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 over the rest of your league.

2) Nathan MacKinnon – We’ve already reached a decision point in the draft.  You can make a case for at least four players in this spot.  I’ve decided to put MacKinnon here because he has an incredible shot rate and hits all of the categories extremely well.  Even though MacKinnon shot under 10%, he still played at a 34 goal, 111 point pace.  The Avalanche power play is a cheat code and I see no reason to expect regression.  If anything, I think MacKinnon’s numbers could be a little better.

3) Leon Draisaitl – Somehow, Draisaitl managed to have a better season than the year before.  He’s going to be right around three shots per game and is arguably the favorite to have the second most points in the league again.  My only pause is that his shooting percentage keeps falling down ever so slightly.  It’s extremely difficult to keep shooting 18+%, let alone doing it with this type of shot volume.  If he ends up shooting 13% like he did in 2017-18, then we’re looking at a goal total in the low to mid 30’s instead of pushing towards 50 again.  I expect somewhere in the middle with elite PPP.

4) Nikita Kucherov – It was tempting to put Kucherov at 2nd overall.  His numbers are eerily similar to Draisaitl’s, and we saw in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that Kucherov is still one of the best players in the league.  He should be extremely fresh not having played in the regular season, and his floor is around 100 points.  Kucherov is also a lock for a great plus-minus and is a solid contributor in penalty minutes.  He simply hits all of the boxes.

5) Brad Marchand – This is probably the last year that Marchand will be this high, but he’s consistently been a top 5 forward for the past five years.  He crushes all of the categories and I believe that he has the second highest floor for fantasy hockey behind McDavid.  Every year, I have people tell me that I have Marchand too high, and every year he ends up being worth his top five ranking.  I’m more than willing to take him in this slot again.  Marchand closes this tier from 2nd-5th overall.

6) Auston Matthews – Matthews took another step forward last season in the goals department playing at a 64 goal pace.  Like Ovechkin in the past, Matthews will give you elite goals and shots, but you’re going to be a bit behind in assists over the other players going in the first round.  If you want to be a pessimist, you can note that the schedule will be tougher this year than playing in the Canadian division.  If you want to be optimistic, you can note that Matthews only had three assists on the power play last season, a number that should clearly increase.  Also, the minutes will be massive as Keefe really rolls his superstar players.

7) Artemi Panarin – It feels wrong to have Panarin this low considering he’s played at a 113 point pace in both of his seasons with the Rangers.  The problem is that his shot rate had a big drop off last season to around 2.5 per game.  That isn’t going to hurt you overall, but when we’re talking about players in the first round, he’s going to put you a bit behind the eight ball there.  Additionally, he’s not giving you any PIM or hits if you use either category.  If Panarin stays healthy for the full season, he could push for the #2 overall forward spot, giving him some upside even at this spot.

8) David Pastrnak – Pastrnak had a down season by his standards finishing with exactly one point per game. Most of it can be explained by his shooting percentage dropping and the Bruins PP taking a step back.  Considering Pastrnak has been in the 13-17% range since his rookie year, the expectation is for positive regression in the goals department.  The shot rate is going to be elite and the goals should follow.  I think that it’s more likely that Pasta pushes towards 50 goals than playing at a 34 goal pace again.  If the Bruins PP bounces back, we could see a repeat of Pastrnak’s massive 2019-20 season.

9) Mikko Rantanen – Rantanen easily had the best season of his career finishing as the #4 forward for fantasy.  The biggest difference was a change in mentality for Rantanen.  He was urged to shoot more and Rantanen ended up taking an extra shot per game.  That is the difference between being a top 20 player and being a top 10 player.  The shooting percentage didn’t decrease despite the increase in shot volume, the PIM are still strong, and Rantanen was a whopping +30 playing on the dominant first line.  I think we see Rantanen take a small step back from last season’s 104 point pace, but even with that, he’s a clear first round pick in the back half of the first round.

10) Mitch Marner – Add in another year of playoff disappointment for the Maple Leafs and Marner, but we don’t care about that in fantasy.  Marner received extended playing time with Matthews for the first time in years and played at a 100 point pace.  Marner also managed to score 0 goals on the power play which is unlikely to repeat itself.  Keefe loves Marner as he played over 22 minutes per game which gives him an extremely high floor.  He’ll probably score the fewest goals of the players in the top 10, but we could see something around 30+70 from Marner this season.  That’s enough to slide into the top 10.

That’s all for now guys.  I will have my top 20 out early next week and then I will probably do my full goaltending tiers post.  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or make any suggestions below.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. Crush Al Boxes says:
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    Viz! Hey, hope all is well… Looking forward to another season of rankings and takes–thanks as always…

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Things are well on my end, no complaints… Hope the same for you. No need to thank me, thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Shitwolf says:
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    Vizzxzxxxxxfycycy!!!!!! Big miss!

    🙂

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      My man! Hope you’re doing well

      • Shitwolf says:
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        ya buddy just getting excited for winter now. Few days ago I was listening to the NHL.com podcast and one guy was on a tangent about how you have to draft a goalie early and that seemas insane to me! Last year there were so many goalies you could grab off waivers or for hot streaks. I am tempted to just punt the pisition early and grab someone a bit later maybe Ulmark or Markstrom etc Im sure your goalie post will give some good ideas! Goalies remind me of pitchers in fantasy baseball.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          Yeah I’ll get to goalies next week. You know my thoughts on the subject. I will say, I will have Vasilevskiy higher than I normally would ever have a goalie. I need to do some digging in to see who I like most on the lower end.

