As a companion to my Top 200, this post is going to cover the big preseason news from the last few weeks, along with the players that I’m targeting at the end of drafts in standard 12 man leagues. In 12’ers, the waiver wire isn’t a complete wasteland, so my goal is to shoot for the moon and hope that our late picks break out in a big way. Last season, my favorite target was Elias Lindholm and we all know how that worked out. We’re barely over a week away from the season starting so it’s time to buckle down and adjust our board wherever necessary. Let’s break down what I’ve been looking at:
Dustin Byfuglien leaving the team for personal reasons wasn’t much of a concern. When it came out that he was debating retiring, it became a concern. The team suspending him doesn’t really make a difference, it’s only to create cap space, but obviously we have to decide what to do with Big Buff. I decided to put him down at 154th in my current rankings, which would make him a late mid-round pick. At this point, that still may be too early, but since Byfuglien has massive upside, even if he plays 60 games, he’d be a huge value. The shallower your league, the more comfortable I am gambling on it. I’m hoping this situation is settled sooner than later, but my guess is that it lingers into the beginning of the season. The big impact is that I moved Josh Morrissey all the way up to 126th overall. I want Morrissey in all leagues regardless, but we could be looking at a guy who plays 27 minutes and finally gets PP1 time. The minutes should help fix his shooting woes. While I ranked him this high, you should be able to wait longer than this as his consensus ranking is 174. Maybe Sami Niku, Neal Pionk, or Nathan Beaulieu get some value for deep leagues, but I’m taking a wait and see approach.
Brayden Point signing today will hopefully get the ball rolling on other RFA’s signing like Mikko Rantanen, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, etc. For now, I’m not panicking much. My biggest concern of the group is Laine, and that’s factored in a bit into his 44th overall ranking. I’m expecting Rantanen to get a deal done sooner than later since the Avalanche have a boatload of cap space. Matthew Tkachuk is also worrisome, so I may have to move him down about 10 spots. I wouldn’t be doing anything drastic like crossing these guys off your boards because they aren’t signed, but if you don’t want to risk a holdout, I understand it. UPDATE: Point is out until the end of October. I’m dropping him to around 50th overall since he’ll lose about 10 games.
Defensemen as a whole really drops off quickly, as mentioned in my Top 40 defensemen post. That’s a big factor for why I have 18 of them in my top 100 and, 14 in the top 80, and 11 in the top 70. I can definitely see myself getting 3 of the top 18 on my team, but I want 2 at the very least because of how steep the drop off is.
Apparently I’m going to end up with Philipp Grubauer in the 4th or 5th round in every league, and that is perfectly fine with me. Timo Meier‘s consensus ranking is 74 so apparently I’ll be getting him everywhere as well.
LATE ROUND TARGETS
Victor Olofsson – Olofsson has been getting time with Jack Eichel in the preseason. His shot is truly elite which should give him a spot on the top power play unit. Olofsson scored 30+33 in 66 AHL games last season, and in 6 NHL games he had 2+2 in 21 games. There’s a chance he gets 250+ SOG this season with 25 goals and you can get that with the last pick in your draft. Obviously there’s a chance that you cut him a couple weeks into the season, but there could be some real value.
Thatcher Demko – I’m much higher than him than consensus. I expect him to be a #2 goalie this season, but he’s ranked outside of the top 300. He’s an elite prospect and played well at the end of last season, so I’d rather gamble on him than some of the retreads that people are ranking ahead of him.
Alexandre Texier – The highly touted prospect is slated to get first crack at playing with Dubois and Atkinson on the first line. He’s not Panarin, but Texier could turn into a hold sooner than later.
Devon Toews – Toews received a huge workload in the playoffs and was great on the power play, a unit that struggled mightily in the regular season. He was just over two shots per game in the playoffs, a rate he’ll need bare minimum to be a hold because he doesn’t commit penalties. That said, if someone going very late is going to get 45+ points on the blue line, my money would be on Toews or the next guy…
Filip Hronek – It’s either Hronek or the oft-injured Mike Green QB’ing the first power play in Detroit, and my money is on the team going young with Hronek. We could see a big breakout here for fantasy as Hronek played at a 40 point pace last season and tallied 30 PIM in 41 games. He was also over 50% Corsi on a bad possession team. Digging the potential.
Dante Fabbro – Considering how poorly the third pair in Nashville is along with how comfortable they were with moving Subban, the Predators clearly look highly on Fabbro and his potential. He’s going to get a big workload right away with Ekholm on the second pair and he could get PP2 time. He’ll probably need an injury to truly breakout, but he could be a bottom end hold this year and more down the line.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – I wish he had the guarantee of a bigger role, but perhaps we see Kotkaniemi take a big jump in year two that forces Julien to jump him into the top six.
Ryan Dzingel – Dzingel goes into a great situation in Carolina. He’ll be with one or two possession monsters that should make up for his defensive deficiencies and provide him even more goal scoring opportunities. The potential drop in ice time should be offset by his possession increase, so getting close to or repeating last season’s 26+30 isn’t out of the question.
Nikita Gusev – I’m not sold on Gusev’s transition to the NHL, but he will play with Hughes or Hischier which could give him a chance to have an impact earlier.
Colin Miller – He already gives solid PIM and a good shot rate. Now what happens if Miller gets 4-5 more minutes a game? A Risto trade would make things easier, but either way I expect Miller to have numbers close to his 17-18: 40 points, 50 PIM, good shot rate for a defenseman. That’s enough for a late pick.
That’s all for now guys. Hopefully you found a few guys you like out of those 10 lottery tickets and at least one of them hit for you. I’ll be back later in the week with something; I’m unsure what at this point and if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments section. Please post any questions or comments you have there as well. Thanks for reading, take care!