Will NHL hockey start in January? February? It remains to be seen. For fantasy-draft purposes, it’s best to prepare for the NHL's optimistic projection, lest you find yourself suddenly cramming for a draft during the holidays with an early-January season start date on tap.
This year’s top 250 list might be the most fluid I've ever crafted. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, We’re dealing with: shortened 2019-20 seasons that halted some players’ momentum; extremely murky developmental timelines for prospects who haven’t gotten to play many if any games since last winter; and NHL veterans from teams who missed the bubble tournament who will have gone 10 to 11 months between games when the season starts.
For that reason, don’t be surprised if my rankings shuffle wildly in subsequent updates when teams start rolling out their training camps and the depth charts crystallize. This preliminary edition will be your starting point for the next month or so.
(a) This is a working list. I will periodically update it based on injuries, training camp battles and freshly announced line deployments. The ranks won’t shift much at first, but the changes will become more significant as the pre-season progresses, prospects do or don’t make their teams and injuries occur.
(b) These are fantasy rankings, not real-life rankings. If I had to win a real-life Game 7, I’d obviously choose Seth Jones over Tyson Barrie for my starting lineup. In fantasy? Give me the guy quarterbacking the Edmonton Oilers’ power play.
(c) I’m projecting players for 82-game point totals even though the season might be 48 or 56 games. It’s just easier to contextualize players’ values in full-season terms. You know what a ’30-goal scorer’ means. In a 48-game season we’d have to call him a ‘17.5-goal scorer.’ To heck with that.
(d) You’ll see a few players who aren’t even guaranteed long-term roster spots ranked ahead of players whose production you can set your watch to, such as Trevor Zegras over Joe Pavelski. The late rounds are for chasing big rewards on minimal risks. A prospect like Zegras could completely change your team’s fate if he wins a job and challenges for the Calder Trophy. If he doesn’t make the team? You can cut him, and Pavelski types will always be waiting for you on the wire.
These rankings factor in the following categories: goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, shots, power play points, hits, blocks, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.
It’s an annual tradition for me to accidentally omit a big-name player. If you notice a conspicuous absence, tweet me @THNMattLarkin. Thanks!
It’s go time.
1. Connor McDavid, C, Oilers: Think about how difficult it is to separate the fantasy values of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Nathan MacKinnon. Then ask yourself: “Which of the three may not have hit his ceiling yet?”
2. Leon Draisaitl, C, Oilers: I don’t fault anyone who prefers Draisaitl at No. 1. Not the most efficient scorer in the league, but he plays so many minutes that he dominates with his volume scoring. A super-safe fantasy superstar.
3. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Avalanche: Was elite for several years already but showed last season he can carry a team and challenge for best-player-in-the-world status even when his great linemates are hurt. Time for his first 100-point season now.
4. Nikita Kucherov, RW, Lightning: Is he…underrated even at No. 4? He’s just a season removed from posting the highest point total of the salary-cap era.
5. Artemi Panarin, LW, Rangers: An elite playmaker who makes others around him better. Second in NHL in points per 60 last season. Underrated as a goal-scorer, too.
6. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Lightning: A Vezina finalist three straight seasons. That kind of consistency is unheard of for NHL goalies nowadays. ‘Vasy’ sits in a tier of his own as the top fantasy netminder.
7. Auston Matthews, C, Maple Leafs: Best bet on the board to lead NHL in goals this season. Lost race by one goal last year. Since start of his career: leads all players in goals per 60. Ice time jumped almost two minutes per game after Sheldon Keefe took over as coach.
8. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals: As I say every year: he’s still a cheat code in leagues that count shots and hits. You could take him as high as fifth in those leagues. Decline will come one of these years, but a decline for him could mean “only” 40 goals and 300 shots.
9. Jack Eichel, C, Sabres: Was on pace for 43 goals and 94 points when league shut down. Now he gets Taylor Hall as a probable linemate, too. Welcome to the first round, Jack.
10. Mitch Marner, RW, Maple Leafs: One of the best pure playmakers on the planet and still might have another inch of ceiling to reach. Could he reach 100 points this season?
11. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Avalanche: Injuries limited him to 42 games last season. Maybe you get a discount on him because of that. An elite passer who will continue teaming with MacKinnon for eye-popping offensive numbers.
12. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Panthers: Ninth in scoring over the past two seasons. Still somehow underrated. A top-notch source of assists.
13. Patrick Kane, RW, Blackhawks: Reaching the “boring veteran” phase of his fantasy-hockey career. You can probably get him near the end of Round 1, and he carries a great mix of super-high floor and a ceiling to still crack the top five in league scoring.
14. David Pastrnak, RW, Bruins: Would be my No. 5 overall player if I knew he’d start season on time. We’ll monitor his hip surgery recovery closely.
15. Brad Marchand, LW, Bruins: Would crack the top 10 if I knew he’d start season on time. We’ll monitor his sports hernia surgery recovery closely, too.
16. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Jets: Was the best goalie in the league last season. It wasn’t close. Numbers will be tough to sustain if Jets don’t clean up their defensive play, however. He had to bail them out too much in 2019-20.
17. John Carlson, D, Capitals: Didn’t get the Norris Trophy, but he was still a fantasy monster. He was on pace for 89 points when the season shut down. That would’ve been the most by a defenseman since Ray Bourque in 1993-94.
18. Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins: Ceiling starting to lower just a bit for the future Hall of Famer. But the floor remains rock solid. You can still count on Sid for point-per-game production at minimum.
19. Elias Pettersson, C, Canucks: Sublime offensive skills, and a leap is coming in Year 3. Wouldn’t be remotely surprising to see him post a 40-50-90 line.
20. Sebastian Aho, C, Hurricanes: Already good enough to be the No. 1 center on any fantasy team, and he could flirt with first-round value if linemate Andrei Svechnikov keeps getting better.
21. Mika Zibanejad, C, Rangers: Too low for a guy who led the NHL in goals per game and went nuclear for 34 goals in his final 40 games? Maybe. I’m just being a bit conservative because ‘DJ ZBad’ scored on 19.7 percent of his shots last season. I still think he’s an excellent bet for a 40-40-80 season. But we can’t project him to flirt with 70 goals, right?
22. Mark Scheifele, C, Jets: One of the best goal scorers at the center position. Guaranteed top-end linemates every season, too.
23. Brayden Point, C, Lightning: Positively dominant playoffs showed us his MVP-level talent. He can take over games. He’s asked to do so many things that he doesn’t have to win a scoring title to be a great real-life player. Best to project him out as a steady point-per-game pivot.
24. Roman Josi, D, Predators: After an unbelievably consistent run of offensive production, Josi achieved personal bests even in a shortened season and won his first Norris. Won’t come at any kind of discount anymore, but he’s as safe a pick as you’ll find, even if he regresses to his typical range of 55 to 60 points.
