This week, we’ll take a look at where some players are being drafted in Yahoo Leagues and compare that to where they should be drafted. Keep in mind, these ‘average draft pick’ values from Yahoo may not be the best representation of where players will be drafted in your league, especially considering a lot of leagues haven’t even drafted yet. I just wanted to share some thoughts for those of you that like to refer to these rankings during your draft. We’ll begin this series with the Boston Bruins!
Avg Pick: 8.4 Status: Accurately Valued
Over the past three seasons, only Connor McDavid, Nikita Kucherov, Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane have tallied more points than Brad Marchand. That becomes even more impressive when you consider that Kane has just five more points despite playing in 18 more games. In addition, Marchand is just eight points behind Crosby who has also played nine more games. If you told me a few years ago that Crosby and Marchand would have similar offensive outputs, I would have slapped you across the face. But in today’s reality, Brad Marchand is a superstar.
Avg Pick: 12.3 Status: Accurately Valued
The 23-year-old forward has been consistently excellent over his past three seasons with the Bruins. What makes Pastrnak a top-tier fantasy hockey asset is his goal scoring ability, he scored 38 times in 66 games last year – a 47-goal pace! The list of players capable of tallying 40 goals and 40 assists isn’t very long, so I can understand why Pastrnak would be taken off the board early in fantasy hockey drafts.
Avg Pick: 30.9 Status: Accurately Valued
I think Bergeron is accurately ranked here because the factors that keep him at the top of draft lists are slightly weighed down by an element of uncertainty. Boston’s top line of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak is rarely separated when all three members are healthy. With this in mind, drafting Bergeron means drafting a player who is exposed to two of the league’s top offensive talents. Now that doesn’t even account for the tremendous fantasy value Bergeron brings to the table on his own as one of the best two-way forwards and face-off takers in the league. However, remember that uncertainty I mentioned earlier? Well, Bergeron is 34 years old and has missed more than 15 games in each of the past two seasons. I hate to devalue a player because of ‘injury history,’ but it’s definitely something to consider as players get older.
Avg Pick: 167.1 Status: Accurately Valued
Jake DeBrusk is going to be a good sleeper pick until he eventually breaks out, so I’m tempted to say he’s being undervalued here. However, considering how many proven 50+ point players exist in the NHL, it’s hard to advocate for DeBrusk as a top-150 pick going into next season. We’re all expecting him to break out soon, but you’re not going to get any value by drafting him as if he’s already a 60-point-player.
Avg Pick: 171.9 Status: Undervalued
Krejci had 73 points in 81 games last year. While I’m not saying he’s going to replicate that production during the 2019-2020 campaign, I think he’s very much capable of around 60 points. Throughout his career, Krejci has managed a 55 to 70-point pace and I see no reason for that to change this year. Remember how I mentioned Bergeron’s injury history earlier? Well, guess who’s the next center on the depth chart if Bergeron happens to get injured? Krejci! Playing beside Pastrnak and/or Marchand is certainly an appealing situation for any player, but it’s an especially good fit for Krejci who happens to be a great playmaker. But I’m getting caught up in hypotheticals, so let me remind you of the very real situation Krejci finds himself in. He has established great chemistry with Jake DeBrusk, who scored 27 goals last season and continues to develop and improve.
Avg Pick: 65.3 Status: Accurately Valued
Krug was Boston’s top offensive defenseman last season as he tallied an impressive 53 points in 64 games – a 68-point-pace! The year before, he managed a 64-point pace with 59 points in 76 games. In each of those two seasons, he started about 65% of his shifts in the offensive zone – a pretty high number for a defenseman. In contrast, Charlie McAvoy – who some consider to be the heir to Krug’s throne – started 55% of his shifts in the offensive zone during those same two seasons. Krug has the luxury of quarterbacking Boston’s top power-play unit, and that exposure to Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak has certainly helped his offensive output as 30 of his 53 points last year came with the man advantage. Krug is in the final year of his contract, so don’t be surprised to see him elevate his play in an attempt to hit the jackpot on his next deal.
Avg Pick: 109.7 Status: Overvalued
I sort of alluded to it when I was talking about Torey Krug – but Charlie McAvoy’s situation isn’t exactly the best for his fantasy hockey value. McAvoy is not on the top power-play unit, which means he doesn’t get to rack up the secondary assists by feeding Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak. In addition, he’s deployed against tough opposition, which means his primary responsibility is shutting down the other team’s offense, not necessarily generating his own. If you’re drafting McAvoy with a top-110 pick, you’re probably banking on the Bruins parting ways with Krug after his contract expires. That’s the only way McAvoy will have a chance to be the top offensive d-man in Boston. In my opinion, it’s safer to bet on things staying the same in Boston, rather than anything changing. I mean, this roster was a game away from winning the Stanley Cup last year. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Avg Pick: 26.3 Status: Overvalued
In my opinion, Tuukka Rask is not a ‘Tier 1’ fantasy hockey goalie. When it comes to goalies in fantasy hockey, my philosophy is that you either grab a star early on, or you snag a safe middle-tier guy in the middle of the draft. Goalie performance from season to season can be so inconsistent, it doesn’t make sense to waste a high pick on such a volatile position. For me, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Sergei Bobrovsky are top-tier goalies. They have shown excellent individual abilities, play behind good teams and have no risk of losing the starting job. While Rask was outstanding during the Bruins’ run to the Cup Final, he didn’t have an amazing regular season and shared a significant portion of the goaltending duties with Jaroslav Halak. With this in mind, I’d rather secure high-quality skaters with my top-25 picks and hope that Rask or another goalie of his caliber fall to the middle rounds. In my leagues, there are more skater categories than goaltender categories, so goaltenders are slightly less valuable. As a result, this strategy may need to be adjusted according to your league’s settings.