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Fantasy: Mock draft 1.0 analysis for 2017-18

Multiple runs on defensemen, surplus of starting goaltenders change landscape

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

With less than a month to go before the start of the 2017-18 NHL season, there's no better time for fantasy owners to begin immersing themselves in mock drafts.

NHL.com fantasy writers Pete Jensen and Ben Zweiman took part in a preliminary mock draft with 10 active Yahoo users earlier this week, and Jensen had some interesting takeaways from the first 10 rounds.

 

FANTASY RANKINGS: Top 250Top 100 'F' | C | LW | RW | Top 50 'D' | Top 25 'G'

DRAFT GUIDES: Standard mock draft 2.0 | Keeper / dynasty | Hits | Faceoff wins

2017-18 PROJECTIONS: Forward points | D-man points | Goalie wins | Team previews

LISTS: Forward bargains | D-man bargains | Breakouts | Sleepers | Deep sleepers | Rookies

 

We encourage you to manually pre-rank your players using NHL.com's top 250 fantasy rankings, frequently reference the projections and team previews in our cheat sheet and examine the results from this exercise and our future mock drafts leading up to draft day.

NOTE: This was a 12-team, non-keeper mock draft with standard categories (goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal for skaters; wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts for goalies). Positions indicate eligibility in Yahoo leagues.

 

ROUND 1:

1. Connor McDavid (EDM - C) - TEAM1
2. Sidney Crosby (PIT - C) - TEAM2
3. Patrick Kane (CHI - RW) - TEAM3
4. Nikita Kucherov (TBL - RW) - ZWEIMAN
5. Auston Matthews (TOR - C) - TEAM5
6. Alex Ovechkin (WSH - LW) - TEAM6
7. Jamie Benn (DAL - LW) - TEAM7
8. Brent Burns (SJS - D) - TEAM8
9. Vladimir Tarasenko (STL - RW) - TEAM9
10. Evgeni Malkin (PIT - C) - JENSEN
11. Jack Eichel (BUF - C) - TEAM11
12. Matt Murray (PIT - G) - TEAM12

My pick: Only a few players have a legitimate shot to finish No. 1 overall. Malkin has that kind of ceiling if he stays healthy for at least 70 games. I didn't have to think twice about taking him at No. 10.

Observations: Zweiman reached for Kucherov in an appropriate spot despite his ADP being late in the first round. … Kane certainly deserves to be taken at No. 3, but remember that a potential points dip of any kind after losing Artemi Panarin could give some of the best category beasts out there (e.g. Benn, Burns) an edge on him. ... Usually when you see goalies go this early, it's either Price or Holtby - not Murray. But Murray is my top-ranked fantasy goalie because of his high career winning percentage and projected heavier workload.

Video: Evgeni Malkin takes the No. 3 spot

 

ROUND 2:

13. Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ - G) - TEAM12
14. Braden Holtby (WSH - G) - TEAM11
15. Brad Marchand (BOS - LW) - JENSEN
16. Patrik Laine (WPG - RW) - TEAM9
17. Erik Karlsson (OTT - D) - TEAM8
18. Cam Talbot (EDM - G) - TEAM7
19. Leon Draisaitl (EDM - C/RW) - TEAM6
20. Carey Price (MTL - G) - TEAM5
21. Tyler Seguin (DAL - C/RW) - ZWEIMAN
22. Dustin Byfuglien (WPG - D) - TEAM3
23. Mitchell Marner (TOR - C/RW) - TEAM2
24. Steven Stamkos (TBL - C) - TEAM1

My pick: Getting Malkin and Marchand on the snake draft wrap-around is as good as it gets in terms of high point ceilings with strong peripherals, especially if your league counts penalty minutes. I took care of a scarce position (LW) early on. That said, I would have taken Laine if Marchand wasn't available. He's an amazing pick at No. 16 with a chance to lead the NHL in goals as early as this season.

