2013 NHL Fantasy Draft Guide

Fantasy Draft Pic

It’s pool time, poolies. Time to ridicule friends, work colleagues – basically anyone – for their foolishness as they reach for yesterday’s flash-in-the-pan, playoff heroes while passing on tomorrow’s rising stars. In a nutshell, it’s mocking someone who drafts Bryan Bickell over Vladimir Tarasenko. Someone is bound to do it – make sure he hears about it.

Each year TSN (Scott Cullen), Yahoo (Greg Wyshynski), The Hockey News, and several others of note publish their expectations for the coming fantasy year. For fantasy dabblers who don’t feel like doing their own research, they are good resources. However, just as with predictions of the NHL standings, I find that even experts base their predictions too heavily on what happened last year, rather than taking a wider view of things and considering a few years worth of data.

With that in mind, I looked at the last 3 years worth of basic stats (G, A, P) for the top-60 forwards. I didn’t bother with defencemen or goaltenders because things change much more quickly for those positions, since they are more dependent on their teams for their stats. (More on this later). But before we get down to the meat and potatoes, I want to share a few thoughts on draft strategy.

DRAFT STRATEGY

In my experience, you rarely win a draft in the first few rounds, but you can easily lose it. For instance, taking an injury-prone player like Marian Gaborik – who was very popular about 5 years ago when he first joined the Rangers – is a big risk. On the other hand, their are always a few steals in the late rounds – usually unexpected starting goalies, like Tim Thomas back in 2009, or Brian Elliot in 2011. But that’s not where the draft is won or lost either. The winners are determined in the middle rounds, and the key to victory is to load up on guys that aren’t valued by your competitors.  For anyone who only looks at Yahoo rankings – based primarily on last year’s stats, it’s a great opportunity for you to take an established guy coming off a sub-par year – perhaps due to injury – or an up-and-comer who hasn’t increased his stock enough with the majority of fans.

Here are some other important factors to consider when looking for undervalued players:

  • Breakout Age – I’ve noticed a trend with non-elite NHL prospects, i.e all the guys EXCEPT Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, etc. While the very elites tend to put up huge stats by the time they’re 19 or 20, most everyone else tends to take a few more years. For whatever reason, I’ve noticed that age 24 is a particularly productive year for many young players, and is the most common time for a player to have their first big offensive season. That isn’t to say that a player can’t break out sooner, but typically, most valuable fantasy players have shown you what they’ve got by the time they’re 24 or 25. The most common exception to that rule is a pure complementary player who finds himself on a great line – guys like Chris Kunitz, Mike Knuble, Scott Hartnell, etc, who play a gritty, net-based game and depend on good linemates for their stats.
  • Powerplay Time – this is particularly important for defencemen. You’d be hard-pressed to find a valuable fantasy d-man who doesn’t play on his team’s first pp unit. Go to NHL.com in the first 5 or 10 games of the season and check out which available defencemen are getting lots off pp time – regardless of whether they’re posting good stats. (There’s a log which breaks down ice time into even-strength, powerplay, pk, etc). You’ll probably find that a guy like Carolina’s Justin Faulk – who may not leave the ice on the PP – could be just as valuable as Chicago’s Brent Seabrook, yet Seabrook will be picked in virtually every pool, while Faulk will probably be free in half of them (at least to start the year). The powerplay ice-time rule goes for forwards too – it’s the reason why Boston isn’t necessarily a great team to draft from, since they have a weak powerplay, and they split the ice-time quite evenly between the Krejci line and the Bergeron line. Again, no one is going to draft Cam Atkinson anywhere near Milan Lucic, but assuming the pool doesn’t use PIMs, Atkinson may end up being within 5 points of Lucic at year-end.
  • Team Popularity – This one is pretty obvious. Players from Canadian teams, original-six teams, and recent NHL powerhouses (Pit, Lak, Was, etc.), will have well-known players as compared to less successful teams in the south and mid-west US, i.e St. Louis, Columbus, Carolina, Dallas, etc. As a result, most fans won’t think about Brandon Dubinsky when they’re making their last forward pick, but will opt instead for Mason Raymond, despite the fact that Raymond may play on the 3rd line in Toronto, while Dubinsky mans the top-line in Columbus (with Gaborik). Similarly, if you’re familiar with a team’s fantasy depth chart, you could take a #1 offensive d-man on an unpopular team – say Alex Goligoski in Dallas – rather than taking the #3 from a Canadian roster, i.e Kevin Bieksa. Since you’re probably not overly familiar with fantasy depth charts, I’ve provided one for you. It includes all the forwards and defencemen for each team, and an approximate order of where they should be taken within that team. I.e you take Kevin Shattenkirk after Alex Pietrangelo, but before Jay Bouwmeester. (Bouwmeester plays top-pairing with Pietrangelo, but Shattenkirk will get more time on the powerplay).

