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.
Worth mentioning that this year's Yahoo rankings are the best we've seen from them, but 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.Skaters who should be ranked higher (as in closer to Crosby)
21. Taylor Hall Finished 8th overall in points two years ago and improved to 7th last year. His plus-minus alone is sliding him down the ranks here.
35. James Neal Sure, the downgrade in linemates will hurt, but if you're in a multicat league he is better than 35.
61. Wayne Simmonds with Hartnell gone, Simmonds should play an even bigger role in Philly. Once again, draft higher in PIM leagues.
77. Kris Letang The mighty have fallen, but could still be mighty again.
94. Kyle Okposo why not bet on the Tavares gravy train again? Could hit 80 points playing with a healthy JT all year.
96. Patric Hornqvist Okay, maybe not, but Pittsburgh turned Chris Kunitz into a top 10 scorer...
104, Mike Green See Letang
121. Evgeny Kuznetsov Elite talent, could play with Ovie quite a bit.
124. Jason Pominville Always underrated, probably won't have to reach past this ranking to grab him.
132. Dustin Byfuglien Ranked 28th among D-men...more importantly, is still ranked as a D-man but will play at wing again this season. Watch this situation closely as Buff may lose his D ranking entirely next year on sites like Yahoo and Fantrax. You may want to consider unloading him to an uninformed owner.
147./149./151. Nail Yakupov / Jonathan Huberdeau / Jaden Schwartz Okay, chances are one of these young guns will have a breakout season. But we refuse to tell you which one.
159. Alexander Edler Was forced to play on his weak side last year....a reversal could mean he gets back to 40+ points to accompany his always excellent peripherals (last year's minus-39 aside)
163 Jacob Trouba We might be a year or two early on this, but chances are good Trouba will be the next up and coming D-man to experience an Ekman-Larsson level breakout.
178. Valeri Nicushkin A full season with Seguin and Benn (or Spezza) and Nic should exceed this ranking
198. Roman Josi Ranked 45th among D-men here. Finished last year tied for 9th in goals (13), 19th in shots (168) and 25th in points (40). At only 24 years old the best is yet to come.
210. Tobias Enstrom Good rebound candidate
265 Lubomir Visnovsky A healthy season and we could see a Markov-esque resurgence. When healthy will be on PP1 with Tavares.
290. Alex Tanguay Playing with Iginla could rejuvenate...
315 Ryane Clowe Better than this, but probably worse than this.
324. David Clarkson Dude is still getting paid a shit-ton of cash, will get good minutes.
343. Nick Bjugstad Maybe too soon to give him more credit than this,
344. Zack Kassian Could have a Hartnell-esque season in him eventually. Not this year, but in standard leagues you might want to take a late-round flyer
378. Ryan Strome Decent late-round gamble in case he sticks with Tavares.
399. Mike Richards Even in a horrible off-year last season he still finished ranked 223.
526. Sam Gagner Should be a top-six fixture in Arizona
572. Matt Martin Hits leagues only
641. Morgan Rielly 26 points last year
649. David Booth On second thought...
700. Ladislav Smid Hits and Blocks leagues only - he's a monster in both categories.
810. Mark Stone Long-shot to be fantasy-relevant this year but should exceed this ranking easily.
903. Ryan Whitney Just kidding.
931. Joey Hishon Often-injured former high draft pick (1/17) is now 22 and could surprise. Probably not though.
1009. Brett Connolly Must clear waivers now so will either stick with Tampa or be traded. Former #3 overall pick is now 22 years old.
In the past we've also had a look at players who should be ranked lower - this year we're going to leave that to you - feel free to add yours in the comments.
Also, if you want to have access to this article beyond Sep. 30, you may want to copy and paste it somewhere on your own computer. More updates to follow...