Fantasy Hockey Experts

Expert Fantasy Hockey Draft Advice

By Chris Perrin

Is it time for your fantasy hockey draft? Are you ready? You better be! You can put yourself in position to win everything with a good draft. With a bad draft…well, the NHL is a long season.

The good news is that fantasy hockey experts at FantasySportsHero.com and around the internet are here to help you get ready for your draft. What follows is the best insight, analysis, and planning from the best fantasy hockey experts around so that you can master your draft and win your league.

Question: Who is the best player in this year’s draft?

Alexander Ovechkin.

There’s pretty much no doubt by any of the fantasy hockey experts that the two-time most valuable player in the NHL.com should be the first player drafted in any fantasy hockey draft.

Perhaps the better question is who should be taken after Ovechkin. Fantasy hockey experts around the league pretty much agree that the second and third best non-goalies, respectively in the game, are both from the Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin and Sydney Crosby and almost across the board they are ranked in that order.

However, there is some debate what ranking, overall, those two players occupy in the top 200 hockey players overall. For instance, rotowire.com ranks Malkin as the second best player and Crosby as the third overall while CBSSports.com ranks Malkin second and Crosby fifth behind goalies Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo.

In fact, the sets of fantasy hockey experts rank their top ten players very differently as Rotowire’s highest rated goalie is Evgeni Nabokov (eleventh overall.) Both services rank Mike Green as their top rated defenseman, but CBSSports.com has him rated eleventh, while Rotowire.com has him rated seventh.

Question: Who are the best goalies in the draft?

Fantasy Hockey ExpertsUnlike the best player in the game, there is little consensus on who is the best goalie in the game. Rotowire.com likes Nabokov, Luongo, and then Brodeur as their favorite goalies. However, that service, in general, puts less of a premium on the goal position. CBSSports.com likes Brodeur, Luongo, and then Henrik Lundqvist (sixth overall) in that order. They list Nabokov as the fifth best goalie and eighth overall.

There are obviously some differences between the way the two services compute the overall value of a given player so it may be hard to get an accurate feeling for who is the best goalie. However, as of the writing of this article, the FantasySportsHero.com top three look like this:

Nabokov, Brodeur, and Luongo.

We’d like to rank Brodeur as the best goalie overall, but he’s coming off an injury season and one day, his age will be a factor. (He was, after all, a childhood friend of Lord Stanley’s grandfather… kidding…) Because of his outstanding production, Nabokov earns the top spot with Luongo rounding out the top three because of his performance in the last several seasons. We were tempted to put Lundqvist in the top three in place of Luongo, however we weren’t sure we weren’t just being New York Rangers homers.

Question: Which players belong in the “second tier” of players?

This fantasy season, the term “second tier” is really kind of an unfair term, especially for the non-goalies. Ovechkin, Malkin, and Crosby all have the potential to be 300+ fantasy point players at the center position. After that, though, the overall scoring potential of the skaters who come next drops off fairly sharply. That’s not an insult to those skaters, merely an estimation of how talented those three players are on the ice.

That’s why scouting out the next tier of skaters is so important. Most leagues feature snake draft orders which means owners will get to select two players before the owners who got Ovechkin, Malkin, and Crosby select their second skater. The right combination of skaters should be able to score enough fantasy points to offset those three men’s consistently brilliant performances.

In this order, here are skaters 4-20, all of whom are solid draft choices:

  1. Jerome Iginla, RW
  2. Pavel Datsyuk, C
  3. Ryan Getzlaf, C
  4. Henrik Zetterberg, LW
  5. Mike Green, D
  6. Alexander Semin, LW
  7. Jeff Carter, C
  8. Rick Nash, LW
  9. Joe Thornton, C
  10. Zach Parise, LW
  11. Marc Savard, C
  12. Ilya Kovalchuk, LW
  13. Martin St. Louis, RW
  14. Dany Heatley, RW
  15. Vicent Lecavalier, C
  16. Patrick Kane, RW
  17. Daniel Sedin, LW

For those looking for a good goalie, here are goalies 4-10.

  1. Henrik Lundqvist
  2. Cam Ward
  3. Tim Thomas
  4. Miikka Kiprusoff
  5. Niklas Backstrom
  6. Ryan Miller
  7. Chris Osgood

Question: Who is a sleeper in this draft?

An early season choice for sleeper by several services is Center Derick Brassard of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was having a sensational rookie season when he got into an on-ice fight that left him with a season ending shoulder injury. However, until that point, he was putting up staggering numbers for a rookie and was a solid fantasy start. All indications are that his shoulder has healed and that he should be able to pick up about where he left off. Unless news arises that his shoulder is not ready for the everyday rigors of play, consider picking up Brassard as a solid middle rounds selection during your fantasy draft.

Question: Who is coming into the season overhyped?

Perhaps overhyped is a little too strong of a word, but the player whose hype concerns us most is Zach Parise, who is actually the fourth best player according to Rotowire.com. The problem is he is coming off of a breakout year under a rookie coach, which just screams unstable situation. While there is certainly no hard evidence to show the Parise won’t have another great season, we just worry about ranking him as high as fourth based off of a single season’s performance. We feel he is well valued as the thirteenth best non-goalie where he should deliver value even if he doesn’t live up to last season’s expectations.


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