The years fly by, don’t they? It’s already time for another season of fantasy hockey rankings. If you’re still following my list, hopefully I’ve steered you right in recent seasons.
This year’s list is mostly business as usual, with a few minor philosophical tweaks. Most mainstream fantasy leagues have bought into hits and blocks now, so my rankings factor in those stat categories as well, along with the Yahoo league staples: goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power play points, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.
Yearly reminder: these rankings reflect fantasy hockey, not real hockey. I’ll never declare Wayne Simmonds a better player than Patrice Bergeron in real life. In fantasy: give me Simmonds 10 times out of 10, armed with his multi-pronged attack of goals, hits and penalty minutes.
Lastly, You’ll note a few “reach” picks ranked ahead of proven guys near the bottom of the list. The reason: you may as well gamble on the upside of someone like Alex DeBrincat instead of taking an established ho-hum producer like Josh Bailey, because if you have to drop DeBrincat in a hurry, the Baileys of the world will always be waiting on the waiver wire.
Time to begin! Did I omit any big names? Let me know in the comments section below. Good luck with your seasons.
OCT. 2 UPDATE: This is the final version my my rankings, which will factor in some additional injuries, roster cuts and line deployments. If you haven't drafted yet – good luck!
1. Connor McDavid, C, Oilers: It’s terrifying that 100 points looks like his floor. No player came within 11 points of No. 97 last year, and the gap could widen in 2017-18. A no-brainer No. 1 overall choice in fantasy.
2. Patrick Kane, RW, Blackhawks: Gets a slight nod over Sidney Crosby. Kane (a) is 15 months younger, (b) plays a scarcer fantasy position and (c) is just a year removed from a 106-point MVP season.
3. Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins: Crosby’s evolution into a mature two-way force probably means he never scores 100 points again. But he “settled” for leading the NHL in goals last season. What a legend.
4. Brent Burns, D, Sharks: Burns led the league in shots last year. If your pool counts shots, he warrants top-three consideration.
5. Nikita Kucherov, RW, Lightning: He’s one of the world’s truly elite players yet somehow still feels underrated. Exploded for 40 goals in 74 games last year. The Rocket Richard should come down to him and Patrik Laine.
6. Mark Scheifele, C, Jets: A dark horse to win the scoring title or, more realistically, finish second behind McDavid. Since Bryan Little’s injury sparked a Scheifele breakout in February 2016, he’s amassed 116 points in 105 games.
7. Braden Holtby, G, Capitals: The Capitals defense got weaker last year, no doubt, but maybe that just means Holtby falls a few spots and provides better value. No goalie has more games, wins or shutouts over the past three seasons. He’s a true bellcow.
8. Jamie Benn, LW, Stars: A 69-point season marked a “bad” year for Benn and his worse point total in four years. That tells you how high Benn’s floor is. He should return to 75 at the absolute minimum and still has the upside to flirt with 90.
9. Brad Marchand, LW, Bruins: His 39-goal, 85-point breakout might end up as career high watermarks but weren’t fluky. He could regress by five goals and 10 points and still be an elite fantasy option at left wing, the scarcest position.
10. Erik Karlsson, D, Senators (+2): If Burns and Victor Hedman weren’t playing so well, Karlsson’s fantasy contributions would be peerless at his position, and he’d warrant a top-two selection. Karlsson is the best offensive blueliner of the past quarter century. But I've had to drop him to the bottom of the first round based on reports he could miss much of October recovering from his foot surgery. That said – now there's talk about him returning sooner than expected, so maybe we don't have to downgrade him much after all.
11. Carey Price, G, Canadiens: Leads qualified netminders in save percentage over the past three years. He’s the sport’s most talented goalie but slots just below Holtby because Holtby is much more durable.
12. Patrik Laine, RW, Jets: It’s only a matter of time before he becomes the league goal-scoring king. First he has to shoot more, though. Fired the biscuit 204 times in 73 games. Alex Ovechkin as a rookie: 425 shots in 81 games. I'm boosting Laine after it hit me he sniped 36 goals and missed nine games last year. He's my Rocket Richard pick.
13. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Blues: A few years ago he seemed destined for a 50-goal campaign. Now it appears he’ll settle in as a perennial 40-goal threat, which still makes him a top-drawer fantasy option.
14. Tyler Seguin, C, Stars: Only four players have more points the past four years combined. Seguin’s production is as bankable as anyone’s. He even played all 82 games last year after two injury-shortened campaigns.
15. Auston Matthews, C, Maple Leafs: Will be hard to grow his rookie goal total of 40 considering Crosby’s 44 led the league. But Matthews should up his assist total and be close to a point-per-game pivot in 2017-18.
16. Jack Eichel, C, Sabres: Was one of the league’s most productive scorers in the second half once fully recovered from an ankle injury. Think of Eichel as this year’s Kucherov – a guy available in the second rounds of drafts who should perform like a first-rounder.
17. Steven Stamkos, C, Lightning: Can provide some sneaky value if he falls far enough in your draft. You don’t want to take him with your first pick given his recent health history, but he could be massively profitable as your second-rounder. Was on a 96-point pace before tearing his meniscus last year.
18. Leon Draisaitl, RW, Oilers: If we knew he was guaranteed to spend the year on McDavid’s line, Draisaitl would jump into the top 10, but he's alternated between playing on McDavid's wing and the No. 2 center job all pre-season. The latest: he's back on that top line, but for how long? Just bet on Draisaitl's talent, which is immense, and stop thinking about where he plays. We'll go crazy otherwise.
19. Matt Murray, G, Penguins: A mega talent with sparkling statistics playing for the league’s two-time defending champion? Sheesh, I almost ranked Murray as the top goaltender. What holds him back is his propensity for nicks, strains and broken bones. I've downgraded him after realizing I was too aggressive. His career high for games played is 49, and the Penguins signed Antti Niemi to keep Murray close to that number.
20. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Capitals: A top-20 scorer for six consecutive seasons, and that includes sliding on and off Alex Ovechkin's line. It doesn't scare me that Backstrom is pencilled in for line 2 right now.
21. Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ducks: Careful not to lump Getzlaf into the “declining” category with teammate Corey Perry. Getzlaf closed out 2016-17 in vintage form with 34 points in 25 games.
22. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Blue Jackets: Too low for the reigning Vezina Trophy winner? Maybe, but I want to see a second straight healthy season before officially burning the “injury prone” label.
23. Victor Hedman, D, Lightning: Quietly joined Karlsson and Burns in the “God” tier of fantasy defensemen. The only difference between him and them for now is they’ve done it multiple seasons in a row. Hedman’s floor still makes him no worse than a 60-point blueliner now, though.
24. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals: Still deserves to be drafted in the top 20 if your league counts shots. He’s probably done as a 50-goal man and maybe even as a 40-goal man, but bank on 30-plus and he’ll make you happy. That said, I'm intrigued to see him playing with Kuznetsov. I like the idea that the Caps are making an effort to spark a bounce-back year from No. 8.
25. Evgeni Malkin, C, Penguins: He’s missed a minimum of 13 games in five straight years, and he produces like a superstar when he’s in the lineup. A yearly lock for about 70 points and about 65 games played.
26. John Tavares, C, Islanders: Has averaged 30.5 goals and 68 points over the past two seasons. Somehow, the uber-talented Tavares has morphed into an overrated fantasy option.
27. David Pastrnak, RW, Bruins: A post-hype breakout after a few years on everyone’s fantasy sleeper lists. Now ‘Pasta’ is here to stay as one of the game’s most skilled and well-rounded scoring wingers.
28. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Jets: Byfuglien’s 82-game averages in seven seasons since joining the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise: 18 goals, 56 points and 106 penalty minutes. ‘Big Buff’ is a MONSTER in fantasy.
29. Cam Talbot, G, Oilers: Was the NHL’s busiest goalie last season and should continue playing a ton on an Edmonton team slated to contend for first place in the Pacific.
30. Blake Wheeler, RW, Jets: He’s arguably the most underrated performer in all of fantasy hockey, and he's getting a try on a "super line," with Laine shifting to the left and Scheifele up the middle. Is it possible Wheeler has some leftover ceiling to reach?
31. John Gibson, G, Ducks: Would like to rate Gibson higher than this given how much ability he possesses, but he hasn’t yet shown the consistent health to make him a 60-game goalie. That’s why Anaheim signed a high-end backup in Ryan Miller.
32. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Flames: The hype train derailed last year, with ‘Johnny Hockey’ missing 10 games and regressing offensively. That’s OK. It just makes him more of a bargain this year. He’ll still only be 24 when the season starts.
33. Filip Forsberg, LW, Predators: At first glance, a season line of 31-27-58, after 26-37-63 and 33-31-64 in his first two seasons, makes it look like Forsberg has plateaued. But he had two goals at the 27-game mark before ripping off 29 in his final 55 games. Forsberg hasn’t peaked yet. A career year is coming.
34. Max Pacioretty, LW, Canadiens: Only Ovechkin, Joe Pavelski and Crosby have more goals than ‘Patches’ over the past four years. If only Pacioretty had a reliable No. 1 center passing to him for once. Maybe Jonathan Drouin is that guy.
35. P.K. Subban, D, Predators: Only Karlsson, Kris Letang and Burns average more points per game among defensemen over the past five seasons. Only concern: Subban has averaged 67 games over the past two campaigns.
36. Wayne Simmonds, RW, Flyers: I’m done underrating Simmonds. His 82-game averages in six years as a Flyer: 30 goals, 56 points, 117 PIM. He’s a multi-category stud.
37. Phil Kessel, RW, Penguins: Suddenly he’s more playmaker than goal scorer, which is fine. He’s a poor man’s Blake Wheeler in fantasy. Nothing wrong with that.
38. Joe Pavelski, RW, Sharks: His 29 goals and 68 points marked his lowest totals since 2012-13. That’s noteworthy given Pavelski is 33 and his running mate Joe Thornton is 38. Pavelski’s decline has begun. If you draft him as high as Round 2, you’re overpaying.
39. William Nylander, RW, Maple Leafs: The awe-shucks Mitch Marner gets more fanfare in Toronto, but Nylander was the more explosive talent in the second half last year and has higher goal-scoring upside. He’s this year’s Pastrnak.
40. Artemi Panarin, LW, Blue Jackets: It was a given Panarin’s stock would plummet now that he’s a Columbus Blue Jacket and off Kane’s line. Still, the Jackets will give Panarin mega minutes and power play work. He’ll still be a top-end option at left wing in pools.
41. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Capitals: Kuznetsov was a big bust in 2016-17, tumbling from 77 to 59 points. Bet on something in between those two totals this time for the dazzlingly skilled Russian, especially since he starts the year with Ovie.
42. Roman Josi, D, Predators: Some analytics experts claim Josi isn’t the star he’s reputed to be, but that argument doesn’t apply to fantasy hockey. Josi gets double-digit goals in his sleep and should continue to rack up around 50 points.
43. Dougie Hamilton, D, Flames: Hamilton broke out for 50 points, finishing ninth in Norris Trophy voting, but his ascension isn’t necessarily complete. Believe it or not, he doesn’t even average 20 minutes a game. How many more points does he gain if he starts playing as much as other top-pairing blueliners do? I’m buying Hamilton in every pool I can this year.
