- Nikita Kucherov – I’ll put Kucherov ahead of McDavid by a hair because he’s the reigning scoring champ. You can’t go wrong either way.
Connor McDavid – Scoring Champ the two years before Kucherov stepped up, their 3 year comparable and PPG avg are extremely similar
Here’s where I diverge from expert analysis and start having some opinions. The following player’s I’ve given extra props as proven commodities
- Alex Ovechkin You can’t go wrong with Ovi, who will probably lead the league in goals. In multi-category pools, he’s a beast for shots and hits
- Brad “Ratface” Marchand Another category killer, Marchand cracked 100 points but also racks up PIMs, hits and the rare Shorthanded goals.
- Sidney Crosby I’m kinda grossed out by how far Sid (and Malkin) fall in drafts. Either grossed out or thrilled if he falls to me. Still one of the best.
- John Tavares If you’re sitting at a table in Pennsylvania or New York, ignore me. In Toronto? Now’s the time to overpay for JT if you want him
|And now, the players the experts like way better than I do|
- Nathan MacKinnon He’s been ranked as high as 2nd by some projections. I’m not sold. Colorado played above their heads last year.
- David Pastrnak Another guy I’ve pushed down the ranks a bit, Pastrnak’s hand injury last year has me reticent about the blue-chip player.
- Mikko Rantanen The hulking Rantanen won a few people their pools as a sleeper, but he missed training camp in an ugly contract situation.
- Brayden Point Point was 12th in scoring last year, plays on a great team and is young with upward potential.
- Patrick Kane scored a VERY quiet 100 points last year, and Chicago’s looking to become relevant again. Extra value as a wing/center
- Leon Draisatl Scored an even quieter 100 points last year, though Edmonton looks as bad as usual.
- Steven Stamkos If Stamkos is still around at #13 he’s a steal. Played all 82 games last year for the first time in 4 years.
- Auston Matthews Well, here’s where Matthews SHOULD be ranked, but if you’re in the Toronto area he’s long gone.
- Mitch Marner He outscored both Tavares and Matthews last year and has something to prove with that huge contract. I feel he’ll deliver.
- Tyler Seguin An elite center in defense-minded Dallas, Seguin’s been given strong new teammates. Teammate Jamie Benn should bounce back.
- Johnny Gaudreau Calgary was the Best in the West last year to everyone’s surprise. They won’t be a surprise now, but I have faith in Johnny Hockey.
- Aleksander Barkov 10th in NHL scoring last year and Florida should be better with a new goalie. Still, I worry about playing for the mediocre Panthers
- Blake Wheeler Wheeler made a fuss about wanting to be a better Dad than a Hockey player, and Winnipeg is a personnel tire fire. Be cautious
- Sebastian Aho This kid won a lot of people pools as a late-round steal. Be careful to get the Carolina guy, as there’s an Islanders defense prospect also named Sebastian Aho.
- Evgeni Malkin Malkin is always disrespected in projections, the best player in the world if he feels like it. He gets a surprising amount of slashing PIMs!
- Jack Eichel Even more talented than his production, is spinning his wheels a bit in Buffalo. The young Captain isn’t taking it lightly though.
- Sean Monahan The 24-year-old finished 22nd in scoring, Calgary finished first in the West and his linemates both inked big deals in recent years.
- Brent Burns The best D in a pure points pool. He’s even better in a category pool as he gets lots of shots, hits, and PP points.
- Erik Karlsson For a few years there Karlsson was the undisputed first D picked. He may be able to return to form after a few injury-marred seasons
- John Carlson A a few years ago he seized the title of “best Phonetic Carlson” from William and Erik K. I’d prefer him on my team, but not my pool.
- Mark Giordano Reigning Norris Champ, and a category killer who also led all D in +/- while tossing in some PIMs and 4 shorthanded goals!
- Morgan Rielly the back end engine of the Leafs offensive machine might lose a few points and minutes to newly acquired Tyson Barrie.
- Victor Hedman You could argue he’s better than everyone else listed ahead of him, but we’re trying to win pools, not Hockey games here.
- Kris Letang Finished 9th in points but 5th in PPG, Letang is very talented on a great team but will always miss a handful of games.
- Erik Gustfasson I don’t know what to say. Sometime last year unheralded 27-year-old 4th round pick Gustafsson exploded for 60 points.
- Keith Yandle 5th in defenceman scoring last year, but more importantly has not missed a game in 9 years. He actually played 83 games one year!
- Roman Josi Josi held down the fort in Nashville while flashier D put up the numbers. Not so much anymore, he’s now a top 10 scoring D.
- John Klingberg 45 points in 65 games and some new offensive weapons.
- Tyson Barrie The high scoring D just went from a loaded Colorado team to a loaded Leafs team. Might lose some PP time to Morgan Rielly.