We’re roughly 20 games into the NHL season, but my word, it feels like we’re watching a completely different league than the last season.
The Edmonton Oilers rule the Pacific Division while the trailblazing Tampa Bay Lightning currently sit outside of a playoff spot.
The fantasy hockey landscape has also undergone sizeable changes since the beginning of the season. It’s important to keep in mind that we’re only six weeks into the year but in the same token, we also have much more information at our disposal than what was available in late September.
These were the consensus top-12 draft picks in fantasy hockey, according to Yahoo Fantasy ADP.
1. Nikita Kucherov (AVG Pick: 1.6)
2. Connor McDavid (AVG Pick: 2.4)
3. Alex Ovechkin (AVG Pick: 3.0)
4. Nathan MacKinnon (AVG Pick: 4.0)
5. Sidney Crosby (AVG Pick: 5.8)
6. Patrick Kane (AVG Pick: 7.2)
7. Brad Marchand (AVG Pick: 7.7)
8. David Pastrnak (AVG Pick: 9.9)
9. Auston Matthews (AVG Pick: 10.1)
10. Brent Burns (AVG Pick: 12.1)
11. Andrei Vasilevskiy (AVG Pick: 12.2)
12. Steven Stamkos (AVG Pick: 14.9)
So with that in mind, here is what the first round of fantasy hockey drafts would look like if we were drafting today.
1. Connor McDavid (Preseason ADP: 2.4)
Currently the second-highest ranked player in fantasy hockey, McDavid has been as good as advertised for fantasy owners. Any concerns that were present at draft time regarding his PCL injury have been silenced emphatically by his performance thus far.
2. Leon Draisaitl (Preseason ADP: 14.9)
This forward was going just outside the top-12 picks in fantasy hockey drafts prior to the season’s start, but there’s no question now that Draisaitl would be a surefire first-round pick in drafts. Leading the league with 27 assists and 43 points, he’s been the best player in fantasy hockey.
3. Nathan MacKinnon (Preseason ADP: 4.0)
Despite being on an island on the Colorado Avalanche’s top line without linemates Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, MacKinnon has continued to be a premier option in fantasy hockey. His numbers have been solid thus far, and should only improve once he gets his wingers back.
4. David Pastrnak (Preseasn ADP: 9.9)
The Boston Bruins’ top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Pastrnak has once again taken its game a step further this season. Leading the charge offensively for the trio has been Pastrnak, who has an NHL leading 17 goals. Despite being a consensus first-round pick during draft season, he’s increasingly entrenched as an elite fantasy at this point.
5. Alexander Ovechkin (Preseason ADP: 3.0)
This was probably the safest pick to make about six weeks ago and it’s because of Ovechkin’s long history of goal scoring. As expected, he leads the league in shots with 111 and he’s sitting third in goals with 15. Ovi’s been Ovi to start the year.
6. Brad Marchand (Preseason ADP: 7.7)
Only two NHL players have recorded multiple five-point outings this season: McDavid and Marchand. Boston’s first unit continues to be the most rewarding line in fantasy hockey, and it’s a result of all members contributing on a nightly basis.
7. Auston Matthews (Preseason ADP: 10.1)
Despite the dysfunction the Toronto Maple Leafs have undergone this season, Matthews has been one of the few bright spots on this club. He remains one of the league’s most dangerous snipers and the only Leafs player who has really come through for fantasy owners.
8. Jack Eichel (Preseason ADP: 31.5)
This past weekend, Eichel showed everyone why he’s among the best players in the league. The Buffalo Sabres scored five goals in their contests on Saturday and Sunday, and it was the Boston University product who recorded each marker. Despite Buffalo’s recent slide, Eichel has produced more nights than he hasn’t.
9. John Carlson (Preseason ADP: 45.6)
The best offensive defenseman in the NHL thus far, Carlson has been an absolute treat for fantasy owners who were able to snag him in the fifth round. Quarterbacking one of the best power plays in the league, Carlson is second only to Draisaitl in assists. While history suggests his production will dip, we could be witnessing a career campaign from the 29-year-old.
10. Patrick Kane (Preseason ADP: 7.2)
It was a less-than-stellar start to the campaign for Kane, but he has bounced back in a big way. After notching just eight points through the first nine games of the season, he has recorded 18 points in his last 11 matches. Fantasy owners have gotten what they expected, for the most part.
11. Nikita Kucherov (Preseason ADP: 1.6)
This is where the slide stops for Kucherov. The No. 1 pick in fantasy hockey drafts has been a bit of a disappointment for fantasy hockey owners, but there are signs that he’s turning a corner. Last year’s Hart Trophy Winner has notched seven points over his past four games, signalling that he’s returning to form. Exercise some patience and the results will come.
12. Steven Stamkos (Preseason ADP: 12.3)
Similarly to Kucherov, Stamkos hasn’t fully met his draft day expectations. The results are coming, though, as Stamkos has notched eight-points over his recent five-game point streak. It’s very unlikely the Lightning remain as mediocre as they have been, so it’s a wise decision to bet on these two guys as the ones who lead the Bolts back into a playoff position.
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