44. Corey Crawford, G, Blackhawks: Still a safe starter on your fantasy team, but has a couple red flags. Never reaches 60 games, and the defense in front of him is the weakest on paper he’s had in his career.
45. Alexander Radulov, RW, Stars: Huge fantasy potential here. Slated to play with Benn and Seguin. Radulov’s skills should complement them nicely. This rank could thus be far too low. But Radulov could improve by 15 points over last season and still wouldn’t be a 70-point scorer. He’s an exciting pick, but let’s not get carried away.
46. Aleksander Barkov, C, Panthers: It’s frustrating to rank Barkov this low. He should be a perennial point-per-game center by now. But his career high in games after four years is 71. Barkov is injury prone, period. It’s too bad, because he’s really good when he does play.
47. Mikael Granlund, RW, Wild: FINALLY the massive breakout happened. All he needed was Bruce Boudreau for a coach. The big year was for real.
48. Devan Dubnyk, G, Wild: Has been Vezina-caliber good in the first half two straight seasons, declining to “just OK” or worse two straight seasons. Draft him, ride him to first place and trade him in January.
49. Mitch Marner, RW, Maple Leafs: Looked overmatched in the playoffs, but the kid deserves a break. He’s only 20, he possesses unreal puck skills, and he’s nowhere near his ceiling after a 61-point rookie campaign.
50. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Jets: Ehlers is a bit less sexy if he's not playing on Winnipeg's top line, but I'm not worried. Bryan Little and Mathieu Perreault are still good linemates, and Ehlers has the skill to make his own offense. Nevertheless, I have to downgrade Ehlers a bit here.
51. John Klingberg, D, Stars: It’s a great sign for Klingberg’s fantasy value that a down year still produced 49 points. We know what his floor is now, and it’s plenty high. He has the ceiling to be a top-five fantasy option on ‘D.’
52. Martin Jones, G, Sharks: He’s not a sexy pick, but he plays a ton, with exactly 65 games in two straight years. He’s a nice source of counting stats.
53. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Rangers: He’s among the game’s best power play quarterbacks and will run that show for a deep Rangers team. A safe bet to produce in the top 10 at his position.
54. Ben Bishop, G, Stars: Careful. He has pool-winning potential joining a rising Stars team, but Bishop’s Tampa teams were plenty good, too. He’s coming off the worst season of his career and has been injury-prone in the past. A high-risk, high-reward play.
55. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Coyotes: He’s been a top-flight D-man even on awful teams, so it’s fun to imagine what OEL can do with the talent around him slated to improve. Keep in mind he has multiple 20-goal seasons on ‘D.’
56. Taylor Hall, LW, Devils: Playing for the Devils predictably capped Hall’s offensive value last year. Hopefully, Nico Hischier sticks as a rookie and the two make magic together, though right now Hall's center is Pavel Zacha.
57. Tuukka Rask, G, Bruins: Plays a massive chunk of his team’s games, which is theoretically great, but it’s caused Rask to tire down the stretch. Maybe less would be more with him.
58. Ryan Johansen, C, Predators: Is he $8-million good? Maybe he is if he keeps playing with Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. Centering two 30-goal guys should keep Johansen highly useful for poolies.
59. Claude Giroux, C, Flyers: Can’t remember the last time he ranked this low. His production has declined three straight seasons, from 86 to 73 to 67 to 58 points. At a hardly-ancient 29, he shouldn’t sink any lower than last year, though.
60. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Panthers: Will never produce eye-popping goal totals but racks up points as a playmaker on Florida’s No. 1 line. Still just 24, he’s primed for his first 60-point season.
61. Jeff Skinner, LW, Hurricanes: Scored 37 goals last year. His rank doesn’t reflect that because he rarely enjoys consecutive good seasons, which makes me cautious. Hard to believe he’s still just 25, though.
62. Jeff Carter, C, Kings: One of the only Kings whose production hasn’t tanked in recent seasons. Possesses a nice floor of about 25 goals and 60 points.
63. Jonathan Toews, C, Blackhawks: Often overrated in fantasy but was a world beater over the final few months of 2016-17 and gets Brandon Saad back as his probable left winger. Toews’ stock is trending back upward.
64. Anze Kopitar, C, Kings: He’ll be 30 when the season starts and is thus exiting his prime, but 12 goals and 52 points are ridiculous. He plays too many minutes in too big a role to replicate that bust year again. Surely he can reach 20-40-60 this season, right?
65. Max Domi, LW, Coyotes: Should have his best linemates yet in Year 3 of his career. Domi was already good enough to amass 50-plus points with little help. He’s thus an intriguing breakout candidate for 2017-18.
66. T.J. Oshie, RW, Capitals: The Caps paid him too much for too long, sure, but that’s not our concern. For now, Oshie is Washington’s best right winger, and that makes him highly valuable in fantasy.
67. Sean Monahan, C, Flames: Has scored at least 27 goals and 58 points three times already and is just 22. If Monahan doesn’t discover in-season consistency, though, I don’t foresee him reaching a new echelon just yet.
68. Jakub Voracek, RW, Flyers: The 81 points in 2014-15 look more like an outlier each year. But Voracek can be counted on for 20 goals and 60 points, making him a fine No. 2 right winger on your team.
69. Shea Weber, D, Canadiens: Hasn’t scored fewer than 15 goals in a full season since 2007-08. Few blueliners make for more reliable fantasy picks.
70. Duncan Keith, D, Blackhawks: No defenseman has more assists than Keith over the past decade. He’s as bankable for that category as Weber is for goals.
71. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Predators (-4): Why rank him so much lower than Forsberg when the two posted nearly identical totals on the same line? Merely because Arvidsson has only done it once and lacks the pedigree of Forsberg. I fully expect Arvidsson to be excellent again this season, but I just don’t want to reach too much, especially when he's been getting looks on the second line as the Preds try to spread out their offense.
72. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bruins: An elite player in real life but merely a good, reliable No. 2 center in fantasy pools. Last year’s 21 goals, 53 points were his lowest full-season totals since 2009-10.
73. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Avalanche: I’m out of excuses for MacKinnon. It appears he won’t become a devastating NHL scorer until the team around him improves, and that isn’t happening any time soon. Love the talent but not the consistently disappointing results.
74. Jake Guentzel, LW, Penguins: Guentzel’s rookie regular season and playoff stat lines combined: 29 goals and 54 points in 65 games. He has a tantalizing ceiling if he sticks on Crosby’s line. A key breakout pick for 2017-18.
75. Henrik Lundqvist, G, Rangers: A “finished” Lundqvist still helped in counting stats, and he was still quite good just one season prior. If you can land him as your No. 2 goalie or a No. 1 while loading up at every other position, you’re in good shape.
76. Rickard Rakell, LW, Ducks: The 33 goals are even more impressive considering he missed 11 games. Too early to tell if he can get any better than this. He’s plenty good already.
77. Mike Hoffman, LW, Senators: Getting far more of his goals on the power play now. You’d think that would increase his total, not decrease it. Either way, he’s a safe source of 25 goals with upside for 30.
78. Ryan O’Reilly, C, Sabres: At least 18 goals and 55 points in five straight non-lockout seasons. Production you can set your watch to is always welcome in pools.
79. Alexander Wennberg, C, Blue Jackets: Could improve on his 59-point breakout if he works well with Panarin. Color me very intrigued. By the way, Wennberg not making my initial list was a pure mistake, not intentional. I just forgot him. He's ranked where he belongs now.
80. Jonathan Drouin, RW, Canadiens: Has the upside to outscore the 20 guys ahead of him on this list. Under intense pressure in Montreal, though, has the downside to score less than the 50 guys below him. A boom/bust play. Place your bets.
81. Mark Stone, RW, Senators: One of the best two-way forwards in hockey has settled into the 60-point range. He’s the winger version of Bergeron.
82. Zach Werenski, D, Blue Jackets: Was a true phenom for Columbus as a rookie. Just keep in mind it will be tough to exceed his 47 points after a year in which everything went right for the Jackets. Draft him expecting a replication rather than an improvement.
83. James van Riemsdyk, LW, Maple Leafs: Can always count on him for roughly 30-30-60, but Leafs’ top nine is crowded, and he remains a trade candidate entering the final year of his deal.
84. Logan Couture, C, Sharks: Consistently decent but underwhelming. Only averages 68 games over his past four seasons. Scores like a solid No. 2 fantasy center when he’s in the lineup.
85. Brandon Saad, LW, Blackhawks: Great speed and two-way acumen combined with merely good offense make him slightly better in real life than fantasy.
86. Mark Giordano, D, Flames: Not declining much yet at 33, and his offense should remain robust with the team around him improving rapidly.
87. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Sabres: Yes, I know advanced stats say he’s pretty much the worst player ever. But this is fantasy hockey, and Ristolainen plays a lot on a Buffalo team that should gradually improve offensively. He’s quite valuable in this context.
88. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Flames: Love this kid. He’s a shift disturber in the mold of a young Corey Perry. His offense should continue to grow, but I don’t see an astronomical increase just yet because his line plays a shutdown role.
89. Justin Faulk, D, Hurricanes: I typically like Faulk in fantasy but see some bust potential this year. The Canes have so many good young blueliners that Faulk’s minutes are declining. Jaccob Slavin surpassed him in ice time. Faulk remains a great source of goals on defense, though.
90. Matt Duchene, C, Avalanche: Of Duchene’s eight seasons, 2016-17 was easily the worst, and we shouldn’t expect a rebound as long as he plays for the lowly Avalanche. If you draft him, you’re depending on a trade.
91. Frederik Andersen, G, Maple Leafs: If you erase his nightmarish five-game stretch to start last season, Andersen had a .923 SP over 61 games. He enjoys a hefty workload on a rising team. This ranking could end up far too low, but I’m staying conservative since the team in front of him plays leaky defense.
92. Vincent Trocheck, C, Panthers: That injury-prone Barkov still produces the same numbers as healthy full-season Trocheck tells us Trocheck will never usurp Barkov as the Panthers’ No. 1. Still, Trocheck is a handy scorer and makes an ideal No. 2/3 pivot on your fantasy team.
93. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Lightning: Finally gets the Lightning crease to himself with Bishop gone. What will Vasilevskiy do with it? He looks unbeatable at times and then endures porous stretches. He’s a risky pick with the upside to become a top-five goalie. That’s not an exaggeration. His potential is that good.
94. Drew Doughty, D, Kings: I usually dump on Doughty for being overrated in fantasy, but it’ll be interesting to see what he can do if new Kings coach John Stevens allows for more freelancing. There’s a bit of leftover upside to tap into, believe it or not.
95. Jaden Schwartz, LW, Blues: He’s 25 and has scored at more or less the same rate for four consecutive seasons. It appears Schwartz won’t get any better, but he’s a solid secondary scorer at left wing.
96. Nazem Kadri, C, Maple Leafs: Kadri’s unlucky shooting percentage from 2015-16 regressed to his career norm last year, producing a huge improvement in his goal total. I’m skeptical he can score 32 again merely because the Leafs rely on him to play a defensive role as much as an offensive one now. But given his solid PIM totals, he’ll be a good fantasy option even if his offense dips a bit.
97. Cam Atkinson, RW, Blue Jackets: Sniped 35 goals last year with a career-high shooting percentage of 14.6. Now he's playing with Panarin and Wennberg. I'm not sure if those three are the ideal fit, but for now it points Atkinson's fantasy arrow straight upward. Career year alert.
