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Week 21: 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.

With the fantasy playoffs beginning next week in most head-to-head formats, no category can go overlooked. You may have survived the season so far by ignoring a category like penalty minutes, but you never know when you'll need that extra point to squeak by to the next round. 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: TOP 50 DEFENSEMEN | TOP 25 GOALIES

The best category coverage assets are owned in nearly all formats and crowded near the top of the forward rankings each week, but sometimes name value gets in the way of stellar production. Here's a reminder of some players who provide multi-category production and cannot be ignored in the final month of the regular season. 

Kyle Palmieri (RW, 69 percent owned) of the New Jersey Devils has regressed in some areas this season, but his overall category profile remains strong and not far off his 2015-16 rank (49th; 62nd this season). He's the only plus player (plus-2) on the Devils and his 44 PIMs are second behind rookie Miles Wood (53). Palmieri is tied for the Devils lead in points with Taylor Hall (42 each) and has proven he's the real deal on the power play, leading New Jersey with 17 PPP in 63 games after 23 in 82 last season. He's on pace for his second straight season of at least 50 points and deserves to be owned in any standard Yahoo league, regardless of size. 

Video: NJD@BOS: Palmieri buries Hall's feed on odd-man rush

Evander Kane (LW, 55 percent owned) of the Buffalo Sabres is tied for sixth in the League with 22 even-strength goals, trailing Auston Matthews (26), Michael Grabner (25), Patrik Laine (24), Sidney Crosby (23) and Patrick Kane (23). How he hasn't hit 60 percent owned is stunning and proves many owners may be asleep at the wheel and content with their rosters in shallow leagues. Kane is also closing in on 100 PIMs (93 in 54 games) and was recently promoted to the Sabres' second line alongside Ryan O'Reilly instead of the third. He's one of two players (Alex Ovechkin) with at least 1.5 hits per game and 3.5 SOG per game. 

Outside of Palmieri, Kane and the obvious go-to guys for category coverage, deeper-league owners need to get creative. Don't look so much at name value but more at production in categories of need on a per-game basis and current lineup placement. 

Alexandre Burrows (LW/RW; 6 percent owned) needs to be on everyone's radar with three goals, one assist and a plus-4 rating in his first three games since being traded to the Ottawa Senators from the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 27. Despite a down year by his standards, he's still ranked 240th in Yahoo and now joins the top-six forward group for a Stanley Cup Playoff contender. He covers SOG (120) and PIMs (53) well, and has four NHL seasons of at least 25 goals. 

Andrew Shaw (C/RW, 19 percent owned) of the Montreal Canadiens is also nearing 100 PIMs (99) with a positive rating (plus-5), a touch of PPP (six) and more than 100 SOG (101). He's not normally viewed as a fantasy asset, but he's ranked 131st in Yahoo at the moment and is averaging 2:03 per game on the power play since Claude Julien took over as Montreal coach on Feb. 14. Shaw scored his 10th goal of the season against the New York Rangers on Saturday and simply cannot be overlooked in fantasy. 

Video: MTL@NYR: Shaw grabs rebound, nets wraparound goal

Two other players scratching the surface who can help in the PIMs category are Chris Stewart (LW/RW, 1 percent owned), who's playing alongside Zach Parise and Eric Staal for the Minnesota Wild of late, and Marcus Foligno (LW, 5 percent owned), who's flanking red-hot Jack Eichel for the Sabres.

 

TRENDING UP: 

This season has been a rare blip on the radar for the Detroit Red Wings, but veteran Henrik Zetterberg has proven he still belongs among the top 50 forwards in the short term. Zetterberg ranks third League-wide in primary assists (27) behind Connor McDavid (32) and Mikael Granlund (29), and has already surpassed his point total from last season (50 in 82 games) with 51 in 63 games. His power-play production is down (22 PPP last season; 10 this season), but he's among the League leaders in even-strength assists (29, 4th) and has turned his plus/minus around (minus-15 to plus-11). The Red Wings have to feel much better about him being under contract through 2020-21 than they did last season, especially considering he's found chemistry with young Anthony Mantha (LW/RW, 181st in Yahoo). 

Video: NYI@DET: Zetterberg buries PPG with 0.1 on the clock

 
TRENDING DOWN: 

It was quite a ride for Charlie Coyle (C/RW, 46 percent owned) earlier in the season, but his production has dwindled in the past few weeks. He has no points and is minus-6 in his past eight games, making fantasy owners of the breakout player reconsider his place on their rosters. He has an NHL career-high 44 points (fifth on Wild in scoring), but is not seeing nearly as much time on a line with Staal as he was earlier in the season, playing mostly with newly acquired Martin Hanzal. Coyle isn't a power-play specialist (seven PPP), so his even-strength usage is crucial to his fantasy worth. If Coyle doesn't bounce back this week, drop him for a more productive skater on the waiver wire for the fantasy playoffs. 

 

WORTH NOTING 

-- Conor Sheary (LW/RW, 42 percent owned) has returned from an upper-body injury and re-joins the Pittsburgh Penguins' top line with Sidney Crosby and NHL.com's top 100 forward list as a result. But another interesting development is Jake Guentzel (C/LW, 4 percent owned) remaining on that line with Crosby, making him fantasy relevant down the stretch. Guentzel is fourth on the Penguins in goals per 60 minutes (1.15) behind Crosby (1.79), Evgeni Malkin (1.64) and Sheary (1.61), and has 16 points in 27 NHL games. He also provides value in hits leagues with 1.9 per game (T-4th among Pittsburgh forwards). 

Video: BUF@PIT: Schultz finds Sheary for late go-ahead goal

-- The lowest-ownership forward in this week's top 100 is Michael Frolik (C/RW, 16 percent owned). The Calgary Flames have won seven straight games and are looking like a legitimate postseason contender, with their second line of Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk and Frolik being a driving force in recent months. Since Dec. 23, Frolik has 22 points, is plus-12 and has all six of his PPP. If your league counts PIMs, Tkachuk (94) is likely already owned but Frolik (40) can also provide a boost.

--- 

Top 100 Fantasy Forwards 

These rankings were last updated March 7

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

Dropped out: Rick Nash (LW/RW, NYR), David Backes (RW, BOS) 

Just missed: Sam Reinhart (C/RW, BUF), Josh Bailey (LW/RW, NYI), Patrick Eaves (RW, ANA), Tanner Pearson (LW, LAK), Paul Stastny (C, STL), Bryan Little (C, WPG), Alexandre Burrows (LW/RW, OTT), Mathieu Perreault (C/LW, WPG), Nick Schmaltz (C/LW, CHI - DTD), Jake Guentzel (C/LW, PIT)  

Key injuries: Steven Stamkos (C, TBL), Kyle Okposo (RW, BUF), Andre Burakovsky (LW/RW, WSH), Robby Fabbri (C/LW, STL), Michael Grabner (LW/RW, NYR) 

 

READ: Last week's top 100 forward rankings

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