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Week 18: 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. Positions indicate 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.

Fantasy owners can't afford to ignore how the recent in-season coaching changes have sparked forward production of the New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins. 

The Islanders are 8-2-2 and have outscored their opponents 41-30 since Doug Weight replaced Jack Capuano on Jan. 17. The Blues are 5-1-0 and have outscored their opponents 20-8 since Mike Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock on Feb. 1. The Bruins are 3-0-0 and have outscored their opponents 14-6 since Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julien on Feb. 7.

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: TOP 50 DEFENSEMEN | TOP 25 GOALIES

For the Islanders, it's been a resurgence of their young core, most notably Ryan Strome (C/RW, 5 percent owned in Yahoo). He has eight points in his past seven games with three coming on the power-play. He's been a fixture alongside John Tavares on the first power-play unit for most of the season, but had inconsistent even-strength usage under Capuano. Recently, Strome has looked more like the 50-point scorer he was in 2014-15. 

Video: COL@NYI: Lee redirects PPG for his second goal

Anders Lee (LW, 36 percent owned) and Josh Bailey (LW/RW, 23 percent), two under-owned fantasy forwards, join Strome, Tavares and defenseman Nick Leddy on the Islanders' much-improved first power-play unit. Bailey has cooled off with no points in his past three games, but Lee is tied for the NHL lead in points (nine in six games) and PPP (four) since Feb. 3. The Islanders are finally turning the corner with the man-advantage; they are 24th in power-play efficiency (16.4 percent) this season but are among the League's top 10 this month (26.3 percent, eighth).

Brock Nelson (C/LW, 12 percent owned), who has eight points in 12 games since Weight took over, has teamed with Strome at even strength, and the duo has thrived in Weight's up-tempo offense. Even veteran Andrew Ladd (LW, 41 percent owned), who has played in mostly a depth role and failed to live up to fantasy expectations, has found his scoring touch with six points in his nine games under Weight. 

The Blues have overcome recent injuries to thrive under Yeo. Robby Fabbri (torn ACL) is out for the season and Paul Stastny (lower body) was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, but Patrik Berglund (C, 5 percent owned) has continued his strong play centering St. Louis' second line with Jaden Schwartz. Berglund has five goals in his past three games and 16 in 26 games since Dec. 15, tied with Cam Atkinson and Max Pacioretty for most League-wide in the span. 

Another beneficiary of the Blues' coaching change has been David Perron (LW/RW, 15 percent owned), who has had a solid season covering five of the six standard categories despite plenty of line shuffling. He's now on the third line with Jori Lehtera, but has five points, is plus-4, and has four penalty minutes, one PPP and eight SOG in his past four games. He's quietly 129th in Yahoo's performance-based rankings. The recent scoring concerns surrounding Vladimir Tarasenko have also settled down; he has three goals in his past three games on a line with Alexander Steen. 

Video: STL@MTL: Perron kicks puck to stick and finds twine

And the Bruins, who had an extremely low shooting percentage (7.4 percent; 28th in NHL) this season under Julien, have seen their secondary scorers take a step forward in three games under Cassidy. All season, their top line of Brad Marchand (second overall in Yahoo), David Pastrnak (11th) and Patrice Bergeron (59th) has carried the offense, but there have been revised lines under the new coach. David Krejci has five points (two PPP) in three games on a line with Pastrnak, and David Backes has four points in the span alongside Bergeron and Marchand. 

Frank Vatrano (C/LW, 3 percent owned) has also been strong under Cassidy with four points (one PPP) in his past two games. He has been limited to 24 games because of an early-season foot injury, but is playing on the second power-play unit with Krejci and third line with Ryan Spooner. Vatrano, who's third on the Bruins in points per 60 minutes (2.26) behind Pastrnak (3.16) and Marchand (3.08), is familiar with Cassidy's system from their time with Providence of the American Hockey League. Don't be surprised if the 22-year-old forward sees more time alongside Krejci down the stretch. 

