Fantasy hockey – Dynasty league rankings for the 2018-19 NHL season

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A lot has changed since the last dynasty league list was published way back on April 5. Despite just a handful of regular-season games taking place in between, we’ve seen the NHL playoffs, free agency, the draft and early reports from rookie camps. The fantasy hockey season is intense for fantasy coverage when it’s unfolding day after day, so a little time to consider and review its happenings can go a long way, hence this new updated version.

The top 250 players ranked here are presented for your consideration based on this coming season, the season after that, the one after that, the one after that and even one more after that. That’s correct, I tacked on rankings for 2022-23 for this edition of the dynasty rankings, where I foresee a 21-year-old Jack Hughes as the No. 1 overall pick over a 24-year-old Patrik Laine coming off his first 60-goal season.

The rankings are a straight average of a top-250 ranking of each of the next five years. If a player doesn’t make the top 250 in any given season, he gets a ranking of 255 for that season to count toward the average. While that can admittedly throw a little wrench into how these numbers will shape out, it’s done with purpose in mind. Really, if a player isn’t among the top 250 in a given fantasy season for standard leagues, it doesn’t matter if he is No. 251 or No. 415; he just isn’t fantasy relevant.

Ranking in the fantasy universe is harshly inexact, but we do our best to provide a baseline with which you can evaluate players and make your own decisions about your team. And of course, by the 2022-23 season the Seattle Krakens will have already won the Stanley Cup thanks to another forgiving expansion draft. For the record, I have not ranked any Seattle Krakens here. (I’m hoping repetition of the nickname will help it catch on. It’s easily my favorite on the list of potential names, if only for the pregame ceremony where they “Release the Kraken!” and play the Pirates of the Caribbean theme.)

My point is it’s hard enough to rank for one approaching season, let alone the next five. We can look at a player’s skill and opportunity, and attempt to extrapolate based on that, but we can’t account for expansion, injury, player movement, players being replaced by robots and a whole host of other factors. These rankings are meant as a guideline so you can see how someone else values these players for the medium-distant future and allow you to determine how you feel about the players in your own dynasty league.

The rankings are below. The column on the right is included to show where the player ranked in April edition of the rankings, which did not include the 2022-23 season. But first, here’s a few players who I feel might have landed too high or too low, as well as some of the big movers.


Big movement

Mitch Marner, C/RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (up 21 spots to No. 12): The addition of John Tavares makes a massive difference in how I feel about the future of Marner. It doesn’t change his immense talent, but it spikes the short-term potential of his opportunity that would have been lacking without a franchise center on his line. The Maple Leafs have a special opportunity with Tavares and Auston Matthews that can really only be compared in recent memory to the Sidney CrosbyEvgeni Malkin one-two punch down the middle.

David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins (down 20 spots to No. 34): This slip is more about how I feel about the distant future. I don’t know that the Bruins have the pieces in place to keep Pastrnak productive at a top-25 fantasy level as Patrice Bergeron begins to show his age. I have Pastrnak down for elite production over the next couple of seasons, but something would have to change personnel-wise for me to feel better about the 2021-22 and 2022-23 campaigns.

Brayden Point, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (up 100 spots to No. 54): I took some time have a closer look at what Point and Yanni Gourde did this past season, and I think it was overshadowed by how awesome Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos were. Point casually went 30-30 in his sophomore campaign and has an incredibly bright future.

Anze Kopitar, C, Los Angeles Kings (up 27 spots to No. 60): This is pretty straight-forward. I’m much more inclined to like Kopitar for the next three years with Ilya Kovalchuk as an option on the wing over Alex Iafallo.

Feeling too high

Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers (No. 11): Something just doesn’t feel right completely right about putting Barkov as a near first-round value for dynasty leagues. Logically, I can support it; he’s 22 years old with five seasons under his belt and scored 78 points in 79 games on a team with the pendulum is on the upswing. But his total numbers last season had him outside the top 50 in standard leagues on the ESPN Player Rater. I know the player rater isn’t the be all, end all for fantasy evaluation, but it’s a great tool for a snapshot. And I don’t like that a season in which Barkov achieved his potential wasn’t good enough for top-50 value.

Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers (No. 19): Again, I’m accepting of the ranking Draisaitl has received, but I question whether I am seeing the situation through rose-colored glasses. There’s nothing wrong at all with a 25-goal, 70-point center for fantasy purposes, but it’s not top-20-in-dynasty good. I think there’s another level to Draisaitl’s game, and I think it has to come from the power play — but the Oilers were dead last in team power-play percentage last season. We need to see an improvement soon for this ranking to work out.

