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Matt Larkin's Mid-Season Top 250 Fantasy Hockey Players for 2021-22

Which breakouts are for real? Who are the key sell highs and buy lows? Use these rankings for your hockey pool stretch-run homework during the all-star break.
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And…breathe. The NHL all-star break has arrived, meaning we can all take a few days to lick our wounds and take stock of our fantasy teams while we watch NHLers play target-shooting blackjack.

To help you assess what to do in the stretch run, I’ve re-ranked my top 250 fantasy players of 2021-22. With roughly half a season of data, it’s time to recalibrate values league-wide. Some fantasy superstars remain just that. Some have disappointed but are destined to rebound in the second half. Others have disappointed but might not bounce back. Meanwhile, some shocking breakouts look sustainable while others don’t.

Whereas I provide a mini-bio on each player for the pre-draft rankings, I get down to business with a stripped down version here for easier mid-season reading. Players whose rankings might spark controversy, questions or discussion get additional ink below.

The rankings are based on the following fantasy-league categories: goals, assists, plus-minus, shots, power-play points, hits, blocks, wins, saves, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

Asterisks indicate players who are in COVID-19 protocol or currently injured but still likely to return in time for the fantasy playoffs. Their rankings have been downgraded to varying degrees based on recovery timelines.

As always, tweet me @THNMattLarkin if you notice a glaring omission from the list. During my cutting and pasting as I rearrange rankings, I occasionally chop a big name out by accident.

And now, the rankings. Good luck in the second half of your fantasy seasons!

1. Leon Draisaitl, C, Oilers

2. Connor McDavid, C, Oilers

3. Auston Matthews, C, Maple Leafs

4. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals*

5. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Avalanche*

6. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Avalanche

7. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Lightning

8. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Panthers

9. Brad Marchand, LW, Bruins

10. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Wild

11. Artemi Panarin, LW, Rangers

12. Cale Makar, D, Avalanche

13. Nikita Kucherov, RW, Lightning*

14. David Pastrnak, RW, Bruins

15. Aleksander Barkov, C, Panthers

16. Igor Shesterkin, G, Rangers

17. Mitch Marner, RW, Maple Leafs

18. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Flames

19. Jake Guentzel, LW, Penguins

20. Adam Fox, D, Rangers*

21. Matthew Tkachuk, RW, Flames

22. Sebastian Aho, C, Hurricanes

23. Steven Stamkos, C, Lightning

24. Roman Josi, D, Predators

25. Jacob Markstrom, G, Flames

26. Victor Hedman, D, Lightning

27. Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins

28. Mika Zibanejad, C, Rangers

29. Patrick Kane, RW, Blackhawks

30. Kyle Connor, LW, Jets

31. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Avalanche

32. Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Hurricanes

33. Aaron Ekblad, D, Panthers

34. Juuse Saros, G, Predators

35. Nazem Kadri, C, Avalanche

36. Timo Meier, RW, Sharks

37. Morgan Rielly, D, Maple Leafs

38. John Tavares, C, Maple Leafs

39. Chris Kreider, LW, Rangers

40. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Senators

41. Robin Lehner, G, Golden Knights

42. John Carlson, D, Capitals

43. Brayden Point, C, Lightning

44. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bruins

45. Bryan Rust, RW, Penguins

46. Ilya Sorokin, G, Islanders

47. Shea Theodore, D, Golden Knights

48. Frederik Andersen, G, Hurricanes

49. Roope Hintz, C, Stars

50. Max Pacioretty, LW, Golden Knights

In the fantasy realm, Draisaitl keeps up with the godlike McDavid, and Draisaitl has the goals edge…Vasilevskiy remains the closest thing to a cheat code at goalie because he mixes great rate stats with great volume…Huberdeau is a certified stud, but his NHL scoring lead is a bit deceiving, as the Panthers have played a league-high 47 games…Kucherov is a top-five talent but has battled health woes over the past two seasons and is a candidate for load management down the stretch as the Bolts prepare to chase a three-peat…the amazingly quick Shesterkin looks like the best goalie on Earth right now but can’t usurp ‘Vasy’ for fantasy top dog without a volume increase…Don’t sell high on Markstrom. He plays a ton, his team deploys lockdown defense, and he’s doing exactly what I predicted he’d do this year…Too low for Kadri? Hey, I ranked him 137th heading into this season. I’ve priced his career year into his current rank. He should remain a beast but might regress a tiny bit if MacKinnon can get healthy…Kreider’s shooting percentage is unsustainable, but his shots and hits contributions will keep his value high even when his scoring regresses…Sorokin, like Shesterkin, is an all-world talent who just needs a bit more volume to reach God Mode in fantasy…Hintz is almost interchangeable with his liney Jason Robertson, but I give Hintz the edge since he shoots more.

