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Tag: Fantasy Hockey

VGK Players Undervalued In Fantasy Hockey Rankings

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It goes without saying fantasy sports are not an accurate measurement of how a player or a team will perform. Nonetheless, taking on the challenge of creating a winning lineup is an annual hobby for thousands of NHL fans. Right now, fantasy outlets are releasing their top player lists trying to accurately project the league’s point leaders for the 2022-23 season.

The same names lead the rankings as they have in previous years. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Auston Matthews, Cale Makar, and Nathan MacKinnon round out the top five best overall players according to NHL.com, ESPN.com, TSN.com, Sportsnet.com, and anyone else with eyes.

Locally, center Jack Eichel is the first name to appear for Vegas (44th) on NHL.com’s list of top 250 NHL players ranked. Mark Stone (45th), recovering from back surgery, is one behind his teammate. Defenseman Shea Theodore (99th) is the only other Golden Knight to be ranked in the top 100. While it may look like the fantasy experts are disrespecting some of VGK’s stars, others are being considered a sleeper pick for 2022-23.

With Robin Lehner on the shelf for the season, Vegas’ No. 1 job is ripe for the taking and at this point, it’s Logan Thompson’s to lose. In 19 appearances last year, 17 of which were starts, the 25-year-old posted a 10-5-3 record to go along with a 2.68 goals-against average, .914 save-percentage, and one shutout. –Nick Alberga, Sportsnet.ca

Although Sportsnet noted the position is officially up for grabs, they feel comfortable suggesting Thompson as VGK’s first goaltender to go in fantasy drafts around Canada and the United States. Of course, there needs to be a ‘buyer beware’ prompt for those interested in any of VGK’s netminders. Experts would tell you to wait until the later rounds.

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Fantasy Rankings Down On Golden Knights In 2018-19

All three of these guys could go way undervalued in fantasy this year. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

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Fantasy Hockey, Drafting Golden Knights

Yahoo’s Puck Daddy put out a list of the top 50 players this season in fantasy hockey. Not surprisingly to anyone, there’s not a single Golden Knight represented amongst the league’s elite. In fact, NHL.com’s rankings don’t even have a Vegas representative in the top 100, with James Neal checking in at 114.

Having looked at the Golden Knights scoring history, and considering many other factors, we’re projecting Vegas to score between 175-225 goals this season. They’ll probably allow closer to 250. Nonetheless, that’s 200 goals and approximately 350 or so assists that need to find a home here in Vegas. So let’s take a look at where we would rank the Golden Knights in a standard fantasy hockey league.

Best Options

Vadim Shipachyov: Even if Shippy isn’t quite the scorer he was in the KHL, he still should rack up the assists playing with Neal and his ice time will be plentiful as the likely top line center. The Golden Knights should really ride him to get a feel for what they’ve got as he’s one of the most intriguing pieces for the future of the franchise. 25 goals and 40 assists aren’t outrageous predictions at all for Shipachyov, and if his game translates like it might, he could be a top 20 center that you can draft in the 100-150 range. Plus, if the league has faceoff wins, he’s gonna get a bunch of those.

James Neal: I’ll go with NHL.com here and agree that Neal is the safest pick of all. He’s tallied 50 or more points in eight of his 10 seasons in the league and will certainly be leaned on much more heavily in Vegas to score than he was in Nashville, Pittsburgh, or Dallas. The question is how long he remains with the Golden Knights. If he’s putting up a monster season, expect his name to be all over the trade rumors, and in fantasy, that means you need to unload him before VGK does.

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