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Week 11: Fantasy top 100 forward rankings for 2016-17

NHL.com lists most valuable standard-league assets during regular season

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

All season long, NHL.com will rank the top 100 forwards for standard Yahoo leagues (goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points, shots on goal). Players with long-term injuries have been removed from this list. Multiple positions indicate dual eligibility in Yahoo leagues.

These rankings are based on expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by line combinations, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard leagues. Changes in value each week are based on recent performance and/or lineup trends.

Evander Kane has always been a difficult forward to evaluate in terms of fantasy value. His potential is always high, but he has rarely lived up to the billing or stayed healthy long enough to try in recent seasons.

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That said, Kane's recent performance makes it an absolute no-brainer to add him to your fantasy lineup, regardless of format.

Kane scored two goals on four shots for the Buffalo Sabres against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, giving him eight goals in his past 11 games after none in his first 12. His stock over the years has been marred by injuries but he has been healthy and productive whether or not he's played on a line with Jack Eichel of late. At 29 percent owned, he's arguably the most overlooked, underestimated fantasy player in the NHL right now.

Video: BUF@DET: Kane wrists home puck for second of game

Since 2011-12, Kane has been limited to 310 of a possible 410 games because of various injuries, but is still among the League leaders in shots on goal (1,192, 17th), penalty minutes (371, 41st) and hits (825, 39th) in the span. He scored 20 goals last season, his best single-season output since his 30 with the Winnipeg Jets in 2011-12, but is noticeably playing his best hockey in years since Eichel returned from injury Nov. 29.

Kane is even doing some damage on the Sabres' second power-play unit (four PPP), an area he has struggled in for much of his career (NHL career-high nine PPP in 2011-12). He is closing in on the top 200 in Yahoo's performance-based rankings (239th as of Wednesday) and has the rare category coverage that could make him a shoe-in for the year-end top 100 if he stays healthy.

Even though Kane has already missed 11 games and can play a maximum of 71, his pro-rated projection of 25 goals, 40 points, 77 PIMs, 12 PPP and 209 SOG would put him in rare company. Six players have had a 25-40-75-10-200 line in a single season since 2013-14: Wayne Simmonds (2013-14, 2015-16), Scott Hartnell (2014-15), David Perron (2013-14), Boone Jenner (2015-16) and Ryan Kesler (2013-14).

Video: BUF@DET: Kane chips home rebound after wraparound try

 

TRENDING UP

Anders Lee (LW, 22 percent owned) quietly leads the New York Islanders in goals (13) and has been one of the hottest League-wide of late with four in his past four games (T-2nd in span). He has been playing on the top line with John Tavares and an even bigger fantasy surprise in Josh Bailey (LW/RW, 8 percent owned), who's second on the Islanders behind Tavares (24 points) with 21 points. Remember, Lee was fantasy relevant as a rookie in 2014-15, when he played alongside Tavares for much of the second half, and finished with 25 goals and 197 SOG. With a spot on the first power-play unit with Tavares, Bailey, Ryan Strome and Nick Leddy solidified, Lee has bounced back in a big way and warrants consideration in all fantasy formats. If your league counts hits, Lee is even more valuable with 78 in 34 games.

Video: WSH@NYI: Lee beats Holtby five-hole on a breakaway

 

TRENDING DOWN

This season has been the polar opposite of last season for Vincent Trocheck and fellow Florida Panthers secondary scorers Reilly Smith and Jussi Jokinen. Each finished with at least 50 points in 2015-16, but none are worth holding onto at the moment -- at least until Jonathan Huberdeau returns sometime after the New Year. Trocheck, who has not scored a point in his past four games, still carries high ownership (C, 44 percent) but is minus-15 and has seen little time on Florida's first power-play unit. With Seth Griffith holding down a spot on the top line with Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr, hot-starting Jonathan Marchessault has been bumped off that unit and has been in and out of the lineup because of injury. Marchessault and Trocheck each sit outside the top 100 forwards.

Video: FLA@WPG: Trocheck slams home rebound for PPG

 

WORTH NOTING

-- Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat could return to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, finally some good news on their injury front. Forward Jonathan Drouin (undisclosed; day to day) recently joined goalie Ben Bishop (lower body) and captain Steven Stamkos (torn meniscus) on their injured list, but Kucherov's return offers some hope the Lightning can salvage their season and pursue a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The return of Kucherov, one of six players (Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Evgeni Malkin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Cam Atkinson) averaging better than a point per game (minimum 25 games) this season, should boost Tyler Johnson (C, 56 percent owned) and/or Vladislav Namestnikov (C/LW, 3 percent), with each having thrived alongside Kucherov in the past.

Video: WSH@TBL: Kucherov rips a shot past Holtby for PPG

-- Tyler Toffoli (lower body) will not return to the Los Angeles Kings lineup until January, opening the door for other forwards down the lineup. Tanner Pearson (LW, 9 percent owned), who started hot and has been an efficient offensive player for the Kings through the years (plus-9 this season; plus-36 in NHL career), took Toffoli's spot on the first power-play unit against the Dallas Stars on Dec. 23. Pearson had a power-play assist in the game and has points in two straight and three of his past five. The 24-year-old is a more worthwhile standard-league fantasy add than veterans Marian Gaborik or Dustin Brown.

