine and dandy but I’d rather shoot the moon and work the waiver wire during the season. We’ve also reached the point where we are really picking on team need. If you’re solid across the board, just take best player available, but if you need STP, PIM, or SOG, feel free to take guys higher than they’re ranked to fill those needs. Let’s take a look at the best players who make up the second half of standard drafts:
150) Auston Matthews – While I’m not thrilled about taking him this year, I will have him higher than this when I update rankings. While he doesn’t have the offensive ceiling the other recent #1 pick forwards have, there’s still plenty of talent here. The Leafs will be forced to give him big minutes and we’re just hoping the plus-minus doesn’t get ugly. A 20+30 rookie season seems reasonable and who knows, maybe the Leafs have a great power play and it can be a little better.
151) P.A. Parenteau – I talked about Parenteau on the Metro podcast here. To be brief, he’ll get to play with John Tavares again and with the PIM he brings, he’s a great fit in the middle rounds. Parenteau is going to move up a bit as well.
152) Mikko Koivu – Koivu had a nice bounce back last season with 17+39. The shots are below two per game now which is worrisome but I assume it goes back up a bit under Bruce Boudreau. It won’t be great outside of assists but it’s definitely worth owning.
153) Mika Zibanejad – He took a nice step with 21+30 last season in Ottawa with increased shots; now he’s in New York and should get to play with better wings like Rick Nash. I think he’s safe at this point with the potential to push 60 points if things break right.
154) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – While I like the player plenty, it looks like he’s going to be the third line center to start the season. There’s a good chance he’s getting 50-55 points but it’s coming with poor PIM and below average shots.
155) Jake Muzzin – Limited upside barring a Doughty injury but Muzzin has back to back 40 point seasons with a career high 203 shots last season, excellent for a defenseman. His PIM the last three years have been 58,22,64. I assume he stays in the 50 range which is enough to put him in this spot as a #3 D.
156) Sami Vatanen – While he didn’t take the step forward I expected last season, Vatanen still possesses 50 point potential. Hopefully the Ducks trade one of their defensemen to help clear up the log jam but regardless, Vatanen should be on the first power play unit and is a good bet for 45 points, 20 of which are on the power play, with decent shots.
157) Marc-Andre Fleury – While I’d take him a bit earlier if I drafted Matt Murray to ensure I had the duo, I can see drafting Fleury in this spot regardless. While there is downside here that he’s stuck as the backup all season, there’s also the chance he works his way into a platoon or the #1G again. Fleury is coming off the best regular season of his career so there’s still plenty left in the tank. There’s also a chance he gets traded making him a great lottery ticket in the later rounds.
158) Henrik Zetterberg – Ok, I’ve waited long enough to put Zetterberg in my rankings. I know he’ll be long gone at this point and that’s perfectly fine. Zetterberg managed to actually play all 82 games last season but he scored only 50 points with a declining shot rate. I don’t see the upside at 36 and it could get worse. The assists make him worth taking at this point but nowhere near his ADP.
159) Bryan Little – Consistently one of the most underrated players in the league, Little scored 42 points in 57 games last season. He’s lost his spot on the first line in Winnipeg but Little should still be fine on the second line. Little is an injury concern, the shots are below average and the PIM are wildly unpredictable but there’s 60 point upside still.
160) Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Pickles is coming off the best season of his career with 39 points in 67 games. He’s been a plus player every season of his career and while you’ll have to make up the shots, it’s not a big hit from a defenseman. It’s not great anywhere but assists; however it’s good enough elsewhere.
161) Brent Seabrook – Note the defensemen run here. At this point, I’m going to have my starting forwards close to finished in the draft so I’ll be looking for my 3rd through 5th defensemen now. Anyways, I suspect Seabrook will be overrated this year. He set career highs with 14 goals and 35 assists. The problem I have is two fold. One, a lot of those points came with Duncan Keith injured and there’s no guarantee Seabrook is back on the first power play unit. Half of his points came on the power play so he’s dependent on that for a repeat. Two, the shots and PIM aren’t good enough so if the points drop back to 40, he’s barely worth owning. It’s fine as your #4 but there’s not any upside here for a big season.
162) Martin Hanzal – Here’s some upside! Hanzal finished last season with 13+28 in 64 games. Add in 77 PIM and an average shot rate and it’s terrific. Now he’s playing with two wingers in their second season who should get better and I’m excited. The problem is 18,45,17,9,18,21. Those are the amount of games he’s missed the last 6 seasons. Hanzal should be a top 100 player if he stays healthy but don’t count on that happening.
163) Bobby Ryan – He burned me last season but I still don’t believe. Last season was best case and it’s not great anywhere. 50 points is certainly possible but it’s necessary with his below average PIM and average shots to be a hold.
164) Andrew Ladd – Much like Parenteau, Ladd now gets a chance to play with Tavares which should do him wonders. Reid and I actually had a long discussion about these two on the Metro podcast. Anyways, Ladd scares me a bit. He looked rough at times last season which isn’t a surprise for a 30 year old with his style of play and long career already. A high shooting percentage masked his shot rate decline and the PIM dropped to merely above average. There is some upside here playing with Tavares, if everything breaks right he could get 25+30, but don’t reach for it.
