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The yahoo fantasy hockey is a list of all the NHL players who have played for the Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey League.
Last year’s fantasy hockey season was the weirdest I’ve ever experienced.
On the one side, the league’s interim restructuring provided predictability, since clubs would only play opponents from their respective divisions. Choose a poor division and enjoy the benefits — the North Division, for example, was home to half of the league’s top scorers. However, the total unpredictability of the COVID pandemic on the NHL, from unexpected absences in games to the unexpected effect on usually reliable players, was counterbalanced by a 56-game sprint of a season and the utter unpredictability of the COVID pandemic on the NHL.
This season looks to offer a return to some sort of normality, at least in fantasy world (fingers crossed!). So it’s with some confidence that I chose to stake my claim on these ten players for the 2021-22 season, scouring my fantasy teams for them based on how I anticipate them to perform this season. Some of it is historically significant. Some of it is based on the situation. Some of it is based on a gut feeling.
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Rather than loading the list with obvious first-rounders, I tried to include some players who are accessible throughout your fantasy draft. But, first and foremost, how about we start with a clear first-round pick?
Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon, C MacKinnon should be the first player on your draft board for obvious reasons. Over the last three seasons, no NHL player has taken more shots on goal than the Avalanche star: 889, or 58 more than the puck-spraying Alex Ovechkin. At 5-on-5, his 2.51 points per 60 minutes tied for 14th, and he was 11th in power-play output during that time. He’s as certain as they come, barring injury. But, given how last season ended, I think he’ll be particularly good in 2021-22. After the Vegas Golden Knights eliminated the Avalanche in six games, winning four in a row, you could smell the bile rising up within MacKinnon. This season, he’ll take it out on someone, and that someone will be in the opposite crease wearing goalie gear.
Aleksander Barkov is a defenseman for the Florida Panthers. Last season, the Panthers finished fourth in anticipated goals, and there’s little reason to think that trend will continue under Joel Quenneville. On his wing, Barkov is expected to get offseason acquisition Sam Reinhart, with Carter Verhaeghe returning to the left side. Last season, his point pace would have placed him close to his career best of 96 points, which he achieved in 2018-19. The good news for fantasy owners is that his shots on goal per 60 minutes surpassed ten for the first time in his career (10.1). For the Panthers’ pride, another 30-goal, 90-point season is in the cards.
Alex DeBrincat is a defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks. The stench of DeBrincat’s 2019-20 decline — 18 goals and an 8.7% shooting percentage — may still disguise what an offensive powerhouse he was in the seasons before that one. In 2018-19, he scored 41 goals in 52 games, compared to 32 goals in 52 games the previous season. There’s still space for growth in shot creation and power-play points, and the acquisition of Seth Jones and the return of Jonathan Toews may help with the latter. He’ll be a fantasy boon as long as he lines up across from Patrick Kane.
Winnipeg Jets RW Nikolaj Ehlers Last season, the Jets winger took his game to a new level, and there’s no going back now. In 47 games, he scored 46 points, with just 13 of them coming on the power play. It was the third time in four seasons that he had more than ten shots per 60 minutes (11.2). If it matters to your score, he’s been a plus-19 over the last two seasons. Part of this flag-planting is my desire that Pierre-Luc Dubois, after last season’s discomfort, finds his stride and assists Ehlers in reaching even greater levels.
Conor Garland is a forward with the Vancouver Canucks. Garland has a potential to be the next J.T. Miller for the Canucks, as I stated in my article on 2021-22 breakthrough prospects. Remember how Miller, a productive player with the Rangers and Lightning, flourished with the Canucks when he was paired with Elias Pettersson on the wing? Garland may end up there as well, but it’s more likely that he’ll start alongside Bo Horvat, which isn’t a terrible position to be in. In 2019-20, he had his greatest offensive season, scoring 22 goals in 68 games. Last season, he averaged 66 points per game while playing for a bad offensive club in Arizona. This season, I’m sure he’ll stay late in a few rounds. Next season, maybe not.
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Darnell Edmonton Oilers, Nurse, D What’s the secret to fantasy hockey and the Edmonton Oilers? With the understanding that Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might be gone within the first two selections, the beneficiaries were selected. Tyson Barrie, a defenseman, is a clear choice, since his 48 points in 56 games in his debut season in Edmonton topped all defenders. Nurse finished 12th in scoring (36 points), owing to the fact that he did not produce the power-play points that Barrie did, and has never done so in his six seasons in Edmonton. His shot creation, on the other hand, is better than Barrie’s, and he isn’t the defensive liability that his buddy is known for, skating to a plus-27 last season. He also checks a number of other fantasy boxes, such as hits, blocked shots, and penalty minutes, depending on how your league is scored.
Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg On the field, Miro Heiskanen may have market corrected Klingberg, but the 29-year-old Swede still has the Dallas defenseman beat in fantasy. Klingberg has been a consistent offensive contributor for Dallas over the last three seasons, averaging 1.5 to 1.8 points per 60 minutes. In each of the last three seasons, he’s had precisely 15 power-play assists, which is almost superstition-like. But there’s one reason I favor Klingberg here: he’s in the last year of his contract. In their walk years, I like to select guys who are “signing for their dinner.” Given how much offensive defenders are fetching on the UFA market — Dougie Hamilton, for example, has a budget hit that is now double that of Klingberg — he’ll want to take advantage.
Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano For the sake of variety, I’d want to have at least one Kraken on my squad. The issue is one of uncertainty. On the wing, who will Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz flank? How much work will Vince Dunn, who has been a fantasy dark horse favorite in certain leagues this season, get? The Kraken’s “Jonathan Marchessault” will not be revealed until the games begin. I like Philip Grubauer and Chris Driedger, but I’m not sure I like the squad in front of them. So I’ll go with Giordano, one of the most well-known members of the expansion squad. The impression is that his output has decreased, but the truth is that it has returned to the mean after his Norris Trophy-winning 2018-19 season. He’ll likely score about 40 points and take over 200 shots. He’ll get a plenty of power-play time. As a top-pairing defender, he’ll rack up the PIMs. He turns 38 the week before the season begins, but I believe he’ll have another strong year, particularly if the Kraken “pump and dump” a veteran in the last year of his deal before the trade deadline.
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New York Islanders’ G Ilya Sorokin Drafting a goaltender on a Barry Trotz club isn’t exactly a fantasy daring move, since the Islanders have the lowest goals-against average in the NHL over the last three seasons (2.46). It’s why Semyon Varlamov will be selected among your league’s top five or six goalies. But I’m focused on Sorokin. In his first season, he received approximately 40% of the starts and put up outstanding statistics (.918 save percentage, 2.17 goals-against average, 3 shutouts). In his second season with an Islanders club whose performance is one of the more predictable things in an otherwise unpredictable division, I believe the split shifts even more in favor of Sorokin.
Los Angeles Kings’ G Calvin Petersen Last season, the Kings almost completely gave the crease to Petersen, who is 26 years old. For a club that ended with a.438 points percentage, he started 57 percent of their games and put up respectable statistics (.911 save percentage, 2.89 GAA). This season, I believe the Kings will climb back up the rankings, and Petersen will benefit from a stronger squad in front of him. (However, if you’re in a league where saves are crucial to scoring, don’t expect much improvement, since the Kings surrendered the ninth-most shots per game (31.2) last season.) Before the season begins, Los Angeles is likely to give Petersen a vote-of-confidence contract. That is sufficient for me to stake my claim to thee.
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