Hockey

Fantasy hockey rankings Week 7 update

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Almost on cue, Vladimir Tarasenko returned to the Blues offense this past weekend following his offseason shoulder surgery. He was on a scoring line with Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Kyrou (who is likely a placeholder for the injured Jaden Schwartz). He played 16 minutes in his first game, almost 19 in his second game and was on the top power-play unit.

Tarasenko has been a consistent contributor of 2.2 fantasy points per game (FPPG) for a couple of seasons now. At that pace, he would project for a further 66 fantasy points this season, which slots him in at No. 55 among all skaters. Of course, that is assuming he can recapture his usual pace quickly, which remains to be seen.

Hindsight being what it is, I thought it would be interesting to look back and see precisely when picking up the injured Tarasenko was mathematically a sound move. I keep a twice-weekly record of scoring in the NHL with projected remaining fantasy points. If we assume 66 points for Tarasenko based on his historical FPPG, we can look back and see when those 66 points would have become relevant.

On Feb. 12, 66 projected remaining points would have ranked 209th among all skaters. On Feb. 16, it would have ranked 183rd. On Feb. 23 it would have ranked 161st.

So, depending on your league depth and the number of rostered skaters, you could argue the window for Tarasenko being arguably relevant to your fantasy roster — from a pure points perspective — would have been somewhere between Feb. 12 and Feb. 23.

But fantasy hockey isn’t all just math. There is the element of your fellow leaguemates and how they build and stash players on their own roster. By Feb. 26, Tarasenko was already rostered in two-thirds of ESPN leagues, either through being held in an IR spot or picked up after the initial news about him practising again.

So, there is clearly more than just crunching the numbers to decide when to stash an injured player from the free-agent pile.

But with Tarasenko now officially back on the menu, who else might be out there to help? And when should you pick them up?

Alexander Radulov, W, Dallas Stars: The Stars winger is not available in very many leagues (rostered in 77.6 percent of ESPN leagues), but he has significant appeal if he is available. Though he’s only played eight games this season, his output was truly elite. For fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60), only Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak, Joe Pavelski and Connor McDavid have surpassed the 8.48 FPP60 that Radulov put up in his 143 minutes this season. He hasn’t played since Feb. 4 due to a lower-body injury, but it’s notable that he started skating again this past week. Given the high potential stakes for his production when healthy, I would argue the time is nigh to roster him if you can.

Petr Mrazek, G, Carolina Hurricanes: He’s been making progress in practices, and even went so far as to state himself he could be ready “real soon,” but we still don’t have an exact timetable on Mrazek’s return from thumb surgery. He was hurt on Jan. 30. At the time, he led the league in both goaltender ratios and was second to Marc-Andre Fleury in FPP60 among goaltenders. James Reimer has done a decent job in his stead, but not enough to guarantee himself a timeshare upon Mrazek’s return. As with Radulov, the potential upside here has me of the opinion that the appropriate date to roster Mrazek is already behind us. He’s rostered in only 59.4 percent of ESPN leagues.

Tyler Bertuzzi, W, Detroit Red Wings: Based on his fantasy production through nine games before the injury, Bertuzzi would rank 71st among skaters for projected remaining fantasy points if he came back today. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to practice since he was hurt on Jan. 30 and an imminent return is not in the cards. In fact, we have no clue what the trouble is for Bertuzzi, as the team isn’t revealing anything about the injury. Either way, it doesn’t sound like he’s worth rostering yet and guessing at a potential date with no news about the injury is difficult. If keeping him stashed on your IR is not impacting on other roster-related decisions for your team, then he’s worth holding. Otherwise, I would consider dropping and revisiting once we know a little more about the situation or have word about him practising again.

Tyler Motte, W, Vancouver Canucks: Not quite as fantasy relevant as the aforementioned players, Motte is a potential sleeper acquisition ahead of his return to the Canucks. Out since Feb. 6 with a high-ankle sprain, Motte has resumed light skating again. He’s one of the few bottom-six forwards in the league worthy of fantasy deployment due to his hits and blocked shots (mixed with just enough scoring). A theoretical return today would see him ranked 151st among skaters for remaining fantasy points, so the stakes here aren’t that high. I think we can wait for conclusive news about an approaching return and react to it then.

