It’s the final countdown! This will close out my rankings following my Top 50, Top 100 and Top 150 posts. After the Top 200, there will be a revised list coming out later in the week updating for injuries and other moves and a separate post about some players I would target with my last pick or two. Let’s get right to it!
151) Steve Mason – Mason had a down year in 2016-17 but his previous three save percentages were all .917 or better. He now plays for the Jets and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Mason comes into camp as the #1. Mason probably won’t be a workhorse but with the upside that the Jets possess, he’s worth taking the gamble on. I wouldn’t mind gambling on Connor Hellebuyck as well although he’ll be just outside of the top 200 with Mason declared the #1.
152) Mark Giordano – There are going to be a ton of defenseman from 151-200 and Giordano leads off the list. The points dropped significantly to 39 and the shot rate plummeted as well. I’m hoping for a bounce back because of how good I think the Flames can be. That said, even if he doesn’t, a strong plus-minus is a near-certainty along with double digit goals, strong penalty minutes and good STP. Giordano has a good chance to be a plus contributor across the board.
153) Antti Raanta – Raanta finally gets a chance to be a #1 in the desert this year. As talked about on the Pacific Division Preview, the Coyotes have a solid top 4 defensively and could be better than people expect. There’s some risk here but maybe Raanta is simply a pretty good goalie?
154) Tyler Johnson – While Johnson didn’t reach 2014-15 levels, he certainly wasn’t the dumpster fire he was in 2015-16 either. Johnson played at a 55 point pace last season with okay contributions elsewhere. With Stamkos back, Johnson’s line should get additional offensive zone starts and can’t be the primary focus of the opposition. We’ve seen the downside but I think Johnson is as good of a bet as any after 150 to get 60 points.
155) Zach Parise – Parise has been trending in the wrong direction for years but I think we could see a mini-resurgence. He dealt with injuries and spent time in the bottom six last season but with the Wild thinning a bit on the wings, I think Parise’s top six role is safe. He certainly wouldn’t be the first guy to revitalize their career under Bruce Boudreau so 55 points with a very good shot rate seems attainable.
156) Alex Steen – If I knew Steen’s shot rate would return, he’d be pushing the top 100. Steen finished last season with 51 points and 53 PIM in 76 games. His role in the top six and first PP unit is locked in so the opportunity is there for a big fantasy season if he starts shooting again. Going from 2.5 shots per game to 1.5 shots per game out of nowhere is so bizarre and unprecedented that I’m going to bank on it settling in the middle making him well worth this spot.
157) Ryan Suter – Don’t expect Suter to be +33 again but he’s been a plus player for 11 of his 12 NHL seasons. He’s a good bet to be a plus contributor in all categories and has points upside from last season’s 40 total since his power play assists were down.
158) Keith Yandle – Yandle didn’t return to Arizona levels in Florida like I had hoped but his numbers were still solid. My hope is that he can get back over 40 assists if the Panthers can stay healthy.
159) Patric Hornqvist – A forgotten man in Pittsburgh, you can count on Hornqvist for 20+ goals, being double digit plus and over three shots per game. He’s a great glue in the middle rounds as one of the last few guys you hold.
160) Brian Elliott – Elliott struggled mightily in Calgary last year and now moves to Philly where goalies seemingly go to die. I don’t love him by any stretch but we are to the point where it’s difficult to find goalies who will be the #1 on a team that isn’t a dumpster fire.
161) Oscar Klefbom – This is Klefbom’s fourth full season in the NHL, a year where defensemen tend to blossom offensively. The shot rate jumped to well above average for a defenseman last season leading Klefbom to 12 goals, a sustainable number. The only reason he’s this low is because he set a career in penalty minute last year with six. That’s 6. I think the assists jump to the 30’s giving him potential to be strong in five categories.
162) David Krejci – He’s not exciting in the slightest but Krejci’s assist upside warrants this slot. He finished last season with 23+31 while being okay in the categories. I’m personally not a fan of players of Krejci’s type for fantasy but with a decent set of players being heavy goals and poor assists in the early going, Krejci could be a nice filler for assists since he doesn’t hurt you much elsewhere.
