This is for those of you doing a fantasy hockey draft on Yahoo! in the coming weeks. Yahoo! has default pre-draft rankings you can modify, and we recommend you do that based on what we advise below, or in the heat of the moment you could end up with some pretty wacky picks or miss a real steal. This is particularly important if you plan on doing an auto-draft.
In their draft tools, Yahoo! also gives you the option to sort on Average Draft Position, which is a great idea, but the problem is, with so many drafts being done by auto-pick, the ADP is heavily biased toward the default pre-draft rankings, so it doesn't really help you that much.
We should mention that Yahoo! does a decent job with their rankings. It actually seems like someone gave it the old college try but when you're dealing with a life-or-death fantasy hockey draft (at least to some of us) then you want the job done right... so that's where we come in.
These should be pretty self-explanatory but we'll add some comments. The number indicates overall Yahoo! ranking.
Guys Who Should be Higher (higher, as in closer to Crosby):
16. Claude Giroux Mentioned as a potential top 5-6 pick in most drafts.
20. Taylor Hall 9th overall in scoring last year, could improve on that.
27. James Neal Last year he was ranked #15 and we thought that was too low. With a healthy Evgeni Malkin, Neal will exceed this ranking.
32. Erik Karlsson 15 forwards between Subban and Karlsson?
35. Kris Letang See Karlsson.
38. Jason Spezza A top 5-10 C if healthy.
42. Ryan Getzlaf 11th in points last year and a multi-cat beast.
48. Jamie Benn Could explode with Seguin, should be higher regardless.
51. Evander Kane Better than last year's 67 rank, but you know we love us some Evander.
61. Jakub Voracek 18th in scoring last season, deserves a bit more credit here.
64. Joffrey Lupul IF - and we all know it's a big if - he can stay healthy, he'll end up a lot higher than 64.
76. Ryan Kesler A healthy season and he's better than this rank.
81. Logan Couture This is an after-the-fact addition, submitted by Willis in the comments. Great catch, thanks! As Willis writes, "at #81 he is only about 40 spots below where he should be. Would anyone take Kesler over him?"
84. Max Pacioretty Should be in Evander Kane territory.
98. Mike Green 1st in D goals last year with 12, 82-game pace was 28+33=61.
101. Jeff Carter 4th in goals last season behind only Ovechkin, Stamkos and Tavares.
109. Jeff Skinner Production stunted by concussions the last two seasons.
120. Patrik Elias Will give you better production than this ranking indicates.
121. Oliver Ekman-Larsson 23rd-ranked D-man? He could easily be a top 10 guy by the end of the year.
123. Jarome Iginla Boston's new trigger-man. Could lead the Bs in scoring this year.
127. Justin Williams Continues to get no respect.
129. Cory Schneider People underestimate the fact that Schneids can steal games...and jobs.
141. Chris Stewart Led the Blues in points last season, but that's not saying much. Still...
142. Jonathan Bernier Sure, Reimer will battle, but if you think Bernier wasn't brought in to be the starter...you are incorrect.
153. Jaroslav Halak So, the highest-paid goalie on the best defensive team in the league is ranked 31st for goalies? I'd be taking Halak top-15 in most leagues.
154. Vladimir Tarasenko If Hitchcock lengthens the leash a bit, we might see a nice season.
216. Ryan McDonagh Mentioned a lot as a sleeper this year, with good reason. Depends how Vigneault uses him.
224. Brandon Dubinsky Finished last season with a flurry of points, should be well-used by the Jackets.
234. Michael Ryder Top 40 in goals in lockout season, top 12 the year before.
236. Jonathan Drouin Probably worth a flier before guys like Strome and Conacher, who are ranked ahead of him.
242. Alexandre Burrows In four seasons before the lockout he scored 28, 35, 26 and 28 goals. On pace for 22 in lockout season.