25. Evgeni Malkin, C, Penguins: No player averaged more points per 60 minutes last season. He remains a beast, but a beast who will miss about a quarter of every season, give or take. That’s why you can’t justify picking him in Round 1 anymore. Too much risk.
26. Aleksander Barkov, C, Panthers: Ice time plummeted by a couple minutes per game. His points per 60 were exactly in line with his previous two seasons at 5-on-5. If his ice time goes back up, so will his point total. Could be a relative bargain in drafts this year.
27. Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Hurricanes: A total package of size, strength and dedication. Is this the year coach Rod Brind’Amour unleashes Svechnikov and gives him top-line minutes? If so, we could see a leap from star to borderline superstar.
28. Cale Makar, D, Avalanche: Did things no rookie defenseman had done since Brian Leetch in the late 1980s and plays in an extremely fantasy-friendly environment. Would it surprise anyone if Makar led all defensemen in scoring as a sophomore?
29. Quinn Hughes, D, Canucks: Can’t mention Makar without mentioning Hughes, who made a similar impact controlling the game with his otherworldly offensive skills. These two dynamos should be the most coveted fantasy D-men of the next decade.
30. Patrik Laine, RW, Jets: The supernova season and Rocket Richard Trophy haven’t happened yet, but Laine is still just 22. Last season was by far his most consistent yet, wire to wire, ending a pattern of extreme streaks and slumps earlier in his career. If he’s achieved more all-around maturity, maybe he’s ready to take another leap. But does he need a change of scenery?
31. Victor Hedman D, Lightning: Settling into a Malkin zone: still an all-world talent whenever he’s on the ice, but prone to aches and pains, so his team limits his reps and he misses clusters of games. When he plays, he’s still fantasy gold.
32. Tuukka Rask, G, Bruins: Fresh off his best season since he won the Vezina in 2013-14. All indications are that he’ll be ready to resume his role as Boston’s No. 1 after exiting the bubble for a family emergency.
33. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Flames: If your league counts penalty minutes, Tkachuk is Marchand Lite. Both spend plenty of time in the sin bin for their agitating ways. Both are truly gifted offensive threats, too.
34. Carter Hart, G, Flyers: Firmly entrenched as the bellcow No. 1 netminder on a great defensive team. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him drafted as a top-three goalie by next season. Get him now while he hasn’t quite achieved star status.
35. John Tavares, C, Maple Leafs: Not even the best fantasy center on his own team, but you can still set your watch to 30-plus goals and point-per-game production out of Tavares.
36. Taylor Hall, LW, Sabres: Will be fun to see what he can do with Eichel. Don’t go crazy overbidding though. A new team doesn’t make Hall any less of an injury risk. He still has downside mixed in with the upside.
37. Dougie Hamilton, D Hurricanes: The most reliable source of goals at his position. He’d missed one game in four years before a freak injury last season, so don’t think of him as a massive injury risk.
38. Igor Shesterkin, G, Rangers: Posted incredible rookie numbers in a small sample size despite playing in front of a truly terrible defensive club. That’s how good this guy is. Has the ceiling to be the No. 1 overall fantasy goalie as soon as this year if the Blueshirts tighten up their two-way game.
39. Kyle Connor, LW, Jets: So underappreciated. Three consecutive 30-goal efforts and would’ve scored 40 last year if not for the shutdown.
40. Steven Stamkos, C, Lightning: Keeping his ranking conservative until we know how much time, if any, he’ll miss to start 2020-21 after abdominal surgery. At this point in his career, we have to bake the injury risk into his draft-day price.
41. Ilya Samsonov, G, Capitals: Shesterkin had the better rookie year, but Samsonov has a superior defensive team in front of him and arguably an easier path to wins. It’ll be interesting to see how many starts Henrik Lundqvist siphons away. I wouldn’t worry too much. Buy.
42. Carey Price, G, Canadiens: Team around him should improve. Jake Allen will also help reduce Price’s reps. He won’t lead league in minutes a third straight year, but he could post better rate stats with more rest – like Rask.
43. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Flames: Since a second-half swoon that began after the all-star break in the 2018-19 season, Gaudreau has 23 goals and 78 points in his past 90 games. Disappointing for a guy who was a consensus first-round pick a year ago. This season will be crucial in determining his long-term future with the Flames.
44. Mathew Barzal, C, Islanders: Watching him, you’d swear he was a perennial 90-point threat. The talent is evident. The production hasn’t quite matched it yet. He still has another gear.
45. Robin Lehner, G, Golden Knights: Expected to be recovered from shoulder surgery in time for training camp. Marc-Andre Fleury’s presence caps Lehner’s volume a bit, but Lehner should still post excellent numbers even if he only starts 50 games.
46. Zach Werenski, D, Blue Jackets: Attacks like a forward. Popped 20 goals in 63 games last season. Only Hamilton has more goals among D-men over the past three years.
47. Jake Guentzel, LW, Penguins: Players don’t always bounce back well from shoulder injuries, but I’ll give Guentzel the benefit of the doubt since he’s youngish as 26 and made it back in time for the playoffs. Was on track for a second straight 40-goal year before he got hurt.
48. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bruins: With Marchand and Pastrnak on his wings, Bergeron remains as valuable as ever as he reaches his mid-30s, though he could start slowly if neither guy is ready for the start of the season. Bergeron is also a lock to miss 10 to 15 games every season for general bodily maintenance.
49. Mark Stone, RW, Golden Knights: Pretty much peerless defensively as a winger, but he’s a pretty dominant offensive player, too. In his six seasons as an NHL regular: 29 goals and 73 points per 82 games.
50. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Avalanche: A distant third behind linemates MacKinnon and Rantanen in fantasy value, but Landeskog remains plenty useful. His typically robust hit total plummeted to a career-low rate last season. Hopefully that was just a reflection of him being banged up. The hits are a key element of his fantasy worth.
51. Shea Theodore, D, Golden Knights: The best offensive play driver among all defensemen last season. We haven’t seen his peak yet. It’ll probably come this year.
52. Jacob Markstrom, G, Flames: Even if he returns to being merely good and not great as a Flame: money talks. A six-year deal at a $6-million AAV tells us he’ll play a lot. On an above-average defensive club with playoff aspirations, Markstrom will be pretty valuable thanks to his expected volume.
53. Jordan Binnington, G, Blues: Down year a concern since the sample size going in was small. Still: trading Allen confirmed the Blues’ confidence in Binnington, and his fantasy setup remains extremely friendly as the clear No. 1 on a good team that plays strong defense.
