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Sadly, the fantasy hockey season has come to an end.  I’ll have an RCL summary post up later this week along with a preview of The Stanley Cup Playoffs with Reid on Tuesday’s podcast.  For now, I’d like to invite everyone to join the Razzball Bracket Challenge again through the link here and to present my super early top 50 for next season.  I’m not going to go into much detail at this point because so many things can change between now and six months from now when the 2017-18 regular season actually begins.  This will go longer than our mock draft podcast but if you want more details about my thought process, I’d be sure to check that out.  Even if you have listened, I’ve made some minor changes so there is already some tweaking (hopefully improvement) happening. I’ll be separating these guys into tiers with tier explanations but that will be the extent of the analysis.  Obviously you’re welcome to ask me in the comments section about anything you like / disagree with.  Let’s get to it!

Tier 1: The Gimmes – This is a two person tier.  If you’re lucky enough to get a top two pick next season, you don’t have to put much thought into it.

1) Connor McDavid

2) Sidney Crosby

Tier 2: Not Quite a Gimme, Still Amazing – This is a four person tier.  I debating putting Malkin in his own tier at 6th overall because I wouldn’t take him before that.  That said, I can understand someone taking him earlier because he was the clear #1 player on a per-game basis.  I can see moving 3-5 around a lot during the offseason, it’s that close and depends what you’re looking for.

3) Nikita Kucherov

4) Patrick Kane

5) Alex Ovechkin 

6) Evgeni Malkin

Tier 3: Floor Through The Roof – Four players again in this tier.  The first guy on this list had a great season while the other three were down by their standards.  That said, they were still terrific and that safety makes them worthy of a first round pick.  Maybe I’ll end up putting some more upside guys ahead of them but for now, I like having this group here.

7) Brad Marchand

8) Vladimir Tarasenko

9) Tyler Seguin

10) Jamie Benn

Tier 4: Moving Forward Without Forwards – This is self-explanatory.  At the wheel, I would consider taking one goalie and that’s it.  Again, my general philosophy is to wait on goalie.  Assuming Holtby goes earlier, I love the idea of pairing up the two stud defensemen on the wheel

11) Brent Burns

12) Braden Holtby

13) Erik Karlsson

Tier 5a/5b: I Can’t See The Ceiling / Where Is The Floor? – This tier goes from 14 to 23 although the players fall into two categories.  We are looking at a handful of players who have tremendous upside and a handful of players who have established themselves as elite fantasy assets for years.  There is a lot of wiggle room and I can definitely see myself moving these guys around come August

14) Jack Eichel

15) Auston Matthews

16) Patrik Laine

17) Joe Pavelski

18) Blake Wheeler

19) Mark Scheifele

20) Steven Stamkos

21) John Tavares

22) David Pastrnak

23) Nicklas Backstrom

Tier 6: More Goalies I Expect To Be Gone: The title is self-explanatory.  I could see myself passing on a couple of these guys even if they’re on the board but I’d at least consider it on the second wheel of a 12 man draft.  It will definitely price me out on Price and Bob but there’s hope Murray could make it.

24) Matt Murray

25) Carey Price

26) Sergei Bobrovsky

Tier 7: Just Missed Tier 5 : I’ll give you one guess about the guys in this tier… damn you guys are good!  I expect to be down on Draisaitl and Panarin compared to consensus but that’s okay.

27) Max Pacioretty

28) Leon Draisaitl

29) Artemi Panarin

30) Victor Hedman

31) Nikolaj Ehlers

32) Jeff Skinner

Tier 8: Pick Your Poison – This is a massive tier that goes from 33 to .  After a summer of research, I could see this tier being broken into two separate tiers but for now, I’m lumping them all together.  Most of these skaters have one weakness, be it poor shots, no penalty minutes or lacking big upside.

33) Wayne Simmonds

34) Patrice Bergeron

35) Devan Dubnyk

36) Johnny Gaudreau

37) Dustin Byfuglien

38) Mike Hoffman

39) Filip Forsberg

40) Mitch Marner

41) Phil Kessel

42) Cam Atkinson

43) Mikael Granlund

Tier 9: Clear Number One Goalies – More safety in this group but they simply aren’t as good as the five goalies above them for various reasons.  That said, there is plenty to like here.

44) John Gibson

45) Cam Talbot

46) Corey Crawford

47) Martin Jones

Tier 10: I Believe! – This group of guys had breakout seasons and I don’t think it’s a fluke.  In fact, with #50, I know it’s overaggressive but I want him everywhere.

