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Matt Larkin's mid-season top 250 fantasy hockey players in 2019-20

Ranking players at mid-season can be especially tricky. It's a matter of predicting which streaks and slumps are for real, which will level out, and which goalie controversies will get resolved.

The top 250 fantasy rankings have returned – though “returned” may not be the most accurate term to describe them, as I’ve built this edition from scratch, without even a glance at my pre-season top 250, as I didn’t want to be influenced. A lot can change in roughly half a hockey season. Let’s dive into the rules, which differ in some ways from the those in the pre-season edition:

* The rankings reflect leagues using the following stat categories: goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, shots, power play points, hits, blocks, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

* Instead of bios on each player, as I provide in the pre-season top 250, you’re getting more of a to-the-point set of rankings this time. I’m only sharing noteworthy thoughts on players that made surprising moves, players I didn’t punish for poor seasons to date, players I didn’t reward for good seasons to date – anything I felt warranted an explanation.

* I’ve marked injured played with asterisks. They are, obviously, extremely difficult to rank, but I gave it my best shot. I tried to rate them according to what value they’ll give you for the rest of the season. For instance, Vladimir Tarasenko might not be back before the fantasy playoffs, but I’d still rather have him stashed on my bench than the waiver fodder of the week.

*Goalies are an even bigger headache than usual right now. Not only do we have several clusters of 1A/1B splits in which both goalies drain each other’s fantasy value, but we even have a three-goalie system in Manhattan right now. Ugh. The likes of Semyon Varlamov deserve higher ranks but just don’t have the guaranteed volume to join the elite. In turn, the few remaining bellcow goalies have to get a boost in fantasy worth. It’s remarkable how many supposedly sturdy fantasy goalies have shaky situations to predict going forward, from Matt Murray to Braden Holtby to Philipp Grubauer.

Let’s begin. The rankings reflect my rest-of-season valuations.

1. Connor McDavid, C, Oilers
2. Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
3. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Oilers
4. David Pastrnak, RW, Bruins
5. Nikita Kucherov, RW, Lightning
6. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals
7. Auston Matthews, C, Maple Leafs
8. Artemi Panarin*, LW, Rangers
9. Patrick Kane, RW, Blackhawks
10. Brad Marchand, LW, Bruins
11. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Lightning
12. Jack Eichel, C, Sabres
13. Mitch Marner, RW, Maple Leafs
14. John Carlson, D, Capitals
15. Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins
16. Aleksander Barkov, C, Panthers
17. Steven Stamkos, C, Lightning
18. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Avalanche
19. Mark Scheifele, C, Jets
20. Elias Pettersson, C, Canucks
21. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Panthers
22. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Jets
23. Evgeni Malkin, C, Penguins
24. John Tavares, C, Maple Leafs
25. Brayden Point, C, Lightning
26. Frederik Andersen, G, Maple Leafs
27. Victor Hedman, D, Lightning
28. Roman Josi, D, Predators
29. Jordan Binnington, G, Blues
30. Cale Makar, D, Avalanche
31. Ben Bishop, G, Stars
32. Patrik Laine, RW, Jets
33. Brent Burns, D, Sharks
34. Tuukka Rask, G, Bruins
35. Taylor Hall, LW, Coyotes
36. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Panthers
37. Sebastian Aho, C, Hurricanes
38. Mark Stone, RW, Golden Knights
39. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Flames
40. Kyle Connor, LW, Jets
41. Blake Wheeler, RW, Jets
42. Tyler Seguin, C, Stars
43. Erik Karlsson, D, Sharks
44. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Capitals
45. Patrice Bergeron, C, Penguins
46. Mathew Barzal, C, Islanders
47. Keith Yandle, D, Panthers
48. Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Hurricanes
49. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Blues
50. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Avalanche

NOTES: McDavid and MacKinnon are the co-kings, but it would hardly be a surprise if Kucherov led the league in points over the rest of the season…ageless Ovechkin is in the hunt for 50 goals again while leading the league in shots and racking up hits. He remains fantasy gold…Marner ranks top-five in the league in first assists per 60 at 5-on-5…There’s virtually no slam-dunk stud goalie to trust this year, but Vasilevskiy since the start of December: 15-2-1 with a .928 save percentage. He’s back…No goalie has appeared in more games than Hellebuyck this season. In this load-management era, the few high-volume goalies are extra valuable…Makar has been just as good as expected, but he could regress slightly in the second half, not because he isn’t a phenom, but because players jumping from college to the NHL often tire in the second halves of their rookie seasons with far more games to play…Bobrovsky remains a hold for me. Unless it’s Vasilevskiy, can you say with confidence the goalie you get for ‘Bob’ in a trade will be better in the second half anyway?… Seguin’s shooting percentage is 6.4, easily the lowest of his career. Buy low.

51. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Golden Knights
52. Max Pacioretty, LW, Golden Knights
53. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Flames
54. Mika Zibanejad, C, Rangers
55. William Nylander, RW, Maple Leafs
56. Shea Weber, D, Canadiens
57. Torey Krug, D, Bruins
58. Kris Letang, D, Penguins
59. Brock Boeser, RW, Canucks
60. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Senators
61. Quinn Hughes, D, Canucks
62. Filip Forsberg, RW, Predators
63. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Blackhawks
64. Zach Werenski, D, Blue Jackets
65. Travis Konecny, RW, Flyers
66. Evgenii Dadonov, RW, Panthers
67. Mike Hoffman, LW Panthers
68. Bryan Rust, RW, Penguins
69. Anze Kopitar, C, Kings
70. Thomas Chabot, D, Senators
71. Sean Couturier, C, Flyers
72. Jakub Vrana, LW, Capitals
73. Evander Kane, LW, Sharks
74. Timo Meier, LW, Sharks
75. J.T. Miller, LW, Canucks
76. Ryan O’Reilly, C, Blues
77. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Capitals
78. Ryan Ellis*, D, Predators
79. Claude Giroux, LW, Flyers
80. Dylan Larkin, C, Red Wings
81. Ilya Samsonov, G, Capitals
82. Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Hurricanes
83. Tomas Hertl, C, Sharks
84. Matt Duchene, C, Predators
85. Jonathan Toews, C, Blackhawks
86. David Perron, RW, Blues
87. Brayden Schenn, C, Blues
88. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Jets
89. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Sabres
90. Darcy Kuemper*, G, Coyotes
91. Sean Monahan, C, Flames
92. Jakub Voracek, RW, Flyers
93. Elias Lindholm, RW, Flames
94. Carey Price, G, Canadiens
95. Brendan Gallagher*, RW, Canadiens
96. Tony DeAngelo, D, Rangers
97. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C Blue Jackets
98. Sam Reinhart, RW, Sabres
99. Phil Kessel, RW, Coyotes
100. Cam Atkinson, RW, Blue Jackets

NOTES: It hasn’t been pretty for Fleury this season, but Vegas’ lack of a remotely threatening backup option keeps his volume-stat value high…dating back to last season, Zibanejad has 113 points in his past 117 games…If you did your pre-season homework on Nylander, well done. His breakout feels for real considering how often he’s scoring from high-percentage areas…Weber’s past 82 games: 19-31-50…that’s vintage Weber…Brady Tkachuk ranks second in the NHL in hits, eighth in shots, sixth in 5-on-5 shots per 60 and second in expected goals per 60. He’s my No. 1 second-half buy low, and it’s not close…I’m at a loss on Rust. His shooting percentage will regress, but he’s shooting the puck so much more this season that I have to price him as if this year’s explosion is mostly legit…I’m all-in on Ilya Samsonov stealing Holtby’s job in the second half – if it hasn’t happened already. If entrenched as a true starter, Samsonov has a higher ceiling than any goalie not named Vasilevskiy…DeAngelo has been a surprise, but he was a first-round pick who always possessed tremendous scoring ability, so I’m a believer…From Monahan to Lindholm, the Flames just haven’t found their offense this season, even after a coaching change (19th in goals per 60 since Geoff Ward took over), so I’m bearish on them.