To sum up, here are some quick tips while you’re making your draft picks:

  1. Make safe picks early – established top-liners who don’t have an injury history
  2. Look for undervalued players in the middle  rounds – guys coming off a down year
  3. Look for upside late – usually younger players (<25)

 

THE LISTS

For anyone who didn’t know, I’m a list maker. I like to rank, order, and predict. Here’s the first list for your perusal. It includes the past three years of data for most of the top-60 forwards in the NHL – or at least the 60 forwards I found to be most relevant. I separated a few younger players at the bottom from the rest of the pack because I don’t feel that their stats are representative of what they will achieve this year, or in the years that follow, but I left young players like Stamkos and Tavares in the main group since they are already sublime talents.

Quick legend

P/82 takes the total points, divided by games played, and then pro-rates the total to an 82 game season. I.e, if Sidney Crosby had the same average points-per-game, and had played the full season (82 GP), he’d be averaging 132 points a year.

AGP is average games played

GM is games missed

3-YEAR POINT TOTALS – 2010-2013
Rank Player Team Age Pos  GP  P P/82 AGP GM
1 Sidney Crosby PIT 26 C 99 55 104 159 132 38 113
2 Evgeni Malkin PIT 27 C 149 74 105 179 99 58 63
3 Steven Stamkos TBL 23 C 212 134 111 245 95 82 0
4 Martin St. Louis TBL 38 RW 207 73 160 233 92 80 5
5 Daniel Sedin VAN 33 LW 201 83 128 211 86 78 11
6 Claude Giroux PHI 25 C 207 66 151 217 86 80 5
7 Henrik Sedin VAN 33 C 212 44 176 220 85 82 0
8 Pavel Datsyuk DET 35 C 173 57 118 175 83 67 39
9 Alex Ovechkin WSH 28 LW 205 102 104 206 82 79 7
10 Jason Spezza Ott 30 C 147 57 89 146 81 57 65
11 Jonathan Toews CHI 25 C 186 84 97 181 80 72 26
12 Patrick Kane CHI 25 RW 202 73 121 194 79 78 10
13 Henrik Zetterberg DET 33 C 208 57 140 197 78 80 4
14 Eric Staal CAR 29 C 211 75 124 199 77 82 1
15 Ryan Getzlaf ANA 28 C 193 45 137 182 77 75 19
16 Corey Perry ANA 28 RW 206 102 92 194 77 80 6
17 Nicklas Backstrom WSH 26 C 167 40 117 157 77 65 45
18 Anze Kopitar LAK 26 C 204 60 131 191 77 79 8
19 Phil Kessel TOR 26 RW 212 89 109 198 77 82 0
20 John Tavares NYI 23 C 209 88 107 195 77 81 3
21 Patrick Sharp Chi 32 LW 176 73 87 160 75 68 36