98. Brayden Schenn, C, Blues: Here’s one of my favorite sleepers for 2017-18. Schenn has a fairly safe floor of around 50 points, and I'm still hoping he gets a shot to center the Tarasenko line, which could lead to personal bests for Schenn across the board.
99. Milan Lucic, LW, Oilers: So Lucic didn’t become a fantasy juggernaut playing with McDavid. He’s not even McDavid’s linemate anymore. But Lucic did finish the year strong and post a typical stat line of 23-27-50. If your league counts PIMs, you’re hoping last year’s total of 50 was an anomaly. In hits leagues, Lucic remains quite a coveted pick.
100. Jake Allen, G, Blues: After Allen got sent home for a mental break and Martin Brodeur took over as his mentor, Allen became an elite fantasy netminder. Brodeur returns to his front office job this year, however, and the Blues don’t look like a top-tier contender. I’m not bearish on Allen by any means, but I’m not bullish either.
101. Kris Letang, D, Penguins: If we knew he’d play even 65 games, he’d rank 50 spots higher. But serious injuries have become safer bets than healthy seasons for Letang, sadly.
102. Brayden Point, C, Lightning (+25): That Lightning GM Steve Yzerman dealt Drouin instead of Tyler Johnson felt like a blow to Point’s fantasy value, as Stamkos’ return makes Point the No. 3 center on the depth chart. But don’t fret. Point is too talented not to score, and the Bolts will try him on the wing. He’ll get his points and build on his great rookie effort. Point could be THE breakout guy if the line of Point-Stamkos-Kucherov stays together.
103. David Krejci, C, Bruins: He somehow gets forgotten in Boston but remains a good, not great scoring center when healthy, which he was all last season.
104. Jordan Eberle, RW, Islanders: The past chemistry with Tavares makes him an intriguing add for the Islanders, but don’t empty your wallet. Eberle was supposed to go bananas playing with McDavid, remember.
105. John Carlson, D, Capitals: No more Kevin Shattenkirk, so Carlson should resume top power play duty in Washington. He’s a sneaky rebound candidate after two straight down years, one caused by injury and the other by circumstance.
106. Pekka Rinne, G, Predators: Heroic playoff run aside, Rinne has been a mid-range fantasy option in four of his five past years, with only 2014-15 standing out as a dominant season. He turns 35 in November. He could begin declining the same way Lundqvist has.
107. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Blues: Colton Parayko and his booming shot get a lot of love in St. Louis, but Pietrangelo is still the better player. Quietly set a career high with 14 goals last season, and has at least 46 points in three of past four seasons.
108. Bo Horvat, C, Canucks: Became the Canucks No. 1 center – and player – from a fantasy perspective last year, and that won’t change for a while.
109. Torey Krug, D, Bruins: He might be done climbing after reaching 51 points last year, but if he’s peaked, it’s a nice peak. He should duplicate it since he’s smack in the middle of his prime years. A broken jaw will cost him the start of the season. The prognosis isn't overly grim, though. Best-case, he still plays more than 70 games.
110. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Rangers: Averages 79 games, 19 goals, 57 points over his past four seasons. Reliable.
111. Sebastian Aho, LW, Hurricanes: I’ve read a few prognostications of a dip in production for Aho as a sophomore. Why? He was great as a rookie, and the team around him is only getting better. I like Aho.
112. J.T. Miller, C, Rangers: No Ranger forward seems to separate himself from the pack, but Miller comes close at times. Mika Zibanejad appears to be the Rangers’ No. 1 center, and Kevin Hayes is technically the No. 2 right now, but Miller has more raw scoring ability.
113. Henrik Zetterberg, C, Red Wings: One of the toughest players to forecast. Seemed clearly in decline, then jumps from 50 to 68 points at age 36 on the worst Detroit team he’s ever played for. I can’t imagine Zetterberg does that again.
114. Eric Staal, C, Wild: He and the Wild believed he wasn’t done as a front-line NHL scorer, and they were right. He’s back in the circle of trust.
115. Mikko Koivu, C, Wild: Won’t be a 70 point player again in his career, but he plays an important role centering Granlund and has a safe floor of 50 points.
116. Nino Niederreiter, LW, Wild: It’s a run on Minnesota guys! Niederreiter reached a new level of offense last season and, just 24, still has room to ascend a bit more.
117. Joe Thornton, C, Sharks: Coming off a major knee injury, and he’s 38. It would be irresponsible to invest a high pick in him. But ‘Jumbo’ can still set guys up, and Pavelski remains his triggerman. Thornton can help you – only if he comes cheap.
118. Clayton Keller, C, Coyotes: After several seasons of wunderkind rookies, I see this year’s Calder Trophy winner as a 50-point guy. That’s Keller. He has Patrick Kane-like skills and is ready to launch what should be a great NHL career.
119. Derek Stepan, C, Coyotes: If you’re risk averse, you can take the other prominent Coyotes pivot. Stepan might not score as much as he did with the Rangers but should be fantasy relevant as he’ll get plenty of ice time with Arizona.
120. Evander Kane, LW, Sabres: He’s injury prone, and we constantly worry when the next off-ice incident will arrive, but Kane brings a nice blend of goals, PIM and hits when he’s on the ice. If your league doesn’t count the latter categories, though, drop Kane 30 spots in these rankings.
121. Anders Lee, LW, Islanders: Most of the Islanders disappointed in 2016-17. Not Lee, who notched a career-high 34 goals. He had just 15 the year before, so he’s not a shoo-in to repeat last year, but 25 looks like a realistic number.
122. Chris Kreider, LW, Rangers: He’s like a safer Evander Kane. A better bet to play a full year but with fewer PIM. The goal totals should be comparable.
