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 first round 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.
12) Andrei Vasilevskiy – Loyal Razzballers know that I never take a goalie in the first two rounds of drafts. Goaltenders have far too much variance season to season to justify a selection that early. Vasilevskiy is the first goalie during my entire time at Razzball that I could see making an exception for. He’s been a top five goalie in all four seasons that he received the vast majority of starts in Tampa Bay. The consistency hasn’t been matched since a prime Lundqvist and he also has the biggest upside of all goalies. I know that people get super aggressive taking goalies in drafts and he might not even get to this point, but that’s not going to impact my rankings. I wouldn’t be taking Vasilevskiy before this, but starting in the second round / on the wheel, I think he’s a viable option if you want to go that route. Just now that you definitely should be waiting a long time for your second goalie if you plunge on Vasilevskiy.
13) Aleksander Barkov – I have a tough time finding any separation between Barkov and the rest of the players in the top 20. There’s a lot of personal preference in the second round and finding the right pairing with your first round pick. I’m putting Barkov at the top of this tier because of the massive jump in shot rate that he made last season. Barkov went from being a slight plus to reaching elite status going over 3.5 shots per game. Yes, the penalty minutes are bad, but that’s two seasons in the last three that he played at a 95+ point pace. I believe that Florida is a true contender for the Cup this season and that Barkov can repeat last season’s production.
14) Jonathan Huberdeau – A superstar that doesn’t get the credit he deserves, Huberdeau has been above a 90 point pace for each of the past three seasons. Yes, you are taking a hit in shot rate that you will have to make up, but at some point, you can’t ignore the point production. What I’m looking for at this point in the draft is an extremely high floor and Huberdeau has that.
15) Mark Scheifele – Scheifele and Huberdeau are eerily similar from a fantasy standpoint. Scheifele has been at a point per game or better for five straight seasons. Huberdeau gets a slight edge because the power play points have been better, but it would be no surprise if Scheifele ends up more valuable than Huberdeau. Again, these guys are all in the same tier which comes down to a lot of personal preference. Like Huberdeau, you will need to make up the shots elsewhere.
16) Alex Ovechkin – It feels weird to put Ovechkin this low, but there are some worrying signs for the best goal scorer of all-time. One, he’s turning 36 later this week. Two, his even strength play has taken a big hit in the last two seasons. If your league includes plus-minus as a category, I’d be expecting a minus rating from Ovechkin with how poor the Capitals are defensively when he’s on the ice. However, The Great Eight is still taking over four shots per game, and would it really shock you if Ovechkin led the league in goals at age 36? Yes, the assists are going to be bad for somebody this high in the rankings, and the PIM randomly dried up last season, but if you want to put a priority on goal scoring and shots, Ovechkin is your guy.
17) Sebastian Aho – Aho was right around a point per game for the third straight season. He’s excellent at evens making him a near lock for a strong plus-minus to go along with the points. My slight concern is that Aho went from right around three shots per game to around 2.6. That’s not the end of the world, but it does make a difference on the margins when you’re talking players going in the second round of drafts. I can also see their power play taking a hit with the departure of Dougie from the back end. Aho could easily bump the shot rate back up and there’s nothing to worry about. He’s also been remarkably healthy giving him a decent chance to repeat last season where he finished as the #8 overall forward.
18) Kirill Kaprizov – Kaprizov’s rookie season succeeded even the loftiest expectations playing at a 40+36 pace. He also had close to three shots per game, but if you dig in, it looks way better than that going forward. In January, Kaprizov had 15 SOG in 10 games. In February, he had 17 in 8 games. In the last 37 games, Kaprizov put on 125 shots on goal. That’s well over three per game and I think a realistic expectation for this season. There’s also some hope for a few extra minutes of ice time per game as well. He’s a bit of a gamble in this spot, but I don’t really love the players in this range as a second round pick, so I’ll gamble on Kaprizov’s upside.
19) Cale Makar – Let’s get aggressive again, or as Teddy KGB would say, aggri-aysive. Makar finished with exactly a point per game last season with an elite plus-minus and one of the highest PPP totals in the league. We also saw his shot rate go from just over two per game to being just below 2.5 per game. Could we see another year three jump in shots? Given how dominant the Avalanche are with Makar on the ice, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I would have Dougie as the #1D overall, but I’m having a little pause with the move to New Jersey. Makar’s in the best situation in the league giving him a massive floor and the ceiling of 90 points. Obviously you are taking a big hit in goals early, but starting off with say, Matthews and Makar, would be an excellent build.
20) Brayden Point – There’s a few different guys in contention for this spot. Mark Stone is the favorite to have the most points, but his shot rate dropped to under two per game. Elias Pettersson still doesn’t have a contract and didn’t take another step forward last season when healthy. Both Tkachuk brothers have a case for their all-around contribution. At the end of the day, I settled on Point. Two words: Nikita Kucherov. Kuch is back, and that is going to do wonders for Point. Worst case, I think we see him right around a point per game with elite plus-minus again. Best case, he’s in the 90 point range again. With Tampa losing their entire third line, it wouldn’t shock me to see a small uptick in minutes for the top six as well. The more I look at it, the more I dislike having to pick in the middle part of the second round. Having a top pick seems more advantageous than ever. If I’m stuck in this spot, I’m leaning towards taking Point.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday with my massive goaltending post. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!