51. Jason Robertson, LW, Stars

52. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Jets

53. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Blackhawks

54. Thatcher Demko, G, Canucks

55. J.T. Miller, C, Canucks

56. Mark Stone, RW, Golden Knights

57. Dougie Hamilton, D, Devils*

58. Filip Forsberg, LW, Predators

59. Darnell Nurse, D, Oilers

60. Joe Pavelski, RW, Stars

61. William Nylander, RW, Maple Leafs

62. Sam Reinhart, RW, Panthers

63. Jack Campbell, G, Maple Leafs

64. Kris Letang, D, Penguins

65. Dylan Larkin, C, Red Wings

66. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Blues

67. Anze Kopitar, C, Kings

68. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Jets

69. Jack Hughes, C, Devils

70. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Panthers

71. Darcy Kuemper, G, Avalanche

72. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Capitals

73. Jack Eichel, C, Golden Knights*

74. John Gibson, G, Ducks

75. Elias Lindholm, C, Flames

76. Quinn Hughes, D, Canucks

77. Devon Toews, D, Avalanche

78. Jordan Kyrou, RW, Blues

79. Mathew Barzal, C, Islanders

80. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, LW, Oilers

81. Mark Scheifele, C, Jets

82. Evgeni Malkin, C, Penguins

83. Tristan Jarry, G, Penguins

84. Patrik Laine, RW, Blue Jackets

85. Trevor Zegras, C, Ducks

86. MacKenzie Weegar, D, Panthers

87. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bruins

88. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Blackhawks

89. Elias Pettersson, C, Canucks

90. Jacob Trouba, D, Rangers

91. Tony DeAngelo, D, Hurricanes

92. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Golden Knights

93. Tomas Hertl, C, Sharks

94. Teuvo Teravainen, RW, Hurricanes*

95. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Golden Knights

96. Seth Jones, D, Blackhawks

97. Troy Terry, RW, Ducks

98. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Wild

99. Sam Bennett, C, Panthers

100. Kevin Fiala, LW, Wild

It feels wrong ranking the workhorse Hellebuyck this low, but the team support just isn’t there right now…Stone remains an incredible real-life hockey player who is overrated in fantasy. He’s a stud in only two categories…I’m digging my heels in with a still-high Nurse rank because he contributes in so many categories…Letang has played 95 percent of Pittsburgh’s games in the past two seasons. Is it time to ditch the injury-prone label?…Eichel’s return is imminent. He’ll probably have some early rust. He’s paradoxical in that I can see the argument to buy low (hasn’t played in a year) or to sell high (hasn’t played in a year)…Toews’ past 82 games: 15 goals, 60 points, plus-59, 195 shots…he’s a star, hidden under Makar’s shadow…Malkin looks like his old self since returning from knee surgery. Great. Now trade him before the next injury…As you can imagine, I’ve ranked Fleury with the expectation he ends 2021-22 on a new, better team…Trouba is having the all-encompassing stat compiler season I expected from Jakob Chychrun…Remember, you don’t have to like Tony DeAngelo to acknowledge he’s quite the offensive force in a hockey pool…Terry is a great story but an obvious sell high. He’s scored on more than 25 percent of his shots.