Observations: The Murray pick sparked a brief run on goalies, with four of the 12 second-round picks coming at the position. This is the lowest I've seen Price go in the scope of his position (fifth), but it's not shocking given the Canadiens' lineup holes. … Karlsson (foot surgery) could miss the start of the regular season but was still the second 'D' off the board. Byfuglien surprisingly went ahead of Hedman, but the Jets defenseman is usually a sure thing in a multi-category format. … Zweiman said he was prepared to reach for Marner in a later round, but someone beat him to the punch. … With potential linemates of Benn and either Alexander Radulov or Jason Spezza, Seguin could be the steal of the draft at No. 21.

 

ROUND 3:

25. Nicklas Backstrom (WSH - C) - TEAM1
26. Johnny Gaudreau (CGY - LW) - TEAM2
27. Jake Allen (STL - G) - TEAM3
28. Mark Scheifele (WPG - C) - ZWEIMAN
29. Wayne Simmonds (PHI - RW) - TEAM5
30. Artemi Panarin (CBJ - C/LW) - TEAM6
31. Victor Hedman (TBL - D) - TEAM7
32. Joe Pavelski (SJS - C/RW) - TEAM8
33. John Tavares (NYI - C) - TEAM9
34. Phil Kessel (PIT - RW) - JENSEN
35. Kris Letang (PIT - D) - TEAM11
36. David Pastrnak (BOS - RW) - TEAM12

My pick: I was itching for either Hedman or Tavares, but they went shortly before my selection. Kessel is coming off an NHL career-best season on the power play (30 points) and forms a high-end stack with Malkin. You can bank on a top-notch shot volume and 65-70 points. Sign me up.

Observations: In addition to Hedman and Tavares, it was shocking to see Backstrom and Scheifele (a dark horse for NHL scoring title) fall this far. That tends to happen to center-only players, but it's still hard to understand in these two cases. … Pastrnak, still a restricted free agent, did not slip much at all. … If health was not an issue, Letang could have the second-highest point ceiling behind Karlsson. But Letang is coming off neck surgery; it's a bit of a reach to take him in the third round. The fifth round would be ideal, but Letang hasn't been falling that far in early mocks.

 

ROUND 4:

37. Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF - D) - TEAM12
38. William Nylander (TOR - C/RW) - TEAM11
39. Tuukka Rask (BOS - G) - JENSEN
40. Max Pacioretty (MTL - LW) - TEAM9
41. John Gibson (ANA - G) - TEAM8
42. Roman Josi (NSH - D) - TEAM7
43. P.K. Subban (NSH - D) - TEAM6
44. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI - D) - TEAM5
45. Filip Forsberg (NSH - LW) - ZWEIMAN
46. Shea Weber (MTL - D) - TEAM3
47. Pekka Rinne (NSH - G) - TEAM2
48. Blake Wheeler (WPG - RW) - TEAM1

My pick: I have Rask ranked right behind Allen, who was the most recent goalie to go before I got the call. After spending my first three picks on forwards, I took a chance on a sure-fire starting goalie with an improved defense in front of him and a realistic shot at 40 wins.

Observations: Ristolainen quarterbacked the League's best power-play and could be even better with Eichel healthy for a full season. That said, you should normally be able to get him outside the top 50 in a standard-league draft. … That sparked the defenseman trend, with five of the 12 picks coming at the position. Ekman-Larsson, like Ristolainen, plays for a much-improved team but will have a new coach and is risky to take this high, especially in a league where plus/minus can burn you. … The biggest surprise of this round is how far Wheeler dropped. He's well worth a top 40 pick with stellar category coverage. The Jets also have room for improvement on the power play, which likely is frightening to opposing goaltenders.

