We wrap up the forward rankings today with the Top 100. If you’ve missed the early parts, you can start with the Top 60 here and go backwards from there. In a few days, I’ll have my Top 200 list out and before you know it, the season will be starting. Let’s get to it!
61) Tyler Seguin – This admittedly might be too low for Seguin, and by a wide margin. I want to check him out in preseason and if he looks good, he’ll move up a bit because of the shot rate. The one concern that I do have, outside of coming back from the injury, is that the Hintz line is going to get heavy offensive zone starts. That makes it difficult for Seguin to get them as well.
62) Bryan Rust – The point per game season will probably be an outlier, but Rust has a high floor no matter who his center is. Like Guentzel, I wouldn’t be surprised if the shot volume goes up a tad while Crosby and Malkin are out because the Penguins will need the puck on their sticks more.
63) Johnny Gaudreau – Gaudreau went down to two shots per game last season which drags him down to this range. A lot depends on who he plays with as well. If he’s with Tkachuk and Lindholm, then Gaudreau should be up 10-15 spots in my rankings. However, he’s starting camp with Monahan, who is a pure passenger at this point and wouldn’t do Gaudreau any favors.
64) Jonathan Marchessault – He’s become less of a factor on the power play in recent years, but Marchessault has maintained an elite shot rate and very good PIM. The second line is used as more of a shutdown line now than in the past, but they still generate plenty of offense. I may have undersold Marchessault putting him this low since he’s a plus everywhere but PPP, and maybe he plays more on the first unit this time around?
65) Brendan Gallagher – He’s a specific team build guy, but Gallagher is going to be elite in goals and shots whenever he’s on the ice. My hope is that he plays with Dvorak who can chip in a bit more offensively than what they’ve had in the past. Gallagher hasn’t done much on the power play the last few years either, but the talent around him has increased dramatically so my hope is for a slight upgrade there as well. Just know you aren’t going to get many assists.
66) Claude Giroux – Like Gaudreau, the shot rate is falling off and Giroux doesn’t give many penalty minutes. I’m expecting a small bounce back though and Giroux’s floor feels like 60ish points. Not my favorite guy by any means, but he’s still on the fringe of the Top 100.
67) Nick Suzuki – My hope is that Suzuki sees another uptick in shot rate this season. Considering he’s playing with two shooters, I’m not sure it happens. Like Giroux before him, Suzuki seems like a 60 point guy who can push 70 if things go well. I do have some slight concern that the Canadiens won’t get the matchups they want as easily without Danault there.
68) Pavel Buchnevich – Buch would be much higher than this if he was still in New York. There’s a little more uncertainty about his role now with the Blues. I don’t see him getting back to almost 19 minutes per game unless Kyrou goes down and Buch goes on the first line, but my hope is that he is more of a focal point on the top PP unit to counteract that.
69) Evander Kane – I couldn’t take Kane in the top 100 picks with the uncertainty surrounding his situation. Hopefully there’s a clearer picture before the season starts. If he does play, he’s coming off the best season of his career and is a top 30-35 player overall. I’m willing to roll the dice on him outside of the top 100 overall for now. In other words, this is a hedge because Kane is either going to be worth a lot more than this, or a lot less.
70) Carter Verhaeghe – Verhaeghe came out of last year to be the biggest surprise in fantasy. He had 36 points in 43 games, 33 of which came at even strength. He’s also a positive in PIM and shots. The lack of PPP drags him down to this range as there’s no chance he gets PP1 time. He could also be a one hit wonder, but all indications are he’s going to play with Barkov and Reinhart. Sign me up for that.
71) Patrik Laine – I can’t quit the man. I know last season was a disaster of epic proportions, but Laine should get Voracek on the opposite wing now. That’s a desperately needed playmaker for Laine, at both even strength and the power play. It could be a trainwreck defensively, but I’d expect them to score plenty of goals. Hopefully they get a ton of offensive zone starts and Laine bounces back. I just can’t pass on a guy with his talent this far down the rankings.
72) Elias Lindholm – We know what we’re getting from Lindholm at this point. He’s going to play a ton of minutes and be decent enough across the board. If I knew Lindholm was going to play with Tkachuk the full season, I’d have him 10-20 spots higher.
73) Tomas Hertl – This is a hedge on Kane playing. If he doesn’t, the shots should go up, but the points will go down. If he does play, we can expect a point total in the 60s with passable numbers otherwise.