244. Shane Doan Fading but deserves better than this.
255. Nathan MacKinnon Probably should not be ranked just behind Justin Abdelkader and Chris Phillips.
260. Colin Wilson Really impressed in his limited stint with Nashville last year.
266. Jakob Silfverberg On pace for 229 SOG as a rookie last season.
270. Sven Baertschi Will be given every chance to flourish on a weak Calgary squad.
291. David Clarkson Big money, good minutes.
300. Ryane Clowe See Clarkson.
312. Aleksander Barkov Some say he's as talented as any player in the 2013 draft.
319. Kris Versteeg He won't win you your pool, but deserves more respect than this.
331. Bryan Bickell Playoff performance may have been a one-off, but if not he will be a huge steal this year.
335. Pierre-Marc Bouchard A leading candidate to fill Brad Boyes' vacant spot on the Tavares/Moulson line.
336. Zack Kassian If he sticks with the Sedins...yeah you know the rest.
342. Valeri Nichushkin Has impressed in pre-season, still a wild card but could end up having the best year of the 2013 draft class.
343. Beau Bennett If he ends up top six in Pittsburgh, this ranking will look like a joke.
363. Steve Downie If he can stay healthy, could be in for a nice rebound season playing with MacKinnon.
365 Jake Gardiner Crowded blue-line situation in Toronto, but if he can get a fair shot he deserves better than this rank.
374. Steve Ott Ranked just behind Dmitrij Jaskin, Derek Morris and Brian Gionta? Steve Ott says fuck off!
367. Alex Chiasson This might be a stretch as he played only seven games last year - but he did score 6 goals in that span.
485. Erik Cole Only one year removed from a 35 goal season, will get you great hit totals regardless.
500. Mikhail Grabovski Three time 20 goal scorer should rebound in offensively-minded Washington.
527. Cal Clutterbuck Guess hits weren't taken into account here. Also there has been talk of using him with Tavares and Moulson.
553. Ryan Malone Six-time 20 goal scorer, has been lining up with old buds Stamkos and St. Louis in pre-season.
565. Dustin Penner If he sticks on the Getzlaf/Perry line, you may have yourselves a small later-round steal.
597. Erik Johnson Not spectacular lately, but he's not this bad.
633. David Jones Cam has a half-boner for Jones this year. He has scored 20 goals twice before (Jones, not Cam's half-boner).
753. Dmitry Orlov Could surprise in Washington this year. Had 19 points in 60 games two years ago.
755. Mikael Samuelsson Washed up? Maybe, but apparently he has looked good in pre-season.
838. Brayden McNabb Impressed in limited viewings two seasons ago.
822. Torey Krug Longish shot but played well in the playoffs and this ranking is far too low.
Guys Who Should be Lower (lower, as in closer to Dave Dziurzynski):
10. Henrik Sedin Ahead of E. Staal. St. Louis and Giroux? Nope.
17. P.K. Subban He may in fact end up deserving this ranking, but if so Karlsson and Letang should be right there with him.
24. Sergei Bobrovsky 7th ranked goalie, too high for just one great year.
29. Carey Price 8th-ranked goalie ahead of Howard and Crawford?
44. Nail Yakupov Primed for a good year, but better than Jamie Benn, Evander Kane and Patrick Sharp?
45. Tyler Seguin May end up earning this ranking, but would you take him before Semin or Voracek? Well, maybe.
54. Mike Ribeiro Suggested by reader and FHS associate MasterofPuppets, good call considering Ribeiro's move to lower-scoring Phoenix.
90. Alex Galchenyuk Too high for a sophomore, especially when ranked ahead of guys like Wheeler, Bergeron and Backes.
94. Ondrej Pavelec 22nd-ranked goalie? Maybe the divisional shift will make a difference, but Pavs hasn't even proved he belongs inside the top 30, unless your league is only about saves and wins.
96. Brian Elliott Ranked ahead of Halak? Madness.
117. Sergei Gonchar Should have a good year in Dallas, but probably should not be ranked ahead of Ekman-Larsson.
118. Dany Heatley Ranked ahead of Elias and Iginla? Hasn't earned it lately.
164. Matt Read. Bump him down a couple dozen spots, like at least below Hodgson, right?
386. Nikita Kucherov Should be a good one eventually, but his chances of making the Bolts this year are slim.
579. Scott Gomez. On second thought, 579 sounds about right.
811. Chris Pronger Sadly, would probably still be a top 20 D-man. A moment of silence.
961. Alexander Khokhlachev Like Kucherov, probably won't make the bigs this year.
We have no doubt missed a few here - please feel free to chime in in the comments.