Hey guys.  Before my posting becomes more sparingly throughout May, June and July, I went through my top 10 players for next season here on Wednesday.  Now, I’m going to go through 11-20 covering the end of the first round and most of the second round in standard leagues.  Let’s get right to it!

11) John Tavares – He’s been an absolute monster in the playoffs so far and he could easily slide into the top 10. That said, I think he’s a clear step behind the first tier now after he was in that tier at the beginning of last season.  After a big 2014-15 where he had 86 points and was one point away from the scoring title, Tavares took a step back in every category this year but plus-minus (he was only +1 better).  He’s still only 25 years old and Tavares has an easy path to improvement next year.  His special teams points were the lowest of his career for any full season so a bounceback there gets him back towards 80 points.  It isn’t a knock of him being in this spot, in fact I think he closes the previous tier.  I just have the other guys in his tier slightly ahead of him.  P.S. I have no idea how ESPN ranks him 30th for next season.  Blasphemy.

12) Braden Holtby – Alright, here’s my disclaimer.  If I had the wheel in a standard roto 12’er, I could see taking a goalie since you won’t get one otherwise until pick 36.  It all depends on your league dynamics and how often people draft goalies in the early rounds.  If 15 goalies are going to go early, then I’d probably take one on the wheel but if it’s only 7 or so, I’d just wait and get another stud skater.  I would never take a goalie this early in a head to head league, it’s simply not worth it where variance swamps everything for goalies in one week.  Anyways, Holtby was terrific all season finishing 2nd in the player rater mostly due to a ridiculous 48 wins.  A 2.20 GAA and .922 sv% is nothing to sneeze at either.  The Caps are going to be extremely good for a while and the safety plus upside he provides has him as my number 1 goaltender.

13) Evgeni Malkin – I really hate this spot and ranking but I couldn’t bring myself to rank Malkin any lower.  On one hand, he’s going to get you a point per game and be above average to elite in every single category.  On the other hand, it’s a near certainty he’s going to miss 15+ games at this point (it was 25 this past season).  I completely understand if people want to pass him up because they don’t want to take the gamble on him.   That said, if by some miracle he stays healthy or misses say, 10 games, Malkin could produce as much as the guys ahead of him.  He’s in a tier of his own so you can easily slide him around where you think is right.  The only firm stance that I have is that even though I have him ranked 13th where based exactly on my rankings you’d go Holtby and Malkin on the wheel, I definitely wouldn’t do that.  There’s too high of a chance that Malkin misses time that you’d be stuck without a skater in the top 35 pairing him with a goalie.

14) Carey Price – This is a weird place in the draft.  I feel like you could justify about 20 different players to fill out the rest of the top 20, a bunch of which have been here for years and another group who are new to the party.  Price was going in the first round this season after the 2014-15 season where he was the #1 player by a mile.  Unfortunately for those who took him, Price missed almost the entire season due to injury after an excellent start.  That said, it’s nothing that should linger into next season and Price will only be 29 years old when next season starts.  He’ll seem like more of a gamble to the general public than he really is; I can see taking him early in the second round.

15) Ben Bishop – The number one overall player this season, Bishop was outstanding all season while the team is front of him struggled or was decimated by injury.  It’d be nice if we got more starts from Bishop which is the only reason why he’s this low.  As of now, Andrei Vasilevskiy is still in Tampa and while he’s there, he’s going to get his fair share of starts.  If Tampa decides to move Vas in the summer, I’m moving Bishop up.  I expect Tampa to be better in the regular season next season and with a 2.06 GAA and .926% from Bishop, the wins should increase.

16) Jack Eichel – Alright, let’s get crazy again!  Eichel had a solid rookie season with 24+32 with almost exactly 3 shots per game and solid special teams points.  The Sabres played much better down the stretch and that includes Eichel with 15 points in his last 18 games.  Dan Blysma is going to give Eichel huge minutes next season and the Sabres should improve around him based on their ages and offseason acquisitions (Steven Stamkos perhaps?).  I’d be shocked if he didn’t get at least 70 points next season and expect him to be in the low 80’s.  Add in a shot boost as most second players have one and I see a line similar to what Vladimir Tarasenko had in 2014-15: 77 GP, 37+36 with 264 SOG, possibly closer to 30+45 give or take 5 points due to power play variance.  I highly doubt you’ll have to spend a pick on him this high but I want him desperately.