54. William Nylander, RW, Maple Leafs: Finally has a coach that commits to him as a permanent top-six forward. The results have predictably matched his skill set. Expect more of the same solid production.
55. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Senators: A true power forward who racks up shots, hits and PIMs. With better linemates, his elite per-60 shot rate should result in more finishes. How do 30 goals, 100 PIM, 300 shots and 300 hits sound? This kid is a fantasy MONSTER in the making.
56. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Golden Knights: Was on pace for career-best numbers when season paused. Could he reach a new peak in Vegas? Coach Pete DeBoer likes to activate his defensemen.
57. Thomas Chabot, D, Senators: Will be interesting to see what he can do with more help arriving in Ottawa. The Sens run their offense through him, and he led all NHLers in ice time last season. Great talent, great volume, better finishers to pass to now. Stock: up.
58. Miro Heiskanen, D, Stars: One of the toughest players to rank. Was so all-world amazing in the playoffs that he may be overdrafted. He’s been merely good, not yet great, for fantasy purposes across his first couple seasons. He’s one of the best in the game, but just don’t do something crazy like commit a second-round pick to him yet.
59. J.T. Miller, LW, Canucks: Some will shy away after his breakout season at 27. But he had shown flashes in New York and Tampa, he carries a first-round draft pedigree, and he has excellent chemistry with Pettersson. I’m a believer.
60. Max Pacioretty, LW, Golden Knights: Settled into his new team after a rough first year. He’s back to being a super safe source of 30 goals.
61. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Sabres: Aggressive ranking, for sure, but when you establish a 40-point floor as a defenseman before you even turn 20, you’re destined to be a star, in fantasy and real life.
62. Travis Konecny, RW, Flyers: Skilled, feisty and getting better. For the first time in a long time, Claude Giroux isn’t the first Flyer forward you want to draft.
63. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Blackhawks: Give him a mulligan after disappointing season. His shooting percentage cratered. Bet on a return to at least 30 goals.
64. Brent Burns, D, Sharks: Still a difference maker in pools thanks to his prolific shot and goal totals on defense. But red flags are emerging. He’s quietly 35, and the Sharks team around him looks very weak.
65. Sean Couturier, C, Flyers: The reigning Selke winner deserves credit for his reliable offense, too, with a floor of about 70 points in a full season.
66. Blake Wheeler, RW, Jets: In decline at 34, but he’s still one of the game’s better playmaking wingers and has great finishers to pass the puck to.
67. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Capitals: A great talent, but we’ve reached the point where he’s become mildly overrated as a fantasy option. Has reached the point-per-game mark just once since joining the NHL in 2013-14.
68. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, LW, Oilers: Under the radar as Draisaitl’s left winger. Racks up points on the NHL’s top power-play unit.
69. Tristan Jarry, G, Penguins: His numbers tanked after the all-star break. Are we sure he’s good? The Penguins believe it. They chose him over Matt Murray. Jarry is a viable fantasy starter, but he’s not one of the safest.
70. Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Hurricanes: Since he’s the playmaker on a line with goal-scorers Svechnikov and Aho, Teravainen gets forgotten a bit. That also makes him underrated. You can likely get him a few rounds later than his two buddies.
71. Morgan Rielly, D, Maple Leafs: If he can avoid the injury bug this time, he should return to racking up points pushing the puck to a team full of potent scorers.
72. Brock Boeser, RW, Canucks: One of the best pure shooting talents in the game. Would love to see him stay healthy for a full season. For all the gushing, he doesn’t have a 30-goal season to his name yet. Injuries have robbed him of that.
73. Ryan O’Reilly, C, Blues: Locked into a large role on a good team. He won’t carry you, but he’s a strong No. 2 fantasy center who gets you 60 points or more in his sleep.
74. Filip Forsberg, LW, Predators: Has played to his floor rather than ceiling the past couple seasons, but it’s a good floor. You can draft him for 25-30-55 and could end up with 35-35-70.
75. Kevin Fiala, LW, Wild: Surface stat line of 23-31-54 in 63 games doesn’t do him justice. He had 53 points in his final 56 games and 26 points in his final 18 games. He was a breakout star. The only reason not to rank him higher is that he’s teased before.
76. Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Oilers: If you have the guts to reach on him 10 spots earlier than this, you might win your league. Struck up a tremendous rapport with Draisaitl and was almost a point-per-game player last season. Only reason to be conservative is that the sample size was just 27 games. But I’m bullish.
77. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Blue Jackets: He’s a tank of a man, the type of No. 1 center you win with in the playoffs. But his real-life value might inflate his fantasy value a bit. In pools you want him as your No. 2 center – not your No. 1 yet.
78. Erik Karlsson, D, Sharks: There’s no questioning his ability. But we have to question his ability to stay healthy now. The risk doesn’t justify the investment unless he really falls in your draft.
79. Claude Giroux, LW, Flyers: Ice time fell off a cliff with coaching change. So did his numbers. Still plays on a deep team with quality linemates. A declining Giroux is still valuable in pools.
80. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Panthers: Will get every chance to redeem himself given his $10-million price tag. Has shown the ability to fight back from bad years in the past. An intriguing buy-low candidate.
81. Elias Lindholm, RW, Flames: One of the only Calgary forwards who didn’t have a down year, and he may move to center this season as the Flames try to mix up their line chemistry.
82. Mike Hoffman, LW, free agent: He’ll find a home before the season starts once his suitors sort out their LTIR needs and/or get their RFAs signed. Hoffman is among the game’s most consistent 30-goal threats. It would be fun to see him land on a team with an elite puck-distributing center.
83. Frederik Andersen, G, Maple Leafs: They’re rolling with him again. He’s been a great source of counting stats as the league’s busiest goalie during his tenure in Toronto. After a bad year in which he lost his confidence, he’ll come cheaper than normal in drafts. Bounce-back candidate.
84. Tyson Barrie, D, Oilers: An all-offense blueliner joins a team that posted the highest power-play efficiency in 41 years last season. Sign me up.
85. Torey Krug, D, Blues: Krug should still be one of the NHL’s better offensive defensemen, but St. Louis isn’t as fertile of a fantasy-pool environment as Boston was. Krug’s numbers could dip slightly.
86. Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rangers: Should be a startable fantasy winger from Game 1 of his career. Since the Blueshirts are so strong at left wing already, though, it remains to be seen who Lafreniere will play with. Regardless, he’s the best bet to lead rookies in scoring since he landed on such an up-tempo team.
87. Evander Kane, LW, Sharks: Offers a tasty stat buffet for poolies. Goals, shots, hits and PIM.
88. Jakub Vrana, LW, Capitals: He’s one of the most efficient goal-scorers in the game over the past couple seasons on a per-60 basis. If Caps take the training wheels off and play him more than 14 minutes a game: easy 35-goal scorer.