The Bruins have played more games than most of the League (58, tied for most), but still have renewed hope in the Atlantic Division after their coaching change. The Islanders have a road-heavy slate the rest of the way, but have played the second-fewest games (54). The Blues are right in between with 56 games played. 

Video: MTL@BOS: Vatrano buries carom off boards to pad lead

 

WORTH NOTING

-- Max Domi (LW, 49 percent owned) of the Arizona Coyotes is heating up since returning from a hand injury. He has four points (one PPP) in five games, all coming during his current three-game point streak. He is playing on the first power-play unit with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata and has value in the short term and in a keeper league. Even with the Coyotes near the bottom of the NHL standings, don't forget Domi had 52 points (15 PPP), 72 PIMs and 156 SOG last season to finish 85th overall in Yahoo. 

-- Brendan Gallagher (RW, 40 percent owned) returned for the Montreal Canadiens in their 4-0 loss at the Bruins on Sunday. He played on the second line with Alex Galchenyuk and Andrew Shaw and had two SOG. His power-play role and production has diminished with the offseason addition of Alexander Radulov, but fantasy owners should add Gallagher and count on his category coverage the rest of the way. In addition to 18 points in 40 games, he has 31 PIMs, 114 SOG and is plus-3. 

Video: MTL@FLA: Gallagher finishes the rush to tie the game

-- The Florida Panthers, who also made an in-season coaching change, are 4-1-0 in their past five games with 20 goals in the span. Center Aleksander Barkov and left wing Jonathan Huberdeau have at least a point in each of their first three games since returning from injuries on a line with Jaromir Jagr, who gained left wing eligibility in Yahoo's latest position update (LW/RW). Vincent Trocheck and Jussi Jokinen (C/LW, 29 percent owned) have also played well together in a secondary role; Trocheck has two goals, two assists, one PPP and eight SOG in his past two games, and Jokinen remains a veteran with sneaky upside after multipoint outings in three of his past five games. 