Video: Blake Wheeler takes No. 11 on the Top 20 Wings list

 

ROUND 5: 

49. Devan Dubnyk (MIN - G) - TEAM1
50. Drew Doughty (LAK - D) - TEAM2
51. Patrice Bergeron (BOS - C) - TEAM3
52. Zach Werenski (CBJ - D) - ZWEIMAN
53. Kevin Shattenkirk (NYR - D) - TEAM5
54. Martin Jones (SJS - G) - TEAM6
55. Jeff Skinner (CAR - LW) - TEAM7
56. Ryan Getzlaf (ANA - C) - TEAM8
57. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR - G) - TEAM9
58. Duncan Keith (CHI - D) - JENSEN
59. Ben Bishop (DAL - G) - TEAM11
60. Claude Giroux (PHI - C) - TEAM12

My pick: I was very close to taking Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy as my No. 2 goaltender here, but needed to address defense first and foremost. Even with the Blackhawks' concerns across their lineup, Keith is an annual threat for 50 points with first power-play exposure to Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Observations: After 17 straight picks with no center-only players taken, Bergeron became an appealing bargain with an elite shot volume and Marchand as his sidekick. This was an appropriate range for bounce-back candidate like Giroux, but way too low for a player of Getzlaf's caliber. … Doughty is consistent and one of the best at his position in reality, but Werenski or Shattenkirk would have been a higher-upside fantasy pick in this spot.

 

ROUND 6:

61. Alex Pietrangelo (STL - D) - TEAM12
62. Nikolaj Ehlers (WPG - LW) - TEAM11
63. Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL - G) - JENSEN
64. Dougie Hamilton (CGY - D) - TEAM9
65. Corey Crawford (CHI - G) - TEAM8
66. Rickard Rakell (ANA - C/LW) - TEAM7
67. Jonathan Quick (LAK - G) - TEAM6
68. Corey Perry (ANA - RW) - TEAM5
69. Mike Hoffman (OTT - LW/RW) - ZWEIMAN
70. Frederik Andersen (TOR - G) - TEAM3
71. Mikael Granlund (MIN - C/RW) - TEAM2
72. Alexander Radulov (DAL - RW) - TEAM1

My pick: Vasilevskiy should shatter his NHL career-high win total (23) from last season with the Lightning expected to rejoin the postseason field and Bishop out of the picture. He also has one of the best backups in the League in Peter Budaj, whom I could have easily handcuffed in the final round of this draft. Vasilevskiy is a top 10 fantasy goalie option in my book.

Video: BUF@TBL: Vasilevskiy denies Gionta's breakaway

Observations: Rakell went very early for a non-keeper draft (before Perry), but was top five in even-strength goals last season and could take a further step forward with more first power-play time and an improved shot volume. … Zweiman seized one of the most underrated category cogs around in Hoffman. … Radulov went way too low in this draft and it's worth noting he has a low ADP (in the 80s). He has a strong chance of setting NHL career highs across the board, especially on a first power-play unit with two top-20 assets in Benn and Seguin. … This seems to be the one season where you can get Jonathan Quick in middle rounds; he's usually a tad overvalued, but he's a tremendous value because you know he doesn't need much goal support to be a top five fantasy goalie.

 

ROUND 7:

73. Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA - LW) - TEAM1
74. Brayden Schenn (STL - C/LW) - TEAM2
75. James van Riemsdyk (TOR - LW) - TEAM3
76. Cam Atkinson (CBJ - RW) - ZWEIMAN
77. Milan Lucic (EDM - LW) - TEAM5
78. Mark Giordano (CGY - D) - TEAM6
79. Jake Guentzel (PIT - C/LW) - TEAM7
80. Brandon Saad (CHI - LW) - TEAM8
81. Jeff Carter (LAK - C) - TEAM9
82. Evgeny Kuznetsov (WSH - C) - JENSEN
83. Jakub Voracek (PHI - RW) - TEAM11
84. Jonathan Toews (CHI - C) - TEAM12

My pick: Kuznetsov may have lost his linemates (Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson) from last season, but has a chance to make some magic alongside breakout candidate Andre Burakovsky at even strength and on the power play. How Kuznetsov fell outside the top 75 is beyond my comprehension.

