We're well into the first round now, and that means there's not a lot of fantasy decisions left for the 2021-22 season, while the 2022 offseason hasn't really begun yet. Things do start to get rolling a little with the draft lottery though, which we saw last night where the Montreal Canadiens landed the first overall pick. New Jersey jumped up to second overall, while Arizona fell to third. It's going to be a fun show with Montreal hosting the draft and selecting first overall.
One of my fantasy leagues ties our non-playoff teams to the respective NHL teams for our own draft lottery. That means our draft order is now set, and I have the 10th and 21st overall picks. As a result, I'm trying to be as on top of the tiers as possible, and making sure I know what I want to be doing at each selection. Throughout the year I keep my eye out for any prospect rankings, prospect opinions, and noteworthy production (both positive and negative).
I don't pretend to be a scout, or someone that intricately knows NHL prospects, let alone those not even drafted. However, after years of playing in dynasty leagues where up to 1300 players are owned, and then we draft 120 prospects on top of that, you get to the point of finding a system that works. For me, I have found a knack for amalgamating the work of a lot of the scouts in the public sphere, and fine tuning that into a fantasy hockey draft list.
One of the biggest weightings goes to the DobberProspects Fantasy Draft Ranking, which is an incredible resource every year. On top of that, you find the rest of the Dobber scouts, and the guys they are bouncing things off of, expanding the network from there. My list gets started with 25 or so names around the World Juniors, and slowly grows from there to the end of the season. Players are periodically being shifted when I come across a new scouting report that is especially damning or gives a larger amount of praise than usual. The overall result is a weighted opinion of mine based on what all the scouts are saying about each player, and how I feel that will play out in terms of fantasy upside, their likelihood of reaching both the NHL and that upside, while also taking into account possible arrival time. In this year's case I may be dropping the Russians to the bottom of a tier, but not lower than that. Value is value in the end, and players like Kirill Kaprizov were passed on too much just because of the KHL/Russia risk.
Tier 1 (1):
Wright is still in his own class here. His numbers as an exceptional-status rookie in the OHL were better than McDavid's and he did so with the majority of his point totals being goals. After the lost season due to Covid, it seems as though Wright needed time to adjust back to the flow of the game. In the second half of his pre-draft year (D-1 season), everything seemed to sync back up and he was averaging two points per game.
Corey Pronman had an article yesterday behind the Athletic paywall that outlined the Wright debate and whether he should still be considered a shoe-in for first overall. In it, he posted a chart of first overall picks from the CHL since 2005, and their producti