22 Mike Ribeiro Phx 33 C 204 50 133 183 74 79 8
23 Thomas Vanek BUF 29 LW 196 78 97 175 73 76 16
24 Joe Thornton SJS 34 C 210 46 141 187 73 81 2
25 Marian Hossa Chi 34 RW 186 71 94 165 73 72 26
26 Brad Richards Nyr 33 C 200 64 113 177 73 77 12
27 Patrik Elias NJD 37 LW 210 61 115 176 69 81 2
28 Rick Nash Nyr 29 LW 201 83 84 167 68 78 11
29 Loui Eriksson Bos 28 RW 209 65 108 173 68 81 3
30 Mikko Koivu MIN 30 C 174 40 103 143 67 67 38
31 Chris Kunitz PIT 34 LW 196 71 90 161 67 76 16
32 Alexander Semin Car 29 RW 186 62 90 152 67 72 26
33 James Neal Pit 26 LW 199 83 79 162 67 77 13
34 Vincent Lecavalier Phi 33 C 168 57 78 135 66 65 44
35 Max Pacioretty MTL 25 LW 160 62 66 128 66 62 52
36 Patrick Marleau Sjs 34 LW 212 84 84 168 65 82 0
37 Marian Gaborik Clb 31 RW 191 75 76 151 65 74 21
38 Zach Parise Min 29 LW 143 52 61 113 65 55 69
39 Matt Moulson NYI 30 LW 211 82 84 166 65 82 1
40 David Krejci BOS 27 C 201 46 111 157 64 78 11
41 PA Parenteau Col 30 RW 209 56 107 163 64 81 3
42 Joe Pavelski Sjs 29 C 204 67 91 158 64 79 8
43 Patrice Bergeron Bos 28 C 203 54 99 153 62 79 9
44 Bobby Ryan Ott 26 RW 210 76 82 158 62 81 2
45 Daniel Briere Mtl 36 C 181 56 77 133 60 70 31
46 Andrew Ladd WPG 28 LW 211 75 80 155 60 82 1
47 Martin Erat Was 32 LW 180 41 91 132 60 70 32
48 Teddy Purcell TBL 28 RW 210 52 100 152 59 81 2
49 Blake Wheeler Wpg 27 RW 209 54 95 149 58 81 3
50 Mike Richards Lak 28 C 203 53 89 142 57 79 9
51 Paul Stastny Col 28 C 193 52 82 134 57 75 19
Under-25
1 Taylor Hall EDM 22 LW 171 65 80 145 70 66 41
2 Jamie Benn DAL 24 LW 181 60 92 152 69 70 31
3 Jordan Eberle EDM 23 C 195 68 88 156 66 75 17
4 Logan Couture SJS 24 C 207 84 74 158 63 80 5
5 Matt Duchene COL 22 C 185 58 80 138 61 72 27
6 Jakub Voracek Phi 24 RW 206 54 87 141 56 80 6
7 Evander Kane Wpg 22 LW 195 66 67 133 56 75 17
8 Derek Stepan Nyr 23 C 212 56 84 140 54 82 0
9 Tyler Seguin Dal 21 C 203 56 65 121 49 79 9

If you’re looking for players to take in the later rounds…

Here is a little chart which gives you a very general idea of where a player might rank on his team in terms of fantasy-worthiness. It’s tough on teams like Boston and St. Louis since all of them have been packed in like sardines over the last few years in terms of scoring, but it’s a decent approximation for most other teams.