Observations: This is a strange time to reach for Lucic, who played on the first power-play unit for the Oilers but did not play frequently alongside McDavid and Draisaitl at even strength. He usually brings sound category coverage with at least 40 points, but he's a fringe top 100 pick at best. … There was a stretch of 21 picks where only one defenseman (Giordano) was taken, and this is a high spot for him with Hamilton having emerged as Calgary's top fantasy defenseman. … Schenn and Saad went in the appropriate range based on their upside and linemates with changes in scenery. … Even on Crosby's wing, Guentzel is a boom-or-bust pick this high in a non-keeper draft considering he's not likely to start the season on the Penguins' first power-play unit.

 

ROUND 8:

85. Evander Kane (BUF - LW) - TEAM12
86. Torey Krug (BOS - D) - TEAM11
87. John Klingberg (DAL - D) - JENSEN
88. Justin Faulk (CAR - D) - TEAM9
89. John Carlson (WSH - D) - TEAM8
90. Seth Jones (CBJ - D) - TEAM7
91. Taylor Hall (NJD - LW) - TEAM6
92. Cory Schneider (NJD - G) - TEAM5
93. Justin Schultz (PIT - D) - ZWEIMAN
94. Oscar Klefbom (EDM - D) - TEAM3
95. Ryan Suter (MIN - D) - TEAM2
96. Sebastian Aho (CAR - LW/RW) - TEAM1

My pick: I thought I was somewhat weak on defense prior to this pick, but Klingberg could be a game-changer with all the reinforcements in Dallas. He is second among active NHL defensemen in points per game (0.67; Karlsson, 0.82). There may be some growing pains in Ken Hitchcock's system, but the reward severely outweighs the risk. He could be top five among 'D' in points.

Video: DAL@CAR: Klingberg buries a long empty-netter

Observations: Another run on defensemen (eight in a 10-pick span) shows how much the perception of the position has changed as teams showcase their talented puck-movers and after three defensemen exceeded 70 points last season. It was surprising to see second defensemen like Schultz and Jones go among the top 100, but their even-strength floors and contending teams justify the reach. … Getting Aho this late is outstanding; with dual eligibility and 60-point potential in a prime role with the Hurricanes, buckle up.

 

ROUND 9:

97. Craig Anderson (OTT - G) - TEAM1
98. T.J. Oshie (WSH - RW) - TEAM2
99. Sean Monahan (CGY - C) - TEAM3
100. Mike Smith (CGY - G) - ZWEIMAN
101. Viktor Arvidsson (NSH - LW/RW) - TEAM5
102. Jonathan Drouin (MTL - LW/RW) - TEAM6
103. Robin Lehner (BUF - G) - TEAM7
104. Aleksander Barkov (FLA - C) - TEAM8
105. Ryan McDonagh (NYR - D) - TEAM9
106. Jordan Eberle (NYI - RW) - JENSEN
107. Eric Staal (MIN - C) - TEAM11
108. Mark Stone (OTT - RW) - TEAM12

My pick: I was hoping the dual-eligible Drouin would fall to me outside the top 100, but someone caught onto that glaring outlier. But Eberle could rekindle past chemistry with John Tavares from their World Junior Championship days. There's a lot of pressure on the Islanders this season, but Eberle has the skill set to ignite his elite linemate and rejoin the 60-65 point realm.

Observations: The Monahan-Gaudreau and Barkov-Huberdeau point pairs should not be underestimated to this degree. … McDonagh's offensive totals were far less impressive when the Rangers had Keith Yandle, so I wouldn't take the Rangers captain quite this high after the addition of Shattenkirk to run their power play. … Oshie is a nice value here considering his strong goal- and point-per-game averages last season alongside Ovechkin and Backstrom in all situations.