163) Rick Nash – Speaking of high goals and low assists, Rick Nash! He’s an injury risk but 30 goals, 250 SOG and a good plus-minus are a realistic outcome if he stays healthy. I’m willing to gamble on him at this point in drafts.
164) Michael Cammalleri – Cammalleri is a bigger injury risk than Nash but carries just as much upside. He moves to Los Angeles where he should slot into a line with Kopitar. Kopitar is a wizard with the puck and Cammy is easily the best winger he’s had in a few years. *WORTH READING FOR GENERAL DRAFT STRATEGY* We are to the point where you’re in the second half of drafts so I’m willing to take more gamble on forwards. In round 14-15, odds are you already have 10 forwards so it’s time to shoot for upside. Upside is big for Cammalleri despite being 35 years old now.
165) Charlie McAvoy – In this range, I’m generally still playing it safe with defensemen since the options are far more limited. That said, McAvoy’s upside is too high to put him lower. He will run one of the power play units, play over 20 minutes per night and has had big penalty minute totals at all previous levels of hockey. If anyone is going to break out like Werenski did, it’s McAvoy.
166) Colton Parayko – Parayko’s floor is quite high since he should be a positive contributor in all categories. With Shattenkirk gone for the full season and with more experience under his belt, Parayko also brings plenty of upside. His shooting percentage almost certainly has to increase and his power play totals should rise as well. I don’t see a scenario where Parayko burns you which is why he belongs here.
167) Ryan McDonagh – I assume people will be down on McDonagh with Shattenkirk’s arrival but I’m not too concerned. One, McDonagh has been at least +10 every season of his career, including +20 or better in the past three. Two, 15 PPP isn’t an outlandish total no matter what power play unit he’s on. Three, and most importantly, he won’t be stuck playing with Dan Girardi any more. That will make a world of difference. I may end up moving McDonagh up when I update my rankings at the end of the week.
168) Matt Niskanen – Very similar to McDonagh but the plus-minus probably won’t reach McDonagh levels. However, there is some potential here for a bigger point total. Niskanen should play a ton of minutes this year with Alzner and Shattenkirk gone. He also took PP1 time from Carlson last year and it’s not impossible that it happens again. With Orlov’s continued development, I think Niskanen sees a positive impact from it.
169) Aaron Ekblad – Okay, I’ll fall for more upside. I was extremely down on Ekblad last season compared to consensus but even I didn’t see his struggles coming. 21 points and a -23 rating in 68 games seemed unfathomable. The good news is his shot rate reached elite levels and the penalty minutes are well above average. Even if Ekblad gets back to the 39 points from his rookie year, he’s worth the pick here. If you want to gamble, slide him ahead of McAvoy in this tier.
170) Nolan Patrick – I don’t love Patrick for this year but he does have plenty of offensive upside playing in the Philadelphia top six. If it looks like he’s going to take Schenn’s spot on the first power play unit, I’m going to move him up a few rounds.
171) Martin Hanzal – Hanzal seems to miss 10+ games every season but if you can get the 71 games he played last year, he’ll pay off this spot. Hanzal scored 20 goals on an average shot rate with 53 PIM. The move to Dallas should allow him to play with Spezza, a playmaker at a level much higher than anyone else Hanzal has played with in the past. The potential is there for Hanzal to be a nice glue guy as a bottom end hold.
172) Mikael Backlund – He’s not exciting but Backlund should help you across the board. His line was absolutely dominant last season in terms of possession numbers so his 53 points were far from a fluke. Since the Flames are improved on the blue line and Tkachuk should develop, Backlund could marginally increase his numbers.
173) James Neal – The first Vegas player! My worry with Neal is that his plus-minus could be atrocious. The upside is that he starts off the year well and gets traded as a rental. Neal will provide goals and an elite shot rate at the least so if you’re willing to risk the plus-minus, he’s certainly worth this spot.
