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Fantasy: Mock draft 1.0 for 2016-17

Center-only players, veterans slip in standard, 12-team format

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Mock drafting is officially underway, and the early results are intriguing to say the least.

NHL.com conducted three Yahoo mock drafts with Pete Jensen and random, active fantasy owners this week, each to preview a 12-team, non-keeper league 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). The roster size for this league format is two centers, two left wings, two right wings, four defensemen, two goalies and four bench players (16 players per team; 192 total).

FANTASY RANKINGS: TOP 250 | CENTER | LW | RW | D-MAN | GOALIE

The below lists of players are in order of average draft position from the three mock drafts combined. Players who were taken in all three mock drafts appear in the first list (in order of ADP). Players taken in two of the three mocks appear in the next list. Players taken in one of the three mocks appear in the final group.

We encourage you to manually pre-rank your players using NHL.com's top 200 fantasy rankings and use the results from this mock draft exercise as an extra reference point on draft day.

FIVE TAKEAWAYS 

1. Center-only players slipping big time in drafts

The position most affected by the Yahoo eligibility overhaul clearly is center, which you'll see once you participate in a mock draft. It's not always the same players, but examples of how far top-notch centers can fall are Anze Kopitar (drafted at 19 in one mock but outside top 50 in the other two), Patrice Bergeron (fell to 71 in third mock), Ryan Getzlaf (outside top 75 in first and third mocks) and Matt Duchene (90-100 range in all three mocks). Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick at the 2016 NHL Draft, was jumped by right wing Patrik Laine, the No. 2 pick, in ADP because the latter is at a scarcer position. 

If you don't get your hands on anyone from the elite crop of centers (Sidney Crosby, Tyler Seguin, Connor McDavid in first round; John Tavares if he falls to second round), it's a good strategy to address your top wing, defenseman and goalie spots early and wait until the fifth round or later for centers. In the second mock draft, for instance, I was able to draft young, high-end centers Aleksander Barkov and Mark Scheifele in the sixth and seventh rounds. 

Be sure to save at least one bench spot for proven assets who could slip into the final three rounds of a 12-team draft (Tyler Johnson, Adam Henrique, Vincent Trocheck, David Krejci, Ryan Kesler, Leon Draisaitl).

2. Take advantage of productive, overlooked veterans

While we're on the topic of center-only assets in Yahoo, three veterans plummeted in drafts because of that distinction: Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza and Henrik Sedin. Joining them are wings Daniel Sedin and Jaromir Jagr, category-cog defenseman Zdeno Chara and bounce-back candidates Marian Hossa and dual-eligible Henrik Zetterberg. Veterans like Jiri Hudler (drafted in one of the three mocks) and Shane Doan (undrafted in all three) were overlooked as well. 

Video: DAL@STL, Gm6: Spezza finishes toe drag for PPG

Remember, Thornton was as prolific a point-producer as there was in the League from December on last season, finishing eighth overall in Yahoo. Spezza is a lock to finish near the top 50 every season, and the Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin combo is always a safe bet, especially if they dip in drafts. You can pass on veterans for younger, more promising players to a point, but you can't afford to let one of your opponents land Thornton and/or Daniel Sedin in the sixth round or later and Henrik Sedin after the 12th round.

3. Dual eligibility key after 10th round

After Joe Pavelski is off the board in the first round, the only dual-eligible forwards to worry about in middle rounds are Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O'Reilly, Tyler Toffoli, Brayden Schenn, Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Jakub Voracek, and Dylan Larkin -- in that order. Fantasy owners should choose the better overall player in middle-round draft decisions and not be overly concerned with dual eligibility unless it's convenient. 

That said, there are some glaring breakout and sleeper candidates with multiposition flexibility in the 10th round or later, namely Robby Fabbri, Mika Zibanejad, Teuvo Teravainen, Anthony Duclair, Sam Reinhart and William Nylander. I was able to draft Zibanejad and Duclair in each of the mocks after the 12th round, and I could have had Teravainen in all three if not for another user reaching for him much earlier at 124 in the third mock. 

With limited position flexibility, you should build around your top forward picks with as many dual-eligible bench players as possible.

4. Get your goalie by fourth round

Goalies are high in Yahoo's pre-ranks, so the dominoes could fall early and often in any given draft. On average in these three mocks, eight goalies went among the top 30 overall, and veterans like Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist were overdrafted. That means you should target a goalie within reason at least once in the first four rounds (Carey Price, Cory Schneider, Jake Allen). If you don't have a goalie yet and are facing a large gap between picks, always take the safer route instead of getting yourself into a bind. Brian Elliott had a consistent ADP in these mocks and is a solid target early in the sixth round. 

