We’re moving along to the players ranked 11th-20th overall today. If you missed the Top 10, you can check that out here. I’m sure this is going to be another long post, so let’s get to it!
11) Mitch Marner – As talked about in the last post, there’s not much separating the players from the end of the top 10 through the top 20. At the end of the day, I’m going to continue to play it safe and go with high floors. Marner set a career high in points last season with 97 in only 72 games. He was above three shots per game for the first time, and we know the plus-minus will be quite good. He’s a little light on the penalty minutes, but at some point, you have to accept that and take a player who is probably a favorite to score 100 points this season, just like Barkov before him.
12) Alex Ovechkin – I just can’t quit the Great Eight. Ovechkin scored 50 goals once again, and put up 40 assists for the first time in eleven years. He’s still well over four shots per game and elite on the power play. Is 37 the year Ovechkin is going to slow down? I don’t think so. In general, I’m going to default to goal scorers in the early going, so if I can get Ovechkin in the second round, I’d be quite happy.
13) Sidney Crosby – I have to admit, taking Ovechkin and Crosby on the wheel would be kind of funny. Crosby has been above a point per game every season of his career, he played at a 100 point pace last season, and he was back over three shots per game. Crosby is still elite on the power play and has shown no signs of slowing down. The only problem is that he’s missed time due to injury two of the last seasons, but going back to the past nine seasons, Crosby has missed more than seven games only twice. You can go a few different routes in this range, but I’m still deferring to Crosby.
14) Jonathan Huberdeau – The two hardest players for me to rank that are in the top 20 discussion are Huberdeau and Gaudreau. If I either would repeat last season, they’d both be first round picks. Unlike Gaudreau, Huberdeau has been over a point per game for four straight seasons. We know the points will be elite, and he’ll give solid PIM/hits. There are two major questions here. One, can Huberdeau repeat that shot rate again. After being barely over two for the previous two seasons, he was over 2.75 last season. That’s a drastic difference. The other question is how much his STP are going to drop. Calgary does have plenty of talent, but I can’t see him coming close to 43 STP again. Even if Huberdeau goes from 30+85 to 25+65, he can pay off this ranking.
15) Artemi Panarin – Panarin set a career high in points with 96. He remained elite at even strength while totaling 37 PPP. The PIM and hits are quite poor which drags Panarin down a bit, as does his shot rate, which is slightly below average for a forward. From a points perspective, Panarin is definitely in my top 10 for points per game, so he can only drop so far. He missed a little time in each of the past two seasons, but it’s nothing that concerns me. I’d bet on Panarin getting 100 points for the first time in his career this season.
16) Steven Stamkos – Stammer was outstanding last season, setting a career high with 106 points. The Tampa power play was a huge factor where Stamkos totaled 36 points, and the shot rate was his best in five seasons. Stamkos has the rep for being injury prone, but it doesn’t really hold true over his career. Sure, he’s had a couple major injuries, but Stamkos has played almost of the games in the majority of his seasons. I don’t really buy the 64 assists repeating, but his floor is around 40+50 which is clearly second round value.
17) Kyle Connor – I originally had Connor ranked higher, but as much as I like Connor as a player, I’m a little concerned about Bowness coming in. Connor has proven himself to be among the best goal scorers in the league, scoring 47 goals while adding 46 assists. Connor averaged four shots per game which puts him a tier with the elite of the elite. Connor doesn’t commit many penalties at all which drags his value down a bit. To get back to the point about Bowness, Connor’s ice time could take a hit. Last season, he averaged 21:47. For Bowness in Dallas, the top line averaged just over 18 minutes per game. Is he going to do that again in Winnipeg, or will he roll the top six more aggressively with how top heavy the Jets are? By the end of the preseason, I can see myself dropping Connor down a bit, but I believe in the talent so much that even with 18 minutes per game, Connor should score 40 goals with elite shots.
18) Igor Shesterkin – Long time loyal Razzballers know that almost without exception, I’d never take a goalie in the second round, and I definitely wouldn’t take a goalie in the first round. You take too much of a hit offensively missing a first round pick’s stats, and goalies generally have too much variance. I’m having a little pause on that now for a few reasons. One, scoring is up so much around the league that it’s a bit easier to get point per game players. Two, how many goalies can you be confident in that you’ll get strong numbers from? Ten? Less? Three, Igor is simply incredible. His .935 sv% is probably a little high, but his baseline is higher than anyone in my time writing here, and that’s with Vasilevskiy putting up .916 or better every full season of his career. If he stays healthy, I can’t even imagine Shesterkin finishing outside of the top five goalies. I was tempted to rank him 13th just to signify that I’d consider taking him anywhere in the second round, but I didn’t bother because I assume Igor will go in the first round in most leagues. If he fell to 20th, I’d definitely take him since I got one of the top five forwards to pair him with.
19) David Pastrnak – Pasta scored 40 goals again and put up well above four shots per game, the fourth best rate in the league. Marchand missing the beginning of the season is certainly a negative, but we can see Pastrnak’s time on ice go up with Montgomery coming in to replace Cassidy. Krejci’s shot rate is always dreadful as he’ll go out of his way to be feeding Pasta. This is another case of super high floor in terms of goal scoring and shot rate keeping someone ranked in my top 20 even with some question marks.
20) Jack Hughes – There were a few players I debated for the last few spots. I’ll give more details later when I get to them over the next week or two, but among those considered were Guentzel, Gaudreau, Hughes, Josi, and Vasilevskiy. I made a list of guys who I thought could crack my top 20 and it was 35 names long, so you can see how bunched I think everyone is. At the end of the day, I decided on Hughes for a few reasons. Hughes played at a 44+50 pace last season. He took his shot rate over three per game. He should improve solely based on being 21 years old and the team around him getting better. Hughes could also gain a lot on the power play. Brunette joining as an assistant coach should help quite a bit there, especially if they can get a healthy season from Hamilton. Once I get to the 20th overall pick, that means in a 12’er, I got one of the top five guys. I’m willing to take a bit more risk with my second guy. There’s a chance Hughes blows up and becomes a 100+ point player this season and his shot rate continues to trend upwards. His floor seems high enough to justify this spot, even if he’s a blank in penalty minutes and hits.
That’s my top 20 as of now guys. I’m going to move outside of overall rankings for now and skip to specific positions. I’ll have one or two goaltending posts to cover the position in depth. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!