17) Brent Burns – My mancrush was much better than anybody could have expected last season putting up a monstrous 75 points (27+48) with 53 PIM, 30 STP and an insane 353 SOG, second in the league for all players as a defenseman.  He took 108 more shots than last season!  While I do expect his numbers to take a slight step backwards next season because it’s hard to get 30 STP in a year, even with 60-65 points Burns should hit value here.

18) P.K. Subban – While Subban’s numbers look similar from last season look similar to 2 seasons ago, Subban actually took a big step forward last season.  Despite playing 14 less games in 2015-16, Subban had the same amount of assists and marginally more PIM, SOG and STP.  The only downside was he scored only 6 goals but that was simply because of a comically low shooting percentage.  Something like 12+50 with very good numbers in the other categories seems reasonable.

19) Kris Letang – My biggest hit from last season (I had him ranked 3rd among defensemen and in the top 40 overall), Letang was outstanding this season with 67 points in 71 games plus elite numbers in PIM, SOG and STP. At first, I was going to rank Letang ahead of Burns and Subban but decided against it because of his injury history; the 11 games he missed this year was his lowest in 5 seasons.  Letang is in the same boat as Malkin in that he gives you this value missing 10 games.

20) Evgeny Kuznetsov – I was torn between a lot of different guys in this spot; in no order they are Nikita KucherovAnze Kopitar, Corey PerryTaylor HallNathan MacKinnon and Kuznetsov.  At the end of the day, I decided to go with Kuznetsov for a couple reasons.  One, he just had 77 points as a 23 year old.  Two, he had 18 PPP which is low for somebody of his talent.  This is because he didn’t spend the full season on the first power play unit which is always among the best in the league.  Three, he’s either going to play with Alex Ovechkin or be on the second line getting easier matchups.  There is no four (that’s me copying Grey!).  Fifth, he just had a massive shot boost from 127 to 193 so if he gets another slight boost, his shots become a plus for him.  Lastly, he was just +27 and while you can’t count on that repeating itself, the Caps should be terrific again next season so Kuznetsov is as close to a lock as is there for a big plus-minus.   I think the picks in this general area will depend a bit on who you get in the first round.

That’s all for now guys.  To be honest, I’m not exactly sure when my next article will be as the offseason starts for me now.  That said, I will have a few posts go up in the coming months over time with two definites, one recapping the draft and another at the beginning of free agency.  There will be one in the next few weeks as well, probably an update of the Razzball Bracket Challenge after this round is complete (damn Ducks!).  If you have any questions, please leave them below as I will get notified when you post them and will respond as soon as possible.  I’d like to thank you all for following along my first season at the helm and I look forward to making the Razzball side of hockey even stronger having a full offseason to prepare.  Take care everyone, talk to you soon!

  1. Matt

    Matt says:
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    Love that you’re doing these now, Viz. I’m with you on the Kuznetsov call. The only question is line combos – do they put him with Ovechkin, or do they unleash Burakovsky – who has been lighting the lamp with barely over 10 minutes of ice time each game – and have a potent 1-2 punch? Either way, the sky is the limit for him.
    Another player I’d consider reaching a bit for next year is Jordan Eberle. He’s got the skills to be McDavid’s version of Jari Kurri. You can’t rank him quite top 20 because it’s a bit of a spec play, but I don’t see why they would mess with that duo. (Although secretly, I wonder what he and Taylor Hall could accomplish if they played on the same line…)

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Matt: yeah it definitely has a role in things. As long as the shots go up, I think Kuznetsov will pay off. Eberle will probably be somewhere around 40 for me? I don’t want to go too early because it’ll hurt a lot if he’s split from McDavid. I will have Hall higher because he’s the better player and if he gets the chance with mcdavid, the sky is the limit.

  2. Montezuma's Revenge...right now says:
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    ok, draft over, we’re allowed to add players (except NHL goalies, only prospects if goalies). comish let us keep our 3rd goalie till season starts so i got talbot back (in case lehner isn’t starter, or still hurt)
    C dubinsky, hanzal, horvat, backlund, brassard, kadri
    LW steen, hartnell, marleau, patches, sedin,lee
    RW wheeler, perry, brouwer, okposo, forsberg, komarov
    D weber, josi, hedman, e.johnson, niskanen, del zotto, gardiner, braun
    G dubnyk, lehner, talbot
    drop anybody for m.johansson recently dropped? by far the best points guy out there, less than 2 shots per game, great in PIMs (reverse PIMs now here) and awful in hits/blocks.
    got drouin and fabbri too in minors, drouin needs to come up quite soon.