74) Jason Robertson – Robertson came of nowhere to finish as a clear second for the Calder, putting up 45 points in 51 games. The shot rate was decent for a rookie, but he didn’t do much on the power play. Unlike Hintz where there’s a chance he’s on PP1, it’s extremely unlikely that Robertson is. Some regression is coming, but that’s already baked into this ranking.
75) Nicklas Backstrom – Eller said in an interview that he thought Backs could miss the beginning of the season, but given that he’s not been ruled out, he shouldn’t miss more than a week or two if he does. His shot rate is terrible, but Backstrom should be close to a point per game with elite PPP. That’s enough to go in this range if you’re short in those categories.
76) Martin Necas – Necas took a huge step forward in his second full season with 14+27 in 53 games. He also took over 2 shots per game, a big step up from under 1.5. It feels like he can take another step forward, but the Canes are going to roll three lines so I don’t see a big boost in opportunity compared to last year. I’d be thrilled to get him in this range.
77) Jack Hughes – While the big breakout didn’t happen last season, the jump in shot rate was encouraging. Hughes was also stuck in a brutal division which is a bit easier this time around. If somebody from these rankings is going to break into superstardom, it’s Hughes.
78) Alexis Lafreniere – His rookie season started off horribly, but Laf finished with 10+7 in his last 27 games. The shot rate was atrocious, but if that takes a big jump like second year players usually take, then we can see a huge breakout. He also had 0 PPP last season which obviously won’t repeat itself. Lafreniere is a risk I’m willing to take in this range.
79) Nazem Kadri – Kadri’s worst shooting percentage since his rookie season really dragged down his goals. On the bright side, he’s still at three shots per game with elite PIM, and will also be on arguably the best PP unit in the league. If anything, I’m underrating him. If you’re need of his fantasy skill set, you can take him 10-15 spots earlier than this.
80) Travis Konecny – I’m expecting Konecny to bounce back closer to 2019-20 levels than what he did last season. He looks locked into a spot on the first line with heavy offensive zone starts. Before last season, Konecny scored 24 goals in three straight seasons, including 19/20 where he only played 66 games. Yes, that was shooting percentage aided, but the assist rate continued to be good last season, so something like 25+35 is well within range, with upside for a bit more.
81) Alex Radulov – Another upside play, which seems weird to say at age 35. The PIM will be very good and the shot rate should be fine. Sadly, that’s a far cry from being an asset like it used to be, but Dallas should be able to score some goals. I don’t see Radulov being over a point per game like he was in his 11 games last season and in 2018-19, but he surely won’t be as bad as he was in 2019-20 either.
82) Dominik Kubalik – Kubalik wasn’t going to shoot 19% again, but last season actually encouraged me as he pushed towards three shots per game. He should get a better center to play with this season as well. If I knew he’d be on PP1, I’d have him much higher, but early indications are that he’ll be on the point of the second unit. There’s room to grow in terms of ice time as well.
83) Joel Farabee – There are a bunch of Flyers in this range because I can’t find any separation between any of their forwards besides Couturier. Farabee might have the most upside of the group. He took a big jump in year two and the Philly second unit power play should be a ton better this season. The PIM/hits are solid and the shot rate could take another jump forward.
84) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – RNH disappointed last season outside of the power play, having 15 even strength points in 52 games. The good news is that he should pile up PPP once again. What RNH’s total value comes down to will be quite simple. How much will he play with Draisaitl, and if the Oilers are down in the third, does Draisaitl go back to playing with McDavid with Hyman as the third wheel? RNH is also playing 21 minutes a game already which can only go down. He could push towards a point per game, or be in the 50’s. Gamble time!
85) Jonathan Toews – I have no idea what to do with Toews after he didn’t play at all last season. Will he be refreshed? Will he get to play with Kane and DeBrincat or will he be with Kubalik and a question mark? How many minutes can he handle? A repeat of 2019-20 would be a complete steal in this range, but I have a hard time believing he can come back and do that well again. Still, he’s worth a mid round pick.
86) Jared McCann – Release the Kraken! Somebody on every team has to do well in fantasy, and McCann is my pick for the most points on the team. He was excellent last season in Pittsburgh with 32 points in 43 playing only 14:07 per game. While his linemates are going to be worse, Schwartz and Eberle are serviceable, and the increased workload should more than make up for that.
