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.
Consensus Fantasy Goalie Rankings:
Even the biggest diehard Golden Knights fans would draft Thompson as a part of a goalie tandem for their fantasy team, but expectations are higher than most would have predicted. NHL.com’s fantasy advisors have the Golden Knights expected starter fifth on their list of ten rookies to keep an eye on. Thompson is receiving praise from several outlets.
He was 10-5-3 with a .914 save percentage (tied for 17th in NHL; minimum 15 games) and one shutout in 19 games for the Vegas Golden Knights last season. With Robin Lehner (hip surgery) expected to be out for the season, Thompson should be considered the Vegas starter over Laurent Brossoit and be viewed as a fringe top 20 fantasy goalie option. –NHL.com
And this was written well after the Adin Hill trade.
Elsewhere on the ice, fantasy hockey participants across the globe should have high expectations for certain Golden Knights players. There is no doubt that fantasy GM’s will find value selecting VGK players who might be overlooked. At the center position, Eichel is ranked (12th), Chandler Stephenson is (67th) and William Karlsson is unranked, so he’s likely to be available in later rounds. On the wing, Stone comes in as the (9th) RW on NHL.com’s big board, with Jonathan Marchessault (34th) further down the LW list. Vegas fans would agree picking Marchessault that low would be a steal.
Consensus Top Wing Rankings
Top 5 RW
(9) Mark Stone
Top 5 LW
(34) Jonathan Marchessault
Lastly, NHL.com has Theodore and Pietrangelo in their top 26 d-men in the league. The younger of the two is ranked (19th) and the elder statesman is (26th), it’s a fair argument that both should be higher on the list. The rest of VGK’s d-core was unranked. Either way, there could be room on anyone’s roster for Alec Martinez and Zach Whitecloud. Sometimes it’s best to ignore the experts. Maybe it’s not the best strategy to draft all of your favorite Golden Knight players but there’s plenty of value jumping on 30-goal scorers in the middle round or a rookie goaltender with untapped potential late in a fantasy draft.
Good luck to all fantasy GMs. The pressure is on to make the postseason for you as well.