89. John Klingberg, D, Stars: Heiskanen is the future, but Klingberg has been the better fantasy defenseman to this point. He’s 10th in scoring among D-men since debuting in 2014-15.
90. Dylan Larkin, C, Red Wings: Too low for a No. 1 center? Maybe, but he’s only had one A-grade season of fantasy production. That might remain the case until Detroit’s prospects stick with the big club for good.
91. Sean Monahan, C, Flames: Not necessarily a buy low coming off his worst season in years. Possible he drops to second line if Calgary tries Lindholm as No. 1 center.
92. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Capitals: Aging nicely. No longer a star, but he remains a fixture in Washington’s top six who will contribute a chunky assist total.
93. Anze Kopitar, C, Kings: Spin the wheel! Has alternated good and bad years for five seasons. The pattern points to “bad season” this time. The year-to-year inconsistency makes him a headache to own.
94. Ryan Ellis, D, Predators: People don’t realize how special he is – because they don’t see enough of him. He’s missed significant chunks of time due to injury in two of his past three seasons. When he’s in the lineup, he’ll give you D1 production. Worth more in head-to-head formats.
95. Timo Meier, LW, Sharks: Disappointed in 2019-20 but finished strong after a sluggish start. Didn’t shoot the puck as much last season. Hopefully he can do more damage with a healthier supporting cast this time.
96. Nazem Kadri, C, Avalanche: Not a guy you build your fantasy team around, but he’s a nice complementary piece who contributes goals, PIM and power-play points.
97. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW: A better own in roto formats than head-to-head, because he’s prone to massive slumps that can last weeks at a time. He takes a circuitous journey to get his 20-plus goals and 50-plus points, but he will get there.
98. Seth Jones, D, Blue Jackets: Jones might be worth more in real life than fantasy at this point. Werenski is the one tasked with jumping up in the play more. Jones handles more of the all-around shutdown work.
99. Kris Letang, D, Penguins: Still productive enough to be ranked higher, but you basically have to project for him playing only 75 percent of his team’s games at this point.
100. Brendan Gallagher, RW, Canadiens: The most proficient shot generator in the game by a significant margin on a per-60 basis. Put him down for around 30 goals and 275 shots.
101. Kyle Palmieri, RW, Devils: Gets roughly 30 goals every year. A great guy to grab while someone else is reaching too far on a hipster pick.
102. Sam Reinhart, RW, Sabres: Still waiting to see him put it together for a whole season. Typically, he starts slowly and catches fire in the second half. Last season, he did the opposite.
103. Bo Horvat, C, Canucks: Reliable floor of 20 goals and 50 points for Canucks’ leader. His playoffs teased an ability to do more offensively. Can he keep that momentum going?
104. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Blackhawks: 30 goals as a rookie, but he did so with unreal efficiency, converting 19.1 percent of his shots. Just in case he got puck-luck help, I’m bidding conservatively on him.
105. Tony DeAngelo, D, Rangers: Tremendous 2019-20 as Rangers’ power-play quarterback. But what if the more-complete Adam Fox overtakes DeAngelo? The two could cannibalize each other’s value a bit.
106. Tomas Hertl, C, Sharks: A torn MCL and ACL ended his season early. It’ll almost be a year between NHL games for him. Any risk of “rink rust”?
107. Brayden Schenn, C, Blues: Five straight seasons of at least 54 points, with triple-digit hit totals every year, too. Reliable as heck.
108. Logan Couture, C, Sharks: Not a flashy pick at this stage of his career, but before you reach on a rookie, ask yourself: is the kid a lock for 20-plus goals and 60-plus points? Couture is.
109. Max Domi, C, Blue Jackets: Domi is an emotional player. He plays his best when stimulated and motivated. He thus could bounce back massively with coach John Tortorella. Or they could clash. Domi is a boom-bust pick this season.
110. Nico Hischier, C, Devils: Time for a fourth-year leap. Since his debut in 2017-18, he ranks 105th among NHL forwards in power-play minutes per game. Look for the Devils’ new coaching staff to give him more opportunities.
111. Anthony Mantha, RW, Red Wings: There’s a 30-goal season coming if he can play anything close to a full year. He’s scored 30.5 per 82 games over past two seasons, but he’s missed 43 games over that stretch.
112. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Wild: ‘The Best Player Not in the NHL’ is supremely skilled, he’s smart, and he’s built like a sturdy little tank. Scouts say he has elements of Panarin, Marchand and Tarasenko in his game. Kaprizov will be an impact player right away, but the Wild's lack of skill at center will limit his linemate quality and upside temporarily.
113. Adam Fox, D, Rangers: Overshadowed by Makar and Hughes, but Fox was excellent as a rookie and better defensively. It feels like a matter of time before he permanently seizes the right point on the Rangers’ top power-play unit from DeAngelo.
114. Tomas Tatar, LW, Canadiens: Six straight 20-goal seasons. Whether Phillip Danault or Nick Suzuki is his center, Tatar will be ticketed for the top left-winger job in Montreal.
115. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Golden Knights: Locked into a top-six role and generates a lot of shots along with his usual 25 goals. Safe.
116. Bryan Rust, RW, Penguins: So tough to rank. Love the speed and the fact he’s always playing with an elite center. But the breakout was so extreme. Even in 55 games, he smashed his career highs. I’m interested, but I won’t take him before guys who post steady 30-30-60 lines.
117. Jonathan Toews, C, Blackhawks: Blackhawks don’t have to be good for him to have value. In fact, as their defensive play has tanked, his value has bounced back in recent seasons with the team forced into more high-scoring affairs.
118. Jakub Voracek, RW, Flyers: Piles up assists and power-play points, but he’s no longer above average in any other fantasy category.
119. Nick Suzuki, C, Canadiens: Hyper-intelligent. Had climbed his way to the No. 1 center role by the post-season. Ceiling should grow with a full season in that role, though the Habs could essentially have two first lines.
120. Victor Olofsson, LW, Sabres: Showed well on Eichel’s left wing as a rookie. But Sabres are so loaded on left side now with Hall in town that Olofsson could get moved to the right side. If he isn’t on Line 1: big dropoff playing with Eric Staal instead of Eichel.
121. Jeff Skinner, LW, Sabres: Is he the most volatile player of his generation, year to year? His goal totals in the past eight seasons: 13, 33, 18, 28, 37, 24, 40. 14. The pattern says the yo-yo will swing favorably this season, but now he has Hall ahead of him on the depth chart.
122. Ryan Strome, C, Rangers: Value is tied to his role as Panarin’s center. As long as Strome keeps that job and holds off, say, Filip Chytil, s’all good.
