Marv: My friend Pesos and I are pretty big into hockey (it’s a requirement up in Canada). We are very excited for the new hockey season and we hope you are too. Pesos, you’re really sticking with that name eh? Alright, there have been worse names I guess (Maple Leafs).

Pesos: Really? With a name like Marv you’re going to chirp me? When did we travel back to 1977? Anyways, the season is right around the corner and with the amount of changes league wide things are going to be as interesting and entertaining as ever.

This is our preseason article where we will present some of our targets in our upcoming drafts and some of the guys we are avoiding.

Marv: Can I just list the whole Leafs roster for players to avoid? Does that count?

What fantasy draft prep wouldn’t be complete without checking out Viz’s Top 75 rankings and Top 20 defensemen rankings?

 

Targets

Pesos’ Picks

(ADP based on Yahoo)

Nazem Kadri (TOR) C, 164 ADP – I know what you’re all thinking. “Look at this typical Leafs fan. There’s more teams in the league than just the Leafs bud!.” I’m having a difficult time finding a young talented player who’s been playing behind a far inferior player that gets as much negative press as Kadri does. He’s played behind Tyler freaking Bozak (who I’ll crush in a second), with worse line mates and still out produced Bozak. Now, Kadri has a new coach and a 1 year “show me” contract to prove what he is and I think it’s going to be his best year yet. Yahoo has Kadri’s ADP at 164 which I think is a little low. If you can get Kadri anywhere after the 10th round I think you’re in good shape.

Cody Franson (BUF) D, 171 ADP – I know, another guy who played for the Leafs. Last year Franson led a terrible Leafs defensive core in points with 32 in 55 games. That’s 3 more points than Dion Phaneuf in 15 less games. He has an underrated ability of getting shots through to the net which is a massive plus. He’s going to be the quarterback of the Sabres PP which will include Jack Eichel and Evander Kane. Not sure if you know but both those guys are okay at hockey. Yahoo has Franson’s ADP at 171. Depending on how your league is set up I think picking up a guy like Franson can be hugely beneficial, especially if there’s a premium on PP points.

Marv’s Rebuttal: Do I really have to comment on these guys? I think you’ll have good value from Kadri around his current ADP, but I wouldn’t go much higher. It all depends on if he can swallow his attitude. Under a new coach’s system, there is a chance he turns into the new stud for the Maple Laughs. My only advice is if he starts reverting to his old ways (ie. all of a sudden every sports news has interviews of him bitching about something) I would move on. As for Franson I think he’ll do well in Buffalo (someone is bound to be good on this team, why not him)? It’s a young team and he’ll probably be top 2 on the blueline making him valuable at his current ADP. Pesos’ picks remind me of being the wingman for your best bud and taking the second girl. I’m sure she’s great, she’ll probably even give a great effort but clearly she would not be your first choice. Pesos and Viz, were all the NHL teams taken and that’s why you cheer for Toronto and Buffalo?

Now turning to some guys who can actually help your team this year.

 

Marv’s Picks

Ryan Johansen (CLS) C/RW, 34 ADP – I almost chose Phil Kessel for this spot, but with the bias of my involvement in many keeper leagues this year, I had to go with the young gun. I will be targeting Johansen and his new line mate Brandon Saad in all my leagues. For Columbus, talk about getting what you paid for. For us hockey fans, we can finally get excited to watch a Columbus game again. He’s only 23 and with the addition of Saad on his line, I think he will only improve on last year’s point totals. Looking at his numbers, Johansen has increased his PPG over the last three seasons and he has no reason to slow down now. 2015-16 prediction: 33G, 40A 73pts.

Petr Mrazek (DET) G, 167 ADP – It’s tough not to get excited about the 23 year old Mrazek heading into this season. He started 29 games with a 16-9-2 record, 2.38 goals against average, .918 save percentage. Following his final game of the season shutout versus Carolina, he was awarded with the starting role in the playoffs. In 7 playoff games he had a 2.11 goals against average and .925 save percentage (with 2 shutouts). I’m assuming Detroit will start the year with both Mrazek and Jimmy Howard fighting for the starting gig, but you have to think Mrazek has this locked up. He’s the future in this organization and I think it will be his job to lose. He’s got one year remaining on his contract and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. To ice this cake, Mrazek has magic hands and amazing puck control, providing another advantage over the aging Howard. Did I mention Detroit’s new head Coach Jeff Blashill coached Mrazek in Grand Rapids (they even won a Calder Cup together in 2013).

