Here is what everyone wants, more rankings! You can find my top 50 here and I hope to get through the top 100 by Friday. These are all still elite players, some of which have the potential to shoot up these rankings while others are declining but still worth this spot. The gap between these players is fairly small so a lot of it comes down to team build. Let’s get right to it!
51) Ryan Getzlaf – Looking back, I’d probably slide Getzlaf up one spot to 50 but regardless, the days of Getzlaf being a second round pick are over. While Getzlaf was incredibly unlucky to score only 13 goals last season, his shots are on the steady decline. The Ducks will almost certainly take a step back with Randy Carlyle replacing Bruce Boudreau and his partner in crime Corey Perry is also declining. Don’t get me wrong, Getzlaf could still get 15+50 or even 20+50 if things break right. That comes with strong PIM as well and an almost certain good plus-minus. That said, the shots and power play points are merely average at this point. He’s a great combo of assists and penalty minutes but don’t overpay for it. If you get a ton of goals early, I could see drafting him in the fourth round for team fit but otherwise, wait for the fifth. He’ll probably be gone by then though.
52) Logan Couture – Couture’s regular season was ruined by an injury that cost him 30 games. He tallied 15+21 in 52 games with a decreased time on ice. That said, he was the best player in the playoffs scoring a whopping 30 points in 24 games. His playoffs showed the upside that he carries. Couture is a staple on the best power play in the league and his shot rate should return to elite status with his health. A return to his 2014-15 status when he scored 67 points and took over 3 shots per game is in the cards.
53) Jason Spezza – Spezza had a great season for the Stars scoring 33 goals and 30 assists. While the goal total may drop a little due to a high shooting percentage, the assists could see an uptick. Spezza should be playing with better linemates now that the Stars signed Jiri Hudler. Spezza getting to play with two of Patrick Sharp, Valeri Nichushkin and Hudler is a big upgrade over his quality of linemate last season. Spezza is also on the first power play unit that is among the best in the league.
54) Joe Thornton – I know this feels low for a player who scored 82 points last season but hear me out. First, he’s not going to score 19 goals again taking 121 shots. The 54 PIM were the highest total he’s had in 6 years and quite a bit higher than the previous 4. A lot of his value came from his plus-minus; he was +25 after being -4 the previous year. At this point, he could easily drop back to 16+49 like he had in 2014-15. He’s also 37 years old and after a long playoff run and playing on the Canadian team in the World Cup, I bet he’s eased into the season. Thornton will be a great source of assists and PPP but it’s hard to count on him being average anywhere else.
55) John Klingberg – As we get closer to drafts, I have the feeling Klingberg will move up a bit in my rankings. His second season was excellent scoring 10 goals and adding 48 assists with a +22 rating. Klingberg’s shot rate took a huge jump to above average for a defensemen, the STP were solid and his penalty minutes were decent enough. With the departures of Jason Demers and Alex Goligoski, I bet Klingberg’s minutes increase as well. Add in that the Stars power play is terrific and the team is loaded top to bottom and Klingberg remains in an excellent position to succeed.
56) Jakub Voracek – Voracek got off to a horrible start last season, partially due to bad luck. After an 81 point season in 2014-15, Voracek fell to 11+44 in 73 games. His shot rate actually increased yet his goals cut in half from 22 to 11 due to a horrific shooting percentage. Forwards don’t shoot 5.2% so that will naturally increase this year. He scored one power play goal after having 8,8, and 11 the previous three years. I don’t think he’s a point per game player but Voracek doesn’t have to be to be worth this spot; getting back over 60 points with solid PIM and great shots will do.
57) Shayne Gostisbehere – He took the league by storm when Mark Streit went down scoring 17 goals and adding 29 assists in 64 games. Ghost was an incredible PPQB tallying 22 points in those 64 games. The shot rate is solid for a defenseman and should get better in his second year. Add in that he only played 20 minutes a game last year, a number that will surely increase, and Gostisbehere can repeat last season over 82 games. My guess is that it’s with a slightly worse goal rate but with more assists.
58) John Gibson – Gibson finally got the opportunity for extended action last season after years of being discussed as an elite prospect. He delivered in his 40 games (38 starts) with a 2.07 GAA and .920 sv% helping claim the Jennings Trophy with Frederik Andersen. Now Andersen is in Toronto and Gibson has the job all to himself. As mentioned above with Getzlaf, I do expect the Ducks to take a step back this season but regardless, Gibson is in an excellent position to succeed. In dynasty leagues, he’s a slam dunk top 3 goalie at 23 years old. For redrafts, there’s upside for him to get there this season but I expect him to be a bottom end #1.