As far as time-shares and handcuffs, the most coveted one is Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury. I learned the hard way that targeting them together can be risky with a gap in between; I took Murray in the eighth round of the third mock draft, but Fleury was taken before my ninth-round pick because there was a large gap in between selections. It's much more realistic for Ben Bishop or Roberto Luongo owners to get the handcuff for each (Andrei Vasilevskiy with Bishop, James Reimer with Luongo) in late rounds. 

Video: PIT@SJS, Gm6: Murray denies Marleau, preserves lead

If you're in need of a potential steal, Frederik Andersen and Robin Lehner, widely available in the 10th round or later because of injury concerns, along with Mike Smith and the Philadelphia Flyers tandem of Michal Neuvirth and Steve Mason are late-round options with potential.

5. Defensemen thin out after 12th round

The most glaring early-round defenseman bargain was Kris Letang, who is ranked high by NHL.com but fell into the 30s in two of the three mocks. His draft position is tough to gauge, but there's a realistic chance to grab him in the third round of a 12-team draft. If you don't want to take a defenseman in the first four or five rounds, the first mock is an example of how you can survive; I drafted Mark Giordano and Keith Yandle with consecutive picks to fill the first two D spots on my roster. Try to take care of your first three defensemen slots in the first 10 or 11 rounds, getting one elite option (Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, P.K. Subban, Letang or Oliver Ekman-Larsson), one middle-round asset (Keith Yandle, Tyson Barrie or Rasmus Ristolainen) and another just outside the top 100. Consider breakout and sleeper candidates like Seth Jones or Morgan Rielly before filling out other positions.

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PLAYERS DRAFTED IN ALL THREE MOCKS

Draft positions from the three mocks are noted in the parentheses next to each player. Players are ordered by average draft position. Any ties in ADP went to the higher-ranked player in NHL.com's top 200. ... Bold numbers within the parentheses indicate Jensen's picks.

