Last season, the Golden Knights scored the fifth most goals in the NHL. Of course, fantasy stalwart William Karlsson shocked the stat-geeks with 43 goals of his own. Based off the point totals by Vegas in 2017-18, you’d think there would be a handful of VGK options for fantasy owners. Well, NHL.com and ESPN fantasy gurus disagree.
NHL.com 2018-19 Projected Fantasy Points by Team
(End of 17-18 Season Fantasy Rank)
1. Winnipeg Jets (#1)
2. Nashville Predators (#3)
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (#2)
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (#4)
5. Washington Capitals (#5)
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (#7)
7. Boston Bruins (#6)
8. San Jose Sharks (#8)
9. Los Angeles Kings (#15)
10. Florida Panthers (#11)
11. Philadelphia Flyers (#14)
12. Dallas Stars (#13)
13. Columbus Blue Jackets (#10)
14. St. Louis Blues (#19)
15. Calgary Flames (#16)
16. Vegas Golden Knights (#9)
The Golden Knights finished in the top ten in fantasy scoring points last season. Not bad for a team that only had three players rated in the 2017-18 top 250 fantasy player rankings. However, the Golden Knights Stanley Cup run meant nothing to statistical jockeys preparing for 2018-19.
ESPN.com’s 2018-19 Individual Player Fantasy Rankings
1. Connor McDavid (Center #1)
2. Steven Stamkos (Center #2)
3. Nikita Kucherov (Right Wing #1)
4. Nathan MacKinnon (Center #3)
5. Auston Matthews (Center #4)
6. Mark Scheifele (Center #5)
7. Sidney Crosby (Center #6)
8. Johnny Gaudreau (Left Wing #1)
9. John Tavares (Center #7)
10. Andrei Vasilevskiy (Goalie #1)
*46. William Karlsson (Center #19)
*55. Jonathan Marchessault (Center #21)
*64. Marc-Andre Fleury (Goalie #10)
*147. Shea Theodore (Defenseman #32)
*206. Reilly Smith (Right Wing #38)
*209. Erik Haula (Center #59)
*233. Alex Tuch (Right Wing #44)
As you can see, ESPN isn’t very nice to the Golden Knights top players. Karlsson was +49 with 78 points, and he’s still considered the 19th best center, and 46th best option in the NHL. New addition Paul Stastny didn’t even make the top 250 list, but seven other Vegas players did. Nine Golden Knights made NHL.com’s fantasy player rankings.
NHL.com 2018-19 Individual Player Fantasy Rankings
1. Connor McDavid
2. Alex Ovechkin
3. Nikita Kucherov
4. Sidney Crosby
5. Evengi Malkin
6. Patrick Laine
7. Auston Matthews
8. John Tavares
9. Brad Marchand
10. David Pastranak
*48. Marc-Andre Fleury
*51. William Karlsson
*74. Jonathan Marchessault
*118. Reilly Smith
*178. Shea Theodore
*179. Alex Tuch
*218. Colin Miller
*223. Erik Haula
*240. Paul Stastny
NHL.com held an early offseason mock draft and the results weren’t friendly to most Vegas forwards either.
Top-liners William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith were the only Golden Knights forwards taken in NHL.com’s first mock draft. Wing Alex Tuch, who had 10 points (6G, 4A) in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games and solidified his role on the second line, went undrafted in the mock. –NHL.com
Same goes for defense. The fantasy experts participating in the mock draft found value in just one Golden Knights defenseman.
The only Golden Knights defenseman selected in the mock was Shea Theodore, who played on the first power-play unit last season with Marchessault, Karlsson, Smith and Tuch. Defenseman Colin Miller, wasn’t selected because of inconsistent usage and concerns about the second power-play unit without Perron and Neal. -NHL.com
Ouch. It’s tough to read for Golden Knights fans. Experts are clearly down on the roster and expect much less production from Vegas. Even in net.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was selected 13th at the position in the mock because of age (33), injury history (concussion, undisclosed injury last season), a lighter workload (46 games) and the fear of team regression. -NHL.com
The rankings aren’t great and suggest major regression by the second-year franchise. But again, these are projections, fantasy projections. It means nothing to the actual outcome of the game. And remember, fantasy experts failed to forecast the Golden Knights success last season. Maybe they’ll screw it up again.
I guess the Knights just need to blow all these pre-season fantasy predictions back to fantasy land, just like last season. Tuch…….undrafted……now that’s funny !! Flower, 13 out of 31. Yeah—–right !!
I hate it when somebody tries to predict how the VGK will play this year, We will support our boys and rise to the top again. Place your bets non believers because we’re coming in just 71 days. Although we lost James Neal I truly believe we will find a way to fill that void and persevere, but not with Tuck he’s nowhere close to ready to step up to the second line! Let’s hope he can at least score a few goals this season first and foremost.
Wonder if the statisticians don’t pay as much attention to circumstances. Fleury’s injury “history” was a freak knee to the head….and he missed well over a month, leading to his lighter workload.
And doesn’t a fast team inherently lead to more scoring? Not going to see the Ducks’ version of offense for the Knights.
Maybe a Homer, but these seem to be sleepers based on the rankings.
I’d switch Marchessault and Karlson. While I’m a fan of wild Bill, I’m still not completely sold that last year was a huge iver achievement. If he breaks 25 goals this year I’d be pleasantly surprised.
The rest of the list looks pretty weak from ESPN but then again they may be under the same impression of all our players as I am with 71. I think Marchessault and Smith are two of our more solid and standard career performers. I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to replicate what they did the first season. Of course if they do that, karlson will have be back to where he was too.
In closing while we may not achieve what we did last season, we won’t be the scrub team many picked us to be. Plenty of returning young hungry talent and key character players, going to be fun!
Most of the ESPN crew work with career statistical curves. Many of the Knights had career years and so the natural thought is regression.
This year will go along way in showing how much of last year’s success was simply “magic” and how much to players thriving in a different role, system, organization.
Analytics only seem to apply to VGK when they’re positive. Otherwise if you bring them up you get a lot of ” Yeah but no one believed in the team last year….”