John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks (No. 21): The theme of these players I feel are too high is the same: I’m OK with the ranking logically, but I just don’t feel good about it. Ask me without these rankings in front of me who the best dynasty league goalies are, and I’d tell you it’s Andrei Vasilevskiy and Connor Hellebuyck, and then everyone else. Yet, when the rankings come out, it’s Vasilevskiy as the G1, Hellebuyck as the G3 and Gibson is staring at me at G2. Again, it makes sense from a statistical standpoint, as Gibson is an absolute workhorse with a sparkling goals-against average at the age of 25. I think maybe what has me hesitant is the Ducks’ long-term team potential when Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry begin (continue?) to fade. There may be a couple of rebuilding seasons among the next five years for the Ducks.

William Karlsson, C, Vegas Golden Knights (No. 46): I like linear paths and projections. I really enjoy it when outcomes are expected. Maybe that’s why I don’t like Karlsson. Not personally, of course, and I love the storyline the Golden Knights gave us last season. But statistically, I don’t like Karlsson. His 43 goals, 78 points and plus-49 rating came out of absolute nowhere, and that scares me. If he can do it, can other players? Have I mistakenly ranked Brett Ritchie and Sven Baertschi incorrectly? Are they going to score 40 goals? Breathe. Calm blue ocean. Serenity now.

I think it’s likely Karlsson still has some big seasons in him, and I’m accepting of that. I watched enough of the Golden Knights to appreciate that Karlsson’s success was completely with merit. That said, I’ve been doing this long enough that I can remember other situations, too. In 2005-06, Brian Gionta was a late-round flier heading into his fourth season, then scored 48 goals and 89 points in a magical season, became a fourth-round pick the next season, but never scored even 30 goals again. I know that’s way too specific a comparison, and it feels like I’m grasping at straws to try to convince you that Karlsson won’t repeat this past season, but it’s just how I feel about it.

Ivan Provorov, D, Philadelphia Flyers (No. 63): I’m going to either be proven right about Provorov this next season or have to apologize continuously for the next five seasons to all Shayne Gostisbehere believers. The Flyers only have room for one superstar fantasy defenseman, and I’ve been in the Provorov camp for a couple of seasons now. I think he has more offensive upside than Gostisbehere, and I’ve felt somewhat justified in that belief as Provorov outscored Gostisbehere at five-on-five last season. Of course, Gostisbehere killed it on the power play to be the better fantasy asset. This ranking comes with the belief that Provorov takes over that power-play role sooner rather than later. However, I think I made this exact same argument last season, and it didn’t happen, so I’m no longer feeling great about it. I think this is a make-or-break season to determine which defenseman has better long-term value.

Feeling too low

Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks (No. 28): There is some built-in deterioration for age in the rankings for all players who are going to be in their mid-30s by the 2022-23 season. It’s natural that players fade as they age, with most forwards peaking closer to 25 in most studies. The exceptions are few and far between. While I’ve built in some decline for Kane beginning in the 2021-22 season when he’ll be 32, there’s something about his game that makes me feel he is one of those guys who will still be elite as he approaches 40.

Jake Allen, G, St. Louis Blues (No. 85): Going back to who the top dynasty goalies are again, if you asked me without these rankings in front of me, I would say, “It’s Vasilevskiy and Hellebuyck, and then everyone else.” However, if you then said, “I’ll give you this sandwich if you just pick a third goaltender,” I would say, “If it’s not tuna, Jake Allen.” However, when I crunch the numbers, Allen comes out as G8. Ahead of him are Vasilevksiy, Gibson, Hellebuyck, Frederik Andersen, Juuse Saros, Matt Murray and Robin Lehner (really, Sean?). I think Allen could easily leapfrog Andersen, Saros, Murray and Lehner if he shows last season was a statistical hiccup and not a trend.

Brandon Saad, RW, Chicago Blackhawks (No. 107): On one hand, Saad is still 25 years old and has two Stanley Cup rings, as well as a 30-goal season under his belt. On the other hand, he still hasn’t eclipsed 53 points in an NHL season. Without looking, I would have said he had at least 65 in one of those six campaigns, so the number is a bit surprising, all things considered. That said, Saad has age in his corner and a cemented role in what should be a better future for the Blackhawks’ top six. He has the type of pedigree and situation where a top-50 fantasy season isn’t expected, but also wouldn’t be shocking.



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