We hit you with the Top Ten Fantasy Prospects from the 2013 NHL Draft a little while back but now we're moving on to the big guns as we dial it up to eleven for the overall Top Eleven Fantasy Prospects.
A few things to note:
- Our definition of a prospect, for this purpose, is a player who has played 75 or fewer NHL games... if that seems like a randomly chosen cutoff, you'd be right.
- The rankings are based on long-term fantasy potential but we tend to give an edge to players that are older & closer to making the NHL.
- We're mostly looking at offensive production potential but we do upgrade/downgrade some players slightly based on other stat categories (PIMs, Hits, Blks, etc.) or if they seem to be a multi/one-dimensional player for fantasy purposes.
Here's our top eleven as we ranked them this summer... our top 500 is available in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings DB:
#1 Nail Yakupov, RW, Edmonton (NHL), 48 GP 17+14=31
- Was #1 in our ranking last year and we see no reason for Yak to give up the throne. He played limited minutes (14 mpg) last year but scored at a very solid clip (2.14 ESP/60) for a 53 point pace (over 82 games). Finished the year on a high note with 11+4=15 in 14 April games.
#2 Nathan MacKinnon, C, Halifax (QMJHL), 44 GP 32+43=75
- Nate debuts at #2 overall after a magical season. His skating will be a differentiator and he has the drive to keep improving. Projects as a goal-scoring, high-shooting Cman on an up-and-coming Avs team.
#3 Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Florida (NHL), 48 GP 14+17=31
- A smooth transition to pro hockey, including winning the Calder, vaults Hubadoo up from #9 last year. Should team up nicely with Barkov over the long-term. Btw, he's not a C, only took 33 draws last year.
#4 Justin Schultz, D, Edmonton (NHL), 48 GP 8+19=27
- Another riser (was #10 last year) after a prolific season spanning both the AHL & NHL. He's already a key cog in the Oilers PP machine, which should be one of the league's most dangerous for many years. He is hurt a little by the fact that he isn't an all-rounder (low PIMs, hits & blocks).
#5 Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, St.Louis (NHL), 38 GP 8+11=19
- Tarasenko holds steady after a hot & cold season. He saw limited minutes overall (13 mpg) with 1:47/gm on the PP. His upside is affected by the Blues depth and the Hitchcock factor.
#6 Alex Galchenyuk, C, Montreal (NHL), 48 GP 9+18=27
- After missing nearly his entire draft season, he put up some pretty remarkable numbers in the NHL last year, especially given his limited ice-time (12 mpg with 1:02 on the PP).
#7 Jacob Markstrom, G, Florida (NHL), 23 GP 8W, 3.22 & .901
- Some have soured on the big Swede but not us as the track record of success is there. He struggled at the end of last year but the whole team was awful down the stretch. The #1 job in FLA is already his, which is quite an accomplishment given his age.
#8 Jonathan Drouin, LW, Halifax (QMJHL), 49 GP 41+64=105
- The thought of him setting the table for Stamkos has us wetting ourselves. Love the skillset and he should be a point producer but we're not convinced that he'll be a fantasy stud given that he's more of a playmaker.
#9 Brendan Smith, D, Detroit (NHL), 34 GP 0+8=8
- Less patient GMs have tired of waiting for the 24-year-old to arrive as a fantasy force but he's taken the long road. He should see bigger minutes this year and projects as utility-knife fantasy monster... so hang in there.
#10 Sven Baertschi, LW, Abbotsford (AHL), 32 GP 10+16=26
- Flashed his potential with 3+6=9 (all ES) in the last seven games with Calgary last season once he was finally given a key role. Should be a featured player on a rebuilding Flames squad.
#11 Aleksander Barkov, C, Tappara (Fin), 53 GP 21+27=48
- Joins a Panthers franchise on the way up and should have the #1C role as soon as he wants it. He looks NHL ready now and shows great all-round potential, including being strong on draws.