Tyler Seguin, C, Dallas Stars: When it comes to superstar fantasy players we’ve yet to see in action this season, Seguin now gets all the focus following Tarasenko’s return. Hip surgery in November had him projected for an April return. An update this week suggests he’s four-to-six weeks away, which is right on the timetable. He’s currently available in 76 percent of ESPN leagues, so he is an option as a stretch-run add to your team. But when to pull the trigger? The longer timetable of six weeks would see him return with about 16 games left in the fantasy season. Seguin has averaged just shy of 2.1 FPPG during the past two seasons, so that’s 33.6 fantasy points at that stage. A return in just four weeks, the short end of the timetable, could result in 42 fantasy points. That’s not enough to make him actionable from the free-agent list yet, as those totals would currently rank him somewhere between 250 and 400 among skaters for projected remaining fantasy points. But those totals will loom larger and larger as the games remaining shrink.

When Seguin returns he would likely slot in as a top 50 play for the rest of the season. What’s tricky is determining when he would crest the top 200 or so as the weeks tick by. If I had to pick a date now, I would look to stash him as of March 29 – which is about five days prior to that four-week timetable being up. Hopefully that would get ahead of the encouraging news that is bound to trickle out as he starts ramping up at practice.

Forwards on the move

Vincent Trocheck, C/W, Carolina Hurricanes (up 32 spots to No. 38): All credit where credit is due, as Trocheck is a fantasy star this season. What’s different compared to last season? Power play. I can’t recall another player in recent years whose value is driven so much by a role on the man advantage. In 2017-18, he was featured on the Florida Panthers power play and scored 2.34 FPPG. In 2018-19, he was not as featured on the Panthers power play due to missing a bunch of time and he scored 1.80 FPPG. Last season, he was not a feature on either the Hurricanes or Panthers power play and he scored 1.54 FPPG. This season, he’s front and center on the man advantage and has 2.57 FPPG.

Patrik Laine, W, Columbus Blue Jackets (down 22 spots to No. 71): There were some encouraging games shortly after Laine’s arrival to the Blue Jackets, but his current six-game pointless streak undercuts a lot of the initial hope. The Blue Jackets struggles to score go well beyond one new elite winger, but it’s also not a problem he can solve on his own. Until something changes, such as line combos or power-play production, expect less from Laine.

Ryan O’Reilly, C, St. Louis Blues: Tarasenko’s return changes the dynamic of the Blues top six significantly. It was hard to call both scoring lines a threat without him to bolster the ranks of O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn and David Perron. Now, with Mike Hoffman and either Jordan Kyrou or a healthy Jaden Schwartz to fill out the depth chart, this is the stacked top six that the team needs to start scoring more goals — which they will need to do if they continue to be in the top 10 for goals allowed per game. O’Reilly has been Tarasenko’s center for his first two games back.

Defensemen on the move

Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (up 14 spots to No. 64): After starting very slowly this season, Letang is coming around. On Feb. 1, Letang was sitting an an uninspiring 3.37 FPP60 through the first nine games of the season. Since then, he has upped that pace to 5.10 FPP60 with a Penguins power play that still hasn’t heated up to its potential.

Samuel Girard, D, Colorado Avalanche (up 21 spots to No. 150): Because Cale Makar has missed a handful of games now, it’s hardly fair to point out that both Devon Toews and Girard have more fantasy points than Makar. But what is fair is to point out that Toews (2.0) and Girard (1.9) have more FPPG than Makar (1.8) this season. Bottom line? The Avs have three great and one good (Ryan Graves, 1.4 FPPG) fantasy defensemen for us to roster this season. Makar is still the best bet to win this race, but don’t overlook Toews and Girard as solid, go-forward options — even after Makar is back on the ice.

Goaltenders on the move

Brian Elliott, G, Philadelphia Flyers (up 19 spots to No. 194): You’ve probably already squirreled away or dropped Carter Hart from your fantasy roster, but perhaps you haven’t started using Elliott off the free-agent pile on occasion. It’s worth considering. Even if he only maintained his current 40.1 percent crease share, he would project for 52.82 remaining fantasy points based on his current FPP60 — that is ninth among goaltenders for remaining projected points. Those points will be sporadic and difficult to get into your lineup, as Elliott is the only one of the top 10 goalies for projected remaining points that has less than a 50 percent share of the crease. But it’s still worth chasing them when you can.