101. Tomas Tatar, LW, Canadiens
102. Tom Wilson, RW, Capitals
103. David Rittich, G, Flames
104. Nico Hischier, C, Devils
105. Carter Hart*, G, Flyers
106. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Predators
107. Seth Jones, D, Blue Jackets
108. Philipp Grubauer, G, Avalanche
109. Mark Giordano, D, Flames
110. Anders Lee, LW, NY Islanders
111. Max Domi, LW, Canadiens
112. T.J. Oshie, RW, Capitals
113. Ryan Strome, C, Rangers
114. Bo Horvat, C, Canucks
115. John Gibson, G, Ducks
116. Chris Kreider, LW, Rangers
117. Robin Lehner, G, Blackhawks
118. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, LW, Oilers
119. Kyle Palmieri*, RW, Devils
120. Nazem Kadri, C, Avalanche
121. Oscar Klefbom, D, Oilers
122. Clayton Keller, RW, Coyotes
123. Alexander Radulov, RW, Stars
124. Jaden Schwartz, LW, Blues
125. John Klingberg, D, Stars
126. Pekka Rinne, G, Predators
127. Miro Heiskanen*, D, Stars
128. Shea Theodore, D, Golden Knights
129. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Blackhawks
130. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Golden Knights
131. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Coyotes
132. Jack Hughes, C, Devils
133. Anthony Duclair, RW, Senators
134. Drew Doughty, D, Kings
135. Dylan Strome*, C, Blackhawks
136. David Krejci, C, Bruins
137. Neal Pionk, D, Jets
138. Eric Staal, C, Wild
139. Brock Nelson, C, Islanders
140. Anthony Cirelli, C, Lightning
141. Nick Schmaltz, C, Coyotes
142. Ryan Suter, D, Wild
143. Vincent Trocheck, C, Panthers
144. Zack Kassian, RW, Oilers
145. Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ducks
146. Reilly Smith, RW, Golden Knights
147. Martin Necas, RW, Hurricanes
148. Nick Suzuki, C, Canadiens
149. Adam Fox, D, NY Rangers
150. Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Blue Jackets

NOTES: Arvidsson isn’t the buy-low he appears to be. He hasn’t been lucky – he’s been far less productive. His shot rate has torpedoed. He may still not be right physically…Jones remains one of the NHL’s best all-around blueliners in real life, but he’s getting fewer points because the Jackets lost their best finishers up front in the off-season…If the Blackhawks trade a goalie, Lehner could become a league-winner in the second half, whether he’s traded to a contender or whether Crawford is, opening up the net for Lehner…I’ve always liked Schwartz as a player, but his injury history makes me wonder if he’s a good sell high…Speaking of selling high, hopefully you did with Duclair. He’s gone 10 straight games without a goal…Tom Wilson is a trusted name in fantasy circles, but Kassian is doing pretty much all the same things this season…with 10 points in his past 10 games, rookie Fox is emerging as Quinn Hughes Lite…Bjorkstrand has 10 goals and 19 points in his past 18 games. Is this finally the post-hype breakout for him?

151. Roope Hintz, C, Stars
152. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Kings
153. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Lightning
154. Mikhail Sergachev, D, Lightning
155. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, Senators
156. Jonathan Drouin*, LW, Canadiens
157. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Red Wings
158. Blake Coleman, LW, Devils
159. Rickard Rakell, RW, Ducks
160. William Karlsson, C, Golden Knights
161. Kasperi Kapanen, RW, Maple Leafs
162. Alex Killorn, RW, Lightning
163. James van Riemsdyk, LW, Flyers
164. Jamie Benn, LW, Stars
165. Logan Couture*, C, Sharks
166. Jeff Petry, D, Canadiens
167. Matt Murray, G, Penguins
168. Semyon Varlamov, G, Islanders
169. Andre Burakovsky, RW, Avalanche
170. Elvis Merzlikins, G, Blue Jackets
171. Ondrej Palat, LW, Lightning
172. Jake DeBrusk, LW, Bruins
173. Christian Dvorak, C, Coyotes
174. Ivan Provorov, D, Flyers
175. Jacob Markstrom, G, Canucks
176. Nikita Gusev, RW, Devils
177. Gustav Nyquist, LW, Blue Jackets
178. Zach Parise, LW, Wild
179. Victor Olofsson*, LW, Sabres
180. Dougie Hamilton*, D, Hurricanes
181. Morgan Rielly*, D, Maple Leafs
182. Jakob Silfverberg, RW, Ducks
183. Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Oilers
184. Kevin Labanc, RW, Sharks
185. Tyler Johnson, C, Lightning
186. Jason Zucker, LW, Wild
187. Jared McCann, LW, Penguins
188. Frank Vatrano, LW, Panthers
189. Tyson Barrie, D, Maple Leafs
190. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Sabres
191. Kevin Hayes, C, Flyers
192. Jeff Skinner*, LW, Sabres
193. Tristan Jarry, G, Penguins
194. Linus Ullmark, G, Sabres
195. Filip Hronek, D, Red Wings
196. P.K. Subban, D, Devils
197. Thomas Greiss, G, Islanders
198. Mikko Koskinen, G, Oilers
199. Kevin Fiala, RW, Wild
200. Anthony Beauvillier, LW, Islanders