 

ROUND 10:

109. James Neal (VGK - LW/RW) - TEAM12
110. Aaron Ekblad (FLA - D) - TEAM11
111. Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI - D) - JENSEN
112. Jaden Schwartz (STL - LW) - TEAM9
113. Alex Galchenyuk (MTL - C/LW) - TEAM8
114. Alexander Wennberg (CBJ - C) - TEAM7
115. Conor Sheary (PIT - LW/RW) - TEAM6
116. Logan Couture (SJS - C) - TEAM5
117. Jason Spezza (DAL - C/RW) - ZWEIMAN
118. Tyler Toffoli (LAK - C/RW) - TEAM3
119. Jake Gardiner (TOR - D) - TEAM2
120. Ryan Johansen (NSH - C) - TEAM1

My pick: Last season was an up-and-down storyline for the Flyers and Gostisbehere, but it's hard to forget his exceptional point pace as a rookie. Just like how the League adjusted to his game, expect some pushback from Gostisbehere in his third NHL season, especially with an influx on young talent and improved goaltender in Philly.

Video: PHI@PIT: Gostisbehere cranks home a sweet one-timer

Observations: This is a great range to begin targeting Wennberg, who is a brilliant distributor and could thrive with Panarin and Werenski on the Blue Jackets' man-advantage unit. … Especially with Johansen saying he's 100 percent after his thigh injury, it's baffling to see a potential 70-point producer available in the 10th round. It's fine to let him slip a bit, but don't mess around with a player of that level. Get him on your roster at a discount. … Five dual-eligible players went in this round. Don't forget to use position flexibility as a potential tiebreaker when choosing between two similar players on occasion in later rounds.

 

ROUND 11:

121. Andre Burakovsky (WSH - LW/RW) - TEAM1
122. Brian Elliott (PHI - G) - TEAM2
123. Ryan Ellis (NSH - D) - TEAM3
124. Ryan Kesler (ANA - C) - ZWEIMAN
125. Ivan Provorov (PHI - D) - TEAM5
126. Kyle Turris (OTT - C) - TEAM6
127. Sam Reinhart (BUF - C/RW) - TEAM7
128. Colton Parayko (STL - D) - TEAM8
129. Anze Kopitar (LAK - C) - TEAM9
130. Nathan MacKinnon (COL - C) - JENSEN
131. Jakob Silfverberg (ANA - RW) - TEAM11
132. Keith Yandle (FLA - D) - TEAM12

INJURY NOTE: This mock draft took place before we learned Ellis will miss several months for the Predators because of a lower-body injury. Mattias Ekholm (NHL.com rank: 215) emerges as Nashville's third fantasy defenseman behind Josi and Subban, but I would hesitate to take Ekholm anywhere near as high as Ellis went in this mock.

 

ROUND 12:

133. Cam Fowler (ANA - D) - TEAM12
134. Matthew Tkachuk (CGY - LW) - TEAM11
135. Max Domi (ARI - LW) - JENSEN
136. Scott Darling (CAR - G) - TEAM9
137. Kyle Palmieri (NJD - RW) - TEAM8
138. Nino Niederreiter (MIN - LW/RW) - TEAM7
139. Tyson Barrie (COL - D) - TEAM6
140. Jaccob Slavin (CAR - D) - TEAM5
141. Nazem Kadri (TOR - C) - ZWEIMAN
142. Chris Kreider (NYR - LW) - TEAM3
143. Jacob Trouba (WPG - D) - TEAM2
144. Patric Hornqvist (PIT - RW) - TEAM1

Video: ARI@LAK: Domi buries his second goal to tie game late

 

ROUND 13:

145. Nick Leddy (NYI - D) - TEAM1
146. Ryan O'Reilly (BUF - C) - TEAM2
147. Dylan Larkin (DET - C/RW) - TEAM3
148. Roberto Luongo (FLA - G) - ZWEIMAN
149. Vadim Shipachyov (VGK - C/LW) - TEAM5
150. Brent Seabrook (CHI - D) - TEAM6
151. Robby Fabbri (STL - C/LW) - TEAM7
152. Radim Vrbata (FLA - RW) - TEAM8
153. Ondrej Palat (TBL - LW) - TEAM9
154. Charlie McAvoy (BOS - D) - JENSEN
155. Matt Niskanen (WSH - D) - TEAM11
156. Jaroslav Halak (NYI - G) - TEAM12

 

ROUND 14:

157. Zach Parise (MIN - LW) - TEAM12
158. Anders Lee (NYI - LW) - TEAM11
159. Marcus Johansson (NJD - LW) - JENSEN
160. Morgan Rielly (TOR - D) - TEAM9
161. Bryan Little (WPG - C) - TEAM8
162. Ryan Strome (EDM - C/RW) - TEAM7
163. Nolan Patrick (PHI - C) - TEAM6
164. Patrick Marleau (TOR - C/LW) - TEAM5
165. Matt Dumba (MIN - D) - ZWEIMAN
166. Nick Foligno (CBJ - LW/RW) - TEAM3
167. Alexander Steen (STL - C/LW) - TEAM2
168. Alec Martinez (LAK - D) - TEAM1

 

ROUND 15:

169. Shea Theodore (VGK - D) - TEAM1
170. Mats Zuccarello (NYR - RW) - TEAM2
171. Joe Thornton (SJS - C) - TEAM3
172. Brendan Gallagher (MTL - RW) - ZWEIMAN
173. Tyler Johnson (TBL - C) - TEAM5
174. Gabriel Landeskog (COL - LW) - TEAM6
175. Brady Skjei (NYR - D) - TEAM7
176. Henrik Zetterberg (DET - C/LW) - TEAM8
177. Elias Lindholm (CAR - C/RW) - TEAM9
178. Mika Zibanejad (NYR - C) - JENSEN
179. Vincent Trocheck (FLA - C) - TEAM11
180. Derek Stepan (ARI - C) - TEAM12

 

ROUND 16:

181. Rick Nash (NYR - LW/RW) - TEAM12
182. Matt Duchene (COL - C/RW) - TEAM11
183. Anthony Mantha (DET - LW/RW) - JENSEN
184. Kyle Okposo (BUF - RW) - TEAM9
185. Jake Muzzin (LAK - D) - TEAM8
186. Jared Spurgeon (MIN - D) - TEAM7
187. Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK - G) - TEAM6
188. T.J. Brodie (CGY - D) - TEAM5
189. Nikita Zaitsev (TOR - D) - ZWEIMAN
190. Boone Jenner (CBJ - C/LW) - TEAM3
191. Thomas Greiss (NYI - G) - TEAM2
192. Radko Gudas (PHI - D) - TEAM1

 

OTHER MOCK DRAFT NOTES:

FORWARDS (114):
-35 with dual eligibility
-NHL.com top 200 forwards who went undrafted (in order of rank): 147. Evgeny Dadonov, RW, FLA; 155. Mikko Koivu, C, MIN; 160. David Krejci, C, BOS; 164. Joshua Ho-Sang, RW, NYI; 165. Teuvo Teravainen, C/LW, CAR; 166. Nico Hischier, C, NJD; 168. Bo Horvat, C, VAN; 172. Clayton Keller, C, ARI; 174. Nick Schmaltz, C/LW, CHI; 175. J.T. Miller, LW/RW, NYR; 179. Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, EDM; 186. Tomas Hertl, C/LW, SJS; 190. Brock Boeser, RW, VAN; 195. Charlie Coyle, C/RW, MIN; 199. Patrick Eaves, RW, ANA

DEFENSEMEN (51):
-Second D-men in top 100: Subban, Giordano, S. Jones, Schultz
-Third D-men who were drafted: Ellis (INJ.), Skjei, Muzzin, Spurgeon, Brodie, Zaitsev, Gudas
-Notable D-men who went undrafted: Dmitry Orlov (WSH), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (SJS), Mattias Ekholm (NSH), Ryan Pulock (NYI), Dion Phaneuf (OTT), Zdeno Chara (BOS), Josh Manson (ANA)
-Drafted in mock but not ranked in NHL.com's top 250: Brodie, Gudas

GOALIES (27):
-Only time-share tandem drafted: NYI (Halak, Greiss)
-Notable goalies who went undrafted: Antti Raanta (ARI), Steve Mason (WPG), Connor Hellebuyck (WPG), Jimmy Howard (DET), James Reimer (FLA), Petr Mrazek (DET), Semyon Varlamov (COL

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