174) Patrick Sharp – There’s a chance Sharp is shot at 35 years old and there’s another chance he can’t get over his injuries. There’s also a chance that Sharp has a big year playing with Kane and Anisimov. I’m down on Chicago in general but the top six should still score plenty of goals. Sharp’s high shot rate and the upside provide potential value in this slot.
175) Jakob Silfverberg – Silfverberg could be an outstanding player in fantasy if he wasn’t used in a defensive role. Maybe things will open up more with Kesler out until Christmas time at the earliest? Even on a shutdown line last year, Silfverberg scored 49 points with almost three shots per game. Add in that he had only 9 PPP and could play on the first power play unit with Kesler’s absence and there’s plenty of upside here.
176) Milan Lucic – While I hate the Lucic contract, he was solid for fantasy purposes last year, his first with the Oilers. Lucic saw his shot rate jump drastically to almost average, a huge boon to his value. I wouldn’t count on him topping last year’s 50 points but with 20+ goals and potential for a big penalty minute total, he’s worth the gamble. It sounds like he will be on Draisaitl’s wing and while he’s not McJesus, that’s better than most of last year.
177) Kevin Hayes – There are a lot of things trending in the right direction for Hayes. He finally has a top six spot giving him much better wingers to play with (probably Zucc and Kreider?) and a full time power play role. Hayes had 49 points last season so it’s not a stretch to say he reaches 60 this year. The penalty minutes can be anywhere from poor to okay and the shot rate is on the upswing so I really like taking Hayes late in drafts.
178) Joe Thornton – I hate owning guys like Thornton so I won’t be owning him but if you need assists, STP and PIM late, Thornton will give you that. Just don’t expect more than 10 goals or 100 SOG.
179) Marcus Johansson – Johansson was excellent last season in the scoring department with 58 points but now moves from Washington to New Jersey. The penalty minutes and shot rate are poor so it really comes down to how much he’s scoring. By early indications, he’ll be playing with Hischier and is a decent bet to top last season’s 17:00 ATOI. Johansson is a points-specific pick but you’ll know at this point what categories you need to make up ground in.
180) Oliver Bjorkstrand – I’ve long been a fan of Bjorkstrand’s potential. He averaged .5 points per game last season with over two shots per game despite averaging only 14:05 per game. There’s an outside chance he plays with Panarin and Wennberg; if that happens he’s shooting up my board. Regardless, there’s potential for 50 points and a very good shot rate this year with a minutes uptick.
181) Cam Fowler – Fowler had a massive jump in shot rate last season which led to him scoring double digit goals for the first time in his career. With 40ish points a safe bet, the shot rate is enough to make him a decent #4D.
182) Victor Rask – The shot rate is trending in the right direction as is Carolina. I think he gets to around 55 points with improved power play numbers.
183) Elias Lindholm – Same as Rask except it’s more assist heavy. Those extra assists could see him push 60 points if things break right.
184) Clayton Keller – When I update on Friday, Keller may move closer to 150. The Coyotes are loading up defensively, enough to the point where I think they’ll be a solid team. This mean their forwards will avoid being plus-minus black holes. Keller’s offensive talent is sky high. I wouldn’t be shocked by a Marner-like rookie year but the risk is there because he’s a rookie almost certainly be centered by another rookie.
185) Dylan Strome – Speaking of Keller’s center, Strome will be an offensive force eventually. Will it be this year? I somewhat doubt it but it’s not impossible with Stepan doing the heavy lifting. He’s the perfect late round gamble.
186) Ryan Strome – To be honest, I completely skipped over Strome up to this point and it clicked in my head that I forgot him when I ranked his brother. Good job Viz! That said, I am down on Strome compared to most so I may not move him up when I update. I know he’s playing with McDavid to start the year but Strome has simply been poor the last two years. Could he get to his stat line from 2014-15 where he had 50 points, 47 PIM and 179 SOG? Sure, that seems like a realistic target which would make him fringe top 150, but he could also be dropped off the first line and be waiver wire fodder.
