Eastern Edge: Which team has the most fantasy value?
In this week's Eastern Edge, we answer the question that scientists have been trying to answer since the dawn of time: Which NHL team has the most fantasy hockey value on its roster? You'll find each Eastern Conference team, ranked from greatest to least fantasy hockey value.
In order to tackle this enigma, I've listed each team's 'fantasy-relevant' players this season. For the most part, this includes players currently owned in at least 20-percent of Yahoo Fantasy Hockey Leagues. I gave each of these fantasy-relevant players a letter grade based on their performance this year. These letter grades were assigned primarily based on point-per-game production for skaters and save percentage for goalies. Obviously, offensive output isn't the only thing that matters in fantasy hockey, so I did boost a few player grades to account for peripheral categories like shots, blocks or hits. Goalie grades may have been adjusted with consideration for wins or goals against average (GAA). With respect to the overall rankings, each team got four points for every player with an 'A 'grade, three points for every 'B' player, two for every 'C' player and one for every 'D' player. A more detailed description of the grading systems is available at the end of the article.
The whole grading system is honestly pretty arbitrary, so don't read too much into the particular ranges I chose. I plan on doing more detailed report cards for each team over the next few weeks, so think of this as a fun little exercise – with more in-depth analysis to come in the future.
- New York Rangers – Fantasy Value Score: 32 Points (12 players – 3A/4B/3C/2D)
The Rangers have more fantasy-relevant players than any other team in the Eastern Conference. Three players – Panarin, Zibanejad and DeAngelo – put together outstanding performances this year. We also saw some really solid performances from Fox, Strome and Shesterkin. I really wanted to give Shesterkin an 'A', but it was hard to justify that considering he's appeared in only 12 games.
- Boston Bruins – Fantasy Value Score: 32 Points (10 players – 6A/1B/2C/1D)
Boston is the only Eastern Conference team with two players – Pastrnak and Marchand – sitting in the top 10 of the NHL scoring race. Mix in a Vezina-worthy performance from Rask this year (26 wins, 2.12 GAA and .929 SV%), with some offensive excellence from Torey Krug, and you get a recipe for success.
- Tampa Bay Lightning – Fantasy Value Score: 32 Points (11 players – 4A/2B/5C)
While Tampa's record doesn't match the regular season dominance that they displayed last year, they still have an abundance of 'relevant' players, with a significant number of those players possessing top-tier talent.
- Pittsburgh Penguins – Fantasy Value Score: 30 Points (10 players – 5A/1B/3C/1D)
Pittsburgh was able to weather the storm of injuries they faced this year, thanks to a number of incredible performances from their star players.
- Washington Capitals – Fantasy Value Score: 28 Points (10 players – 2A/5B/2C/1D)
At the tender age of 34, Alex Ovechkin shares the league-lead in goal-scoring, with 48 markers in 68 games. That, combined with John Carlson's Norris-worthy season and Jakub Vrana's emergence puts the Capitals near the top of my rankings.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (9 players) – Fantasy Value Score: 26 Points (9 players – 3A/2B/4C)
The Leafs have more than enough talent on their roster. If every player listed above played had played to his full potential this season, I'd be forced to put Toronto at the top of my rankings. Ultimately, poor showings from Rielly, Barrie and Andersen brought down the team's overall fantasy value this year.
- Philadelphia Flyers – Fantasy Value Score: 25 Points (9 players – 1A/5B/3C)
|James Van Riemsdyk||C|
The Flyers enjoyed a lot of success this year, sitting sixth in league standings. Aside from a fantastic showing from Konecny, I'd say most of their success was achieved by committee rather than individual performances.
- Montreal Canadiens – Fantasy Value Score: 25 Points (11 players – 4B/6C/1D)
I guess this fits in with the narrative that Montreal is lacking a star player? Nevertheless, the Canadiens have a deep roster, which is reflected in their high volume of fantasy-relevant players.
- New York Islanders – Fantasy Value Score: 24 Points (10 players – 4B/6C)
Like a few other teams on this list, the Islanders have a team-first identity that isn't really conducive for strong individual performances. Mathew Barzal certainly possesses the talent of a superstar, but his fantasy value is limited by the defensive system he's forced to play under coach Barry Trotz.
- Columbus Blue Jackets – Fantasy Value Score: 24 Points (10 players – 1A/2B/7C)
Strong performances from Merzlikins, Werenski and Bjorkstrand prevented the team's overall fantasy value from slipping closer to the cellar-dwellers. Werenski led all defensemen with 20 goals and Bjorkstrand had a breakout showing that should be a sign of what's to come. I'm sure we're all familiar with the legend of Merzlikins, who posted a 2.35 GAA and .923 SV% through 33 appearances, despite an awful start to the season.
- Carolina Hurricanes Fantasy Value Score: 23 Points (8 players – 3A/2B/2C/1D)
- Florida Panthers – Fantasy Value Score: 21 points (8 players – 2A/3B/1C/2D)
- Buffalo Sabres – Fantasy Value Score: 21 Points (9 players – 1A/4B/1C/3D)
- New Jersey Devils – Fantasy Value Score: 13 Points (7 players – 1B/4C/2D)
- Ottawa Senators – Fantasy Value Score: 11 Points (4 players – 3B/1C)
- Detroit Red Wings – Fantasy Value Score: 10 Points (4 players – 2B/2C)
Player Grading System
|Point Pace||Grade||Point Pace||Grade||SV%||Grade|
|≥ 75||A||≥ 60||A||≥ .918||A|
|60-74||B||50-59||B||.913 – .917||B|
|45-59||C||40-49||C||.908 – .912||C|
|< 45||D||< 40||D||< .907||D|
Table 1: Grading system to describe the quality of a player's performance this season (2019-2020). For forwards and defensemen, each player's point-per game pace was multiplied by 82 to get their project point total (Point Pace). A skater's grade may have been boosted if he contributed a significant number of shots, blocks or hits. Goalie grades were determined by save percentage, with some adjustments to account for Wins and Goals Against Average.
Team Ranking System
|Grade||Fantasy Value Score|
Table 2: For team rankings, each player with an 'A' grade contributes 4 points to a team's fantasy value score (B = 3 points, C = 2 points, D = 1 point). A team's fantasy value score is the sum of their player value scores – with higher totals representing greater fantasy hockey value.
Share your thoughts and rankings in the comments below!
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