Pesos’ Rebuttal: As much as I want to disagree with who Marv has picked, I can’t find much to say. Both players are young and ready to make substantial impacts for their respective teams. With scoring dropping significantly last season and no real sign of it increasing this season, I’m not entirely convinced that Johansen will break the 70 point mark but like Marv said, at the very least the Blue Jackets will be fun to watch this season.

 

Avoids

Pesos’ Picks 

Tyler Bozak (TOR) C, 238 ADP – As a Leafs fan I have to say it’s been difficult to watch one of the NHL’s premiere snipers have to play with Tyler Bozak. He’s put up back to back 49 point seasons, which at first glance doesn’t seem too bad until you see who he’s being playing with and the minutes he’s been playing. Not to mention the fact there’s a better C playing behind him (hint, it’s Nazem Kadri). On one hand, seeing where Bozak came from, getting near 50 points out of him is a positive but that’s the past. Going forward all indications are he’ll be getting less playing time on the PP and at even strenght which won’t help his point totals. If your fantasy league values FO wins, he might be an okay late round pickup but if you’re expecting him to replicate or even surpass his previous point totals you’ll be very disappointed. What I’m saying is, don’t draft Tyler Bozak.

Andrew Hammond (OTT) G, 136 ADP – Hammond is projected, on average, to be drafted ahead of guys like Craig Anderson, Cam Ward, Jonathan Bernier and Petr Mrazek. Folks, you can’t make this stuff up. In 25 games last year in the AHL, Hammond posted a 3.51 GAA and 0.898 SV%. That’s not good. Sure, he came up to the Sens and dominated for 24 games but let’s be serious, there’s absolutely no sane argument as to why you would draft Hammond over the guys I listed earlier. Bryan Murray and the Senaturds took a massive gamble by trading Robin Lehner to the Sabres. I has little to no faith that Hammond is capable of handling the load if Anderson gets hurt this season (which he will). If you’re looking to win your pool, you’ll stay well away from Hammond but if you want to be the laughing stock of the league, be sure to draft him early!

Marv’s Rebuttal: I can’t argue with avoiding Bozak as I generally steer clear of most Leafs. You know that in some leagues, he will fly off the board way too early and a rookie/unprepared drafter will think they got away with a deal only to drop him mid-season. I disagree with Pesos’ argument for completely staying away from Hammond. As you said Anderson will probably get hurt, Hammond will be the tender stepping into these games and he can get himself into some really great runs (I don’t think anyone forgets last season’s success). I will agree that Anderson, Mrazek and possibly Bernier should get drafted before him, but I think if he falls in draft there is some value to be had here, especially if he’s your 3rd or 4th tender.

 

Marv’s Picks

Patrick Kane (CHI) C/RW, 12 ADP – I’m not stupid in saying this (although I have never been tested). If Kane clears up all this “rape” business and is ready for opening day, I’m sure he will come close to the top 50 ranking (40 G, 44 A, 84 PTS). I’m looking to avoid Kane if I’m in a 12 man draft, and I’m the 11th or 12th pick. If he falls to me, I might let someone else gamble with the uncertainty. I think Kane is amazing and I personally have a man crush on Jonathan Toews (Canadian shoutout, actually if I’m calling out amazing Canadian talent in the NHL, I feel like this article might run long). There are too many red flags to take the chance: 1) If the rape case against him runs longer than expected (into the season), 2) If he misses training camp or 3) That even if there are no suspensions or missed games, he will at the very least be a little distracted. Now there are a ton of exceptions, most notably if he falls to the end of the 2nd/start of 3rf round, or if you are in a keeper league, I’d still pull the trigger.