165) Ryan Kesler – Man, he’s nowhere near the player he used to be. Last season was surprisingly decent with 21+32 but his biggest asset at this point is his penalty minutes. He barely gets to 2 shots per game, it’s been 5 seasons since he topped 53 points and the Ducks will surely be worse this year without Bruce Boudreau. He’s such an easy fade for me; I’m thrilled his ADP is so high. Most places still have him in the top 100 which is asinine; take someone with much higher points upside or get 100+ PIM.
166) Steve Mason – I’m not a fan of Mason this season, mostly because I think Michal Neuvirth is going to get his fair share of playing time. Mason was solid last season with a .918 sv% but his goals against was at 2.51. I’m not sure it gets better since the Flyers are a mess defensively. I would be thrilled to get him as my G3 but I would be scared if he’s my #2.
167) Colton Parayko – Parayko came out of nowhere to put up 33 points with a +28 as a rookie. I expect him to have a bigger role this season giving him more time on ice and he’s a lock for power play time; he had only 7 PPP last season so that number should get into the teens. There’s also massive upside here if Kevin Shattenkirk gets injured again or if Parayko plays on the first PP unit regardless.
168) James Reimer – While Roberto Luongo is the clear #1, he is coming off surgery and he’s not used as a workhorse anymore. I love the idea of pairing the two together but at this point, I’d take Reimer as my third goalie. On a horrible Leafs team last season, Reimer had a 2.49 GAA and .918 sv%; add in his time in San Jose and you’re are 2.31 and .922. He’s going to be worth playing every time he starts so I’d make sure I take him a few rounds earlier than this if I did take Luongo.
169) Antti Niemi – Niemi and Kari Lehtonen are both going to get you a ton of wins. The problem is that it’s at the expense of your other numbers. You can hope for a bounce back but I’m not counting on it in that division with their defense.
170) Tomas Tatar – I feel like Tatar should be higher but last season was a big step back. The minutes dropped down to 14:21 which should go back up but there’s no guarantee. Tatar had 46 less SOG, the PIM are low and he’s merely okay on the power play. He still needs to be drafted, it was only 2 seasons ago that he scored 29+27, but there’s a chance you cut him early in the year.
171) Thomas Greiss – Same story as Reimer except it’s even more pressing to pair him with Jaroslav Halak. Greiss is going to give you a great 30-40 games but barring injury, it’s not going to be more than that. If that’s good enough for you, move all of these backup goalies in timeshares up a few rounds.
172) Reilly Smith – Smith had an excellent first season in Florida with 25+25 while being +19. The second line in Florida should do well once again and the Panthers power play units should improve with Keith Yandle in the fold. There’s upside for Smith to be slightly better this year as well making him a favorite of mine in this range.
173) Tomas Hertl – I love Hertl as a player but there’s two problems he has to deal with. One, it looks like he’s going to be the third line center instead of on the first line with the Joes. Two, he’s not going to be on the first power play unit. I’m drafting him here in case he does end up with the Joes but he’s going to plummet in my rankings if he’s stuck on the third line.
174) Victor Rask – Rask finished the season strong to reach 48 points (21+27). He’s going to be in the top 6 for the entire season now that the elder Staal is gone giving him better wingers to work with. The shots and PIM aren’t great so he’s dependent on points to have fantasy value but I expect Rask to be around 55 points.
175) Frans Nielsen – It’s yawnstipating with a blank in PIM 20+30 is certainly reasonable. That’s all I have to say about him in Detroit.
176) Craig Smith – It looks like he’s going to be the third wheel on the first line in Smashville. Three straight seasons over 20 goals, decent PIM and above average shots give him potential to be a very nice value, especially if he gets power play time.
177) Mikael Granlund – He finally got his shots to two per game which came with a career high in goals (13). Add in three straight seasons of 30+ assists and if there’s enough shot jump, then Granlund is a clear hold. With Bruce Boudreau at the helm and Granlund getting a chance to play on the wing with fellow countryman Mikko Koivu, I think we see career highs for Granlund.
178) Tyler Ennis – His 2015-16 was ruined by injuries playing only 23 games. The previous two seasons Ennis topped 20+20 on easily the worst team in the NHL. Now, Ennis will get a chance to play with two excellent players regardless of which top six line he plays on. The PIM are decent and same goes with the shots so I love taking a flier on Ennis.
179) Dion Phaneuf – This is strictly a pick for penalty minutes. If you’re short on PIM, plug Phaneuf in one of your last D spots; he’ll get you 100 PIM with 30-35 points. It’s all about needs at this point.
180) Shane Doan – Same as Phaneuf except with 20+ goals. I don’t expect a repeat of 28 goals after shooting 16.5% and he turns 40 before the season starts limiting his upside. That said, those penalty minutes and goal scoring prowess, especially on the power play, can’t be ignored.
181) Dylan Strome – Should be in the top 6 right away and with Hanzal’s injury history, he could be on the top line sooner than later. I’m admittedly shooting the moon here. While he’s the forgotten guy in the 2015 draft going third to the two wunderkinds, Strome has averaged almost two points per game the last two seasons in Erie. He’s no slouch as a prospect.
