Last week, NHL.com released their list of the top-250 fantasy hockey players for this season and it looks as though they really don’t think any Colorado Avalanche players are worth a whole lot to your fantasy team.
Nathan MacKinnon is the first Avs player you come across - and it takes a lot of scrolling down before you find his name on the list. You’ll find MacKinnon all the way down at number 101 on the list - behind players like Alex Wennberg, Ryan Kesler, Jason Spezza and Mark Stone.
Avalanche Players in the top-250
I get that there’s good reason to be pessimistic about the Avs this season, but do we really think that the best Avs player is going to crack the top-100 in production? I sure don’t.
101. Nathan MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon is coming off of a year where his shooting percentage was at a career low, the law of averages suggests that can’t be maintained. To expect less than 60-points from the 22-year old seems rather silly to me. He generates offense at a high rate and has the potential to be one of the top offensive players in the league. He’s not an elite player in the NHL right now, but he’s definitely got the capability of being in the second-tier and you could do a lot worse than having him as the 2C on your fantasy team. Prediction: 25 goals, 42 assists
159. Matt Duchene
Has Matt Duchene fallen so far in the eyes of the media that there are people that think he isn’t even in the top-150 fantasy hockey players. This is a player that once put up 70 points in 71 games. There is the weird belief among some segments of the fan base that Duchene was so bad last year because he ‘quit’ on the team. I find it hard to think so little of a professional athlete that I’d believe he gave up and didn’t try for three months.
Duchene was bad last year, that is undeniable - but so was the rest of the team. What is also undeniable is that when he’s on, Duchene is one of the best offensive players in the league. For him to be ranked below players like Patrick Maroon, Anthony Mantha and Evgeny Dadonov is just plain ludicrous. Prediction: 24 goals, 37 assists
180. Tyson Barrie
At his best, he’s one of the most dynamic offensive defensemen in the NHL. At his worse, Tyson Barrie is a mistake-prone turnover machine that leaves fans wondering what he was thinking. Fortunately, the good most often outweighs the bad when it comes to Barrie’s play.
Coach Bednar gave him the highest percentage of offensive zone start on the team last season and if that usage continues, Barrie will be a very useful fantasy player. The biggest question will be whether or not the Avs powerplay can improve this season. Prediction: 10 goals, 30 assists
199. Gabriel Landeskog
After producing at a 61 point average (over 82 games) through the previous three seasons, the captain’s production cratered last season - like everyone else on the team. He’s not going to drive offense the way MacKinnon or Duchene do, but for him to be ranked below Nikita Zaitsev is ridiculous. Prediction: 21 goals, 30 assists
217. Mikko Rantanen
This one is just plain silly. As a rookie last season, Rantanen was the only Avs player to break the 20 goal mark and that is coming off a year where he produced at a historical rate in the AHL. He’s got the potential to be one of the top young forwards in the league. If he gets to spend most of the season on MacKinnon’s wing, putting up 35 goals shouldn’t be out of the question. Prediction: 32 goals, 28 assists
233. Tyson Jost
I know I’m higher on Jost than many, but I think he has a legitimate chance to be in the Calder conversations all season. He was one of the best freshmen in the NCAA last season and was able to get a taste of the NHL, so he’s not going into this season completely green. One underrated factor that could give Jost’s production a boost is the Avs forward group - especially if Duchene is still on the team. Coach Bednar will have the opportunity to shelter the rookie with a high percentage of offensive zone starts and keep him away from tough matchups. Given the opportunity, Jost could dive the offense on a very productive 3rd line this season. Prediction: 19 goals, 32 assists
It seems as though these rankings entirely reflect last season and completely disregard the history of these players. If we were talking about older players, on the downturn of their career, that might make sense, but in the case of the Avs we are talking about guys in their prime - or not there yet - that have a history of being dynamic offensive players.
I guess the one good thing, is that if people in your fantasy league also devalue the Avs this badly, you’ll be able to get some great steals on draft day.