123. Philipp Grubauer, G, Avalanche: Could be a steal if he delivers a full, healthy season as the Avs’ No. 1. If he doesn’t show he can be The Guy, however, the Avs could seek an in-season replacement via trade.
124. Aaron Ekblad, D, Panthers – Still just 24. Hedman didn’t start posting big point totals until the season in which he turned 24. Ekblad led all D-men in primary assists per 60 last season.
125. Juuse Saros, G, Predators: Seized the job with excellent surge after the all-star break: 11-4,-0 2.14 goals-against average, .936 save percentage. Struggled during the play-ins, however, and Pekka Rinne, a.k.a. Nashville royalty, will still maintain a chunky role.
126. Jack Hughes, C, Devils: One of my favorite buy lows. Terrible rookie year, but his advanced metrics showed he did a decent job generating chances and had horrific luck. With an extra-long off-season to bulk up, he could bust out in a big way.
127. Ivan Provorov, D, Flyers: Got back on the path to becoming elite with the coaching change in Philly. Could ascend to the D1 tier this season.
128. John Gibson, G, Ducks: Could only overachieve for so long with such a difficult workload. Finally imploded last season. Still an excellent goalie. If Ducks improve even 10 percent as a team, he’ll be usable again in fantasy.
129. Neal Pionk, D, Jets: Surrounded by talented offensive forwards in Winnipeg. Led all qualified NHL blueliners in points per 60 on the power play last season, and there’s no reason for his role to change.
130. Evgenii Dadonov, RW, Senators: Maybe he’s less productive away from Huberdeau and Barkov on a new team. But Dadonov made them better, too. He’s locked in as a first liner on an ascending Senators team that will play its best young talent with him.
131. Kasperi Kapanen, RW, Penguins: Expected to get a long look with Crosby, and Kapanen’s speedy north-south game makes him an ideal fit. But let’s just remember that Kapanen’s most common 5-on-5 centers across the past three seasons, in order of frequency, were Matthews, Kadri and Tavares. It’s not like we haven’t seen Kapanen with top-end centers before, so we won’t necessarily see a big spike in his numbers.
132. Cam Atkinson, RW, Blue Jackets: Had played at least 79 games in five of six seasons before an injury-abbreviated 2019-20. Probably doesn’t score 40 goals again, but 25 isn’t too much to ask for.
133. Darcy Kuemper, G, Coyotes: Would rank a lot higher on a better team. Finished fifth and seventh in Vezina voting in his past two seasons. But the Coyotes are in dark times. They could be worse this season. If you draft Kuemper, you hope he gets traded to a contender.
134. Anders Lee, LW, Islanders: Hasn’t shown much of a ceiling since John Tavares left, but you can still count on Lee to parlay his stellar net-front skills into 25 goals.
135. Denis Gurianov, RW, Stars: Led all rookies with 20 goals despite playing a measly 12:59 per game. Time for Dallas to make him a top-six fixture. Breakout alert.
136. Keith Yandle, D, Panthers: Still such a steady source of assists. Panthers may score less with two of their top wingers leaving as UFAs, though, and Yandle is 34, so his stock is down slightly.
137. Tom Wilson, RW, Capitals: A great buy in PIMs/hits leagues, as he can flirt with the league lead in both categories while also chipping in 20-plus goals as Washington’s first-line right winger.
138. Anthony Cirelli, C, Lightning: Could follow Sean Couturier’s career path. The defensive play is already elite, and the offense is starting to catch up. With Tampa using Stamkos on the wing more, Cirelli can do damage at both ends of the ice as the No. 2 center.
139. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bruins: Still waiting for the offensive numbers to catch up to his all-around ability. With Krug gone, he’s Boston’s best puck-moving blueliner now. If a breakout is going to happen, this is the year.
140. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Coyotes: If Coyotes regress, it shouldn’t affect ‘OEL,’ as he’s always posted strong stats on bad teams. He remains one of the better goal-scorers at his position.
141. Clayton Keller, RW, Coyotes: The Coyotes are certainly paying him to be a marquee scorer. When will the evolution happen? At 22, he still has plenty of time. MacKinnon, for instance, was a disappointment until going bonkers in his age-22 campaign.
142. Shea Weber, D, Canadiens: Can’t count on him to play a full season but, amazingly, he’s back to producing his vintage Man-Beast stat lines whenever he’s in the Habs’ lineup.
143. Matt Duchene, C, Predators: The production rarely matches the name brand, but he’s bounced back from bad years before, so he’s still draftable for his upside.
144. Mark Giordano, D, Flames: He’ll keep declining at 37, but his role as the minutes eater and top puck-mover in Calgary hasn’t gone anywhere.
145. Elvis Merzlikins, G, Blue Jackets: Should rank way higher, but his platoon setup drains his value. A shame. If one guy emerges as the bellcow, he’d jump 30 spots in these rankings.
146. Joonas Korpisalo, G, Blue Jackets: See above.
147. Mikhail Sergachev, D, Lightning: Still a baby in defenseman years at 22, and already productive enough to be a D2 in most pools. Good floor but also has plenty of upside.
148. Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Blue Jackets: Was enjoying a really nice breakout before fracturing his ankle. Had 14 goals in a 17-game stretch before the injury. He could be a steal with a mid-round investment.
149. Mikko Koskinen, G, Oilers: It appears GM Ken Holland won’t seek an upgrade after Koskinen and Mike Smith flopped in the post season. Koskinen was slightly above average in the regular season. He can probably replicate that this season.
150. Jeff Petry, D, Canadiens: One of the more underrated defensemen in the game has elevated himself from waiver-wire fodder to someone who should be drafted in all leagues.
151. David Perron, RW, Blues: Might be the quintessential boring-veteran draft pick. He’s always available relatively late, and he always delivers helpful offense. Across the past four seasons he averages 24 goals and 64 points per 82 games. Since he never plays a full year, knock five goals and 10 points off that projection and he’s still pretty handy.
152. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Red Wings: Eventually might get passed on depth chart by higher-pedigree prospects, but he’s Detroit’s best option alongside Larkin and Mantha for now. Back-to-back 20-goal efforts.
153. Brock Nelson, C, Islanders: Extremely consistent. Rarely misses a game. Has landed between 19 and 26 goals in six consecutive seasons.
154. Alexander Radulov, RW, Stars: Aging out of fantasy stardom, but he showed enough in the playoffs to make me think he can land somewhere between his usual 70-point season and his disastrous 2019-20 numbers. He can still deliver 20-30-50 for us.
155. Martin Necas, RW, Hurricanes: Can’t be trusted for a spike in goals yet because his shot rate is so low. But a climb to the 50-point range is attainable for the slick-mitted Necas, who should be a top-six fixture.