187) Jason Pominville – Early indications are that Pominville will start on a line with Eichel and Kane. That gives me the excites because Pominville was terrific at even strength last year for Minnesota scoring 40 points. He’s going to give you no penalty minutes but 50 points with a solid shot rate is well within reason. The Sabres’ second PP unit may be decent as well giving him additional upside from his 7 PPP last year.
188) Daniel Sedin – Sedin dropped off significantly last season with 44 points. The good news is that his shot rate remained above average and the Canucks made two terrific additions for their power play (Vanek and Gagner). The Canucks PP was 29th in the league last year so Sedin could get to 55 points if things work out.
189) Jake Gardiner – Gardiner’s development into the PPQB on Toronto’s first unit made him a pleasant surprise last year. Gardiner was +24 last season as well and should be a solid plus player again with the improvement of the Leafs. The shot rate is below average but everything else should be solid.
190) Gabriel Landeskog – We can only hope that Colorado isn’t as bad as last season again. Landeskog’s floor is higher than most in this post due to the penalty minutes and shot rate so as long as his plus-minus gets back to the -5 range, the Kog could be a hold all season.
191) Tyson Barrie – Same thing as Landeskog with the plus-minus. Barrie had a nice jump in shot rate and clearly has 50+ point upside since he’s done it in the past. I’d be sure I had plus-minus covered early on in drafts if I’m taking him just in case he kills you the first couple weeks.
192) Gustav Nyquist – Despite Detroit taking a massive step backwards last season, the first line was dominant in terms of possession. Nyqvist had 48 points despite having only 9 on the power play and a shooting percentage that was well below his norm. I’m convincing myself he should be higher writing this!
193) Shea Theodore – Theodore is another plus-minus risk and a massive one at that being on Vegas. However, his offensive potential is exorbitant and he’ll have a big role right away for Vegas. Even expansion teams have to score goals and Theodore should be the lead man for the Golden Knights defensively.
194) Sam Reinhart – It’s a little upsetting that Reinhart won’t be on Eichel’s wing to start camp but a) we don’t know if that lasts, b) he’ll still be on the first power play unit and c) Reinhart should benefit more than any other Sabre forward from the system change. He’s coming off a 47 point season and there is plenty of upside from there, there’s just downside because of no penalty minutes and potentially worse linemates.
195) Thomas Chabot – Let’s shoot for the moon here. Chabot is a dark horse rookie of the year candidate. His offensive game is much farther along than most defenseman at his age and we know the Senators need the help on their blue line. We are probably a year or two away from the true breakout but he also has a chance to be this year’s Werenski.
196) Boone Jenner – We are only one year removed from Jenner scoring 30 goals and adding 77 PIM. I don’t necessarily expect him to get back to that level but Columbus could be an regular season power house this year. If it looks like his wingers will be improved e.g. Bjorkstrand, I’ll move him up my board.
197) Dylan Larkin – Last year was an epic disaster but people saw his potential during his rookie season. Again, in this area of drafts I’m aiming for home runs and Larkin can be a home run.
198) Nick Leddy – Leddy’s stat line is carried by his assist total; he’s had 35 in back to back seasons. None of the other categories are guaranteed to be above average but if you’re short in assists, Leddy is a great target late in drafts.
199) Ivan Provorov – Despite the Flyers being a mess last season, Provorov proved himself to be much further along in his development defensively as a rookie. He’ll be the #1D for the Flyers this season and should run the second power play unit. The shot rate was excellent for a rookie so if he reaches 40 points (he had 30 last year), Provorov should be a hold all year.
200) Thomas Vanek – Vanek was terrific in Detroit last season in an offensive role before his injuries. The third line for the Canucks (Vanek, Sutter, Gagner) could actually be pretty good and we know how good Vanek is on the power play. I don’t expect him to repeat 48 points in 68 games but he doesn’t have to in order to be top 200.
And that’s the top 200! My next post will be a division preview of the Nashville Predators before I get to updating the top 200 (I’ll make one big list for everyone to use) and talking some late round gambles. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!