48) Nino Niederreiter

49) Viktor Arvidsson

50) Matthew Tkachuk

Just missed in no particular order: William NylanderEvgeny Kuznetsov (he’s the most likely candidate to move up), T.J OshieJeff CarterRyan GetzlafAleksander BarkovTaylor HallEvander KaneJakub Voracek

That’s all for now guys.  Reid and I will be recording a podcast on Tuesday morning reviewing every team’s regular season and previewing the first round playoff matchups.  Anything else you want us to talk about, let me know and I’ll be sure to do that either Tuesday or Thursday.  As always, feel free to ask any questions and leave any comments below.  My next post will be on Wednesday but at this time, I’m not sure what it will be about.  It could be the RCL review but more than likely I’ll be saving that for Friday.  Hope you like surprises!  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. goodfold2 says:
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    when are the brackets due by, only one person’s are in

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @goodfold2: NHL’s website has having an issue Sunday night and most of today, naturally it happens right after the matchups are set! You have until 7 PM Wednesday

    • Fungazi says:
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      @goodfold2: I think mine got in. What a headache that site is.

  2. goodfold2 says:
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    going over the matchups

    – MIN playing terrible for about 6 weeks, but if they can play to their capabilities they should win this, and brodeur might be a nearly as good goalie coach as he was a goalie (even though he literally just started that job the day they turned the coaches over).

    – PIT is somehow favored over CLB. this i don’t get with PIT’s injuries, and i’m a PIT fan bigger than any other team

    – BOS is favored, which i find correct. OTT with 1 game left was a -3 in goal differential making them the luckiest team in the NHL. also one word in playoffs BERGERON, this dude has taken crosby out of a series before (years ago to be fair). also bobby orr (karlsson) is hurt.

    – SJ’s also been playing pretty bad since couture’s been out, and a little before that as well.

    – ANA/CGY i could see arguments for either side, but CGY’s D isn’t good.

    – MTL/NYR i could see arguments for either way too

    -the winner of MTL/NYR vs either of BOS/OTT i have no idea who to pick.

    – i do see CHI and WAS buzzsawing their way to finals, unless maybe CLB can beat WAS

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @goodfold2: I’m going to do a thorough breakdown on a podcast with Reid tomorrow morning so I don’t want to spoil my picks. I agree with most of what you said here. My main disagreement is about Calgary’s defense, at least partially. For my money, Giordano-Hamilton has been the best pair in hockey this season, they’ve been fantastic. That’s not to say I’m picking them but I’m strongly considering it. In general, the West is a damn mess and you can justify picking almost all 8 teams to win the conference.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Viz: yeah west is a mess, and 2/3 of the best teams will be out soon in east from NHL’s goofy tinkering. they’ve had to have been better last few months, but WTF was going on earlier in year at CGY D? they were awful (like had to be bottom 5 in conference awful) for months, and both of those guys healthy during that period.

        yeah they’ll never do a best 1-16 (never have either) but they pretty recently were doing it right in the conference. also the insane issue to have 16 teams in one conference and 14 in the other, just ridiculous. just as hockey’s the only sport that has the correct best of 7 in each round and it actually done correctly (2-2-1-1-1) it’s the ONLY one to have unbalanced conferences.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @goodfold2: I honestly have no idea, they were a dumpster fire early on and were bailed out by Chad Johnson. And yes, the unbalanced conferences is the worst thing in sports. Giving teams an unequal opportunity for making the playoffs is ludicrous.

  3. goodfold2 says:
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    also, just like the last 2 years with the central division the current NHL method is complete garbage. a little kid would know to reseed from the best teams all rounds. there’s simply no excuse for the winner of NYR/BOS/MTL/OTT to play ONLY ONE ONCE of PIT/CLB/WAS. all three of the latter have been better teams. PIT arguably isn’t any longer due to injuries but would be if healthy, and their record still indicates they are. pretty clear this should be
    WAS vs TOR (same)
    MTL vs NYR (same, but only due to giving 2nd division winner higher seed)
    PIT vs BOS
    CLB vs OTT

    then a likely 2nd round of
    WAS vs NYR or BOS or CLB
    MTL vs CLB or PIT or BOS
    then a final of
    WAS vs winner of that 2nd set (likely CLB).
    instead we have to lose at least 1/3 of the best teams in the first round, and at least 2/3 by end of 2nd round.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @goodfold2: Yeah we’ve ranted about it multiple times on the podcast. I wish they would just do 1-16 ignoring conferences but since that won’t happen, I strongly support the 1-8 like you listed above. It’s simply the fairest way to do it if you’re keeping conferences separate.

  4. Saints says:
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    Thanks for the good first overview. What Do you expect out of voracek next season ? I’m not really sure he had a rough 2nd half. Is this a coming decline ? I’m strongly considering to shop him this offseason.

    PS:I’m really looking forward to your pod in (hopefully) a few hours 🙂

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Saints: Pod was just recorded so it should be out in an hour or so. He did struggle a bit down the stretch but even if he is a 20+40 guy with elite shots and special teams points (plus solid PIM), there is plenty of value there. That said, if you can get something strong back, I would definitely move him, he’s far from untouchable.

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