New to rankings

Eeli Tolvanen (No. 231), Esa Lindell (236), Rickard Rakell (250).

Just missed

Tyler Bertuzzi, Jason Dickinson, Calvin de Haan, Pius Suter, Tim Stutzle, Brock Nelson, James Reimer, Kasperi Kapanen, Joel Armia, Frank Vatrano, Scott Mayfield, Ryan Getzlaf, Nikita Zaitsev, Mattias Ekholm, Yanni Gourde, Thatcher Demko.

Dropped out

Will Butcher, Damon Severson, Pavel Francouz.

Fantasy hockey top-250 rankings

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G1)
2. David Pastrnak, RW, Bos (RW1)
3. Auston Matthews, C, Tor (C1)
4. Connor McDavid, C, Edm (C2)
5. Brad Marchand, LW, Bos (LW1)
6. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Wsh (LW2)
7. Steven Stamkos, C, TB (C3)
8. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D1)
9. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Col (C4)
10. Patrick Kane, RW, Chi (RW2)
11. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos (C5)
12. Mitchell Marner, RW, Tor (RW3)
13. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Edm (LW3)
14. Mark Scheifele, C, Wpg (C6)
15. Philipp Grubauer, G, Col (G2)
16. Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI (G3)
17. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Chi (LW4)
18. Anze Kopitar, C, LA (C7)
19. Max Pacioretty, LW, Vgs (LW5)
20. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Col (RW4)
21. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bos (D2)
22. Aleksander Barkov, C, Fla (C8)
23. Sean Couturier, C, Phi (C9)
24. Logan Couture, C, SJ (C10)
25. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vgs (G4)
26. John Carlson, D, Wsh (D3)
27. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vgs (D4)
28. Mark Stone, RW, Vgs (RW5)
29. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Fla (LW6)
30. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Wpg (G5)
31. Jack Eichel, C, Buf (C11)
32. Jeff Petry, D, Mon (D5)
33. Joe Pavelski, RW, Dal (RW6)
34. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D6)
35. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nsh (LW7)
36. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Wsh (C12)
37. Sidney Crosby, C, Pit (C13)
38. Vincent Trocheck, C, Car (C14)
39. Alec Martinez, D, Vgs (D7)
40. Brayden Point, C, TB (C15)
41. Sebastian Aho, C, Car (C16)
42. Ivan Provorov, D, Phi (D8)
43. Cale Makar, D, Col (D9)
44. Blake Wheeler, RW, Wpg (RW7)
45. Kyle Connor, LW, Wpg (LW8)
46. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (D10)
47. John Klingberg, D, Dal (D11)
48. Darnell Nurse, D, Edm (D12)
49. James van Riemsdyk, LW, Phi (LW9)
50. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pit (LW10)
51. Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Car (LW11)
52. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Fla (RW8)
53. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ari (D13)
54. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, StL (RW9)
55. Jamie Benn, LW, Dal (LW12)
56. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Col (LW13)
57. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D14)
58. John Tavares, C, Tor (C17)
59. Jacob Markstrom, G, Cgy (G6)
60. Elias Lindholm, RW, Cgy (RW10)
61. Jordan Binnington, G, StL (G7)
62. Dougie Hamilton, D, Car (D15)
63. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Cgy (LW14)
64. Kris Letang, D, Pit (D16)
65. Shea Theodore, D, Vgs (D17)
66. Evander Kane, LW, SJ (LW15)
67. Brayden Schenn, C, StL (C18)
68. Artemi Panarin, LW, NYR (LW16)
69. Frederik Andersen, G, Tor (G8)
70. Dustin Brown, RW, LA (RW11)
71. Patrik Laine, RW, Cls (RW12)
72. Ondrej Palat, LW, TB (LW17)
73. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (LW18)
74. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Cgy (LW19)
75. Brent Burns, D, SJ (D18)
76. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edm (C19)
77. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Wpg (LW20)
78. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D19)
79. Aaron Ekblad, D, Fla (D20)
80. Morgan Rielly, D, Tor (D21)
81. Sam Reinhart, RW, Buf (RW13)
82. Seth Jones, D, Cls (D22)
83. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G9)
84. Ryan O’Reilly, C, StL (C20)
85. Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (C21)
86. Taylor Hall, LW, Buf (LW21)
87. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ott (LW22)
88. Thomas Chabot, D, Ott (D23)
89. Mika Zibanejad, C, NYR (C22)
90. Tyson Barrie, D, Edm (D24)
91. Anthony Cirelli, C, TB (C23)
92. Alex Tuch, RW, Vgs (RW14)
93. J.T. Miller, C, Van (C24)
94. Travis Konecny, RW, Phi (RW15)
95. Anders Lee, LW, NYI (LW23)
96. Matt Dumba, D, Min (D25)
97. Tom Wilson, RW, Wsh (RW16)
98. T.J. Oshie, RW, Wsh (RW17)
99. Alexander Radulov, RW, Dal (RW18)
100. Victor Olofsson, RW, Buf (RW19)
101. Devon Toews, D, Col (D26)
102. Josh Anderson, RW, Mon (RW20)
103. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Wpg (C25)
104. Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Edm (RW21)
105. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (G10)
106. Ryan Ellis, D, Nsh (D27)
107. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buf (D28)
108. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pit (C26)
109. Kevin Lankinen, G, Chi (G11)
110. Elias Pettersson, C, Van (C27)
111. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Mon (RW22)
112. Joel Farabee, LW, Phi (LW24)
113. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D29)
114. Ilya Samsonov, G, Wsh (G12)
115. Jordan Staal, C, Car (C28)
116. Bryan Rust, RW, Pit (RW23)
117. Roope Hintz, C, Dal (C29)
118. Nick Ritchie, LW, Bos (LW25)
119. Shea Weber, D, Mon (D30)
120. Brock Boeser, RW, Van (RW24)
121. David Perron, RW, StL (RW25)
122. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, NYI (C30)
123. Anton Khudobin, G, Dal (G13)
124. Darcy Kuemper, G, Ari (G14)
125. Tomas Hertl, C, SJ (C31)
126. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D31)
127. William Nylander, RW, Tor (RW26)
128. Neal Pionk, D, Wpg (D32)
129. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (D33)
130. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Min (LW26)
131. Ryan McDonagh, D, TB (D34)
132. Quinn Hughes, D, Van (D35)
133. Jack Hughes, C, NJ (C32)
134. Nick Suzuki, C, Mon (C33)
135. Kyle Palmieri, RW, NJ (RW27)
136. John Gibson, G, Ana (G15)
137. Jake Muzzin, D, Tor (D36)
138. Cam Atkinson, RW, Cls (RW28)
139. Kevin Hayes, C, Phi (C34)
140. Keith Yandle, D, Fla (D37)
141. Timo Meier, RW, SJ (RW29)
142. William Karlsson, C, Vgs (C35)
143. Kevin Fiala, C, Min (C36)
144. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Chi (LW27)
145. Kaapo Kahkonen, G, Min (G16)
146. Rasmus Andersson, D, Cgy (D38)
147. Brendan Gallagher, RW, Mon (RW30)
148. Teuvo Teravainen, RW, Car (RW31)
149. Mackenzie Blackwood, G, NJ (G17)
150. Samuel Girard, D, Col (D39)
151. Ryan Strome, C, NYR (C37)
152. Denis Gurianov, LW, Dal (LW28)
153. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Wsh (C38)
154. P.K. Subban, D, NJ (D40)
155. Christian Dvorak, LW, Ari (LW29)
156. Robin Lehner, G, Vgs (G18)
157. Adrian Kempe, C, LA (C39)
158. Bo Horvat, C, Van (C40)
159. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, NYR (RW32)
