Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another year of Fantasy Hockey! I am LackeyDrinksOnMe, a Sabres fan who works in college admissions by day and devours hockey analysis by night. Last year, I had a weekly column about week-long streaming opportunities, targeting mostly-available players with multiple games per week, trying to fill slots for the slowest days. In my book, more player starts means more TOI, and the more time you have players on the ice the greater the chance for a lucky assist or to rack up a few extra hits or blocked shots.

I’ve been working on a top-100 skaters for your reading pleasure, ranking skaters on 17-18 stats including points per game, points/TOI, Wins Above Replacement, Expected Goals and Actual Goals, and Offensive Point Shares, to name a few. Part of what I’ve been trying to do has been to average these metrics for a holistic impression of a skater’s talent, but also supplementing those raw rankings with player age/development and the occasional eye test.

Like Viz indicated, once you get past the first few names there can be very little separation between certain players, and this obviously isn’t meant to be a comprehensive or be-all end-all ranking. Rather, it’s to give you another perspective on where players are being valued, and might reinforce an idea you have about a skater or surprise you with a hot take. I’ll gladly take questions in the comment section.

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We’re keeping things moving here on the hockey side of things at Razzball as we’re less than two months from the season starting!  It’s not just me: Son has his top 10 out, everyone is posting their football rankings, and Smokey has the EPL RCL set up.  That’s ignoring all of the good baseball psts as we approach the closing stretch.  Today, I’m completing my top 40 forward lists.  Nineteen of these guys were already covered in the top 10 and top 20 posts, so the focus will be on players 20-40.  Let’s get going!

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We’re back continuing this season’s rankings.  You guys know the drill by now so I’m not going to waste your time with a big introduction.  My main thought is that the tier that started with #8 overall (check out the top 10 here) actually goes to around 18th overall instead of 15th.  The gaps between these players are much smaller than in the past so you can go a lot of different ways based on personal preference.  Do you want higher upside, the safer player, six category guys?  All of this is in play and will make for some interesting draft strategy.  Strategy will come in later posts, but for now, let’s get through the top 20:

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It’s that time of the year guys!  Sure, most people are focused on football drafts right now (check out our stuff here, the guys do a great job), but hockey season is also right around the corner.  I’m getting my rankings out a bit earlier this year to give me more time to slightly adjust if need be, but more importantly, to leave more time to do other preseason posts.  I’ll be following a format closer to what Grey has done with baseball.  You’ll have this top 10 post, a top 20 post, then I’ll be doing forwards in groups of 20, defensemen in groups of 20, followed up by one or two goalie posts.  Once those are wrapped up, I’ll make one big list across all positions that will be easy for you to use during your drafts.  Without further adieu, my top ten players for the upcoming NHL season! 

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Hello everyone!  After spending most of the last two months in Vegas (including during the Stanley Cup Finals), I’m back home and ready to start writing again.  I’ll be picking up things in August when I’ll be writing multiple posts a week, including my rankings early on in the month.  I have a few questions I would like the readers to answer in terms of what they’d like me to write besides my rankings, but I’ll leave that for the end of this post.  For now, I’m going to write a quick blurb on the five biggest moves of the offseason and what their impact is for both real life and fantasy.  Let’s get to it!

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Now is the time of the year where we see college players decide to forgo their collegiate career and sign an entry level contract.  There have been a bunch of players in recent years who have made an immediate impact, such as Chris Kreider and Brock Boeser.  We could have another name to add to the list.  Ryan Donato signed an ELC with Boston and had quite the NHL debut, scoring a goal and two assists with six shots playing almost 20 minutes..  With all of the graduates the Bruins have had over the last year, Donato is currently their #1 prospect (at least in my eyes).  He was a great goal scorer at Harvard and did very well in the Olympics scoring five goals in five games.  His shot is his best attribute but he’s also a strong skater.  I don’t see superstar upside, but Donato can definitely become a top 6’er.  He’s a streamer for now depending on who he’s with and how many minutes he’s getting, but he’s certainly a solid dynasty target.  Donato played on the first power play unit and the second line on Monday, so here’s to hoping that’s what we get for the rest of the season, at least until Patrice Bergeron returns.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Evander Kane is a player that I aggressively rank every season.  The shot rate is always elite, the penalty minutes are great, and the goals should come along with those shots.  Thankfully for his owners this year, Kane has managed to stay healthy.  Kane had the best game of his career on Friday, scoring four goals on seven shots and adding two penalty minutes.  He followed that up with eight shots on goal and two PIM on Saturday.  That brings Kane’s totals to 25+25 with 65 PIM and almost 4 shots per game.  Obviously he’s must own, but what is his ceiling going forward?  I don’t think his point totals are going to change much depending on where he signs in the offseason.  What can change is his plus-minus.  Sure, plus-minus is generally hard to predict, but there are some situations that you can feel better about.  Obviously Buffalo was almost worst case for that, and Kane is +5 in San Jose to this point.  Yes, it’s a small sample, but we’ve seen around the league this year that a lot of teams are loaded with big plus-minus totals.  Kane has never been much of a power play guy either, but maybe he goes somewhere that he plays on the top unit and improves.  I feel like he’ll be in the bottom of my top 50, but obviously things can change between now and then.  For those who have him for this year, enjoy him down the stretch.  With his shot volume, Kane can be a massive difference maker if he has some good fortune.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine.  That’s the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season.  Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night.  Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings.  That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser).  Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties.  Regardless, he’s blown away my expectations this season.  Now, it’s not all rosy for fantasy.  The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game.  On the other hand, he’s 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it’s hard to complain.  There’s a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal’s future if he can get that shot rate up.  Regardless, he’ll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it’s only going to get better from there.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing?  No.  Reid and I talked about the Jets’ ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play).  Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck.  The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season.  Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history.  Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday.  Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there’s a chance he falls off a little bit (I’m certain he’ll finish as a #1G), I think he’s solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues.  The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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