FANTASY DEPTH CHARTS
Pit Was Chi Tbl Ott Phi Edm Det Sjs Col Bos Stl Tor Lak Ana
1F Crosby Ovechkin Kane Stamkos Spezza Giroux Hall Datsyuk Couture Duchene Krejci Oshie Kessel Kopitar Getzlaf
2F Malkin Backstrom Toews St. Louis Ryan Voracek Eberle Zetterberg Thornton Parenteau Eriksson Backes Lupul Carter Perry
3F Neal Grabovski Hossa Purcell Michalek Hartnell Nugent-Hopkins Franzen Pavelski Stastny Bergeron Roy Kadri Brown Palmieri
4F Kunitz Johansson Sharp Drouin Turris Schenn Gagner Weiss Marleau Landeskog Lucic Berglund Van Riemsdyk Williams Silfverberg
5F Dupuis Erat Saad Filppula MacArthur Simmonds Perron Aflredsson Burns O’Reilly Marchand Steen Bozak Richards Koivu
6F Jokinen Brouwer Bickell Killorn Zibanejad Lecavalier Yakupov Nyquist Havlat MacKinnon Iginla Stewart Clarkson Frattin Selanne
7F Bennett Laich Kruger Malone Conacher Read Hemsky Abdelkader Kennedy Tanguay Paille Tarasenko Bollland Stoll Penner
8F Sutter Perreault Shaw Couturier McGinn Schwartz Cogliano
1D Letang Green Keith Hedman Karlsson Streit J. Schultz Kronwall Boyle E. Johnson Chara Pietrangelo Phaneuf Doughty Fowler
2D Martin Carlson Seabrook Carle Wiercioch Timonen Petry Smith Vlasic Barrie Hamilton Shattenkirk Ranger Voynov Beauchemin
3D Leddy Krug Bouwmeester
Nyr Min Car Mtl Van Wpg Phx Nyi Dal Clb Buf Fla Njd Cgy Nas
1F Nash Parise E. Staal Pacioretty H. Sedin Wheeler Ribeiro Tavares Benn Gaborik Vanek Huberdeau Elias Cammalleri Wilson
2F Stepan M. Koivu Semin Plekanec D. Sedin Kane Vrbata Moulson Seguin Horton Hodgson Fleischmann Zajac Stempniak Fisher
3F Brassard Pominville Skinner Galchenyuk Kesler Ladd Doan Okposo Whitney Dubinsky Ennis Versteeg Ryder Hudler Legwand
4F Richards Heatley J. Staal Briere Burrows Little Boedker Bouchard Eakin Atkinson Stafford Kopecky Jagr Glencross Hornqvist
5F Callahan Granlund Tlusty Gallagher Hansen Setoguchi Hanzal Bailey Peverley Johansen Leino Barkov Henrique Baertschi Stalberg
6F Hagelin Coyle Ruutu Eller Higgins Frolik Vermette Nielsen Cole Foligno Foligno Matthias Clowe Stajan Bourque
7F Pouliot Niederreiter Scheifele Korpikoski Grabner Chiasson Umberger Backlund Cullen
8F Zuccarello Nichushkin
1D Del Zotto Suter Faulk Subban Edler Byfuglien Yandle Visnovsky Goligoski Johnson Ehrhoff Campbell Zidlicky Giordano Weber
2D McDonagh Spurgeon Sekera Markov Hamhuis Enstrom Ekman-Larsson Hamonic Gonchar Wisniewski Myers Kulikov Larsson Wideman Jones
3D Diaz Garrison Bogosian R. Murray Josi

FANTASY FORWARD PROJECTIONS

Here’s how I rank the top-150 forwards in the NHL. It’s based largely on opinion.

