Welcome to the Daily Faceoff pre-season rankings. Rankings were particularly difficult this year due to the lack of information regarding lines, playing time, tracking how players were doing in Europe, and a variety of other factors. Please take these rankings with a grain of salt, and use our knowledge to supplement your own best judgement. Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments!
Players are ranked at each position they are eligible for in Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey.
Left Wing is fairly strong this year, combining elite talent at the top and strong depth all the way down to number 40. Alex Ovechkin is a wild card under new Capitals coach Adam Oates. He could bounce back and find himself as the number one left wing in fantasy hockey, or again fall outside the top 5. Alexander Semin is another interesting case, monitor closely his situation in Carolina.
As usual, Center is the strongest position in fantasy hockey, although many of these players will be utilized as wingers due to the dearth of talent there. Crosby is obviously the big wild card due to his health, although Malkin is almost as good as a healthy Crosby. David Desharnais is an interesting case, as we’ll see if he can replicate the chemistry he had last year with Max Pacioretty.
Right Wing is probably the weakest position in fantasy hockey this season. While there is elite talent like Malkin and Giroux at the top, the position is shallow on talent, with a pretty steep drop-off after the top 15-20 eligible players and even further into the 30s.
Defence is interesting this year, with strong talent such as Karlsson, Chara and Letang at the top, and intriguing options much lower like Dmitry Kulikov and Nikita Nikitin. Keep an eye on the situation in Vancouver as Edler, Bieksa, Hamhuis and Garrison all battle for ice time.
There are a couple of interesting situations to monitor this season when it comes to goaltending. The Schneider/Luongo situation remains unresolved in Vancouver, and it remains to be seen who gets the bulk of the work for a strong St. Louis Blues squad. Back-up goalies should have more value than usual this year due to the condensed schedule, so a back-up on a good team (Bernier, Vokoun, Neuvirth) could have more value than a starter on a weaker squad (Pavelec, Nabokov).