156. Matt Murray, G, Senators: Coming off terrible year with a good defensive team playing in front of him. Was actually better when the Pens did a weaker job limiting chances. Does that mean Murray could find a rhythm with more work in Ottawa? Medium risk, medium reward.
157. William Karlsson, C, Golden Knights: An underwhelming fantasy option since his anomalous 43-goal explosion two years ago, but he’s the No. 1 pivot on a Vegas team that is very thin up the middle.
158. Matt Dumba, D, Wild: Can be such a difference maker if he can rebound from a poor season. He’s one of the few defensemen in the league capable of scoring 20 goals. He had 12 in just 32 games the season prior.
159. Anton Khudobin, G, Stars: Best goalie in the league in terms of goals saved above average per 60 over the past two seasons. A complicated player to draft, though. Ben Bishop will eventually return, and Khudobin faded a bit late in the playoffs under a starter’s workload.
160. T.J. Oshie, RW, Capitals: Lockout year excluded, has eight straight seasons of at least 18 goals and 49 points. No longer an upside guy, but safe as ever.
161. Jaden Schwartz, LW, Blues: Played every game for the first time in his career last season. Still just 28. He should remain a solid secondary scorer for the Blues and for your fantasy team, especially if injury woes are behind him.
162. Andre Burakovsky, RW, Avalanche: Finally posted numbers reflective of his talent after trade to Colorado. I wouldn’t mind seeing it one more time before I’m all in. Was an underachiever for so many years in Washington that he burned me.
163. Reilly Smith, RW, Golden Knights: Not a spectacular talent but does everything pretty well and always gets enough points to be rosterable in medium to deep formats.
164. Jason Zucker, LW, Penguins: Went 6-6-12 in 15 games after arriving with Pens via trade. Should be a bargain as long as he holds off Jared McCann for the No. 2 left wing gig.
165. Rickard Rakell, LW, Ducks: Back to back disappointing years. Shooting percentage way down. That may reflect a decline in linemate quality, and that isn't guaranteed to change just yet on a rebuilding team.
166. Phil Kessel, RW, Coyotes: One more try? They need him. If his shot rate and accuracy return to his career norms, he’s back to being a worthy pick.
167. Chris Kreider, LW, Rangers: Lafreniere might push him down to Line 3. That’ll hurt. But Kreider’s blend of goals and hits still makes him a nice depth piece.
168. Quinton Byfield, C, Kings: Entirely possible the Kings decide he needs more seasoning and return him to junior after camp or the nine-game threshold. But he’s a must-own if the makes the team. He has the size and strength of a 30-year-old man and the upside to be Eric Lindros Lite if he delivers on his potential.
169. Paul Stastny, C, Jets: Played well with Ehlers and Laine on his wings when Jets rented him in 2017-18. Likely will team with them again.
170. Braden Holtby, G, Canucks: Not as old as people think. Canucks goaltending coach Ian Clark could fix him. But how will the starts shake out between him and Thatcher Demko?
171. Thatcher Demko, G, Canucks: Earned himself a bigger piece of the pie and rendered Markstrom expendable with great relief work in playoffs. But Holtby signing was disappointing from a poolie perspective. These two will damage each other’s value.
172. Kaapo Kakko, RW, Rangers: Was one of the worst regulars in the NHL last year. He was also 18. The potential hasn’t gone anywhere. Once he finds his footing, he could bust out in a hurry. Projects to be a star with tremendous intelligence and puck skills.
173. David Krejci, C, Bruins: Will open season with weaker linemates than normal as the secondary options are forced to play higher in the lineup until Marchand and Pastrnak return.
174. Filip Hronek, D, Red Wings: Less valuable in plus-minus leagues but is an underrated point-producer as the primary power-play quarterback in Motown.
175. Cam Talbot, G, Wild: No team limits shot quality better than the Wild – two years running. Could Talbot have a monster year, then? Tough to say. Some goalies play better when they’re busier. Decent boom-bust option as your No. 2 netminder.
176. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Sabres: Hate on him all you want. He may as well be a different player when it comes to fantasy. He’s extremely useful there. Gives you 40 points, 200 hits and 100 blocks a year.
177. Ryan Pulock, D, Islanders: A bomber on the blueline who is particularly valuable in hits/blocks formats.
178. Ryan Suter, D, Wild: The Nicklas Backstrom of the blueline. Past his prime but keeps pumping out good assist totals.
179. Conor Garland, RW, Coyotes: Playing in obscurity, he’s of the cheaper sources of 20 goals you’ll find.
180. Drew Doughty, D, Kings: Numbers never matched his real life contributions even when the Kings were good. On a rebuilding team, he’s merely a depth piece in pools thanks to his high-volume role.
181. Mackenzie Blackwood, G, Devils: Made tremendous strides last season. Positioned as Devils’ long-term starter. But Corey Crawford signing will devour a huge chunk of Blackwood’s volume. Disappointing for his fantasy value.
182. Nikita Gusev, LW, Devils: Fell short of his prediction that he could score 128 points (LOL). But he found himself after the first couple of months. Among players with at least 500 minutes at 5-on-5, he cracked the top 50 in points per 60.
183. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Canadiens: Looked great in brief stint with Canucks, but that was because he played with Pettersson. Habs setup is more like what he had in L.A.: a workmanlike offense by committee. I wouldn’t bet on 30 goals.
184. Josh Bailey, RW, Islanders: Poor man’s Voracek. Never reaches 20 goals but provides enough assists to fill out your depth on the wings.
185. Semyon Varlamov, G, Islanders: Any goalie in the Mitch Korn/Piero Greco tree is worth owning. If Varlamov seems low, it’s because megaprospect Ilya Sorokin will threaten to steal the No. 1 job.
186. Jared Spurgeon, D, Wild: Doesn’t post astronomical point totals but can be counted in for double-digit goals every year. High floor.
187. Zach Hyman, LW, Maple Leafs: Good bet for even-strength goals but doesn’t get much power-play time and is oddly reliant on empty-net goals to puff up his totals.
188. Jamie Benn, LW, Stars: Feels like he’s older than 31 because he’s so far removed from being a top-tier in pools. Even as an elder statesman, though, he can deliver 20 goals and 150-plus hits. Not bad.
189. Darnell Nurse, D, Oilers: Offers a similar mixed bag of counting stats to Ristolainen’s but shoots the puck more, usually scores a bit less.
190. Dylan Strome, C, Blackhawks: Not as promising as he was a year ago, as his grip on the No. 2 center job isn’t as firm. Kirby Dach will push him this season.
191. Robert Thomas, RW, Blues: Sleeper. Has produced strong point totals relative to his small workload in first two seasons. With Vladimir Tarasenko out, the Blues should increase Thomas’ responsibility and keep him on the right wing.
192. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Ducks: Signing with the rebuilding Ducks actually boosts Shattenkirk’s value. He played PP2 Tampa, but I’d bet on him getting a look on PP1 in Anaheim. The Ducks converted at 14.7 percent last season, good for 30th in the league. They signed Shattenkirk for a reason.
193. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, Rangers: I just can’t get excited about him. I think it’s a matter of time before Kakko and, eventually, Vitali Kravtsov pass him on the depth chart. In the present, as long as Buchnevich keeps playing with Zibanejad, there’s still plenty to like.
194. Kevin Hayes, C, Flyers: Solidified the Flyers' center depth. A very useful real-life contributor in all situations. His fantasy impact isn’t nearly as big.
195. Nick Schmaltz, LW, Coyotes: Can deliver a bushel of assists, but he’s empty calories otherwise in fantasy.
196. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Blues: Three surgeries on the same shoulder. It’s possible he’ll never be the same player again. If it appears he’ll come close to returning for opening night, he’ll still climb this board quickly. He’s earned that respect.
197. Nick Robertson, LW, Maple Leafs: Got his feet wet with some playoff game action. He’ll play in Toronto’s top nine and could work his way as high as the top line at some point. You can draft him late enough that the risk isn’t too high, but the reward potential is actually quite high. His major-junior career was unbelievably good.
198. Alex Tuch, RW, Golden Knights: Net-crashing power forward shook off bad regular season and looked dangerous in playoffs. Still can only do so much for your fantasy team if he can’t ascend higher than the third line, however.
199. Ryan Johansen, C, Predators: Duchene signing predictably ate into Johansen’s production. I’d rather swing and miss on a higher-ceiling proposition at this point than roster Johansen.
200. Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ducks: Still unchallenged for first-line center status in Anaheim until Trevor Zegras is ready. The upside is gone, but you could do worse for your third center in pools.
201. Jonathan Drouin, LW, Canadiens: With Habs adding two big-ticket wingers this off-season, it’s no longer a guarantee he plays on top two lines.
202. Mikael Granlund, LW, free agent: Could still be fantasy relevant if he lands in the right situation. Whereas Hoffman is a must-draft even as a UFA, Granlund can live on the waiver wire in shallower leagues until we know his fate.
203. Marco Rossi, C, Wild: Keep a close eye on him. The Wild are weak at center, so he has a better shot than most 2020 draftees to make the team and play on a scoring line. Loads of offensive potential.
204. Cody Glass, C, Golden Knights: They sure do need him after trading Stastny. Playing with Marchessault and Smith would be a profitable assignment for the sophomore playmaker if he proves he can handle the responsibility.
205. Jake DeBrusk, LW, Bruins: Can deliver 20 goals, but his game has plateaued. Maybe he starts the season on top line, however, and finds a spark while Marchand is out.
206. Brandon Saad, LW, Avalanche: Might not be asked to do as much in Colorado as he was in Chicago. He’ll boost the Avs' depth, but his fantasy numbers might dip a bit.
207. Roope Hintz, C, Stars: Big and fast. Has the tools to take another step forward in Year 3. A mini-breakout could jump him to 25 goals and 50 points.
208. Ben Bishop, G, Stars: Still a good bet to get his starting job back once he returns from knee surgery, but he’s not expected back until late March or early April, so he’s a stash or a Khudobin handcuff for now.
209. Phillip Danault, C, Canadiens: Domi trade keeps Danault safely in top-six role…for now. Jesperi Kotkaniemi is still a threat. Few players in the game drive possession better than Danault, and he can give you 45-plus points, too.
210. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Predators: Rebound candidate? One season removed from being really good. Has to get back to shooting the puck a ton if he wants to be a 30-goal scorer again.
211. Jordan Eberle, RW, Islanders: One of the many Isles vets you can count on for middling depth production. But Eberle appears to be out of upside now.
212. Gabe Vilardi, C, Kings: Overcame lengthy recovery from a major back injury and showed nice promise in a cup of coffee last year. Will be a lot more valuable if Byfield doesn’t make the team, however.
213. Tim Stuetzle, C, Senators: Should be a big-time game breaker in the NHL. Will it happen right away? A broken hand could delay his training camp, and the Sens have no reason to rush him. I like him better for 2020-21. That said, if he makes the team, you run to add him. It’s always worth drafting a player like this in the final rounds. You can add that boring veteran later if you need to drop the kid.
214. Owen Tippett, RW, Panthers: Several prospects could secure full-time roles in the Panthers’ forward group this season. Tippett is the best bet, as he transitioned so seamlessly in his first full AHL season.
215. Tyler Seguin, C, Stars: Hip surgery is serious business. It’ll sideline him into April, rendering him merely a high-end bench stash for the draft season.
216. Anthony Beauvillier, LW, Islanders: He had so much moxie in the playoffs. His shot rate absolutely exploded. It jumped 40 percent! Still waiting to see it translate to the regular season. If it doesn’t, he’s just a roster filler in pools.
217. Anthony Duclair LW, free agent: A burner who could score 25 goals on a team that gives him the opportunity. Undraftable if he doesn’t sign before season starts, but I’m ranking him as if he will.
218. Kirby Dach, C, Blackhawks: A sleeper for sure, and he’s certainly a long-term bet to overtake Strome in the top six, but it’s not automatic just yet. Dach versus Strome is a key position battle to watch in camp.
219. Vincent Trocheck, C, Hurricanes: Hasn’t been the same player since horrifically breaking his leg in November 2018. Given how good he was before that moment, he’s worth a late-round flier
220. Craig Smith, RW, Bruins: At worst, he should be a hot waiver pickup in Week 1. Pastrnak’s recovery timeline is longer than Marchand’s, meaning Smith will get a big early opportunity on a scoring line. Only two players in the NHL shoot the puck more frequently per 60 than Smith.
221. Alex Iafallo, LW, Kings: He likely isn’t L.A.’s long-term answer on a scoring line, but the role is there for now, and he enjoyed a mini breakout last season.
222. Dominik Kahun, LW, Oilers: A key guy to watch in camp. Bargain signing for the Oilers, and he’ll be a massive fantasy bargain if he lands on the first or second line.
223. Jaccob Slavin, D, Hurricanes: The game’s best shutdown blueliner is also a solid source of even-strength points. The lack of power-play looks caps his ceiling as more of a D3 or D4 guy.
224. Zach Parise, LW, Wild: His numbers suggest to draft him much higher, but he’s just not a guy I’ll invest in. At 36, he only offers a medium reward but with high risk.
225. Mikael Backlund, C, Flames: Can get hot, but he’s still more useful in real life as a two-way guy. Could even drop to the third line if Lindholm moves to center.