59) Pekka Rinne – My disdain for Rinne is well known; the only thing he is consistent in is his inconsistency. In the past 6 seasons, he’s had 3 excellent years, 2 seasons of mediocre at best and a horrible one plagued with injury. So what are we going to get this year after one of the mediocre at best seasons? Who the hell knows. Great analysis Viz, you’re the best! Let’s look at the range of possibilities. We’ve seen Rinne be incredible for seasons at a time. Now he has the best defense in the entire league in front of him; the Predators could be the best possession team in the league. That means he has massive upside, like best goalie in the league upside. On the other hand, Rinne can be an incredible mess and while the Preds don’t have a backup that could theoretically take over, there are plenty of goalies available on the trade market. They’ve hesitated to make a move in the past but considering that Nashville is a sneaky Cup contender, I think Rinne could be pushed aside with a poor start. Where does that leave us? This effectively comes down to whether you want to gamble or not. Rinne will be a difference maker one way or the other. If you do take the chance, be sure to take a quality 3rd goalie.
60) Daniel Sedin – While the Canucks are going to be downright dreadful this year, that shouldn’t stop the first line from contributing. You can’t stop the Cyborgs! Daniel took a step back last season in assists but he still had 33 assists with 28 goals and over 3 shots per game. Add in that the Sedins have a great third piece now in Loui Eriksson on their line and Daniel should avoid another step back. He could even get back to 70 points if their power play gets back to previous years.
61) Jonathan Toews – The poster boy of being better in real life than fantasy, Toews had 58 points and barely over 2 shots per game. Reid does a good job showing why Toews is consistently overrated in his post coming out later today (Spoiler alert!). He’s no longer a focal point on the Blackhawks power play which really limits his upside. Last season’s penalty minute total is a bit of an outlier also. Toews always has a great plus-minus but that only goes so far. Assuming that the first line stays together, Toews will be playing with a declining Marian Hossa and someone who doesn’t belong in the top 6. I expect Toews to be well gone at this point in the draft but that’s perfectly fine.
62) Matt Duchene – Duchene set a career high in goals last season with 30 with almost 3 shots per game. The assists dropped to 29, the power play points were average and his 24 PIM were the second most in his career. That said, I’m looking for Duchene to get closer to his 2013-14 when he had 70 points in 71 games. The biggest thing is that Patrick Roy is gone. Roy was a horrible coach and he had issues with Duchene. There’s no denying his talent and there are rumblings that the big 3 in Colorado could all play together. If that happens, they could dominate.
63) Tyler Johnson – Yes, last season was an absolute disaster for Johnson. I’m mostly throwing that to the side and assuming a bounceback. The Lightning are stacked and Johnson just turned 26, he’s definitely not past his prime. Johnson’s shot rate is mediocre and he doesn’t take penalties but he just had 72 points in 77 games 2 seasons ago while being +33. There’s too much upside to drop Johnson any lower than this.
64) Roberto Luongo – Luongo would be much higher if he was still a workhorse. The problem is that he hasn’t started more than 62 games in 6 seasons and the Panthers gave real money to James Reimer to back up Luongo. His numbers should be among the league’s best on a per game basis but he’ll probably play around 55 games. If you draft Luongo, take Reimer and you’ll get a #1 goalie over 82 games.
65) Evander Kane – If you want someone who gets a bunch of points, then drop Kane at least 50 spots. In his first season in Buffalo, Kane had 20 goals and 15 assists in 65 games with only 6 power play points. The reason Kane is here is simple; he had 91 PIM and over 4 shots per game. The potential for someone to score 30 goals and add over 100 PIM and well over 300 shots is too much to ignore. It probably comes with only 20-25 assists and little PPP but Kane is a massive difference maker to the other categories.
66) Tyler Toffoli – Toffoli set a career high in goals and assists with 31 and 27 respectively. For an elite goal scorer, his shot rate isn’t quite elite and he doesn’t contribute much on the power play. Add in a poor penalty minutes total and that’s what keeps Toffoli this low. He was a whopping +35 last season and has been better than +20 all 3 years of his career. Toffoli is one of the best possession players in the league and it doesn’t matter whether he’s on the first or center line, he’s going to produce.