87) Andre Burakovsky – The shot rate is disappointing, but Burakovsky continues to shoot at a very high percentage because of it. I don’t love having him this high because he could end up getting cut at some point in this season, but I can’t ignore two straight years of very good point totals anymore.
88) Jordan Kyrou – Another high upside pick, Kyrou has a lot of things going forward him. One, he should be on the top line to start the season. Two, he should also be on the top power play unit. Three, if those things stick, his minutes should jump a lot from 14:25. Four, 23 year olds generally improve year to year. He could lose his top line spot to Buch and drop back to being an elite streamer, but I’m ready to gamble on high upside here.
89) Ondrej Palat – Palat was excellent last season and should remain a bottom end hold for the whole season. Obviously it can be much better than that like it was last season, but I’m a little worried about him losing his PP1 spot with Kucherov back. It should be Killorn, but generally they’ve kept him down low on the top unit and Point in the bumper spot which gives me pause. If it looks like Palat will keep that spot, I’m moving him up a lot in my Top 200.
90) Anthony Mantha – When the Caps are healthy, Mantha should be playing with Backstrom and Oshie. That’s two playmakers who should help Mantha take a ton of shots. The lack of PP1 time keeps him down this low, but the points, shots, and PIM should all be pretty good, and there’s a lot of upside.
91) James van Riemsdyk – Farabee’s development greatly helped JVR find his game again. He’s stopped taking dumb penalties in the later part of his career like he used to, but he’s a safe bet to be around 25 goals, with a large chunk of them coming on the power play. The upside is that he rediscovers his form at even strength and the goals get back up. The worry is that last season was the highest secondary assist rate of his career which means that career high assist pace could be a fluke.
92) Pierre-Luc Dubois – I’m fully expecting a bounce back from PDL this season. The only reason I have him this low is barring an injury, I don’t see how he ever plays on the first power play unit (Connor, Scheifele, Wheeler, Ehlers). Still, I’m expecting a point total at least in the 50s getting to play with Ehlers and strong PIM to go with it.
93) Bo Horvat – I’ve long been a fan of Dr. Bo, especially in real life. The big concern is that he loses his spot on the top PP unit to Garland. I really don’t know what way it’s going to shake out since Pettersson isn’t in camp yet. Horvat is decent enough across the board to be valuable either way.
94) Timo Meier – Meier has fallen off the past two seasons, but the shot rate is still there. His PP time is a lock now, and the minutes can still go up as the team will be desperate for scoring. The PIM is solid as well. He’s another guy with a low floor, but plenty of upside.
95) Dylan Larkin – I was going to have Larkin quite a bit higher, but Vrana being out for four months really hurt my projection of Larkin. The plus-minus will probably be bad again, but the upside comes from Seider. The Red Wings power play could take a big jump which would obviously help Larkin quite a bit.
96) Tim Stutzle – Could we see the year two jump? My concern is that his linemates are going to be poor for second liners. Stutzle did have a solid shot rate as a rookie which is encouraging. Perhaps he gets to three shots per game as a sophomore? He’s going to be a star, but we still could be a year away.
97) Vladimir Tarasenko – Shrug. I have no clue what to expect from Tarasenko. Maybe his shoulder will actually be healthy enough for him to contribute? The St. Louis power play should be damn good and we know Tarasenko will contribute there. Will Schenn regress more or will Tarasenko help him bounce back too? Again, this is a gamble I’m willing to make this late.
98) Jordan Eberle – He’ll probably get more minutes in Seattle than he did with the Islanders. Additionally, Eberle had only five PPP last season, which should improve with the Kraken. Again, somebody has to produce on these teams and Eberle has a good chance of leading their team in goals.
99) Nino Niederreiter – He’s getting first crack at playing on the first line again. He should be good enough across the board to be held most, if not all of the season. The second PP should be improved for Carolina as well.
100) Nils Hoglander – Once Pettersson gets signed, the expectation is that Hoglander will play with him and Boeser. He won’t be on the top power play unit, but getting to play on the first line should be enough for Hoglander to be in the mid 50’s in points with upside from there. Any time a rookie takes two shots per game, I’m hopeful that they end up being a high volume shooter. Here’s to hoping it works out with Hoglander.
That’s the top 100 forwards! I’ve now ranked 100 forwards, 40 defensemen, and every goalie. Next, I’ll have a list of my Top 200 later in the week, along with some bold predictions. I’ll try to get some bold predictions from JKJ as well. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!