NOTES: Toffoli is virtually guaranteed to get traded to a contender in real life before the deadline. Try acquiring him now, before he sees that value spike…Am I being too hard on Killorn? He’s having a career year, but that 20.6 shooting percentage screams regression…Jarry has been as good as any goalie in the league this season, but Murray has outplayed him of late and is starting to wrest the 1A job back…I wish I had the guts to slot Merzlikins higher. He’s found some magic in Columbus, but if he slumps at the wrong time, the job reverts to Korpisalo once he’s healthy…Hamilton and Rielly both have chances to return juuuust in time for the fantasy playoffs, with Rielly’s timeline shorter, so I’ve ranked both as high-upside IR stashes if you have the room…I don’t think the light turns back on for Subban this season, but he’s been in dropped in a ton of leagues and at least deserves a “tryout” to see if he gets hot.

201. Ryan Johansen, C, Predators
202. Corey Crawford, G, Blackhawks
203. Yanni Gourde, LW, Lightning
204. Erik Gustafsson, D, Blackhawks
205. Josh Bailey, RW, Islanders
206. Phillip Danault, C, Canadiens
207. Igor Shesterkin, G, Rangers
208. Mats Zuccarello, RW Wild
209. Braden Holtby, G, Capitals
210. Ryan Pulock, D, Islanders
211. Jaccob Slavin, D, Hurricanes
212. Cam Fowler, D, Ducks
213. Erik Haula, C, Hurricanes
214. James Reimer, G, Hurricanes
215. Samuel Girard, D, Avalanche
216. Antti Raanta, G, Coyotes
217. Paul Stastny, C, Golden Knights
218. Ilya Kovalchuk, RW, Canadiens
219. Conor Garland, RW, Coyotes
220. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bruins
221. Andreas Johnsson, LW, Maple Leafs
222. Robby Fabbri, LW, Red Wings
223. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Penguins
224. James Neal, RW, Oilers
225. Robert Thomas, C, Blues
226. Noel Acciari, RW, Panthers
227. Jake Virtanen, RW, Canucks
228. Joonas Donskoi*, RW Avalanche
229. Joonas Korpisalo*, G, Blue Jackets
230. Juuse Saros, G, Predators
231. Tanner Pearson, LW, Canucks
232. Vladimir Tarasenko*, RW, Blues
233. Rasmus Sandin, D, Maple Leafs
234. Mackenzie Blackwood, G, Devils
235. Henrik Lundqvist, G, Rangers
236. Brandon Saad, LW, Blackhawks
237. Brett Connolly, RW, Panthers
238. John Marino, D, Penguins
239. Jacob Trouba, D, Rangers
240. Sami Vatanen, D, Devils
241. Connor Brown, RW, Senators
242. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, Rangers
243. Petr Mrazek, G, Hurricanes
244. Mathew Dumba, D, Wild
245. Calle Jarnkrok, LW, Predators
246. Devan Dubnyk, G, Wild
247. Filip Zadina, RW, Red Wings
248. Josh Morrissey, D, Jets
249. Alex Iafallo, LW, Kings
250. Sam Steel, C, Ducks

NOTES: I’m picking Shesterkin to start more games than the other two Ranger goalies between now and April and have ranked him accordingly…Slavin could post some surprisingly useful numbers filling in for Hamilton on Carolina’s top power-play unit…Fabbri has quietly revived his career from a fantasy perspective in Detroit – if your league doesn’t use plus-minus as a category…Thomas has been one of the most productive players in the NHL on a per-60 basis. He deserves a bigger role in St. Louis…Acciari’s goal binge has gone on long enough that we have to respect it at least a little bit. The goals combine with his hit totals to make him rosterable in deeper leagues…The results aren’t there yet for Steel, but he’s getting second-line minutes. Maybe he finishes the season strong.

ON THE BUBBLE: Tyler Ennis, Andreas Athanasiou, Ryan Dzingel, Anton Khudobin, Thatcher Demko, Alexander Georgiev, Ilya Mikheyev*, Nino Niederreiter, Pierre Engvall, Craig Anderson, Joe Pavelski, Lars Eller, Cam Talbot, Dmitry Orlov, Pavel Francouz, Mikael Backlund, Mike Smith, Alex Tuch, Carl Soderberg, Aaron Dell, Barrett Hayton, Dustin Byfuglien*, Jake Guentzel*

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