123. Oscar Klefbom, D, Oilers: Such a hot sleeper quarterbacking the Oilers power play that I wonder if he’ll wind up over-drafted and thus not a sleeper at all. Still, for now, he’s on my wish list.
124. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Avalanche: MacKinnon gets more publicity, but fellow first-rounder Rantanen led Colorado in goals last year. He’s a big, talented forward and just getting started. A potential draft bargain.
125. Mika Zibanejad, C, Rangers: A skilled two-way pivot in the mold of Calgary’s Mikael Backlund yet with more upside. We haven’t necessarily seen Zibanejad’s peak season.
126. Seth Jones, D, Blue Jackets: Was as good as Werenski last year and comes with equally lofty, if not loftier, draft pedigree. Jones will be a fantasy stud for the next decade.
127. Mike Smith, G, Flames: Few picks intrigue me more this year. Is Smith a mediocre goalie, or was he just a great goalie stuck on a bad team? Now we find out after his trade to Calgary. With one of the league’s best bluelines in front of him, he’s primed for a huge comeback season.
128. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Capitals: Mega breakout alert. Washington lost several high-impact forwards this off-season, thrusting Burakovsky into a top-six role after years bobbing around in the top nine. He has big-time scoring ability and should play with a star center. Right now, it's Backstrom.
129. Patrick Marleau, LW, Maple Leafs: Sure, we should be skeptical of a 27-goal scorer who just turned 38. But Marleau will get huge power play minutes. Even though he isn't starting with Matthews and Nylander at even strength, Kadri as his center is nothing to sneeze at.
130. Anthony Mantha, RW, Red Wings: A rare bright spot on the 2016-17 Wings, with 17 goals in 60 games. He should easily crack 20 this year and is my pick to lead the team in goals.
131. Ryan Suter, D, Wild: Produces like a poor man’s Keith in fantasy. Steady source of assists and underwhelms in other stat categories.
132. Nico Hischier, C, Devils: Hischier is fool’s gold if you expect him to produce like other recent No. 1 overall entry draft picks. He’s not McDavid or Matthews. He’s probably not MacKinnon, either. But Hischier is plenty talented. The Devils are handling him with kid gloves for now, however, even with top center Travis Zajac hurt. Hischier is manning the second line.
133. Corey Perry, RW, Ducks: Just because Perry isn’t a perennial first-round pick anymore doesn’t mean he can’t help a fantasy team. A 19-goal, 53-point, 76-PIM season is perfectly respectable.
134. Alex Galchenyuk, LW, Canadiens (-23): I can't endorse him in good conscience right now. Not when all his own team does is publicly dump on him. We can't count on him for good line assignments.
135. Kyle Turris, C, Senators: He’s a boring pick, but you know what you get with him. Count on 55 points. He’d rank higher as a winger, but centers are the easiest guys to find in fantasy hockey.
136. Sam Reinhart, RW, Sabres (-8): Didn’t bust out like he was supposed to last season. That was largely because of Eichel’s injury, though, and Reinhart was much better once Eichel returned. Let’s give the Reinhart can another kick. He’s only 21. I have downgraded him, however, since he's centering the third line right now. That's a disappointing fantasy deployment.
137. Jakob Silfverberg, RW, Ducks: If all pools were for playoff hockey, Silfverberg would be a franchise player. He dominates in the spring. In the regular season, he’s merely a serviceable depth winger on fantasy teams until he proves otherwise. It was encouraging to see him set career highs with 23 goals and 49 points last year, though.
138. Justin Schultz, D, Penguins: He’s a puck-moving right-hander coming off his best NHL season. Schultz should remain productive with the Pens but probably slides to the second power play unit with Letang returning. That drains Schultz’s value a bit.
139. Mikael Backlund, C, Flames: Has reached a new tier of offense to accompany his stellar defensive play. Tough to see him improving any further, though.
140. Aaron Ekblad, D, Panthers: It’s a shame to rank Ekblad this low. He has the ability of a top-10 fantasy blueliner, but his concussions have become a major concern.
141. Jonathan Quick, G, Kings: Even when the Kings were winning Stanley Cups, Quick was an overrated fantasy commodity. Now that the team looks less competitive and he’s coming off an injury-shortened season, there are even fewer reasons to draft him.
142. Kyle Okposo, RW, Sabres: Supposedly he’s recovered from the mysterious illness that hospitalized him last season. Okposo could come at a bargain price in drafts this year.
143. Kyle Palmieri, RW, Devils: Averages 28 goals a year as a Devil. An underrated pick on pools.
144. Bryan Little, C, Jets: With the Jets’ scoring depth improving, Little retains worth even though he’s no longer a No. 1 center. He’ll still have good linemates.
145. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Avalanche: Not scoring or hitting as much as he used to, and almost every Colorado player feels like a toxic commodity right now.
146. Tyler Johnson, C, Lightning: Not a player I’ll rush to draft. Has missed 29 games over the past two years, his 72-point outburst from 2014-15 is now clearly an outlier, and the Bolts have a younger, better version of him in Point.
147. Cory Schneider, G, Devils (-8): He deserves better. He’s still one of the game’s best goalies, but playing for the lowly Devils finally torpedoed his numbers last year. We can’t trust him until we know New Jersey’s arrow is pointing up again.
148. Jason Spezza, C, Stars: The Martin Hanzal signing makes Spezza’s value murky. It could mean Spezza shifts to the wing or gets bumped down to No. 3 center duty. Neither would be a boon to his fantasy value.
149. Conor Sheary, LW, Penguins: Flirted with point-per-game production on Crosby’s line last year. But the emergence of Guentzel means Sheary isn’t a lock for first-unit duty anymore. He’ll be a great pick if he shifts to the right wing, which is the case right now, but has bust potential if he slides down the Penguins’ depth chart.