101. Carter Verhaeghe, LW, Panthers

102. Evander Kane, LW, Oilers

103. Zach Hyman, LW, Oilers

104. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, Blues

105. Drew Doughty, D, Kings

106. Anthony Duclair, RW, Panthers

107. Lucas Raymond, RW, Red Wings

108. Thomas Chabot, D, Senators

109 Claude Giroux, C, Flyers

110. Tom Wilson, RW, Capitals

111. Miro Heiskanen, D, Stars

112. Kaapo Kahkonen, G, Wild

113. Brent Burns, D, Sharks

114. Andre Burakovsky, RW, Avalanche

115. Taylor Hall, LW, Bruins

116. Torey Krug, D, Blues

117. Ryan Hartman, C, Wild

118. Ville Husso, G, Blues

119. Matt Duchene, RW, Predators

120. Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Wild

121. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Red Wings

122. Vincent Trocheck, C, Hurricanes

123. Zach Werenski, D, Blue Jackets

124. Clayton Keller, LW, Coyotes

125. Cam Atkinson, RW, Flyers

126. Jake Oettinger, G, Stars

127. Jared McCann, C, Kraken

128. Andrew Mangiapane, LW, Flames

129. Brayden Schenn, C, Blues

130. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Kings

131. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Capitals

132. Cam Talbot, G, Wild

133. Moritz Seider, D, Red Wings

134. Alex Killorn, LW, Lightning

135. Ondrej Palat, LW, Lightning

136. Ryan O’Reilly, C, Blues

137. Jesper Bratt, RW, Devils

138. Semyon Varlamov, G, Islanders

139. Tuukka Rask, G, Bruins*

140. Ryan Strome, C, Rangers

141. Jordan Binnington, G, Blues

142. Anton Lundell, C, Panthers

143. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Canadiens

144. Michael Bunting, LW, Maple Leafs

145. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Sabres

146. Neal Pionk, D, Jets

147. Bo Horvat, C, Canucks

148. Logan Couture, C, Sharks

149. Chandler Stephenson, C, Golden Knights*

150. Josh Norris, C, Senators*


Tell me I’ve ranked Kane 50 spots too high or 50 spots too low, and I won’t blame you. He’s the most volatile player in the league for the stretch run. He could be a top-25 player from here on out or off the team in a month because of a new off-ice transgression…Doughty breaks my brain in that he was perpetually overrated in fantasy and now, supposedly past his real-life prime, he’s posting better fantasy numbers than ever…Duclair has played 82 games in a Panthers uniform now, during which he’s racked up 29 goals and 67 points…I’m betting on Kahkonen and Husso to beat out their veteran partners and become important fantasy goalies in the second half…maybe I have Hartman too low, but his breakout is so shocking that I’m unsure whether it’s for real yet…I’m bearish on Rask going forward. Even if he gets healthy, the Bruins won’t give him more than half the team’s starts. He, Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman will cannibalize each other’s values…Toffoli has quietly corrected course on a disastrous Habs team with 16 points in his past 14 games and is available in more than half of Yahoo leagues…you’re justified in worrying that Eichel will eventually damage Stephenson’s value.