Nick Foligno (CBJ) C/LW, 46 ADP – I’m sure I will get a lot of chirps for avoiding Foligno (especially after targeting his line mate Johansen) but I just can’t justify where he’s getting drafted (average ADP of 46). For this reason, I’m avoiding him and focusing on the other talent available in the 4th-5th round, names like: Nicklas Backstrom, Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Nikita Kucherov. Don’t get me wrong, I love this top line of Johansen, Saad and Foligno but I just don’t see Foligno coming close to his 2014-15 numbers. He was lucky last year with some key injuries to Scott Hartnell and Brandon Dubinsky which led to an increase in ice time (from 16:03 in 2013-14 to 18:49 in 2014-15). Along with this extra 2:46 ice time, his shooting percentage was highly elevated to 17% (compared to his career average of 12.4%). With a proper correction to his shooting percentage and his ice time somewhere in between his 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, I feel Foligno’s overall points to will correct as well. 2015-16 prediction: 26G, 52-56pts. At those numbers, I will let someone else draft him based on last year’s numbers and I will simply wait and grab his line mate, Saad (LW,RW eligible with an average ADP of 94). Please note that Foligno does get a boost in leagues that count PIM’s and hits.

Pesos’ Rebuttal: It feels incredibly odd to say but avoiding Kane, at least in the early stages of the draft, seems like a logical thing to do at this point. Now, things change fast and if there’s a settlement in his case it might be worth while to take him high. That being said, the NHL should be suspending him. Just because there’s a settlement doesn’t mean nothing happened. The NHL doesn’t often do the right thing so this ones a tough call either way. I think it’s fairly obvious that Foligno over achieved last season and it’s also a fair assumption to think he will regress this upcoming season. I do like the addition of Saad to the Blue Jackets but if anything, I think it will take offense away from Foligno. He’ll still be a decent depth player to pickup but don’t expect him to improve on last year’s totals.

 

Marv: So there you have it, our targets and avoids for this year’s Fantasy drafts. Obviously there is a ton of potential out there and we tried to highlight a few in this article. We have also compiled some honorable mentions below. As always, ensure you understand the counting stats / rules / settings of your league as that can drastically bump up or downgrade a player’s value. What do you guys/girls (all three of you) think? Are we off our rocker? Hit us up in the comments below and share your thoughts. Do you like/hate my picks, or mostly dislike Pesos’ picks (most likely).

Honorable mention Targets: Phil Kessel, Jonathon Drouin , Evgeny Kuznetsov, Elias Lindholm, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, TJ Oshie, Derek Stephan

Honorable mention Avoids: Chris Kunitz, Shea Weber (at his current ADP)

 

 

  1. Gunnerdom says:
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    Fun fact: I traded Bozak for Kucherov last year in our keeper pool. Straight up. Mouhaha.

    • MarvPesos

      Marv says:
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      @Gunnerdom: nice, I wish I had those kinda people to trade with in my leagues

    • MarvPesos

      MarvPesos says:
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      @Gunnerdom: Nice! I wish I had those kind of trade partners in my leagues, good luck this year.

    • Pesos says:
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      @Gunnerdom: Ignoring the obvious age difference, Kuch is a far better offensive player than Bozak. How you were able to pull that off is a modern day miracle.

  2. rage says:
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    looking for keeper advice.

    i can keep 3 players in the round i drafted them in last season.

    i have it whittled down to four: patrick kane (round 2), jakub voracek (round 7), filip forsberg (round 18), and jiri hudler (round 18). if i keep forsberg and hudler, one of them would be kept in round 17.

    i have the 6th pick, so Kane would be 19th overall

    it’s a 12 team head-to-head league with G, A, +/-, PIM, and PPP (we may replace PIM w/ TOI).

    thoughts?

    thanks, in advance.

    • Pesos says:
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      @rage: Personally I would keep Kane, Voracek and Forsberg. Forsberg in the 18th round is a solid pick, especially in a keeper league as he’s young and going to produce for years to come. As a 20 year old he had 63 points, that’s pretty good. Hudler is in his 30’s which isn’t a good thing. He’s going to start to deteriorate and there’s young studs in Calgary ready to take his place. My guess is he’s going to get reduced minutes. Voracek I think is a no brainer to keep, he’s young and the Flyers are going to be an up and coming team (if they can get sold goaltending and defensive play). As for Kane, I suggest keeping him solely because it’s a keeper league unless you have someone else who can produce at the same rate he cane.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for reading!