226. Zack Kassian, RW, Oilers: Does a lot of the same things Tom Wilson does but costs less in drafts. But whereas Wilson is his team’s No. 1 right winger, Kassian has a lot more competition for that job this year. Could easily end up in the bottom six if Jesse Puljujarvi makes a leap.
227. Filip Zadina, RW, Red Wings: Showed flashes in an injury-shortened year. Hoping he gets a full season in and breaks out this time. Still oozes potential to become a Marian Hossa type of player someday.
228. Tanner Pearson, LW, Canucks: I know he had a good year. I just prefer to bet on talent in fantasy, and Pearson is a fairly ordinary talent. Has secured a nice role as Horvat’s left winger, though. Worth picking as long as he remains in top six.
229. Kevin Labanc, RW, Sharks: There simply isn’t much competition for prime ice time on the right wing in San Jose. That makes Labanc rosterable if you can stomach a bad plus-minus on a declining team.
230. Josh Norris, C, Senators: The reigning AHL rookie of the year has my attention. Could climb Ottawa’s depth chart fast if and when he makes the team.
231. Trevor Zegras, C, Ducks: One of the best prospects in the sport at his position. Has truly special playmaking skills. Ducks don’t have much reason to hurry him, but if he starts lighting it up in camp, he’ll skyrocket up this board.
232. Grigori Denisenko, LW, Panthers: Talented and fierce. We can’t say for certain his game will translate to immediate success in North America, but I’m a believer he makes the team and becomes a top-nine forward at worst this season.
233. Alex Killorn, LW, Lightning: Meh. Career-best 26 goals but he also led the NHL in shooting percentage at 20.0, almost double his career mark. Major regression candidate.
234. Drake Batherson, RW, Senators: Nothing left to accomplish in the AHL, where he’s rifled off 116 points in 103 games across the past two seasons. Time to sink or swim in the NHL.
235. Christian Dvorak, C, Coyotes: As long as Arizona keeps using Schmaltz and Keller on the wings, Dvorak is the de facto No. 1 center whose floor in an 82-game season might be 20-20-40 at this point.
236. Andreas Johnsson, LW, Devils: Good enough to climb all the way to the first line if he’s healthy. A decent reclamation-project pick.
237. Marcus Johansson, C, Wild: Most projections have the Wild trying him at center. That would be a fruitful job, as he could play with Fiala or Kaprizov or both.
238. Emil Bemstrom, LW, Blue Jackets: Had five goals in final eight games of regular season. Was a league goal-scoring champ in Sweden. A deep sleeper.
239. Nate Schmidt, D, Canucks: His speedy game should play well in the Canucks high-octane attack.
240. John Marino, D, Penguins: Overshadowed by a magical class of rookie D-men in 2019-20. Marino was a revelation too. Even if he simply maintains the same level of play, he’s draftable.
241. P.K. Subban, D, Devils: Nowhere to go but up after the worst season of his career, and there’s still upside. I have no problem rolling the dice on him as my fourth defenseman.
242. Eric Staal, C, Sabres: With Hall, Reinhart, Skinner and Olofsson, Staal is all but guaranteed two good goal-scoring wingers to boost his point total.
243. Ilya Sorokin, G, Islanders: You have my blessing to reach on him earlier than this. Has a real shot to overtake Varlamov and become this season’s Shesterkin. A potential league-winning stash for your bench.
244. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Islanders: Was worth more in pools as a Senator. As an Islander he’s a third-liner, albeit a great one. Regular season and playoffs so far with them: 10 goals and 13 points in 29 games.
245. Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Oilers: One of my favorite home-run swings to take at the end of a draft. Oilers will give him every chance to win a scoring-line job. If he doesn’t? You drop him, no biggie. If he does? You have a massive steal.
246. Alexandre Texier, LW, Blue Jackets: Probably the favorite to start the season as the top-line left winger with Gustav Nyquist injured. Give me young players with paths to major roles all day in the late rounds.
247. Sam Steel, C, Ducks: Turns 23 in February. He’s one season away from “Are we sure he’s good?” and has Zegras coming for him on the depth chart. Worth one more shot, however.
248. Joe Pavelski, RW, Stars: Playoff run was magical but, because he's 36, the ugly regular season is a better predictor of his future results. No longer a must-draft player.
249. Barrett Hayton, C, Coyotes: We can throw out his forgettable debut. Injuries played a part. He’s gifted scorer with a great shot and can do a bit of everything. It’s just a matter of whether he gets a chance this year or needs more time to marinate before being an NHL regular.
250. T.J. Brodie, D, Maple Leafs: Partnering with Rielly, Brodie is a sleeper to post a career-best assist total playing on such a run-and-gun team.
ON THE BUBBLE: James van Riemsdyk, Samuel Girard, Vince Dunn, Ondrej Palat, Jake Virtanen, Ondrej Kase, Ty Smith, Patric Hornqvist, Jack Roslovic, Liam Foudy, Jake Muzzin, James Neal, Zach Sanford, Josh Anderson, Mattias Ekholm, Devon Toews, Linus Ullmark, Dylan Cozens, Colton Parayko, Josh Morrissey. Marc-Andre Fleury, Jacob Trouba, Jesper Bratt, Charlie Coyle, Thomas Greiss, Filip Chytil, Erik Gustafsson, Mats Zuccarello, Blake Coleman, Alexander Edler, Ilya Mikheyev, Troy Terry, Jack Studnicka, Jordan Kyrou, Petr Mrazek, Erik Haula, Adam Gaudette, Tyler Johnson, Robby Fabbri, Jakob Silfverberg, Alex Formenton, Andrew Mangiapane, Ryan Donato, Cam Fowler, Alex Goligoski, Pekka Rinne, Tyler Ennis, Justin Faulk, Vitali Kravtsov, Jack Quinn, Alex Nylander, Cal Petersen, Jonathan Quick, Sami Vatanen, Corey Crawford, Martin Jones, Devan Dubnyk, Jakob Chychrun, Luke Kunin, Nolan Patrick, Damon Severson, Thomas Harley, Eeli Tolvanen, Max Comtois, Danton Heinen, Antti Raanta, Connor Brown, Jake Bean, Duncan Keith, Bowen Byram, Morgan Frost, Joonas Donskoi, Victor Soderstrom, Matt Grzelcyk, Vladislav Namestnikov, Nino Niederreiter, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nick Foligno, Collin Delia, Phil Tomasino, Ryan Graves, Gustav Nyquist, Lucas Raymond, Oskar Lindblom, Martin Frk, Dustin Brown, Tyler Benson, Moritz Seider, Evan Bouchard, Oliver Wahlstrom, Erik Brannstrom, Joel Farabee, Nicolas Aube-Kubel