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!

  1. ashtray says:
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    Need to make a decision on keepers. We can keep 3. 12 Team league with the following categories:

    Skaters-G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, Hits
    Goalies-W, L, SHO, GA, SV

    Players can be kept at the cost of the round they were drafted previously. These are the guys I’m considering:

    Draisaitl (1st round)
    Stamkos (2)
    Robertson (22)
    Rust (8)
    Pavelski (19)
    Fiala (11)
    Trocheck (18)
    Lehner (3)

    I’m inclined to go with Draisaitl (because I finished well last year and there’s no way I’d get as good a player with my first pick anyway), Robertson (great value with the last pick), and Trocheck (another good value).

    Thanks!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Trocheck is a definite lock and I think you’re right, you’re best off keeping Draisaitl. I definitely won’t have Stamkos that high anymore, but I think the rest are all decent to good values still.

      How long are you able to keep the person in that draft slot? If they’re in that spot for life, then I think you have to go Robertson. If it’s not forever, Pavelski and Fiala are in play. Let me know and I’ll give you a definitive answer.

      • ashtray says:
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        Three year max on keepers. Thanks!

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          Gotcha, I think I still go Robertson then, I prefer Pavelski for this season alone but this is probably the last one that it’s the case.

          • ashtray says:
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            Thanks! Yeah Pavelski was great last year. I don’t know if I can count on that again.

            • Viz

              Viz says:
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              I definitely expect some regression from him, you’re right to expect that.

  2. Shitwolf says:
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    nice read! What league setting do you use for making ranks? With hits being a cat it is hard to look past Brady in the 2nd for me. with my leagues setting he finished #13 on the player rater last year. Kinda a similar thing with nurse since he hits every cat. For leagues with extra cats like mine I feel like it is easier to make up pure point getters later then trying to find guys who score + hit. What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks Viz 🙂 Enjoyed the read as always and shout out to that 1 guy in the last post who missed me! I miss you too man even tho I don’t remember ya!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I am going by the old Razzball Commenter Leagues: G,A,+/-, PIM, SOG and STP for skaters, W, GAA and SV% for goalies. I am staunchly against using hits as a category; it has no relevance to actual hockey and it’s even more ridiculous than penalty minutes, which I’m starting to remove in leagues as well. In hits leagues, Brady definitely belongs in the top 20, no doubt. Honestly, you can argue for the back end of the first round for Brady in hits leagues.

      • Shitwolf says:
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        thanks! off the top of ur head any other standouts that i should reach for this cavemen in oldschool 80s and 90s style leagues? Faceoff wins are also a cat so guys that have Lw and RW eligibility in yahoo that draws get a bump as well. Bergeron becomes insane too. AHHH pre draft rankings are effort

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          I need to take a closer look to see if there’s anyone new in that camp outside of the usual suspects. Schenn is always good in those, obviously Bergeron as you noted. You aren’t kidding about the rankings, this is by far the most time consuming part of the year for me.

  3. Sheldon says:
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    Keeper pool, points only.
    Do you sell high on Buchnevich? Is Hertl enough as a return?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      They’re in the same tier but I prefer Buchnevich. He’s still going to be in the top six in an offensive role with the Blues, and my worry with Hertl is he could end up getting traded to somewhere that gives him a lesser role than he has with the current Sharks. They’re virtually even, but give me the younger guy as a tiebreaker.

  4. Peter Parker says:
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    Hey Viz! Glad you are back, and looking forward to your expertise for this season! Here we go…

    1. Last season I drafted Varlamov and Ullmark, thinking that they both had sneaky upside… which you somewhat agreed. I ended up dropping Ullmark and picked up Saros (who was dropped in my league)! With my high-octane offensive, and both goaltenders… I won my league. THANK YOIU!

    2. Did you have Zibanejad in your 11-20 list at any point??

    3. My 2 sneaky goaltender picks for 2021… Markstrom and Petersen in rounds 11 thru 15.

    Thanks Viz!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Glad to hear from you! Glad to see that you got a title! He was on my list of players I was considering for the top 20, but he didn’t quite make it. He’ll probably end up somewhere in the 21-30 range overall, maybe slightly lower if a bunch of goalies make that range for me.

      I think Markstrom will be going well before that. If not, I’ll be all in on him, but last season was a strange season, and he has the pedigree to expect a bounceback. I think he’ll still be around G15 in my rankings off the top of my head? That puts him a few rounds earlier than that. Petersen would be the dream G3, we’re 100% in agreement there.

      • Peter Parker says:
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        Viz! Good morning…

        Markstrom’s ADP is 139, which realistically slots him into the 11th or 12th round??

        QUESTION: Please talk me out of drafting Makar in the 2nd round!!!!

        🙂

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          Gotcha, I haven’t looked into that yet. I feel it’s very draft dependent because in some leagues, goalies fly off the board early. I’m still tweaking with my goaltending rankings that will come out tomorrow, but I have Markstrom in a huge tier from 11 into the 20s, right now at 14th overall.

          I will not do that seeing that I have him ranked 19th haha

          • Peter Parker says:
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            Yeah, Makar is absolute fantasy beast! I just have a hard time thinking about passing up the likes of Zibanejad, Aho or Marner for a defensemen… it just doesn’t seem natural or sane! LOL

            • Viz

              Viz says:
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              Haha I hear you. I think Marner should clearly go ahead of him and Aho too for that matter, even though I only have Aho two spots ahead of Makar. Makar vs Zibanejad is definitely close though and depends a bit on personal preference.

              • Peter Parker says:
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                Not sure if I believe my own theory here, but to draft Makar gets you 80 to 90 points with a ton of PPP. But now, I have one less D to draft later in the draft with a ceiling of 35 points, but a forward in the 12th round may get you 60 to 65 points. Thus, this Makar draft pick actually nets you another 30 to 40 points over and above his own numbers. Does this make ANY sense? 🙂

                • Viz

                  Viz says:
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                  I get the point that you are making but that’s extreme on both ends. You can definitely expect a D later on to have a ceiling higher than 35 points. There are tons of defensemen who go undrafted who have a ceiling higher than that. You also don’t know that a forward there will get you 60 points, they could get you 45 or 80. We are talking guys just outside the top 100 overall, a bunch of those guys will get 70+ points, albeit with other flaws. You’re also taking a hit in shots compared to your alternatives like Zibanejad. You surely are not gaining 30-40 points in this process.

                  I strongly disagree with positional scarcity in any fantasy sport i.e. you won’t see me taking a catcher in standard leagues for more than $1 at the end of an auction. You won’t see me reach for a D early just to have a loaded blueline because if you use an extreme example, if you take 3-4D in the first 10 rounds, you’re going to be way behind in total points behind people who loaded up on forwards and take a bunch of defensemen in the middle to late rounds. It becomes less true in the extreme, but you can just as easily get more points from say, Point and Ryan Ellis, than Makar and a forward in that range e.g. Stutzle, Gallagher, Monahan, etc.

                  • Peter Parker says:
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                    All great points Viz! Thank you for putting up with me!

                    • Viz

                      Viz says:
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                      Haha! That makes it sound like it’s a problem to deal with, that is simply not the case. I should add a lot of it comes down to league format too. If you start say, 7F and 4D, I give D a little more focus than usual because there will be tons of F available. If you start 10+ F, then you can’t wait too long there.

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