182) Marian Hossa – He looked like a shell of his former self last season but he’s still at three shots per game. Assuming that holds, Hossa should at least be back in the 20+25 range. I’m just not expecting more from him since he won’t be on the first power play unit.
183) Andrei Markov – A need pick if you’re short on assists and power play points; you have to make sure you can stomach the poor shots.
184) Troy Brouwer – It looks like he’s going to get a chance on the first line in Calgary. If that happens, look for a career high in points which comes with solid to great penalty minutes depending on the season.
185) Andre Burakovsky – Should be on the second line which will certainly bring an increase in playing time (only 13:01 per game last year). If the shots keep increasing, there’s massive potential here playing with Nicklas Backstrom.
186) Morgan Rielly – The plus-minus has potential to get ugly but Rielly could also push 50 points if the Leafs young guns improve the power play. The minutes are going to be massive and it’s his fourth season, the year I keep talking about to expect defensemen to take the offensive leap.
187) Tomas Plekanec – I will probably end up sliding Turtleneck up a few spots but I really don’t like him this season. I have no idea who his left winger will be, his right winger is undependable (Alex Radulov) and the Canadiens are going to be much worse now. The shots fell back down to average so the only plus asset is assists and it’s only been that way the last two seasons. I see potential downside and very little upside.
188) Cam Talbot – The Oilers are still weak defensively despite their trade which will hurt Talbot’s GAA. The save percentage was strong in his first season with the Oilers at .917 so there is some upside here if the Oilers end up a bit ahead of schedule. He’s another guy that I’d be thrilled to have as my #3 but would be a bit worried if he’s my second goalie.
189) Alex Pietrangelo – I’m falling asleep thinking about how boring he is in fantasy. Put him down for around 35-40 points with solid shots. His days of being on the first power play unit are in the past which caps his upside quite a bit. Extremely safe but the ceiling is almost at the floor.
190) Brandon Dubinsky – Should be in the 40s in points with very good penalty minutes. If you’re desperate for PIM, move him up closer to 150.
191) Ryan Spooner – Excellent breakout season with 49 points. Spooner will be on the second line giving him the chance to repeat those numbers. The problem is that he won’t be on the first power play unit barring an injury (like last season to David Krejci) so I don’t see him taking another step.
192) Marian Gaborik – He’s a massive injury risk but he’ll be playing with Anze Kopitar as long as he’s healthy and doesn’t completely fall apart. At this point, he’s as good of a bet as any to score 20+ goals with a strong shot rate.
193) Andrei Vasilevskiy – Every start that Vas gets is must-play. My expectation is that he gets more action this season to see if he is the goalie of the future or if they’re going to give Ben Bishop a massive contract extension. Who knows, perhaps one of the two get traded this season. I’m taking that gamble at this point in the draft.
194) Carl Soderberg – He set a career high with 51 points in his first season in Colorado. I doubt I’ll take him because I’d rather shoot the moon and it looks like Soderberg’s quality of linemate is going to drop with the 3 big guns playing together but perhaps having an actual team system will prevent Soderberg from regressing.
195) Rickard Rakell – 20+23 last season with decent shots; my hope is that he ends up on the first line. If that’s the case he’ll be one of my favorite late round fliers.
196) Paul Stastny – Great in assists; there’s a chance he pushes 60 points. The problem is he’s missed time in four straight seasons and the shots are quite poor. He’s a player to be drafted strictly for need now.
197) Teuvo Teravainen – 35 points last season with an inconsistent role in Chicago. Now that he’s in Carolina, I expect him to be counted on offensively, especially on the power play. Teravainen just turned 22 and his offensive potential is the sole reason he was a first round pick. I’m not convinced it clicks this season but there’s a chance it could and that’s good enough at this point in the rankings.
198) Chris Kreider – I will not buy into Chris Kreider breaking out. I will not buy into Chris Kreider breaking out. I will not buy into Chris Kreider breaking out. Kreider has all of the tools but no toolbox. He’s good for 20+20 with strong penalty minutes but I’m not expecting much more even though he has a ton of potential
199) Thomas Vanek – Last year was the worst season of Vanek’s career with 18+23 in 74 games. He signed a one year deal in Detroit to rebuild his value; there’s a chance he rebuilds his fantasy value in this situation. Vanek is an excellent power play player and with his offensive ability, I think he gets back over 50 points.
200) Vladislav Namestnikov – This is a bit of a gamble but that’s what these late round picks are all about! Namestnikov finished last season with 14+21 with 45 PIM. My gamble here is that Namestnikov gets the left wing spot on the first line over Alex Killorn (coming up very early in the top 250). If he does, Namestnikov has 50+ point upside.
That’s all for now guys. Man, 201-250 is going to be uggggggly. Look for that to be out early next week along with the last two team previews. Be sure to check out the podcasts previewing the Eastern Conference divisions and you should also sign up for an RCL. It’s plenty of fun with a $100 prize for winning so check it out here. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Have a good weekend everyone, take care!