Click here for the article which describes several important fantasy considerations
EXPLAINING THE RANKINGS
Overvalued – Undervalued
These ratings indicate my belief that these players will generally be drafted earlier or later than their potential offensive production would merit. Generally, any player who has played for a Canadian team (the Sedins, Iginla), or the Canadian Olympic team (Toews, Richards) has tremendous name value, and fantasy drafters who don’t have extensive hockey knowledge will tend to draft them a bit earlier than they deserve to be drafted. This was true of Rick Nash for years – a very talented guy with poor linemates who posted several seasons of <70-points, yet was often taken earlier than a guy like Brad Richards, who put up 168 points in the last two seasons. The overvalued players are still very good, but chances are that an inexperienced fantasy pooler will reach for them early, and it shouldn’t be you.
The undervalued players are of course the opposite. They are the players that, in general, I believe can be taken slightly later than their potential offensive production would merit. They tend to be young players who haven’t yet proven themselves, with the best examples being Jamie Benn, Tyler Ennis, and Derek Stepan. They will probably become household names in the next few years, for now they remain unknown to the average hockey fan.
Tiering – Tier 1, 2, 3, Other
Tier 1 includes forwards that have achieved success in the past, are (mainly) in good health, and should achieve good results as long as they stay healthy. Tier 2 includes talented forwards with clear flaws: too young, injury history, further down the line-up (not many first-liners), poor linemates, etc. Tier-3 includes players who generally have multiple problems – young, struggling to get ice time, poor linemates, etc. “Other” is players you probably shouldn’t draft, but who might be worth looking at if your team experiences injuries.
I listed past or highly like linemates of the various players, but left certain players with a TBA. This was particularly true of players on Buffalo and St. Louis, who have so many offensive players that it’s hard to project lines. For many of the top players, the linemates are irrelevant – it does a lot more for James Neal’s fantasy value that he plays with Evgeni Malkin than the other way around. Same thing for Claude Giroux, who I just left as TBA, because he’ll produce no matter who he’s with. The linemates variable factors in more for the Tier-2 forwards, whose value could fluctuate a lot depending on who they’re playing with.
I listed their most common position, usually based on what position they actually play. I also listed an alternate position based on what I’ve seen in Yahoo, or other positions they’ve actually played.
For most players I calculated a three-year average of their point totals. However, it does not apply for young players, or for players who sustained serious injuries in any given year. In some cases I calculated only a two-year average if I felt that was most representative. I generally didn’t use an average for younger players, who are only scratching the surface of their potential (Bobby Ryan, John Tavares, Matt Duchene, etc.)
I listed serious injuries that players have suffered – generally anything over 40 games missed, but occasionally less if a player regularly missed 15 or more games with the same injury. The list is not comprehensive, but it’s a start.
Here’s the legend for how injuries are classified:
(LY) Last year: Serious injury within the last year
(P) Past: Serious injury prior to last year
(C) Current: Will miss time in 11-12
(R) Recurring: More than one injury to particular region of the body
Note: The individual rankings aren’t intended to be taken too seriously – the tiers are of greater significance than any individual projections. That’s why I used 5-point ranges rather than exact figures. I also assume that the players will all play around 80 games, unless they have a significant injury history (Hemsky, Connolly), or are currently injured (Gagner, Zajac). This of course won’t be the case – many players will get injured and perform below the standards I have anticipated, but since I have no way of predicting which (generally healthy) players will be injured, I just assume they’ll all play a reasonably full season.
Talented but Flawed
Maybe you’ll get lucky…