    • Montezuma's Revenge...right now says:
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      @Montezuma’s Revenge…right now: don’t worry about johansson, long gone. what about this deal
      my forsberg/dubinsky/drouin
      for
      lundqvist/malkin/anisimov

      anisimov a worse dubinsky, forsberg a younger malkin (maybe not AS good) with less PIMs (which is a good thing here), and since i’d play malkin as RW faceoffs don’t matter on him (he’s not good faceoff man anyway, so i’d be hurt in faceoff %, and we won’t get faceoffs from guys unless we slot them at center), lundqvist quite old though, and we only get 82 starts per year.

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @Montezuma’s Revenge…right now: well on the Lehner front, he will definitely be the starter next year. That’s quite the big trade. From a long term perspective i think the side you have is much better. It all depends on how badly you want lundqvist for the next few years.

        • Montezuma's Revenge...right now says:
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          @Viz: yeah, first offer that wasn’t f’ing around to get drouin or forsberg.

  3. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    16 teamer where i’m STL based (at least 6 at all times). hits/blocks/faceoffs/PPP/SHP added. start real life rosters
    C hanzal/lehtera/stastny/draisaitl/fabbri (MF’ing yahoo still has him at C even though he’s never played it in the NHL, by next year that SHOULD be LW, even yahoo should get that right after 11.5 or so months!?)
    LW ladd/schwartz/steen/pavelski/read (last day streamer)
    RW backes/brouwer/oshie/o’reilly/c.stewart (last day streamer)
    D doughty/pietrangelo/shattenkirk/demers/nurse/macdonald (last day streamer)
    G biship/gibson
    NA rantanen/ritchie/provorov/barbashev/crouse
    guy with pick 1.1 (also TOR, like real life) is shopping a.matthews. what’s worth giving up (all my picks at 15th out of 16 in each round)

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: I’d give up quite a bit to move up. Personally, I’d see if the guys would give up 2nd or 3rd for a smaller price because I think the Fins, especially Laine, have a chance to be even better than Matthews offensively.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Viz: the guy with the #1 pick is asking me what i’d take for gibson. in fantrax (like espn, unlike yahoo) the player page (player rater) shows what each player ranked for OUR league’s specs (really this might be one of yahoo’s WORST things, and that’s saying a lot), and i had no idea, but gibson was the 15th HIGHEST RANKED player last year in our league. that’s without being a starter! this opp has kadri/kuznetsov/palat/holtby (and really in this league holtby is all that’s needed to be decent at all, this opp is weak at RW and D). palat certainly seems to little, kadri does too considering how highly ranked gibson is, but kuznetsov seems too much (even though technically worth less in rater). what you think?

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: Yeah I’m with you. Kuznetsov for Gibson is fairly close for me because the Ducks could move Andersen or Gibson and if that’s the case, both of them will get a massive boost. I can’t imagine he’d do anything involving him and the first pick together unless you give a big piece back too. The other two aren’t enough.

          • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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            @Viz: since we just moved to fantrax (where any player you can think of either is or would be added if you asked) i’ll letting everybody add as many minor league eligible (for our sakes under 101 season games for skaters, under 51 for goalies) in a non snake draft that repeats until everybody is done adding (dropping players in active slots if need be). with my minors guys and league specs how would you rank
            werenski D CMB
            samsonov G WAS
            vesey LW NAS (biggest prospect mover i’ve seen this year in THN rankings)
            c.white C OTT (2nd biggest mover)
            sanheim D PHI
            aho RW CAR
            kempe LW LA
            kamenev C NAS
            eriksson-ek LW MIN
            konecny C PHI
            schmaltz C CHI
            guriyanov RW SJ (still seeing his name spelled 2 ways this almost year later)
            demko G VAN
            boeser RW VAN
            gillies G CGY
            buchnevich LW NYR
            tuch RW MIN
            point C TB
            larsson D ANA
            this is remaining available FA from THN’s top 50 for this year (left out mueller D SJ and g.reinhart D EDM, as they don’t appear to be big fantasy contributors)

            we CAN’T draft 2016 draft class guys here of course, only previous guys.

  4. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    moved to fantrax so those NA guys are kept as separate pieces of roster, don’t count towards 23 active guys, so i’ll be drafting at least 3 guys, and rantanen/ritchie probably break camp with teams anyway (100 games played cap for skaters, 50 for goalies on minor league eligibility)

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