Top 10 players being drafted too high

by Tom Collins on September 3, 2018


One of the biggest draft mistakes many fantasy hockey general managers make is selecting a player that will get a lot of points but suck at peripherals.

However, when that player goes through a cold stretch, they give you nothing of any value and you’re forced to considering benching your player.

I’ve been doing a lot of Yahoo mock drafts lately (basic 12-team league, with the categories of goals, assists, plus/minus, power-play points, shots and hits for skaters, and wins, goals against average, save percentage and shutouts for goalies), and you’re almost always better off taking players that may not put up as many points, but will contribute in other categories.

Below are 10 players who are being selected too high in Yahoo pools. The number to the right of their names is their average draft position as of Sunday night.


10. Nate Schmidt, 170

In case you haven’t heard, Schmidt has been suspended 20 games for violating the NHL’s drug policy. One of the biggest surprises of last season will now miss a quarter of a season and give an opportunity to other players to take his spot in the lineup. Remember, he doesn’t put up hits or shots. He’s pretty much undraftable now.


9. Klas Dahlbeck, 189

I tweeted out about Dahlbeck a couple of weeks ago. Dahlbeck has been drafted in almost every mock draft I have done, and according to Yahoo, he’s been drafted in 41 per cent of leagues. On average, he’s going at the end of the 16th round. However, you’re not going to get one iota of production out of him. Dahlbeck signed a one-year deal with CSKA of the KHL this summer.


8. Evgenii Dadonov, 128

I am a huge fan of Dadonov, and I don’t think he gets enough love in points-only pools. That being said, he’s not a great contributor in plus/minus, shots, hits or power-play points. Now there is also debate about where he slots in with the Panthers now that the team has acquired Mike Hoffman.


7. Braden Holtby, 24

I covered this a few weeks ago, but you shouldn’t be using high draft picks on goaltenders. You can’t trust netminders to put up back-to-back great seasons. This year’s top five goalies being drafted are Andrei Vasilevskiy, Pekka Rinne, Tuukka Rask, Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky. Of that group, I think Holtby fares the worst. He won’t be as bad as last year, but there is Stanley Cup hangover to consider. You’re better off taking a top forward or defenseman late in the second round and select a lower-tiered goalie later on in the draft.


6. Mitchell Marner, 38

I’d be careful of the hype surrounding the Leafs. When Taylor Hall was traded to New Jersey, the team’s goals for per game went from 2.22 to 2.20. Columbus saw its goals for per game drop from 3.01 to 2.88 with Artemi Panarin. Getting an elite superstar player doesn’t guarantee an uptick in goals for the team, and there are only so many points to go around. Aside from that, Marner’s peripheral statistics weren’t that great to begin with. In two years, he’s had a career high of zero plus/minus, 194 shots, and 41 hits. Let someone else buy the hype and the points, and get yourself a better all-around player at the end of the third round.


5. Tyson Barrie, 92

Barrie is another player who fits the mold of a player that contributes in one or two categories, but is deficient in the rest. I expect a bit of a downturn in points (I don’t peg him as a 70-point defenseman, even though that was almost his point pace last year). His plus/minus is awful (the last three years, he’s had minus-16, minus-34 and minus-15) and he doesn’t shoot much (182 is his career high) or hit much (his high for the past three years is 40).


4. Charlie McAvoy, 110

Don’t draft youth for the sake of drafting youth. That’s what you’ll be doing if you choose McAvoy in the ninth round. He’s stuck behind Torey Krug on the depth chart, and won’t be getting much powerplay time with the bug guns on Boston. McAvoy can get you a high-plus minus and some hits. Just remember that last year, in 63 games, he had 32 points, 77 shots and seven powerplay points. You are much better off going with someone like Ryan Suter or Kevin Shattenkirk, two older players being taken later who will outperform McAvoy in almost every category.


3. Martin Marincin, 114

Just like Dahlbeck, the drafting of Marincin is a confusing one. The guy played almost the entire season in the AHL last year, and while he improved his game in the minors, there’s no guarantee he makes the Leafs this season. Even if he did, it would be as a seventh defenseman with a lot of healthy scratches and not much ice time. Somehow, Marincin is the 29th-highest defenseman drafted, ahead of Ryan Suter, Mikhail Sergachev, Kevin Shattenkirk and even teammate Jake Gardiner.


2. Keith Yandle, 104

It’s fitting that Yandle and Aaron Ekblad (more on him in a second) are ranked right next to each other, as they are pretty much being drafted one after the other in Yahoo leagues. Yandle is good for never missing a game, putting up points and power play points. But he doesn’t shoot the puck enough for my liking (179 being his three-year high) and he doesn’t hit or finish with a high plus/minus.


1. Aaron Ekblad, 100

Ekblad is a player that is always drafted based on potential. There’s probably no better player that exemplifies this than Ekblad. When you draft him, what do you hope he gives you? Maybe goals. After that? He’s okay in shots, plus/minus, powerplay points and hits, but there’s no home run swing. He won’t rule any categories for you. You’re better off taking someone who is going to dominate in two or three categories rather than choosing Ekblad for his adequate numbers.