150. Vadim Shipachyov, C, Golden Knights: Someone has to score in Vegas, and the best bet is Shipachyov. He lit up the KHL, which isn’t easy to do.
151. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Penguins: Worth a lot more in leagues with non-traditional scoring categories. He had 223 shots and 227 hits to accompany his 21 goals last year. Talk about category juice.
152. Evgeny Dadonov, RW, Panthers: The KHL import is a great late-round sleeper if you play against casual hockey fans. He’s a logical candidate to replace Jaromir Jagr on Florida’s top line with Huberdeau and Barkov. Worst case, Dadonov plays on Line 2 with Trocheck, which also isn’t bad.
153. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Kings: He’s better than what he showed last year. The 31-goal sniper the year before is closer to the real Toffoli. He should climb back to 25, at least.
154. James Neal, RW, Golden Knights: Endured one of his worst seasons and now lands on a Vegas team that should struggle to score. He’s still draftable since his role should be major.
155. Nick Foligno, LW, Blue Jackets: Foligno worries me this year as he’s not a lock to play on a big-time scoring line. Panarin should play above him, and Boone Jenner could, too.
156. Keith Yandle, D, Panthers: Got his points even in a down year for Florida. If the Cats get their offense going again, Yandle can flirt with 50 points.
157. Tomas Tatar, LW, Red Wings: If you prefer safe picks rather than high-upside fliers late in your draft, grab Tatar and buy yourself a cheap 20 goals. He has the talent to score 30 but not the team.
158. Dylan Larkin, LW, Red Wings: Extremely disappointing last year. Larkin has still averaged 20 goals over his first two NHL campaigns, however. He’s 21 and breathtakingly fast. Maybe it all clicks for him in Year 3.
159. Ondrej Palat, LW, Lightning: A few years ago it appeared he’d develop into more of a scorer. Now he’s settling in as an outstanding two-way forward who chips in 15-plus goals and 45-plus points. Better in real life than fantasy.
160. Cam Fowler, D, Ducks: Feels like he’s been around forever because he went straight to the NHL as a teenager. He’s still just 25. His best season could still lie ahead of him.
161. Tyson Barrie, D, Avalanche: Still ground out 38 points on a historically awful Avs squad. That tells us Barrie is bulletproof in fantasy. He’s safe to draft.
162. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Golden Knights: Scored 31 last year and could lead Vegas in goals, but what will Vegas’ leading goal total be? Every Golden Knight has a scary-low floor.
163. Nick Schmaltz, C, Blackhawks: Ding ding! Sleeper alert! Sleepert alert! Schmaltz is centering Kane and DeBrincat so far this pre-season. If that line sticks…go get all three guys if you can. Oh, baby.
164. Nolan Patrick, C, Flyers: Could become Flyers’ No. 2 center as a rookie, but health woes could cause him to start slowly.
165. Patrick Maroon, LW, Oilers: Cheap source of goals as McDavid’s usual left winger, with nice PIM and hit totals to boot.
166. Jaromir Jagr, RW, Flames: Jagr is back! Early talk has him playing with Kris Versteeg and Sam Bennett. Nah, c'mon. If you sign No. 68, you give him a chance with Monahan and Gaudreau, right? Draft accordingly.
167. Craig Anderson, G, Senators: Strange career pattern of alternating good years and bad years. We’re due for ‘Bad Craig Anderson,’ and he’s also 36 now.
168. Ivan Provorov, D, Flyers: Should mature into a perennial Norris Trophy candidate someday. Provorov is special, he’s well-rounded, and his offense has grown ahead of schedule.
169. Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Blue Jackets: A prolific goal scorer wherever he’s played. At 22, he’s ready to stick in the NHL and become a force on one of Columbus’ scoring lines.
170. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Blackhawks (+12): It’s entirely possible the pint-sized DeBrincat gets sent down after nine games, but he could grow into a crucial player for them right away. His junior numbers are Mitch-Marneresque. Swing for the fences on DeBrincat with a late-round flier selection, and don’t fret if you have to drop him a few weeks later. He's playing with Kane right now. That makes DeBrincat a huge Calder Trophy threat if he can stay in the NHL.
171. Patrick Eaves, RW, Ducks: A 32-goal breakout for an injury-prone 32-year-old makes no sense. But there’s no denying the chemistry he discovered with Getzlaf. Eaves isn’t the worst late-round pick out there if other GMs in your league are scared of him.
172. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Flyers: Probably still the Flyers’ preferred power play option over Provorov, but for now long? Provorov is better, period, and should come cheaper in drafts than the flashy ‘Ghost Bear.’
173. Henrik Sedin, C, Canucks: The ceiling is gone, but Sedin’s floor makes him draftable. He’ll get at least 40 points and play on the power play.
174. Daniel Sedin, LW, Canucks: The ceiling is gone, but Sedin’s floor makes him draftable. He’ll get at least 40 points and play on the power play.
175. Jake Gardiner, D, Maple Leafs: Morgan Rielly is supposed to become Toronto’s top offensive blueliner. We’re still waiting for that to happen. Meanwhile, the underrated Gardiner piles up points.
176. David Backes, RW, Bruins: Had a great run as one of fantasy’s best blends of scoring and grit stats. He’s more of a back-end roster pick now that his offense is declining. Still reliable as ever for PIM and especially hits.
177. Ryan McDonagh, D, Rangers: Might slide off the Rangers’ No. 1 power play unit with Shattenkirk in town and Zuccarello sometimes playing the point. McDonagh’s offense has always been more of a bonus. He’s not a pure scorer.