Video: NJD@LAK: Pearson rips a wrist shot past Schneider

-- Connor Brown (RW, 1 percent owned) has been bumped up to the Toronto Maple Leafs' first power-play unit and an even-strength line with rookie Auston Matthews. Brown, 22, has been up to the task since the move, combining for three points in two games with two coming on the power play. He also has seven SOG in the span. He has 12 points in 33 games this season, but could surface in deep fantasy leagues if coach Mike Babcock keeps him in this spot the rest of the way.

Video: TOR@ARI: Brown beats Smith top shelf to open scoring

 

Top 100 Fantasy Forwards

These rankings were last updated Dec. 28. They reflect the order of forwards in NHL.com's top 200 rankings at the holiday break.

1. Connor McDavid, C, EDM 
2. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT 
3. Patrick Kane, RW, CHI 
4. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL 
5. Alex Ovechkin, LW, WSH 
6. Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT 
7. Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS 
8. Jakub Voracek, LW/RW, PHI 
9. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL 
10. Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI 
11. Tyler Seguin, C/RW, DAL 
12. Claude Giroux, C, PHI 
13. Jamie Benn, LW, DAL 
14. Patrik Laine, LW/RW, WPG 
15. Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI 
16. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG 
17. Phil Kessel, RW, PIT 
18. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH 
19. Corey Perry, RW, ANA 
20. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY 
21. Auston Matthews, C, TOR 
22. John Tavares, C, NYI 
23. David Pastrnak, RW, BOS 
24. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG 
25. Jack Eichel, C, BUF 
26. Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ 
27. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL 
28. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS 
29. Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (DTD)
30. Alexander Radulov, LW/RW, MTL 
31. Ryan Kesler, C, ANA 
32. Leon Draisaitl, C/RW, EDM 
33. James Neal, RW, NSH 
34. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA 
35. Jeff Skinner, LW, CAR 
36. Taylor Hall, LW, NJD 
37. Ryan Johansen, C, NSH 
38. Eric Staal, C, MIN 
39. Mike Hoffman, LW, OTT 
40. Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT 
41. Jeff Carter, C, LAK 
42. Logan Couture, C, SJS 
43. Milan Lucic, LW, EDM 
44. Joe Thornton, C, SJS 
45. Alexander Wennberg, C, CBJ 
46. Tyler Toffoli, C/RW, LAK (IR
47. Mitchell Marner, C/RW, TOR 
48. Kyle Okposo, RW, BUF 
49. Nick Foligno, LW/RW, CBJ 
50. Jonathan Drouin, LW/RW, TBL 
51. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK 
52. Mark Stone, RW, OTT 
53. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, WPG 
54. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ 
55. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, WSH 
56. Brayden Schenn, C/LW, PHI 
57. William Nylander, C/RW, TOR 
58. Jaromir Jagr, RW, FLA 
59. Matt Duchene, C/RW, COL 
60. James van Riemsdyk, LW, TOR 
61. Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS 
62. Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH 
63. Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL 
64. Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN 
65. Sean Monahan, C, CGY 
66. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR 
67. Rick Nash, LW/RW, NYR (DTD
68. Tyler Johnson, C, TBL 
69. Jordan Eberle, RW, EDM 
70. Zach Parise, LW, MIN 
71. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI 
72. Brendan Gallagher, RW, MTL 
73. Rickard Rakell, C/LW, ANA 
74. Artem Anisimov, C, CHI 
75. Jason Spezza, C/RW, DAL 
76. Robby Fabbri, C/LW, STL 
77. Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR 
78. Charlie Coyle, C/RW, MIN 
79. Nazem Kadri, C, TOR 
80. Victor Rask, C, CAR 
81. Bryan Little, C, WPG 
82. T.J. Oshie, RW, WSH 
83. Derek Stepan, C, NYR 
84. Jaden Schwartz, C/LW, STL 
85. David Backes, RW, BOS 
86. Sam Gagner, C/RW, CBJ 
87. Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW, NSH 
88. Evander Kane, LW, BUF 
89. Alexander Steen, LW/RW, STL 
90. Marcus Johansson, LW/RW, WSH 
91. Jakob Silfverberg, RW, ANA 
92. J.T. Miller, C/LW/RW, NYR 
93. Conor Sheary, LW/RW, PIT 
94. Kevin Hayes, C/RW, NYR 
95. Michael Cammalleri, LW, NJD 
96. Tomas Plekanec, C, MTL 
97. Valtteri Filppula, C/LW, TBL 
98. Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW, DET 
99. Mikko Koivu, C, MIN 
100. Kyle Turris, C, OTT 

Dropped out: Gabriel Landeskog (COL), Travis Zajac (NJD)

Just missed: Sebastian Aho (LW/RW, CAR), Sam Reinhart (C/RW, BUF), Mikael Granlund (C/LW, MIN), Radim Vrbata (RW, ARI), Bobby Ryan (RW, OTT), Henrik Sedin (C, VAN), Scott Hartnell (LW, CBJ), Matthew Tkachuk (LW, CGY), Anders Lee (LW, NYI), Derick Brassard (C, OTT), David Krejci (C, BOS), Mike Fisher (C, NSH), Nino Niederreiter (LW/RW, MIN), Teuvo Teravainen (C/LW/RW, CAR)

Key injuries: Steven Stamkos (C, TBL), Alex Galchenyuk (C, MTL), Marian Hossa (RW, CHI), Ryan O'Reilly (C/LW, BUF), Mika Zibanejad (C/RW, NYR), Jonathan Huberdeau (LW, FLA), Max Domi (LW, ARI), Andrew Shaw (C/RW, MTL), Patrick Sharp (LW/RW, DAL), Tomas Hertl (C/LW, SJS)

 

READ: Last week's Top 100 forward rankings

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