The NHL Entry Draft is only a couple of days away and it's time to look at what players you should target when it comes to fantasy hockey. I will mention my top 30 players with a few sleepers to keep an eye on.
Putting together a list like this is tough. On one hand, you want to predict which players will be the best once they arrive on the NHL scene, but it also means you have to be safe with your picks. A guy with a well rounded game might rate a bit higher than a boom or bust potential level-player when it comes to how I would construct this mock ranking.
I also take into consideration where a player is going to play next year or two years from now. If a player is committed to the NCAA, his fantasy values goes down because he will take longer to arrive on the NHL scene and thus he is ranked lower on the list. Defenders aren’t as important to me in fantasy hockey, therefore they are down on the list. Goalies are in a different situation as I tend to value goalies higher than most people when it comes to fantasy hockey.
As mentioned, it’s a tough list to put together, so go ahead and tell me what you think.
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Great playmaker, highest offensive potential of any draftable player.
2. Jonathan Huberdeau - Dynamic at both ends of the ice. Can snipe and dish the biscuit.
3. Ryan Strome - Shifty offensive player with a great shot and release.
4. Sean Couturier - Big pivot with good two-way ability.
5. Ryan Murphy - The most explosive defenseman in the draft. Great skater, elite shot.
6. Gabriel Landeskog - Gritty power forward with a good shot.
7. Mika Zibanejad - Big Swede with an offensive touch.
8. Adam Larsson - Will be the first defenseman drafted. Will also QB a PP one day.
9. Matt Puempel - Elite goal scorer. Could be this year's Jeff Skinner.
10. Joel Armia - Big winger with a great shot and scoring ability.
11. Mark McNeill - Big two way center with great playmaking ability.
12. Sven Bartschi - Small winger can fill any role, but has a great offensive touch.
13. Mark Schiefele - Safe offensive center with size and vision.
14. Rocco Grimaldi - Shifty and dynamic scorer, but very small.
15. Dmitrij Jaskin - Big power forward with a great shot. Very slow feet, though.
16. Nicklas Jensen - Big winger is mobile and could be a great top 6 player.
17. Alexander Khoklachev - Shifty and dynamic Russian forward, a tad undersized.
18. Nikita Kucherov - Arguably the most dynamic Russian. "Russian factor" looms large here.
19. Zack Phillips - Can't teach goal scoring, he has it.
20. Tomas Jurco - Flashy and dynamic winger from CHL's top team.
21. John Gibson - Best goalie in the draft. Outstanding mental toughness.
22. JT Miller - Solid two-way center in a Kesler mold.
23. Dougie Hamilton - Big rangy defender plays well at both ends of the ice.
24. Ty Rattie - Great passer and solid two-way player.
25. Brett Ritchie - Big winger with an underrated goal scoring touch.
26. Nathan Beaulieu - Big smooth skating defender with a great shot.
27. Brandon Saad - Good hands, just not enough compete in his game.
28. Vlad Namestnikov - Elite skater and smart defensive player.
29. Joe Morrow - Solid offensive blueliner from the WHL.
30. Stefan Noesen - Big forward with a solid pro-style game.
5 Sleepers to watch:
Victor Rask - Top 5 potential, but worrisome effort levels.
Oscar Klefbom - Big defender that skates well and has a booming shot.
Shane McColgan - Small and explosive WHL forward played hurt all year.
Mario Lucia - The consensus top high school forward available, pro ready shot.
Reid Boucher - Very small, but a great goal scorer. Clutch too.