Fantasy hockey all-stars: Panarin, Reinhart and the most valuable picks


As the NHL prepares to squarely step into our arena on Thursday with a draft for the All-Star Game teams, let’s take a moment to recognize the all-stars from our realm of fantasy hockey.

We’ll do a similar approach to how the league manages things, by forcing one selection from each of the 32 franchises to form our initial rosters. I tried to include a mix of the positions, but honestly I couldn’t get a goaltender nominated for one of the divisions — no matter how hard I tried to look the other way at some stats.

This is through a fantasy lens, so we aren’t necessarily looking for the best overall player, but rather the best value. Sometimes those criteria overlap, but not always. Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid can’t be fantasy all-star choices as they are returning the value we expected.

The preseason rankings referenced only go to the top 350 before they get too mushy, so a player listed as “not ranked” from the preseason just means they were lower than 350.

Metropolitan Division

No need to wait on the reveal from above about one of the divisions not getting a goaltender. Perhaps one of the defense can play the crease or they can just compete with an extra skater in our fantasy world. Honestly though, how could we select any of the goaltenders from this division for inclusion? Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shesterkin were supposed to be here, but neither is returning anything close to their draft value for the New York Islanders or New York Rangers. Pyotr Kochetkov got some consideration from the Carolina Hurricanes, but hasn’t been remotely consistent enough for most fantasy teams, especially because most of his value was packed into just the month of December. Even Charlie Lindgren has been fading fast for the Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry is close to making the cut, but was also an early pick in drafts, so isn’t quite passing muster when it comes to value versus investment.

Artemi Panarin, W, New York Rangers (increase from preseason rank: 63, current rank: 31): This is a no-brainer choice for the Rangers. After a down season from Panarin in 2022-23, he’s bounced back as the leader of the club and is scoring at will. He’s going to set a new career high in goals with just three more.

Seth Jarvis, W, Carolina Hurricanes (increase from preseason rank: 250, current rank: 100): With few players exceeding the expectations placed upon them, Jarvis’ modest breakout is enough to qualify him for this nod — even if his season has been a series of peaks and valleys.

Joel Farabee, W, Philadelphia Flyers (increase from preseason rank: 227, current rank: 96): He has some sneaky-good blocked shots totals that has him neck-and-neck with Travis Konecny for the fantasy lead among the Flyers forwards.

Boone Jenner, C, Columbus Blue Jackets (increase from preseason rank: 49, current rank: 138): He’s not really the lone bright spot, as some of the play from the young guns is encouraging for the future. But he’s the only Blue Jacket forward earning game-to-game fantasy relevance.

T.J. Oshie, W, Washington Capitals (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 80): With few players to choose from for a value award here, Oshie gets the nod based on his play from just the last couple of weeks. Try to ignore the fact that he was a ghost on the ice in 2023.

Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (increase from preseason rank: 39, current rank: 78): Anyone have a healthy Erik Karlsson struggling to keep pace with Letang on their preseason punch card? Didn’t think so. And he’s done it with only two power-play points.

Simon Nemec, D, New Jersey Devils (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 177): With more than a few Devils performing below expectations, there wasn’t a lot of choice for the all-star team. It’s fair to suggest that Nemec isn’t quite a fantasy starter, but his fantasy points per game are one the verge and he sits third on the team in fantasy points since Dec. 1. Maybe Jack Hughes coming back — again — can spark Nemec to an everyday role on your team.

Noah Dobson, D, New York Islanders (increase from preseason rank: 103, current rank: 13):This is how you have a breakout season. Dobson is doing it all for fantasy hockey — with not the least of his accomplishments being his lead for the Islanders in total fantasy points by a massive margin (141.5 to Bo Horvat’s 105.5).

Atlantic Division

This fantasy all-star team might have the most pop thanks to Nikita Kucherov and Sam Reinhart making the case for inclusion from the Florida teams. As mentioned, you won’t see the Matthews, McDavids or MacKinnons of the world here, but Kucherov can be mentioned in the same breath as them again this season — and that wasn’t necessarily the outcome anticipated. He finished 12th overall for fantasy points last season with 215.2 — or 104.9 points off the lead. This season, he is currently second to MacKinnon, just 10.1 points behind.

Sam Reinhart, W, Florida Panthers (increase from preseason rank: 66, current rank: 10): Everything that comes off his stick seems to find net. His shooting percentage is up to a bonkers 27.6%. He has taken 134 shots on goal. For players with at least 100 shots in a season, he currently has the best shooting percentage in the NHL going back to 2005-06, beating Andrei Kuzmenko’s 27.3 percent from last season. No player with more than 200 shots in a season has finished higher than 21.7% in that span (Brayden Point in 2022-23 and Leon Draisaitl in 2018-19).

Charlie Coyle, C, Boston Bruins (increase from preseason rank: 240, current rank: 108): His current output sits 57th among forwards, as Coyle has taken on the top center role we thought Pavel Zacha would fill for the Bruins this season.

Claude Giroux, W, Ottawa Senators (increase from preseason rank: 185, current rank: 77): With a lot of the Sens playing slightly subpar for expectations, Giroux has been a beacon of consistency.

Sean Monahan, C, Montreal Canadiens (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 148): The power play can do a lot for a player. For Monahan, 51.4% of his points this season have come on special teams.

Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (increase from preseason rank: 22, current rank: 4): As discussed above, Kucherov is hanging among the elite of the elite this season, so his value is there despite his high draft capital.

Jake Walman, D, Detroit Red Wings (increase from preseason rank: 70, current rank: 48): He’s been slowing down a bit of late, but Walman is much more than just a stabilizing presence for Moritz Seider, earning fantasy status in his own right.

