By Lane Myer
As promised, here is the revised Top 50 Under 25 list that we initially published back in early January for Keeper/Dynasty leagues. Since we don’t cover much here in this column dealing with keeper or dynasty leagues, we figured this would be the most beneficial manner to toss something out there in a fairly simple manner. Also I’m told everyone loves a list. Not that you were anyway, because you’re much smarter than that, but don’t pay too much attention to the ranking number. It’s a highly convoluted process with attempting to mix current production with future projection along with other factors such as basic stat categories, age in relation to similar value players, and future playing time and line-mates for the younger less established players. Tie-breakers were awarded to players with an age advantage and/or those who are more likely to hold multi-positional eligibility.
As a reminder, as with almost everything we do here, these are penned with standard stat category leagues in mind. That means 6×4 or 5×4 fantasy hockey leagues that use the basic stat categories that usually include Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, PPP and either (or both) PIMs or Shorthanded Points on the offensive side and Wins, GAA, SV% and Shutouts on the goalie side.
*Revised Top 50 Under 25 after the jump…
|RNK||PLAYER||POS||AGE||2014-15 Points Per Game / SV%|
|31||James van Riemsdyk||LW||25||0.68|
The Next 5 (those who just missed the cut) Jake Allen, Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad.
Honorable Mention to Frederik Andersen, Ryan McDonagh, Justin Faulk, Mark Scheifele, Tyler Myers (0.63 PPG with the Jets), Nick Leddy, Brock Nelson, Brendan Gallagher, John Klingberg, Brayden Schenn, Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, Ryan Ellis, Cam Fowler, Nick Bjudstad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Mikael Granlund, Boone Jenner, Zemgus Girgensons, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Nail Yakupov.
All-Upside Team (a concentration of those 20 years old or under who didn’t make the Top 50 – Andre Burakovsky, Olli Maatta, David Pastrnak, Morgan Rielly, Seth Jones, Bo Horvat, Jacob Trouba, William Nylander, Teuvo Teravainen, and Elias Lindholm,
-Kevin Shattenkirk turned 26 at the end of January and thus has been dropped from the mid-season list.
-One could slot Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Valeri Nichushkin, Aleksander Barkov, or William Nylander anywhere from #12 on down and make a convincing argument for it. They are high upside picks and let’s face it, gut feelings no matter whether you’ve personally scouted them or not. We factored future open roles and minutes (ie unblocked by high priced veterans) and potential line-mates in our all-upside selections.
-JVR could easily move up to a top 20 player (on this type of list) if he’s moved out of Toronto and onto a playoff caliber team along with maintaining first line and first PP unit usage.
-We’re still light on goalies and Frederik Andersen still did not make the cut. If it were a win-now list, he probably would. However, with a contract that only pays him $1.15 million through 2016, I’m not sure he becomes either trade bait or the backup when the Ducks deem Gibson the starter. Andersen posted a very solid 2.38 GAA, but his .914 SV% is just above league average and that’s with Anaheim being the tenth ranked shot suppressing team. I just have the feeling he’s a league average goalie on a lesser team and obviously on this list, we’re looking for higher upside in a goalie’s ratio stats.
-Jakob Voracek predictably slowed down in the season’s second half. Heading into January, Voracek averaged 1.35 points per game. Post All-Star break, Voracek managed 25 points (5 goals) on just 6% shooting. Down more than half from his 12.6% first-half shooting%. One can look at that as a market correction, or simply poor post-break shot luck. His career shooting% in Philly over 3 seasons is 11% and he had a slightly above average 1012 PDO (on-ice shooting%, on-ice save% -ie puck luck) so that would suggest he was a bit unlucky in the second half. For those in standard size leagues that use the single PPP scoring category, he’s a huge asset with 33 PPP on the season. Voracek also filled up other stat categories with 221 SOG, 4 GWG, and a sneaky 78 PIMs. As long as Voracek is riding shotgun with Claude Giroux, he remains at worst a second rounder. I suspect he’ll enter the season with an ADP of a second rounder next season. In the area where Jamie Benn was taken in most drafts this year.
