It's the final countdown! This will close out my rankings following my Top 50, Top 100 and Top 150 posts. After the Top 200, there will be a revised list coming out later in the week updating for injuries and other moves and a separate post about some players I would target with my last pick or two. Let's get right to it!
The St. Louis Blues had quite the roller coaster ride of a season in 2016-17. They started off slowly before rallying to the point where playoffs were a certainty. That didn't stop Doug Armstrong from shipping out Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline after they couldn't agree to a contract extension. Despite the loss of Shattenkirk and Robby Fabbri to a torn ACL, the Blues upset the Wild in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the Predators in round 2. There are some questions on the blue line and in net but their forward group, if healthy, has incredible depth plus elite talent. Let's take a look at what Mike Yeo has to work with:
Reid joins me after his trip to California to discuss the Pacific Division. After I discuss the RCL's being launched, we look at each team and decide if they should be better, worse, or the same for the upcoming season. Afterwards, we look at players that could break out, continue to progress or guys that will regress. To conclude, each of us predict the final standings for the division. There are a couple teams that both of us like more than consensus and a couple that we are down on. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast brought to you by League Safe! You can get $10 added to your fantasy league's prize pool by going to leaguesafe.com/razzhockey
Hey guys! For those of you who have been reading the site for some time, you know that the fantasy sports here on Razzball have Razzball Commenter Leagues. They are a way for everyone in the Razzball community to show their skills against each other, talk the sport they’re playing and even talk some smack. Last season we had only 6 leagues, a slight uptick from my first year at Razzball but still a bit disappointing. Now, with almost a month until the season starts, I'd love to crack double digit leagues, if not more! Hopefully this will keep building the hockey community and maybe you'll win the grand prize. Here are the details:
We've reached the halfway point in my rankings and it's time to approach the finish line. I will keep updating this with info for players as Friday progresses but I wanted to get the top 150 out as soon as possible. Also, sorry for the delay, but the RCL's will launch this coming Monday in the afternoon. I've had a few technical difficulties setting it up but that should be taken care of by then. Without further adieu, here is my top 150:
The Minnesota Wild had an excellent regular season in 2016-17, their first under Bruce Boudreau, finishing with 106 points. Unfortunately for them, they had another first round exit, this time as a prohibitive favorite against the St. Louis Blues. I was all in on the Wild last year in the regular season strictly because of Boudreau; the man is as good as it gets behind the bench. Arguably my biggest call of the year, having Devan Dubnyk 40 spots higher than ADP, worked out perfectly as Dubnyk finished as the #3 overall goalie. With a few players breaking out and others finding their form again, the Wild remain a very interesting team for fantasy purposes. Let's take a look at the plethora of options Boudreau has to work with:
The Chicago Blackhawks were the best team in the Western Conference during the 2016-17 regular season but unlike in years past, the postseason had no success. The Blackhawks were demolished in the first round by the Predators leading them to make some radical offseason changes. Out goes Artemi Panarin, back comes Brandon Saad. Out goes Marian Hossa due to injury, back comes Patrick Sharp. Out goes Niklas Hjalmarsson, Connor Murphy comes back in return. Overall, I really don't like the direction that Chicago is going as I discussed on this podcast. Despite the fact that I think they could be in a battle this season just to make the playoffs, there's still plenty of fantasy talents worth discussing. Let's take a look at what they're working with:
It seems counter-intuitive to say but last season was great for the long term future of the New Jersey Devils. For the last few seasons, the Devils have been outside of the playoffs but not high enough to get a top 5 pick. Luckily for them, the lottery ball fell their way and Nico Hischier fell into their laps. They're still going to be bad this year (if they don't finish last in the Metro, it's a miracle) because their defensemen are an abomination but how bad is going to come down to goaltending and the progression of their young talent. The good news is their top six has a fair amount of talent for fantasy hockey so they're not a complete wasteland. Let's take a look at what the Devils are working with:
Since it's almost Labor Day, it's time for me to pick up the pace with my rankings. For those who haven't seen them, you can check out my Top 50 here. I'm not going to bore you with an intro, everybody wants to see my top 100 and this is going to be incredibly long as is, so let's get right to it! 51) Ben Bishop - The more research that I do, the more I'm tempted to move Bishop up even higher. Yes, last season was a disaster, but Bishop was the #1 overall player in 2015-16. But Viz, Dallas has been a train wreck defensively for years! This is true, but with Marc Methot coming on board and the growth of their young blueliners, they could take a step forward. More importantly, we've seen some goalies with far less talent than Bishop succeed in Ken Hitchcock's system *cough* Brian Elliott *cough*. It's a little risky but I'm expecting Dallas to push for the Central Division title giving Bishop massive upside across the board.
The NHL's Central Division saw the division winner from 2015-16 miss the playoffs last season, the 2016-17 division winner lost in the first round to the 4th place team who went on to make the Cup finals. Once again, the Central is loaded with offensive talent which is great for our fantasy teams. Reid and I talk about which teams got better and worse, breakout players, players who will regress and then our predicted order of finish for 2017-18. I even steal Reid's hot take by having the same take first! All of those topics and more on the latest edition of the Razzball NHL Hockey Podcast brought to you by League Safe! You can get $10 added to your fantasy sports league's prize pool by going to leaguesafe.com/razzhockey