67) Sean Monahan – Monahan’s last two seasons were almost identical; around 30 goals, 35 assists with an average shot rate and PPP. While Monahan doesn’t turn 22 until the first day of the season, the extremely low penalty minutes keep him this low. They also need the first line to do the heavy lifting defensively which limits Monahan’s upside. Could he push 70 points? It’s possible but I’m think he stays in line with what he’s done the last two years.
68) Jaden Schwartz – The wing version of Monahan, Schwartz’ season was ruined by injury last year playing only 33 games. You can basically throw it to the side as he was limited in his return. I expect Schwartz to put up numbers similar to 2 seasons ago; 28+35 with a good plus-minus and shot rate but horrible PIM. There’s a chance he can be even better than that playing with a superstar in Vladimir Tarasenko.
69) Zach Parise – Parise’s days of being a fantasy superstar in the past but he still carries plenty of value. In 70 games, Parise scored 25 goals and added 28 assists in 70 games. While his shot rate has declined over the years, Parise is still well over 3 per game. I love the addition of Bruce Boudreau as his coach; this should help the Wild plenty. The only reason he’s this low is after years of playing every game, Parise has missed 8-15 games the last 3 seasons. With the physical game that he plays, I assume that will be his new norm as he gets older.
70) Dylan Larkin – I wanted to rank him higher than this but decided to place him here for now since he should last to this point. Larkin was terrific in the first half of the season but hit the rookie wall many players do. Still, a 23 goal and 22 assist season is nothing to sneeze at. There are a few reasons why I think Larkin can get 30+30 this year. One, Pavel Datysuk is gone so his role is going to increase. Two, Larkin will move to center giving him more space to take advantage of his world class speed. Lastly, Larkin had only 5 PPP in his rookie season which will surely increase. Larkin is elite in dynasties and has the chance to reach that status in his sophomore season.
71) Mike Hoffman – Hoffman took the step forward that I expected tallying 29 goals and 30 assists in his second full season in the NHL. The biggest key to his success was a large increase in shots getting to over 3 per game. There’s still upside for more with a healthy center to play with (looking at you Kyle Turris) and an increase in PPP (13, only 4 assists). The only reason he’s below the last group of guys is because his assist total will probably be the lowest, albeit marginally.
72) Mark Giordano – Like the rest of his team besides Johnny Gaudreau, Giordano was a mess the first two months of the season. He turned things around with a big second half setting a career high with 21 goals and added 35 assists. Gio’s shot rate took a step back but was still strong for a defenseman, the power play points were above average and the power play points increased. I’m convincing myself that he should move up a few spots! The only concern is he missed 20+ games in 3 of the previous 5 seasons. While I put a bunch of forwards between them, I think Giordano isn’t far behind Gostisbehere or that far ahead of the defensemen that are behind him in the top 100; the tier is quite large.
73) John Carlson – After playing every game in his career, Carlson suffered an ankle injury that kept him out for 26 games. On a per game basis, he was right in line with his 2014-15 where he scored 55 points. It’s a bit disappointing since I thought he could take a step forward with an improved power play but at the same time, he wasn’t on the PP1 for a while when he returned. He has 60-65 point upside like Klingberg, Ghost and Giordano ahead of him; the main reason he’s behind them is he has the worst PIM and will probably score the fewest goals.
74) Alex Galchenyuk – Here’s what I wrote about Gally in my Montreal preview: “The 22 year old ended up being one of the lone bright spots scoring 30 goals while maintaining or improving everywhere else. He looks to be locked into the 1C role now; a 70 point season wouldn’t shock me. The lack of PIM and decent but not great shots will probably keep him right around 50th overall with upside to be better.” And that’s me quoting me doing what Grey does! Anyways, I have him a big lower than I expected mostly because of my concern over the Canadiens power play. The Canadiens defensemen are going to be horrible breaking out of their zone as well. His upside is certainly still there but he’s a little riskier than the guys ahead of him. In dynasties, move him up closer to the top 25.
75) Jordan Eberle – His assists have dropped mightily over the past 4 seasons to only 22 but Eberle’s shot rate was the best of his career in 2015-16. His plus-minus is usually poor and he has nonexistent penalty minutes. So why is Eberle this high? Connor McDavid. If McDavid takes the league by storm as expected, Eberle is certainly going to benefit. He should get back in the 60’s in points with the potential to get into the 70’s for the second time in his career.
We’re well over 5,000 words and we are only through 75 players! This is adding up quickly. Anyways, my goal is to have the top 100 out on Friday. I’ll be back tomorrow with my Avalanche preview and as mentioned above, there will be a post this afternoon from Reid. As always, feel free to ask any questions and leave any comments below. Take care!