-Assuming Edmonton doesn’t do something stupid like peddling Taylor Hall in some sort of package for a rapidly declining Milan Lucic, we’ll keep Hall fairly high on the list due to the impeding arrival of a certain much hyped first overall pick.
-If Ben Bishop weren’t locked in to nearly $6 million per year through 2017, Andrey Vasilevskiy would appear higher on this list as I have him the number two goalie prospect behind only Gibson. As it is, Tampa did clip the aging Nabokov to give the 20 year old 12 starts and 4 relief appearances in backup duty. Aside from wins, Bishop was marginally above average so I don’t believe Vasilevskiy is as buried behind Bishop as it would seem.
-Reminder: Players such as Logan Couture, Jaden Schwartz, and Jordan Eberle will see their values take a bit of hit in leagues where PIMs comprise at least 1/6 of scoring categories due to their lack of recording penalty minutes (only 12, 16, and 22 respectively for the trio this season). That doesn’t mean you should knock them down several rounds, however. Couture remains one of the most consistent scorers having followed up his .81 first half scoring rate per game with a .82 in the second half.
-Similarly, players like Gabriel Landeskog or Chris Kreider deserve a bump in leagues that count more real-time stats such as hits and blocked shots. Landeskog in particular is also a very dependable player having skated in 82, 81 and 82 games in 3 of his first 4 seasons (minus the strike shortened 12-13 campaign where he missed 5 games with a concussion).
-Should shorthanded goals or points comprise one-fifth or one-sixth of the stat categories in your league, Tyler Toffoli will likely carry a bit more value to your league. Toffoli led the league in shorthanded points this season with 6 (5 of which were goals). Shorthanded points can be flighty year to year, but as we’ve seen with players like Toews, Hossa, and Tomas Plekanec they’re always good for at least 3 per season.
-You may have noticed the run of defensemen listed in the mid-20’s. Several are very similar as far as what they produce in fantasy hockey, and your preference may depend on where you are in your rebuild. I remain high on John Carlson and his 20% increase in production this season may also include a bit more future upside given that the incumbent PP QB in Mike Green may depart via free agency in the off-season. Given that Washington’s PP% is always right near the top of the league every year. I’ll gladly roster Carlson as a second tier defenseman beyond the top guys. Assuming Green does in fact depart, I’d rather have Carlson than the Doughty and Pietrangelo types for next season. Obviously with Carlson hitting 25 years of age, the Ekblads and Dougie Hamilton (younger) types will hold more value for those still in deeper rebuild mode.
-Aleksander Barkov recorded 12 goals and 13 assists in 38 post-break games. However, that came accompanied by a 17.4 shooting%. Barkov only managed a 7.4 shooting% in the first half so one would assume his true number falls somewhere in between. Skating with Jagr and Huberdeau for a full season next year could mean he inches closer to a 25 goal campaign, but I would bet or something around 20-22 or so goals and around 50-55 points next year.
-No idea what to think of Jeff Skinner. .4 points per game and a -24 meant he was tough to roster even in keeper/dynasty leagues unless you spent the entire year in rebuild mode. If there is a plus to his season, he managed a sub-league average 7.7 shooting% (league average was 8.9% this season). He’s had multiple concussions in his young career but he managed to suit up in 77 games this season. He’s still only 22 and scored at a .77 clip the season prior. His value is too low right now to get anything out of him unless you happen to have a diehard Hurricane fan in your league. The best bet is to hold onto him for now and hope he rebuilds his value where I’d look to immediately unload him.
So that’s a final wrap for the season. Thanks to everyone who spent a minute to read whatever it is you read. A special thanks to those who checked in on the regular. And thanks to The Overlord for recruiting me to join TTMI’s merry band of lantern-jawed boulevardier men of action. I assumed I was just being brought in so that The Overlord could figure out a way to beat me in the TTMI League (don’t worry, he didn’t come close), but it turns out it was also to provide some much needed street cred for this roster of bohemian Chicagoland suburbanites (as well as a major upgrade in the charm department, obviously). Bell’s Oberon time!