1. Patrick Kane, RW, CHI (1, 1, 1)
2. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT (2, 2, 2)
3. Alex Ovechkin, LW, WSH (5, 3, 3)
4. Jamie Benn, LW, DAL (4, 5, 6)
5. Connor McDavid, C, EDM (3, 6, 10)
6. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (8, 8, 5)
7. Erik Karlsson, D, OTT (14, 4, 7)
8. Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS (11, 10, 4)
9. Tyler Seguin, C, DAL (7, 13, 8)
10. Steven Stamkos, C, TBL (9, 9, 11)
11. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (12, 7, 12)
12. Braden Holtby, G, WSH (6, 11, 14)
13. Brent Burns, D, SJS (13, 18, 9)
14. John Tavares, C, NYI (10, 14, 16)
15. Ben Bishop, G, TBL (16, 16, 15)
16. Claude Giroux, C, PHI (15, 15, 19)
17. Carey Price, G, MTL (17, 17, 18)
18. P.K. Subban, D, NSH (22, 22, 13)
19. Jonathan Quick, G, LAK (18, 26, 23)
20. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, WSH (31, 19, 20)
21. Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT (27, 20, 24)
22. Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI (30, 24, 17)
23. Corey Perry, RW, ANA (33, 12, 27)
24. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (23, 27, 25)
25. Corey Crawford, G, CHI (20, 31, 30)
26. Cory Schneider, G, NJD (26, 30, 26)
27. Martin Jones, G, SJS (40, 21, 22)
28. Logan Couture, C, SJS (21, 23, 44)
29. Kris Letang, D, PIT (32, 37, 21)
30. Pekka Rinne, G, NSH (28, 34, 32)
31. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG (36, 32, 31)
32. Dustin Byfuglien, D, WPG (29, 38, 34)
33. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH (35, 33, 35)
34. Taylor Hall, LW, NJD (39, 46, 28)
35. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, ARI (37, 44, 33)
36. Drew Doughty, D, LAK (42, 39, 38)
37. Roman Josi, D, NSH (46, 28, 46)
38. James Neal, RW, NSH (41, 43, 39)
39. John Gibson, G, ANA (58, 36, 29)
40. Phil Kessel, RW, PIT (34, 35, 56)
41. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (38, 47, 43)
42. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (19, 53, 57)
43. Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI (50, 42, 40)
44. Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR (49, 29, 54)
45. Jake Allen, G, STL (43, 51, 45)
46. Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH (54, 41, 49)
47. John Klingberg, D, DAL (52, 45, 47)
48. Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (47, 70, 36)
49. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, PHI (64, 50, 41)
50. Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS (45, 40, 71)
51. John Carlson, D, WSH (55, 60, 42)
52. Jack Eichel, C, BUF (53, 59, 48)
53. Duncan Keith, D, CHI (48, 61, 51)
54. Shea Weber, D, MTL (44, 67, 50)
55. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (57, 76, 37)
56. Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL (60, 54, 59)
57. Mark Giordano, D, CGY (71, 56, 52)
58. Keith Yandle, D, FLA (74, 52, 53)
59. Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN (24, 77, 81)
60. Ryan Johansen, C, NSH (59, 63, 61)
61. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI (72, 25, 87)
62. Victor Hedman, D, TBL (51, 82, 55)
63. Patrick Sharp, LW/RW, DAL (25, 86, 77)
64. Zach Parise, LW, MIN (67, 64, 60)
65. Brian Elliott, G, CGY (62, 65, 64)
66. Joe Thornton, C, SJS (56, 66, 75)
67. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS (65, 58, 74)
68. Devan Dubnyk, G, MIN (61, 48, 89)
69. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL (81, 62, 58)
70. Jakub Voracek, LW/RW, PHI (63, 79, 65)
71. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (66, 75, 73)
72. Tuukka Rask, G, BOS (92, 57, 70)
73. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA (89, 55, 76)
74. Ryan O'Reilly, C/LW, BUF (85, 72, 69)
75. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ (70, 96, 62)
76. Tyson Barrie, D, COL (77, 90, 66)
77. Torey Krug, D, BOS (69, 91, 78)
78. Aaron Ekblad, D, FLA (75, 97, 67)
79. Justin Faulk, D, CAR (84, 92, 63)
80. Roberto Luongo, G, FLA (87, 68, 86)
81. Andrew Ladd, LW, NYI (88, 74, 82)
82. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, STL (80, 88, 80)
83. Jordan Eberle, RW, EDM (68, 93, 90)
84. Matt Murray, G, PIT (93, 71, 88)
85. Alexander Steen, LW, STL (82, 78, 92)
86. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, FLA (94, 83, 79)
87. Jason Spezza, C, DAL (79, 80, 104)
88. Milan Lucic, LW, EDM (76, 87, 101)
89. Tyler Toffoli, C/RW, LAK (90, 81, 95)
90. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, BUF (105, 94, 68)
91. T.J. Oshie, RW, WSH (83, 85, 102)
92. Ryan Suter, D, MIN (78, 107, 93)
93. Matt Duchene, C, COL (95, 99, 91)
94. Craig Anderson, G, OTT (102, 69, 114)
95. Brayden Schenn, C/LW, PHI (109, 84, 98)
96. Kyle Okposo, RW, BUF (101, 98, 94)
97. Kyle Palmieri, RW, NJD (112, 73, 110)
98. Dylan Larkin, C/RW, DET (108, 104, 85)
99. Mike Hoffman, LW, OTT (114, 100, 84)
100. Brent Seabrook, D, CHI (96, 105, 97)
101. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, PIT (103, 95, 103)
102. Jake Muzzin, D, LAK (86, 101, 115)
103. Dougie Hamilton, D, CGY (106, 116, 83)
104. Petr Mrazek, G, DET (132, 102, 72)
105. Patrik Laine, RW, WPG (97, 118, 99)
106. Mark Stone, RW, OTT (100, 103, 113)
107. Auston Matthews, C, TOR (99, 112, 118)
108. Alex Galchenyuk, C, MTL (91, 113, 127)
109. Semyon Varlamov, G, COL (118, 108, 108)
110. Max Domi, LW, ARI (104, 115, 117)
111. Jaromir Jagr, RW, FLA (115, 119, 105)
112. Sami Vatanen, D, ANA (111, 110, 121)
113. Alexander Radulov, RW, MTL (125, 122, 96)
114. Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (117, 125, 106)
115. Jonathan Drouin, LW, TBL (98, 138, 112)
116. Alex Pietrangelo, D, STL (110, 121, 120)
117. James van Riemsdyk, LW, TOR (141, 89, 128)
118. Rick Nash, LW, NYR (107, 145, 107)
119. Frederik Andersen, G, TOR (122, 137, 100)
120. Bobby Ryan, RW, OTT (139, 117, 109)
121. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, SJS (126, 120, 123)
122. Jeff Carter, C, LAK (123, 106, 141)
123. Ryan McDonagh, D, NYR (128, 109, 133)
124. Cam Talbot, G, EDM (113, 127, 132)
125. Seth Jones, D, CBJ (124, 123, 126)
126. Robby Fabbri, C/LW, STL (119, 124, 144)
127. Jaroslav Halak, G, NYI (134, 129, 125)
128. Colton Parayko, D, STL (120, 135, 140)
129. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, CBJ (154, 111, 130)
130. Loui Eriksson, LW, VAN (116, 141, 142)
131. Hampus Lindholm, D, ANA (127, 139, 134)
132. Tyler Johnson, C, TBL (159, 114, 129)
133. Boone Jenner, C/LW, CBJ (157, 134, 111)
134. Alec Martinez, D, LAK (129, 126, 147)
135. TJ Brodie, D, CGY (138, 146, 119)
136. Jaden Schwartz, LW, STL (131, 151, 138)
137. Anton Stralman, D, TBL (136, 143, 148)
138. Thomas Greiss, G, NYI (156, 159, 116)
139. Morgan Rielly, D, TOR (143, 152, 136)
140. Brendan Gallagher, RW, MTL (149, 147, 139)
141. Jussi Jokinen, LW, FLA (160, 149, 131)
142. Matt Dumba, D, MIN (133, 144, 163)
143. David Backes, RW, BOS (155, 160, 135)
144. Ryan Kesler, C, ANA (153, 131, 167)
145. Teuvo Teravainen, LW/RW, CAR (167, 166, 124)
146. Mika Zibanejad, C/RW, NYR (146, 165, 153)
147. Robin Lehner, G, BUF (177, 142, 145)
148. Vincent Trocheck, C, FLA (161, 132, 173)
149. Nick Leddy, D, NYI (130, 162, 177)
150. Henrik Sedin, C, VAN (140, 175, 155)
151. Derick Brassard, C, OTT (158, 148, 166)
152. Adam Henrique, C, NJD (174, 164, 137)
153. Matt Niskanen, D, WSH (137, 192, 149)
154. David Krejci, C, BOS (152, 150, 186)
155. Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW, DET (178, 158, 152)
156. Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR (151, 156, 181)
157. Michael Stone, D, ARI (150, 183, 158)
158. Anthony Duclair, LW/RW, ARI (170, 171, 160)
159. Mike Smith, G, ARI (162, 176, 165)
160. Marian Hossa, RW, CHI (184, 140, 189)
161. Andrei Markov, D, MTL (183, 153, 182)
162. Olli Maatta, D, PIT (171, 182, 178)
163. Mattias Ekholm, D, NSH (176, 172, 190)
164. Zdeno Chara, D, BOS (191, 184, 172)