      • rage says:
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        @Pesos: Thanks!

    • MarvPesos

      MarvPesos says:
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      @rage: Honestly, I hate to agree too much with Pesos but Kane (pending legal might hold him back a bit this year, but will be a small blip in terms of keeper value), Voracek (great deal at round 7)and Foresberg (great deal in round 18) would be my keepers as well.

      • rage says:
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        @MarvPesos: Thanks!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @rage: Agree with Marv and Pesos; throw back Kane. The other three are incredible value in those rounds, too much to pass up.

  3. Gus says:
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    How crazy am I for wanting to keep Klingberg over Backes? We count G, A, Pts, PPP, SOG, Hits and Backes is clearly going to deliver more value across cats and I already have strong D keepers in Hedman and Burns.

    But I’ve also got Seguin and Benn and it makes me very happy when I see Seguin scoring on the PP with assists to Benn and Klingberg…

    • MarvPesos

      Marv says:
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      @Gus: I would personally be keeping Backes, I guess it comes down to how many players do you get to keep (and the keeper rules). Getting a full line is exciting(except if they get shout out), but if you only get to keep a certain amount of keepers, I would focus on maximizing your value/point coverage. as you said, Backes will probably cover more cats, I think that’s your answer. Plus you already have Seguin and Benn(I think you have Dallas covered) go get some St Louis points.

      • Pesos says:
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        @Marv: Have to say I disagree. Although putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t a good idea, I would say 3 players from one team isn’t quite that. When it comes to keepers, age is a factor. Is Backes going to be reliable long term seeing as he’s 31? I would think, over the long haul, Klingberg is going to give you more. Letting young talent go to keep a guy moving into his 30s who is going to start to regress isn’t a logical way to be competitive in the long run. Getting quality points from your D is a lot tougher than getting quality points from a C. You can find someone in the draft to make up for the loss of Backes, I’m not sure you can replace Klingberg as easily.

        • Gus says:
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          @Pesos:

          That’s kind of my thinking too in terms of getting the stats that give Backes a lot of value (hits and SOG) back in the draft whereas getting D-man points and PPP is more difficult.

          Full keeper list is Tavares, Seguin, Benn, Hall, Hedman, Burns, Bishop, Schneider (we start 2 goalies and 4/10 categories are goalie stats) with the last spot between Backes and Klingberg. Does that change anything?

          I feel that Backes is the right pick but I know I’d be more upset seeing Klingberg’s name come off the draft board if I didn’t keep him vs Backes when we draft next week.

        • MarvPesos

          Marv says:
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          @Pesos: I see what your trying to say, I think it comes down to keeper settings/roster spots, playing for this year? If you are only keeping a select few guys, and run in a league that has 3d then I’d still go with Backes. If you keep 2/3’s of your roster and have 4 D spots, then I can see you going for Klingberg. Side note: since I know your league counts SOG, check out the Vis defenceman rankings, big upside with Klingberg but has low SOG totals.

          • Pesos says:
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            @Marv: Isn’t the point of a keeper league to be compentive this year and going forward? Unless you’re going for it all this year and worrying about a rebuild later, I think it’s illogical to pass up on young, good talent.

          • Gus says:
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            @Marv:

            Appreciate the responses, thanks guys.

    • MarvPesos

      Marv says:
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      @Gus: sorry I Meant to add you are already have defence covered with Hedman and Burns. So depending on your keeper rules, keeping 2 defenseman is already plenty

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Gus: Keep Backes. Counting hits is a massive win for Backes and Klingberg is very poor at shots on goal. I’m a big Klingberg fan in general but Backes is a great compliment to Benn and Seguin and it will probably be easier to reacquire Klingberg than Backes.

  4. Viz

    Viz says:
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    Good stuff guys! Even a Sabre made the list, I’m happy about that and agree that Franson has a lot of upside. So does Kadri although the +/- will probably be poor. Pretty much in agreement with you down the line. If I took Mrazek, I’d make sure that I get Howard too and just roll the tandem every game. I’m especially in agreement with Foligno; as good as his linemates are, he’s just not that good offensively to repeat those numbers. I don’t have him in my top 75 (although he is coming soon) but 46th overall is nuts.