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Top 100 Fantasy Forwards

These rankings were last updated Feb. 14 

1. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT (SAME) 
2. Alex Ovechkin, LW, WSH (+1) 
3. Connor McDavid, C, EDM (-1) 
4. Patrick Kane, RW, CHI (SAME) 
5. Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT (NR - INJ.
6. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH (+2) 
7. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (-2) 
8. Auston Matthews, C, TOR (-2) 
9. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (SAME) 
10. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS (+2) 
11. Phil Kessel, RW, PIT (SAME) 
12. John Tavares, C, NYI (+1) 
13. Jamie Benn, LW, DAL (+5) 
14. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (-7) 
15. Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS (-5) 
16. Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI (-2) 
17. Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI (-2) 
18. Tyler Seguin, C/RW, DAL (-2) 
19. Jakub Voracek, LW/RW, PHI (SAME) 
20. David Pastrnak, RW, BOS (+4) 
21. Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ (SAME) 
22. Ryan Kesler, C, ANA (SAME) 
23. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (SAME) 
24. Patrik Laine, LW/RW, WPG (-7) 
25. Jeff Carter, C, LAK (SAME) 
26. Mikael Granlund, C/LW/RW, MIN (SAME) 
27. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG (-7) 
28. Corey Perry, RW, ANA (-1) 
29. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, WSH (SAME) 
30. Alexander Radulov, LW/RW, MTL (-2) 
31. Jack Eichel, C, BUF (+3) 
32. Mitchell Marner, C/RW, TOR (+3) 
33. James van Riemsdyk, LW, TOR (+3) 
34. Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS (+18) 
35. Nazem Kadri, C, TOR (+4) 
36. Claude Giroux, C, PHI (-6) 
37. Mike Hoffman, LW, OTT (-6) 
38. Leon Draisaitl, C/RW, EDM (-6) 
39. Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (+2) 
40. Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (+2) 
41. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, WPG (-8) 
42. Eric Staal, C, MIN (-5) 
43. Nick Foligno, LW/RW, CBJ (-3) 
44. Ryan Johansen, C, NSH (-1) 
45. Logan Couture, C, SJS (SAME) 
46. Alex Galchenyuk, C, MTL (-8) 
47. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA (SAME) 
48. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (+1) 
49. Kyle Okposo, RW, BUF (+1) 
50. T.J. Oshie, RW, WSH (+6) 
51. Taylor Hall, LW, NJD (+3) 
52. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (-6) 
53. Mikko Koivu, C, MIN (+2) 
54. Alexander Wennberg, C, CBJ (-10) 
55. Brayden Schenn, C/LW, PHI (-7) 
56. Mark Stone, RW, OTT (-3) 
57. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, FLA (+3) 
58. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, CGY (SAME) 
59. Jeff Skinner, LW, CAR (-8) 
60. Tyler Toffoli, C/RW, LAK (-3) 
61. William Nylander, C/RW, TOR (-2) 
62. Jonathan Drouin, LW/RW, TBL (-1) 
63. Ryan O'Reilly, C/LW, BUF (-1) 
64. Jaromir Jagr, LW/RW, FLA (+1) 
65. Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH (-2) 
66. Charlie Coyle, C/RW, MIN (+4) 
67. Joe Thornton, C, SJS (+5) 
68. J.T. Miller, C/LW/RW, NYR (+12) 
69. Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR (-5) 
70. Jakob Silfverberg, RW, ANA (+1) 
71. Derek Stepan, C, NYR (+2) 
72. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI (+2) 
73. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (-7) 
74. Evander Kane, LW, BUF (+10) 
75. Anders Lee, LW, NYI (+16) 
76. Nino Niederreiter, LW/RW, MIN (+18) 
77. Marian Hossa, RW, CHI (-10) 
78. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ (-10) 
79. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (-10) 
80. Artem Anisimov, C, CHI (-3) 
81. Justin Williams, RW, WSH (-3) 
82. Kevin Hayes, C/RW, NYR (+11) 
83. Rick Nash, LW/RW, NYR (-8) 
84. James Neal, RW, NSH (-8) 
85. Tyler Johnson, C, TBL (DTD
86. Jason Zucker, LW/RW, MIN (-3) 
87. Patrick Marleau, C/LW, SJS (SAME) 
88. Bryan Little, C, WPG (-7) 
89. Zach Parise, LW, MIN (+7) 
90. Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW, NSH (NEW
91. Matt Duchene, C/RW, COL (-9) 
92. Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL (-7) 
93. Rickard Rakell, C/LW, ANA (-7) 
94. Alexander Steen, LW/RW, STL (-4) 
95. Sam Reinhart, C/RW, BUF (SAME) 
96. Marcus Johansson, LW/RW, WSH (NEW
97. Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT (+2) 
98. Michael Grabner, LW/RW, NYR (NEW
99. Patrick Eaves, RW, DAL (+1) 
100. Jason Pominville, RW, MIN (NEW

*NR - INJ. - Not ranked last week because of injury 

Dropped out: Patrick Maroon (LW, EDM), Mikael Backlund (C, CGY), Kyle Turris (C, OTT), Daniel Sedin (LW, VAN), Mika Zibanejad (C/RW, NYR) 

Just missed: David Krejci (C, BOS), Henrik Zetterberg (C/LW, DET), Vincent Trocheck (C, FLA), Max Domi (LW, ARI), Brendan Gallagher (RW, MTL), Tomas Hertl (C/LW, SJS), Brandon Dubinsky (C, CBJ), Tyler Bozak (C, TOR), Jaden Schwartz (C/LW, STL), Josh Bailey (LW/RW, NYI) 

Key injuries: Steven Stamkos (C, TBL), Jason Spezza (C/RW, DAL), Conor Sheary (LW/RW, PIT), Andre Burakovsky (LW/RW, WSH), Paul Stastny (C, STL), Robby Fabbri (C/LW, STL) 

 

READ: Last week's Top 100 forward rankings 

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