Video: CAR@BUF: Reinhart sets up Eichel for go-ahead goal

Players drafted in two of the three mocks: Sam Reinhart, C/RW, BUF (73, 143), Michal Neuvirth, G, PHI (180, 122), Justin Williams, RW, WSH (175, 130), Patrick Marleau, C/LW, SJS (136, 171), Dion Phaneuf, D, OTT (128, 185), Derek Stepan, C, NYR (145, 175), Johnny Boychuk, D, NYI (144, 185), Bryan Little, C, WPG (161, 169), Steve Mason, G, PHI (166, 168), Jordan Staal, C/LW, CAR (177, 157), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, EDM (148, 187), Jeff Skinner, LW, CAR (173, 163), Cam Fowler, D, ANA (163, 176), Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ (172, 169), Mike Green, D, DET (186, 156), Michael Cammalleri, LW, NJD (186, 161), William Nylander, C/RW, TOR (169, 188), James Reimer, G, FLA (174, 184), Ryan Miller, G, VAN (188, 170), Leon Draisaitl, C, EDM (189, 170), Joonas Donskoi, RW, SJS (187, 173), Radko Gudas, D, PHI (182, 183), David Pastrnak, RW, BOS (190, 178), Ondrej Palat, LW, TBL (180, 189), Alex Goligoski, D, ARI (188, 191)

Players drafted in one of the three mocks: Kari Lehtonen, G, DAL (49), Jacob Markstrom, G, VAN (121), J.T. Miller, C/LW, NYR (133), Niklas Kronwall, D, DET (135), Valeri Nichushkin, RW, DAL (142), Brian Campbell, D, CHI (146), Charlie Coyle, C/RW, MIN (147), Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TBL (150), Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, WPG (151), Leo Komarov, C/RW, TOR (154), Andrew Shaw, C, MTL (154), Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT (155), Brock Nelson, LW, NYI (157), Scott Hartnell, LW, CBJ (159), Connor Hellebuyck, G, WPG (162), Reilly Smith, RW, FLA (164), Jimmy Vesey, LW, NYR (164), Erik Johnson, D, COL (165), Mikkel Boedker, LW, SJS (167), Tomas Hertl, C, SJS (168), Adam Larsson, D, EDM (168), Gustav Nyquist, LW/RW, DET (174), Jiri Hudler, C/RW, DAL (178), Andre Burakovsky, LW, WSH (179), Antti Niemi, G, DAL (179), Oscar Klefbom, D, EDM (180), Kyle Turris, C, OTT (181), Ryan Ellis, D, NSH (181), Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, EDM (185), Jakob Silfverberg, RW, ANA (187), Trevor Daley, D, PIT (190), Paul Stastny, C, STL (191), Evander Kane, LW, BUF (192), Jacob Trouba, D, WPG (192)

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