Rank Player Team Proj Injury Notes
1 Sidney Crosby PIT 105
2 Evgeni Malkin PIT 95
3 Steven Stamkos TBL 95
4 Alex Ovechkin WSH 95
5 John Tavares NYI 90
6 Martin St. Louis TBL 90
7 Nicklas Backstrom WSH 90
8 Patrick Kane CHI 85
9 Claude Giroux PHI 80
10 Matt Duchene COL 80
11 Ryan Getzlaf ANA 75
12 Corey Perry ANA 75
13 Jonathan Toews CHI 75
14 Phil Kessel TOR 75
15 Taylor Hall EDM 75
16 Jordan Eberle EDM 75
17 Daniel Sedin VAN 75
18 Henrik Sedin VAN 75
19 Jason Spezza Ott 75 Day-to-day
20 James Neal Pit 75
21 Bobby Ryan Ott 75
22 Pavel Datsyuk DET 70
23 Henrik Zetterberg DET 70
24 Eric Staal CAR 70
25 Jamie Benn DAL 70
26 Anze Kopitar LAK 70
27 Joe Thornton SJS 70
28 Chris Kunitz PIT 70
29 Zach Parise Min 70
30 Matt Moulson NYI 70
31 David Krejci BOS 70
32 Logan Couture SJS 70
33 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Edm 65 IR till November
34 Rick Nash Nyr 65
35 Mikko Koivu MIN 65
36 Tyler Seguin Dal 65
37 Patrick Sharp Chi 65
38 Thomas Vanek BUF 65
39 Patrick Marleau Sjs 65
40 Joe Pavelski Sjs 65
41 Blake Wheeler Wpg 65
42 Evander Kane Wpg 65
43 Mike Ribeiro Phx 65
44 Marian Hossa Chi 60 Day-to-day
45 Nail Yakupov Edm 60
46 Alexander Semin Car 60
47 Marian Gaborik Clb 60
48 Paul Stastny Col 60
49 Derek Stepan Nyr 60
50 Teddy Purcell TBL 60
51 Loui Eriksson Bos 60
52 Vincent Lecavalier Phi 60
53 Max Pacioretty MTL 60
54 PA Parenteau Col 60
55 Patrice Bergeron Bos 60
56 Andrew Ladd WPG 60
57 Mike Richards Lak 60
58 Jason Pominville Min 60
59 David Perron Stl 60
60 Ryan O’Reilly Col 60
61 Derek Roy Stl 60
62 Ryan Kesler Van 60
63 Jeff Skinner Clb 60
64 Jakub Voracek Phi 60 Day-to-day
65 Gabriel Landeskog Col 55
66 Martin Erat Was 55
67 Jonathan Huberdeau Fla 55
68 Tyler Ennis Buf 55
69 Brad Richards Nyr 55
70 Daniel Briere Mtl 55
71 Chris Stewart Stl 55
72 Brad Marchand Bos 55
73 Jarome Iginla Bos 55
74 David Backes Stl 55
75 T.J Oshie Stl 55
76 Milan Lucic Bos 55
77 Pascal Dupuis Pit 55
78 Mike Cammalleri Cgy 55 Day-to-day
79 Nathan MacKinnon Col 50
80 Nazem Kadri Tor 50
81 Alex Galchenyuk Mtl 50
82 Patrik Elias NJD 50 Day-to-day
83 Scott Hartnell Phi 50
84 Bryan Little Wpg 50
85 Wayne Simmonds Phi 50
86 Tomas Plekanec Mtl 50
87 Justin Williams Lak 50
88 Joffrey Lupul Tor 50
89 Dustin Brown Lak 50 Day-to-day
90 Derick Brassard Nyr 50
91 Ray Whitney Dal 50
92 Jordan Staal Car 50
93 Johan Franzen Det 50
94 Kyle Turris Ott 50
95 Cody Hodgson Buf 50
96 Travis Zajac Njd 50
97 Milan Michalek Ott 50
98 Mikhail Grabovski Was 50
99 Brayden Schenn Phi 50
100 Stephen Weiss Det 50
101 Brent Burns Sjs 50
102 Jiri Tlusty Car 50
103 Marcus Johansson Was 50
104 Tyler Bozak Tor 50
105 David Desharnais Mtl 50
106 Sam Gagner Edm 45 IR till December
107 Ryan Callahan Nyr 45 IR till November
108 Troy Brouwer Was 45
109 Jaromir Jagr Njd 45 Day-to-day
110 Tomas Fleischmann Fla 45
111 Valtteri Filppula Tbl 45
112 James Van Riemsdyk Tor 45
113 Radim Vrbata Phx 45
114 Teemu Selanne Ana 45
115 Brandon Saad Chi 45
116 Matt Read Phi 45
117 Daniel Alfredsson Det 45
118 Gustav Nyquist Det 45
119 Alex Tanguay Col 45
120 Patrik Berglund Stl 45
121 Alex Steen Stl 45
122 Vladimir Tarasenko Stl 45
123 Kyle Palmieri Ana 45
124 Kris Versteeg Fla 45
125 Brandon Dubinsky Clb 45
126 Kyle Okposo Nyi 45
127 Dany Heatley Min 45
128 Mikael Granlund Min 45
129 Colin Wilson Nas 45
130 Mike Fisher Nas 45
131 Lee Stempniak Cgy 45
132 Alex Burrows Van 45
133 Adam Henrique Njd 45
134 Nathan Horton Clb 40 IR till January
135 Bryan Bickell Chi 40
136 Patric Hornqvist Nas 40 Day-to-day
137 Brendan Gallagher Mtl 40
138 Curtis Glencross Cgy 40
139 Sven Baertschi Cgy 40
140 Josh Bailey Nyi 40
141 Frans Nielsen Nyi 40
142 Mikkel Boedker Phx 40
143 Jannik Hansen Van 40
144 Jussi Jokinen Pit 40
145 Devin Setoguchi Wpg 40
146 Mark Scheifele Wpg 40
147 Cam Atkinson Cbj 40
148 Pierre-Marc Bouchard Nyi 40
149 Martin Hanzal Phx 40
150 Jakob Silfverberg Ana 40