  5. goodfold2 says:
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    16 team roto dynasty league opening

    You get to pick which real life team you’ll be, and keep as many players from that team as you want (need to keep 6 at any time, but those could go in 1 of the 5 NA, 5 IR, or 5 IR+ spots too). The players you keep would count against their ADP for this year (we’ll use fantasy pros as soon as the data comes out), in future years keepers will be backloaded (keep up to 23 active players per year, and up to 5 NA players per year). Positions are just like real life, 4 of each forward, 6 D, 1 Goalie starting, and 4 BN. All Yahoo stats excepting GWG. Only teams reserved are WIN, PIT, EDM, MTL, PHI, CHI, NYR, and TB. All 22 other teams are available for the last 8 spots. No max adds per year and a good amount of games per position played. Draft is Tuesday OCT 6th at 9 PM eastern, night before NHL season. email [email protected], thanks.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: BOS gone now too.

  6. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    hammond is going way too early to be any sane person’s #4 goalie.

  7. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    i don’t know where youse guys are reading about any kane settlements, but NHL shouldn’t be suspending anyone just for being investigated. that’s insane, if he’s innocent it’s bad enough he even has to go through this b.s. publicly at all, much less have it possibly hurt his job status. At this point somebody who has clearly something to gain whether or not there’s a spec of truth to it just says he did it and he’s to get in trouble with NHL for that? Brings up very important point. In the case of all these millionaires that like banging crazy people (kane/roethlisberger/kobe just to name a few) they definitely should have a lawyer present with consent forms before ANY sexual acts with anybody. Also bodyguards for the male versions of these psychos who want to pick fights with famous athletes (ray lewis). A few hundred an hour for a lawyer to save 100’s of thousands later is a good idea, and could save months of trouble all because somebody thought banging a famous person wasn’t good enough, and they needed to get paid for it as well. All that being said, yeah, moving him down from his 12 ADP is a good idea with all of this stuff affecting him.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @Pesos: where are you reading about settlements in this kane thing though? And i’d love to hear how it’s a bad idea for anybody other than leechers to have a lawyer around for sex encounters for millionaires, at least from the perspective of the millonaire. I don’t support rapists at all, but it is surely easier to prove a lack of rape if consent forms are present than proving rape in any instance. Most of us can’t afford that lawyer route and are literally up to the whims of crazy people, but people like Kane could clearly afford to protect themselves. i’m not expecting any of you guys to have to worry about agreeing to anything logical if it might offend any readers, as PC thugs clearly own the modern media space, and obviously you don’t want to be a target of them.

        • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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          @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: you didn’t technically say you read there’d be any settlements, but this makes it sound almost like it
          “Now, things change fast and if there’s a settlement in his case it might be worth while to take him high. That being said, the NHL should be suspending him. Just because there’s a settlement doesn’t mean nothing happened. The NHL doesn’t often do the right thing so this ones a tough call either way”

          And are you making the actual claim that he SHOULD be suspended before there’s any actual guilt proved? You almost said “if there’s a settlement then something DID happen”. Without proof of anything it could most likely be he banged a woman and later she wants to make money off of it by claiming he raped her. Rape is one of hardest things to prove of course, but should that change guilty until proven innocent to the reverse? That claim should be treated a whole lot weirder than anything any PC thug might accuse me of. Innocent people’s lives are ruined in jobplace all the time by unfounded claims of things, simply due to being tarnished by being suspended without any proof of anything. This whole guilty till proven innocent thing i have no idea where it came from. Only reason for it is advertising costs and money possibly lost if it comes out months later that he’s guilty and NHL didn’t suspend him before the proof was out. This is not the same as the Ray Rice thing in which there was definite proof right after it happened that he was guilty. I’m not supporting that. If “doing the right thing” is suspending somebody before there’s any proof of wrongdoing simply to save your league some money you might want to spell that out. And if that’s not what you mean might want to mention what you do mean.

          • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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            @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: and didn’t NHL (or was it LAK) suspend voynov last year pretty much as soon as there was proof he did that awful shit to his girlfriend, thus making them light years ahead of other sports in this regard.

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