  3. Fungazi 2.0 says:
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    WB! I think I’m waiting super late for goalies this year. Last year you would be in great shape just picking up guys during the season like Jack Campbell, Kahkonen, Saros, Vanecek, Nedeljkovic, etc. that really didn’t have any reason to draft. Maybe Saros and Demko, but even those were later round guys. You also avoid hanging onto early picks like Carter Hart forever, missing these guys at the same time.

    • Shitwolf says:
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      wow great minds hah! Maybe Hart will be value this year!

      • Fungazi 2.0 says:
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        Woah, keep it quiet with that! I also don’t know if it’s just my leagues, but people take goalies way earlier than expected and you almost need to take one by the fifth round if you want anyone ranked within the top 100.

        • Shitwolf says:
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          I have a guy that rostered 4 goalies when our league had 11 offensive cats and 6 goalie cats one of which was losses! I guess that answers your question 😉

          • Slimbo says:
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            Glad your back buddy!

            Hyman or newhook in a keep forever dynasty no cost?
            G,A,+/-,PPP,SOG,Hits

            Thanks!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      It definitely can work out that way. There looks like there’s going to be a ton of timeshares this year as well which does complicate things. That said, I am always a fan of waiting on goalies, and certainly not taking one in the first couple rounds. Your league does dictate that a bit though, as you mentioned.

  4. jason batteiger says:
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    got anybody doing prospects per team and/or just team by team updates? funny that the day i come in here just happens to be the day you reopened.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I’m trying to get a second writer to cover things like that but haven’t been able to at this point. Rankings get my priority so it depends how much time I’ll have over the next month. I’m off to Vegas end of September until end of November so I have a bunch of stuff I have to take care of before then, so it may be difficult, which is why I’m trying to find a second writer.

  5. goodfold2 says:
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    if you see this in time, keepers due in some hours as comish is being weird, still almost a month from NHL season, and keepers are due weeks in advance for first time in 4 or however many years i’ve been in this. hits/blocks/shots/plus-/PIMs in there h2h 14 team dynasty with 10 max prospect slots:

    C (2): ROR, zibanejad
    LW (2): j.robertson, fiala (RW)
    RW (2): tarasenko, marner (lost C in yahoo)
    W (2): verhaghe (C/LW), comtois (LW/RW)
    F (1): horvat (C)
    D (5): petry, karlsson, pulock, ellis, sandin (seems up for good now, 2nd rounder last year when some twit dropped him just before the draft)
    G: (2, and goalies are hoarded crazyily here, i get top 3 every year with almost certainly the least goalies, others hoard and hope for trade rapes): lehner, cal petersen

    BN (9)
    – one of halak/greiss
    – goligoski (D, 2nd line and some PP time on MIN, he fills the hits/blocks well for sure)
    – kadri (C)
    – schmaltz (C/RW)
    – wahlstrom (RW, have to call up)
    – oshie (C/RW)
    – gudas (D, really hits the hits/blocks well and PIMs)

    then max 2 of this list: lebanc (LW/RW, seems 1st liner), iafallo (LW, similar to lebanc), arvidsson (LW/RW, 2nd line at LA seemingly), bunting (seemingly early preseason 1st liner, but doubt that sticks)

    we do a 5 round slow draft where i have the 13th in all rounds. outside of D depth or upside outside of perunovich (obtained in 3rd round last year) i’m pretty good with:
    – g.denisenko (LW and power wingers here PIMs/hits have more value)
    – kostin (RW
    – perfetti (C, 1st rounder last year)
    – boldy (LW MIN)
    – perunovich (D)
    – gustavsson (G OTT)
    – dipietro (G VAN)
    – krebs (C)
    – clague (D, seems dropable to give me space to draft somebody, also it’s possible i can call up guys predraft to stash in 2 NA slots (schmaltz/petry with out tags can go to IR slots first))

    1. who you keeping in that list for the last 2 spots?

    what you think?

    • goodfold2 says:
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      PPP/SHP/GWG also in this.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        and 3, which of halak, greiss, thinking halak here.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      First off, agree on Halak. I think Arvidsson is a lock to keep because the upside blows the others out of the water. Yes, health is a risk, but I think we see a bounce back in LA. I’m torn on the other spot. I think I prefer Labanc but I don’t feel strongly about it. I can see Bunting’s upside, but he could be nearly useless too, and from what I read, Mikheyev is getting bumped back into the top 6 which could knock Bunting down. Labanc vs Iafallo is close, but I think with the Kings improving, Iafallo’s role (mainly on the PP) is a bigger question where we know Labanc will be in the top six.

  6. Venice Canuck says:
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    Welcome back! You helped me win some cash last year – wish I could buy you a drink or two in Vegas!

  7. NoAvatar says:
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    Welcome back!!!! Love your content every year.

    Also good to see Mr shitwolf is back lol

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Thanks a lot! Great to be back

  8. Frank says:
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    Good stuff Viz!

Comments are closed.