Morgan Rielly, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (increase from preseason rank: 139, current rank: 24): Rielly earned 115.6 fantasy points across the entire 2022-23 season. He has 116.2 fantasy points so far this season. Enough said?

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, Buffalo Sabres (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 209): This is not the goaltender I thought we’d be penciling in here back in September. But Luukkonen has found a groove, pushing even an improving Devon Levi to the sidelines.

Central Division

To continue the fanciful projection for these all-star teams having to compete, this Central Division squad is going to use physicality on the blue line to try to win. The Dallas Stars had another strong candidate in Thomas Harley, but Duchene has been contributing for an extended stretch this season. It was also tempting to pick Colton Parayko from the St. Louis Blues and really lean into this rough-and-tumble defense. And, believe it or not, Josh Manson is on the fringes of inclusion here. So this team could have easily have been made up of mostly defense.

Matt Duchene, C, Dallas Stars (increase from preseason rank: 141, current rank: 98): I mean, salary doesn’t matter much for fantasy, but for frame of reference: He probably wasn’t earning the $8 million the Predators were paying him, but he sure looks like a bargain at the $3 million the Stars are giving him. What a signing, and a great steal at fantasy drafts if you took a shot!

Robert Thomas, C, St. Louis Blues (increase from preseason rank: 81, current rank: 73): As mentioned, Parayko was worthy of consideration here, as is Brayden Schenn (thanks to recent play) and even Jordan Binnington in a subtle manner (13th at his position in fantasy), but Thomas has been a steady presence all season and offers more upside than all of them.

Gustav Nyquist, W, Nashville Predators (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 181): He had a slow October, but patience at the top of the Predators depth chart has paid off; Since Nov. 1, Nyquist sits 117th among skaters in total fantasy points. He was hardly even a sleeper after playing only three games last season.

Jonathan Drouin, W, Colorado Avalanche (increase from preseason rank: 135, current rank: 245): It took a while, but the Halifax Mooseheads connection has resurfaced between MacKinnon and Drouin since mid-December. In fact, Drouin has 1.91 FPPG since Dec. 13 — which is among the top 100 skaters.

Nikolaj Ehlers, W, Winnipeg Jets (increase from preseason rank: 42, current rank: 166): Beating out a cooled-off Gabriel Vilardi, Ehlers gets the nod here because he wasn’t a lock to perform for fantasy after getting buried on the depth chart last season.

Brock Faber, D, Minnesota Wild (preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 49): What a star Faber has been at the age of just 21. Understanding that he wasn’t at the top of the depth chart until after new coach Jon Hynes came in, it’s wild that Faber ranks 20th in fantasy points on the blue line.

Connor Murphy, D, Chicago Blackhawks (increase from preseason rank: 117, current rank: 190): Someone has to make the all-star team right? Oh, what’s that? Even the NHL isn’t sending a Blackhawk to the festivities? Well … Murphy is at least startable most nights in deeper fantasy leagues. So … that’s a win.

Connor Ingram, G, Arizona Coyotes (preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 179): With the sixth-most fantasy points among goaltenders, Ingram’s five shutouts are telling to how solid he has been this season in keeping the Coyotes hopes afloat.

Pacific Division

Upstart goal-scoring might be the overall theme for this squad. Especially with Adam Henrique just nosing out Frank Vatrano for the Anaheim Ducks spot, and Blake Coleman just edging past Yegor Sharangovich for the Calgary Flames. We also could have gone with any of Stuart Skinner for the Edmonton Oilers, Thatcher Demko from the Vancouver Canucks or Jacob Markstrom from the Flames for the crease here.

Zach Hyman, W, Edmonton Oilers (increase from preseason rank: 81, current rank: 14): Hyman was going to contribute, no question. But he has been a fringe top-50 play in recent campaigns, not a dominating top-20 fantasy asset like he is this season.

Brock Boeser, W, Vancouver Canucks (increase from preseason rank: 135, current rank: 57): The rate of goals scored has been slowing down, but Boeser did enough at the start of the season that he can afford to coast a bit and still make this fantasy all-star squad with flying colors.

Adam Henrique, W, Anaheim Ducks (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 85): His recent pace has helped him push past Vatrano to take pole position on most value from a Duck. It will be interesting to see if his pace continues this strong if Henrique is flipped to a contender.

Blake Coleman, W, Calgary Flames (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 81): MacKenzie Weegar got a long look here, as did Sharangovich, but we’ll take Coleman. He shares the team goal lead with Sharangovich at 20, but is ahead in fantasy points by a fair margin. And it’s by virtue of not being in the top 350 to start the season that Coleman gets the edge on Weegar.

Trevor Moore, W, Los Angeles Kings (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 99): Thanks in part to Kevin Fiala sliding into the spot occupied by Viktor Arvidsson last season, this trio of Moore, Fiala and Phillip Danault has become so dangerous that Moore has the team goal lead (up four on Adrian Kempe) despite minimal power-play action.

Mario Ferraro, D, San Jose Sharks (increase from preseason rank: 247, current rank: 68): He’s head and shoulders above the rest of the Sharks when it comes to earning fantasy value. He’s the only player on the team clearing the 2.0 FPPG threshold. Hopefully he isn’t out long with his current injury.

Alec Martinez, D, Vegas Golden Knights (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 41): Too many injuries have marred the Golden Knights campaign, as Shea Theodore or Adin Hill could have earned this nod if they’d played more games. But Martinez, despite missing plenty of games himself, is among the elite defenders of the league for FPPG.

Joey Daccord, G, Seattle Kraken (increase from preseason rank: not ranked, current rank: 117): On nobody’s radar prior to the season, Daccord has been a settling presence in the Kraken crease. He sits seventh in fantasy points among goaltenders.

Source link
Las Vegas News Magazine

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More