178. Brent Seabrook, D, Blackhawks: Last year’s ice time was his lowest since 2007-08, but he has little competition for minutes in Chicago this time. He should provide stats thanks to his volume.
179. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bruins: A future stud offensive defenseman whose style reminds me of Doughty’s. McAvoy is a fun pick. Just keep in mind a 35-point rookie season would be a massive success in real life and just a moderate one in fantasy.
180. Robin Lehner, G, Sabres: Quite underappreciated in Buffalo. Posted a .920 SP and started 58 games. I don’t see Chad Johnson as a threat to Lehner.
181. Brock Boeser, RW, Canucks: The ex-college star looks NHL ready. Sniped four goals in a nine-game test with Vancouver late last year. By next season, he’ll be regarded as the team’s best winger, period.
182. Ryan Strome, C, Oilers (-16): So now he's off the McDavid line again? Ugh. What a headache. Reason No. 348 why you should never draft accordling to line deployments except for when you're making your final-round fliers.
183. Jason Zucker, LW, Wild: Has eclipsed 20 goals twice in three seasons, plays on a great line with Koivu and Granlund and even led the league in plus-minus last year. That stat means nothing in real life anymore, but plenty of pools still count it.
184. Kevin Hayes, C, Rangers: Hayes is the Rangers' No. 2 center right now. I don't expect a huge spike in his numbers, though, as he's more of a two-way guy, albeit a talented one.
185. Charlie Coyle, RW, Wild: Career-best 56 points last year, but he's currently slated for third-line work, with Zach Parise swiping Coyle's spot on the Eric Staal line.
186. Roberto Luongo, G, Panthers: Declining at 38 and should cede more starts to James Reimer even when healthy. Luongo has more downside than he used to.
187. Scott Darling, G, Hurricanes: Just because the Canes are paying him starter money doesn’t mean we know he is one yet. How his 6-foot-6, 232-pound frame responds to a massive workload increase remains to be seen.
188. Matt Dumba, D, Wild: Wild have figured out how to use him. Ice time is up, he gets to bang his big shot on the power play, and he could score 15 goals this season.
189. Tyler Bozak, C, Maple Leafs: Even if he’s Toronto’s third-best center, he plays with JVR and Marner, and the trio scores as much as some teams' first lines.
190. Radim Vrbata, RW, Panthers: Like Dadonov, a virtual slam-dunk to play on the Barkov line or the Trocheck line. That should translate to points.
191. Justin Williams, RW, Hurricanes: Weaker supporting cast in Carolina than Washington – but that also means Williams could wind up in an important scoring role.
192. Sam Bennett, C, Flames: To pick him is to bet on potential, not result. He regressed as a sophomore, and it’s tough to imagine a monster breakout unless he moves from third-line center to scoring-line winger.
193. Jussi Jokinen, LW, Oilers: He can play all three forward positions, which only ups his chances at a mouth-watering line assignment with McDavid, Draisaitl or both. For now, it looks like line 3 with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, though.
194. Teuvo Teravainen, RW, Hurricanes: Ice time and numbers have slowly improved. Teravainen could still explode. He’ll only be 23 when the season starts.
195. Nick Leddy, D, Islanders: If you prefer to wait on D-men until the late rounds of your draft, Leddy can fill out your roster. Plays 22 minutes a night, gets power play time, typically hangs around 40 points.
196. Antti Raanta, G, Coyotes: If the Coyotes end up better than expected – and I predict they will – Raanta could wind up a late-round steal in his first year as a starter.
197. Jakub Vrana, RW, Capitals: First-rounder hasn't shown NHL readiness yet, but he's a must-draft commodity as long as he's ticketed to play with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov.
198. Pavel Zacha, C, Devils: If he's the latest pick to center the Devils' top line, he's rosterable, especially given his first-round prospect pedigree.
199. Ryan Pulock, D, Islanders: Brings an absolute canon of a shot and was born for power play duty. He made the Islanders, so he'll get a chance to use that Shea Weber-esque bomb of his.
200. Alexander Steen, LW, Blues: A great real-life player and a good fantasy depth piece who isn’t always starting material but can lift your team with occasional hot streaks. Just an end-game pick right now since his hand injury will cost him several weeks. Makes for a savvy bench stash if you have room, though.
ON THE BUBBLE: Derick Brassard, Marcus Johansson, Artem Anisimov, Josh Ho-Sang, Andrew Ladd, Boone Jenner, Colton Parayko, Mathew Barzal, Frans Nielsen, Josh Bailey, Brian Elliott, Rick Nash, Mike Green, David Perron, Steve Mason, T.J. Brodie, Thomas Greiss, Zdeno Chara, Paul Stastny, Reilly Smith, Zach Parise, Brock Nelson, Tanner Pearson, Pavel Buchnevich, Joel Eriksson Ek, Alex Goligoski, Brady Skjei, Sven Andrighetto, Morgan Rielly, Bobby Ryan, Jacob Trouba, Julius Honka, Martin Hanzal, Dylan Strome, Kyle Connor, Tomas Hertl, Jaccob Slavin, Ryan Spooner, Tyson Jost, Evgeny Svechnikov, Elias Lindholm, Jimmy Vesey, Sami Vatanen, Brandon Montour, Jesse Puljujarvi, Shea Theodore, Travis Konecny, Jared Spurgeon, Mike Cammalleri, Nick Ritchie, Victor Rask, Jordan Staal, Jacob Markstrom, Artturi Lehkonen, Dmitry Orlov, Christian Dvorak, Jimmy Howard, Marc-Andre Fleury, Henrik Haapala, Oskar Lindblom, Alexander Kerfoot
DROPPED OUT: Ryan Ellis (knee surgery), Ryan Kesler (hip surgery), Robby Fabbri (ACL tear)