TOP-25 DEFENCEMEN

Rank Player Team Injury Notes
1 Erik Karlsson Ott
2 Kris Letang Pit Day-to-day
3 P.K Subban Mtl
4 Mike Green Was
5 Alex Pietrangelo Stl
6 Duncan Keith Chi
7 Drew Doughty Lak
8 Ryan Suter Min
9 Shea Weber Nas
10 Dustin Byfuglien Wpg
11 Justin Schultz Edm
12 Kevin Shattenkirk Stl
13 Niklas Kronwall Det
14 Oliver Ekman-Larsson Phx
15 Zdeno Chara Bos
16 Keith Yandle Phx
17 Slava Voynov Lak
18 Tobias Enstrom Wpg
19 Alex Edler Van
20 Dan Boyle Sjs
21 Andrei Markov Mtl
22 Brian Campbell Fla
23 Dion Phaneuf Tor
24 Mark Streit Phi
25 Jack Johnson Clb

25 MOST UNDERRATED SKATERS

Pos Player Team
F Matt Duchene Col
F Jamie Benn Dal
F Logan Couture Sjs
F Mikko Koivu Min
F Paul Stastny Col
F Tyler Ennis Buf
F Teddy Purcell Tbl
F Jakub Voracek Phi
F P-A Parenteau Col
F David Perron Edm
F Mikhail Grabovski Was
F Brandon Dubinsky Clb
F Nick Palmieri Ana
F Gustav Nyquist Det
F Matt Read Phi
F Brandon Saad Chi
F Vladimir Tarasenko Stl
F Cam Atkinson Clb
F Jaden Schwartz Stl
D Kevin Shattenkirk Stl
D Oliver Ekman-Larsson Phx
D Slava Voynov Lak
D Justin Faulk Car
D Justin Schultz Edm
D John Carlson Was

GOALIE RANKINGS

Team Quality
Rank Starter Team Split-Time Playoffs Defensive Back-up Notes
1 Rask Boston YES 1 C. Johnson
2 Quick Los Angeles YES 1 Scrivens
3 Lundqvist New York R YES 1 Biron
4 Anderson Ottawa YES 1 Lehner
5 Crawford Chicago YES 2 Khabibulin
6 Fleury Pittsburgh YES 2 Vokoun
7 Howard Detroit YES 1 Gustavsson
8 Niemi San Jose YES 2 Stalock
9 Holtby Washington YES 2 Neuvirth
10 St. Louis Halak-Elliot YES 1
11 Rinne Nashville MAYBE 1 Hutton
12 Bobrovsky Columbus MAYBE 1 McElhinney
13 Luongo Vancouver YES 2 Lack
14 Price Montreal MAYBE 2 Budaj
15 Smith Phoenix NO 1 Greiss
16 Backstrom Minnesota MAYBE 2 Harding
17 Dubnyk Edmonton MAYBE 3 Labarbera
18 Lehtonen Dallas MAYBE 2 Ellis
19 Pavelec Winnipeg MAYBE 3 Montoya
20 Varlamov Colorado MAYBE 3 Giguere
21 Nabokov New York I MAYBE 3 Poulin
22 Ward Carolina NO 3 Khubodin
23 Miller Buffalo NO CHANCE 3 Enroth
24 New Jersey Schneider-Brodeur NO 2
25 Anaheim Hiller-Fasth MAYBE 2
26 Philadelphia Emery-Mason YES 3
27 Toronto Reimer-Bernier MAYBE 3
28 Tampa Bay Bishop-Lindback MAYBE 3
29 Thomas Florida NO CHANCE 3 Markstrom
30 Ramo Calgary NO CHANCE 3 MacDonald

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That’s it for now. If you have questions, complaints, abuse, etc, leave a comment.