151. Ilya Samsonov, G, Capitals

152. Vitek Vanecek, G, Capitals*

153. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Jets*

154. Tim Stutzle, LW, Senators

155. Linus Ullmark, G, Bruins

156. Tyler Seguin, C, Stars

157. Alex Tuch, RW, Sabres

158. Matt Boldy, RW, Wild

159. Evan Bouchard, D, Oilers

160. Carter Hart, G, Flyers

161. David Perron, RW, Blues

162. Mike Smith, G, Oilers

163. Braden Holtby, G, Stars*

164. John Klingberg, D, Stars

165. Drake Batherson, RW, Senators*

166. Jakob Chychrun, D, Coyotes

167. Reilly Smith, RW, Golden Knights

168. Marcus Foligno, LW, Wild*

169. Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Blue Jackets

170. Tage Thompson, C, Sabres

171. Boone Jenner, C, Blue Jackets

172. Blake Coleman, RW, Flames

173. Anthony Cirelli, C, Lightning

174. Nick Suzuki, C, Canadiens

175. Adrian Kempe, RW, Kings

176. Brock Nelson, C, Islanders

177. Mason Marchment, LW, Panthers

178. Radko Gudas, D, Panthers

179. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Red Wings

180. Noah Dobson, D, Islanders

181. Samuel Girard, D, Avalanche

182. Matt Dumba, D, Wild*

183. Mikael Granlund, C, Predators

184. Nico Hischier, C, Devils

185. Cal Petersen, G, Kings

186. Jonathan Quick, G, Kings

187. James Reimer, G, Sharks

188. Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Avalanche

189. Pavel Francouz, G, Avalanche

190. T.J. Oshie, RW, Capitals*

191. Yanni Gourde, C, Kraken

192. Jakub Vrana, LW, Red Wings*

193. Tanner Jeannot, RW, Predators

194. Brandon Saad, LW, Blues

195. Robert Thomas, C, Blues

196. Jordan Eberle, RW, Kraken

197. Alex Formenton, LW, Senators

198. Josh Anderson, RW, Canadiens

199. Martin Necas, RW, Hurricanes

200. Phil Kessel, RW, Coyotes

It’s a bummer to see neither Capitals goaltender separate from the other. It suppresses their rankings, as do the rumors of Washington pursuing a goalie upgrade before the trade deadline…Ehlers and Batherson are a ways from returning but are obvious top-100 assets at worst when healthy. If you’re in first place, acquire ’em and stash ’em…Boldy scored and scored and scored at every level during his rise to the NHL. I don’t consider his sizzling start a fluke at all…Marchment’s six-point night gives him 23 points in 22 games this season. The production warrants a much higher rank in theory, but the sample size is small, his prospect pedigree isn’t elite (undrafted), and he’s playing on the third line…Gudas is only really an asset in hits, but he’s so superhman in that category that he wins it for you singlehandedly. He averages 372 per 82 games over the past two seasons. That would qualify as the third-highest total in NHL history…Be sure to track Vrana’s recovery from shoulder surgery closely…he was en fuego after being traded to Detroit last season, ripping off eight goals in 11 games. He can be a difference maker for your team…Necas has been one of 2021-22’s biggest disappointments. His per-game production is down across the board.

201. Rickard Rakell, RW, Ducks

202. Conor Garland, RW, Canucks

203. Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Oilers

204. Ivan Barbashev, LW, Blues

205. Sean Couturier*, C, Flyers

206. Jeff Carter, C, Penguins

207. Ryan Johansen, C, Predators

208. Luke Kunin, RW, Predators

209. Nathan Bastian, RW, Devils

210. Seth Jarvis, RW, Hurricanes

211. Brendan Gallagher, RW, Canadiens

212. Nino Niederreiter, LW, Hurricanes

213. Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ducks

214. Jeff Skinner, LW, Sabres

215. Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, Islanders

216. Oliver Kylington, D, Flames

217. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Coyotes

218. Andrew Copp, LW, Jets

219. Anthony Mantha, LW, Capitals*

220. Mikhail Sergachev, D, Lightning

221. Jakub Voracek, RW, Blue Jackets

222. Tyson Barrie, D, Oilers

223. Evgenii Dadonov, RW, Golden Knights

224. Travis Konecny, RW, Flyers

225. Blake Wheeler, RW, Jets

226. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Ducks

227. Evan Rodrigues, RW, Penguins

228. Joel Farabee, LW, Flyers*

229. Alex Iafallo, LW, Kings

230. Phillip Danault, C, Kings

231. Elvis Merzlikins, G, Blue Jackets

232. Jeremy Swayman, G, Bruins

233. Andreas Johnsson, LW, Devils

234. Ryan Ellis, D, Flyers*

235. Ilya Mikheyev, LW, Maple Leafs

236. Kaapo Kakko, RW, Rangers*

237. Spencer Knight, G, Panthers

238. Carey Price, G, Canadiens*

239. Alex Goligoski, D, Wild

240. Philipp Grubauer, G, Kraken

241. Antti Raanta, G, Hurricanes

242. Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Oilers

243. Alexander Kerfoot, LW, Maple Leafs

244. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Panthers*

245. Gustav Forsling, D, Panthers

246. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Blackhawks

247. Jaccob Slavin, D, Hurricanes

248. Alex Newhook, C, Avalanche

249. Corey Perry, RW, Lightning

250. Kasperi Kapanen, RW, Penguins

Rakell has scored on 8.2 percent of his shots over his past four seasons. It’s not a slump anymore. He can’t finish…Puljujarvi would’ve been 100 spots higher a month ago but is ice-cold and has been demoted from Edmonton’s top line for now…Couturier is worth holding on most benches, though the Flyers reportedly haven’t ruled out season-ending surgery. Same goes for his teammate Ellis…Bastian’s 82-game pace in 26 contests since rejoining the Devils: 25 goals and 309 hits…I’m playing a hunch on Barrie. I predict Bouchard permanently takes the PP1 job away…Hopefully you sold Rodrigues before the clock struck midnight. His past 13 games: zero goals, two assists…I’ve kept Price in the top 250 as a hat-tip to his greatness, but he’s missed the entire season due to his substance abuse struggles, and his knee-injury recovery is going badly enough that his career is in jeopardy. He might not play at all this season…you have to pick up Yamamoto given he’s getting a look with Kane and McDavid, but the shot volume is non-existent, and there’s no guarantee Yamamoto stays on the line.

ON THE BUBBLE: Dylan Cozens, Jeff Petry, Jonathan Dahlen, Trevor Moore, Pius Suter, Robby Fabbri, Cole Caufield, Alexis Lafreniere, Dmitry Orlov, Gustav Nyquist, Lawson Crouse, Alexandre Texier, Mackenzie Blackwood, Ivan Provorov, Bowen Byram, Alexander Barabanov, Jaden Schwartz, Sean Monahan, Paul Stastny, Brandon Hagel, Dylan Strome, Quinton Byfield, Sonny Milano, Erik Karlsson

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