160. Adam Larsson, D, Edm (D41)
161. Sean Monahan, C, Cgy (C41)
162. Nino Niederreiter, RW, Car (RW33)
163. Mike Hoffman, LW, StL (LW30)
164. Nazem Kadri, C, Col (C42)
165. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Min (RW34)
166. Boone Jenner, C, Cls (C43)
167. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Ari (D42)
168. Max Comtois, LW, Ana (LW31)
169. Joonas Korpisalo, G, Cls (G19)
170. Dylan Larkin, C, Det (C44)
171. Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Min (C45)
172. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dal (D43)
173. Chris Driedger, G, Fla (G20)
174. Conor Garland, RW, Ari (RW35)
175. Jonas Brodin, D, Min (D44)
176. Torey Krug, D, StL (D45)
177. Carey Price, G, Mon (G21)
178. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buf (D46)
179. Martin Necas, C, Car (C46)
180. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D47)
181. Petr Mrazek, G, Car (G22)
182. Jakub Voracek, RW, Phi (RW36)
183. Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Cls (RW37)
184. Claude Giroux, LW, Phi (LW32)
185. Zach Werenski, D, Cls (D48)
186. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vgs (LW33)
187. Carter Verhaeghe, C, Fla (C47)
188. Carter Hart, G, Phi (G23)
189. Jordan Eberle, RW, NYI (RW38)
190. Jake Allen, G, Mon (G24)
191. Chandler Stephenson, C, Vgs (C48)
192. Jakub Vrana, C, Wsh (C49)
193. Jaroslav Halak, G, Bos (G25)
194. Brian Elliott, G, Phi (G26)
195. Ty Smith, D, NJ (D49)
196. Josh Morrissey, D, Wpg (D50)
197. Phil Kessel, RW, Ari (RW39)
198. Mikael Granlund, LW, Nsh (LW34)
199. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (D51)
200. Scott Laughton, LW, PHI (LW35)
201. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Col (LW36)
202. Colton Parayko, D, StL (D52)
203. Justin Faulk, D, StL (D53)
204. Mike Smith, G, Edm (G27)
205. Jordan Kyrou, C, StL (C50)
206. Tomas Tatar, LW, Mon (LW37)
207. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Fla (G28)
208. Adam Boqvist, D, Chi (D54)
209. Nick Schmaltz, C, Ari (C51)
210. Drake Batherson, C, Ott (C52)
211. Alex Iafallo, LW, LA (LW38)
212. Josh Norris, C, Ott (C53)
213. Cam Talbot, G, Min (G29)
214. Ryan Suter, D, Min (D55)
215. Erik Gustafsson, D, Phi (D56)
216. Brandon Tanev, LW, Pit (LW39)
217. Jordan Greenway, LW, Min (LW40)
218. Jeff Carter, C, LA (C54)
219. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (D57)
220. Clayton Keller, C, Ari (C55)
221. Jack Roslovic, C, Cls (C56)
222. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Nsh (RW40)
223. Tyler Myers, D, Van (D58)
224. Zach Hyman, LW, Tor (LW41)
225. Ryan Graves, D, Col (D59)
226. Justin Schultz, D, Wsh (D60)
227. Elvis Merzlikins, G, Cls (G30)
228. Miles Wood, LW, NJ (LW42)
229. Jaccob Slavin, D, Car (D61)
230. Andrew Copp, C, Wpg (C57)
231. Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Nsh (LW43)
232. Connor Murphy, D, Chi (D62)
233. Linus Ullmark, G, Buf (G31)
234. Alexis Lafreniere, LW, NYR (LW44)
235. Nick Foligno, LW, Cls (LW45)
236. Esa Lindell, D, Dal (D63)
237. Juuse Saros, G, Nsh (G32)
238. Calvin Petersen, G, LA (G33)
239. Anthony Mantha, RW, Det (RW41)
240. Pavel Zacha, C, NJ (C58)
241. Brock McGinn, LW, Car (LW46)
242. David Savard, D, Cls (D64)
243. Nico Hischier, C, NJ (C59)
244. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Phi (D65)
245. Brett Pesce, D, Car (D66)
246. Nick Leddy, D, NYI (D67)
247. Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, NYI (RW42)
248. Andrew Mangiapane, LW, Cgy (LW47)
249. Lars Eller, C, Wsh (C60)
250. Rickard Rakell, C, Ana (C61)

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