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Howdy, Razzguys n gals!

I’m stoked to bring you my first-ever piece of fantasy hockey content here at Razzball. If you pay attention to the fantasy baseball side of things, then you’ll know me from there. But believe it or not, I know a thing or two about fantasy hockey and hope to share my unparalleled wisdom with you all. Poor Viz has been doing it all by himself, so I figured I’d lend a hand.

I’ll be doing an eight-part Team Previews series, with each division getting two parts. Today is Pacific Part 1, tomorrow will be Part 2, then Wednesday and Thursday will be the Central. Next week, we’ll do it all again with the Metro and the Atlantic on Monday-Thursday.

Hope you enjoy!

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We’re keeping it moving here at Razzball with the Top 40 defensemen.  If you didn’t see the top 20, you can read that here.  I have some good news as well!  JKJ, who writes on the baseball side of things, is going to be helping me out with hockey this year.  He’s going to have a weekly post during the season to focus on streaming.  As of now, the plan is for that to come out on Thursdays to cover the weekend since streaming is prevalent on Friday and Saturday.  Additionally, he’s going to do quick team previews for the entire league.  Look out for those starting next week!  Now let’s get to the top 40:

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We’re moving out from the crease to the blue liners in my rankings.  Today, I’ll be going through the top 20 defensemen with the Top 40 coming out later in the week.  Let’s get right to it!

1) Cale Makar – Covered in the Top 20 overall here.

2) Dougie Hamilton – The top defenseman last season by a fairly wide margin, Hamilton moved from Carolina to New Jersey.  It’s a little worrisome, but I still expect big things from Dougie.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Hamilton ends up getting more minutes than he did while he was in Carolina. 

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Things have changed quite a bit with goaltending in the NHL since I started writing at Razzball. When I started, there were tons of workhorses with very few teams using a platoon.  Now, more than half of the teams have a duo where the backup is getting at least 1/3 of the starts, if not a complete split.  Among the few workhorses that we have left, there are only six that I completely trust to be a #1 goalie this year.  I am breaking down all of the goalies in the NHL into tiers (and ranking them within in each tier), but be sure to understand how your league format can change the value of certain players.  For example, if you’re in a head to head league, Marc-Andre Fleury is going to be more valuable than in a roto league because the volume should be there.  In a roto league where you have a set number of starts, someone like Ilya Sorokin, who, barring injury, should start 35-40 games, gets a boost because the quality of starts matters a lot more than volume.  If you have specific questions, ask them in the comments section, but I’ll have a quick note on everyone when necessary.  Let’s get to it!

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Today, I’m going to finish out my Top 20.  I am going to have a massive goaltending post come out on Friday that will cover everybody in the NHL that is fantasy relevant.  Things are going to start picking up now in this space now that football drafts are done, and the baseball season is winding down.  Don’t forget to check out Son’s basketball content as well!  For those who missed it, you can see the Top 10 here. Let’s get to 11-20!

11) Patrick Kane – This could be the last time Kane goes in the top 10 as he is about to turn 33 years old. That said, Kane hasn’t shown many signs of aging to this point.  We should see a bounce back with goals because Kane shot the lowest percentage of his career last season.  Part of that is not getting to the best spots on the ice as easily as he did when he was younger, but a bigger part of that was simply bad luck.  Having a full season of a healthy Dach as his center should also help.  He’s not the most exciting pick, but Kane should get the job done.

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And we’re back!  The NHL season starts in just over a month so it’s time to start my rankings.  I will end up ranking the top 20 players overall, goalies, 100 forwards, 40 D, and then making a top 200 list before the season starts.  For now, I’ll be doing the top 10 overall in this post.  As an aside, if you have any interest in writing fantasy hockey posts for Razzball, please let me know in the comments section below.  Let’s get to it!

1) Connor McDavid – Don’t overthink it.  McDavid played at a 154 point pace last season and is so far above the rest of the field.  If you’re lucky enough to pick first, congrats on the big head start.

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For my last scheduled post outside of the bracket challenge for the next few months, I’m going to review my bold predictions from before the season.  My goal was to get three or more, did that happen?  Let’s find out!  For those that want to read the entire post, click here. 

1) Evgeni Malkin leads the league in points.  And a massive whiff to start!  Malkin was injured a lot (what else is new) and wasn’t as good as usual when he played.  Even if he was, he was never catching McJesus.

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It’s time to look back at both of my posts about undervalued and overvalued players from preseason.  I did ten players for both, and I’ll break down each player and what went right or what went wrong.  I have to say that there were quite a lot of correct predictions, especially in the overvalued.  Eight of the ten predictions were clearly correct, but oh boy was there one big miss!  I will not hide that prediction in shame because that would serve no purpose.  If you want to look back at this posts, you can find them here and here, but it won’t be necessary.  Let’s get to it!

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For all of your that play head to head leagues, I hope that you took down your title over the weekend!  For those of you in roto leagues, you are still playing out the rest of the week.  This post will be short for that reason, but I want to bring a few things to your attention that could help you in your push to the finish line.  As a reminder, over the rest of this week, I will do a post on what went right and wrong with my rankings this season, how my bold predictions went, and then setting up a Bracket Challenge once the bracket is set.  After that, my posts will be infrequent during the summer as the fantasy hockey season comes to an end.  Let’s get to it!

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