Right Wing Rankings for 2017-2018 Fantasy Hockey
How early you select a wing could depend greatly on your league rules. Do you start six forwards? Does your league separate, centers, left and right wings? Perhaps, it’s just wings as a whole. If you’re league separates both wing positions then be aware that the pool of talent will dry up quickly. I’m still a BPA guy but after the first-round has completed, I will definitely give more weight to the wings than I will any other position. The difference between right and left wings is that with right, the player pool seems to dry up a little more quickly. Once we get past the Top 8-9 players, more projections or gut feel becomes necessary. Here are my right wing rankings. Good luck.
Be sure to check out George Kurtz' other positional rankings and Top 200.
- Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks: I could’ve made an argument for any of the Top 3 players here for the top spot but give me Kane. He scored 89 points last season after coming off a 106-point campaign the year before. He’s a superstar and I see very little reason why another 80-plus points aren’t coming this year.
- Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues: He is another one of the lesser known stars in the game. He is averaging a little less than 39 goals over the last three seasons. The Blues have added Brayden Schenn to their team which can only help as it could keep opposing defenses from concentrating on solely stopping him.
- Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning: I love Kucherov and he has saved the Lightning’s backside when players like Steven Stamkos have gotten hurt. We have seen over the past season or two Kucherov emerge on the power play with that one time shot from the top of the circle. He’s deadly. Sure, Stamkos is back now and he will require the puck also, but that top line on Tampa of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Kucherov, will likely be one of the most dangerous in the league.
[caption id="attachment_259306" align="alignright" width="450"] Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine is a sniper with the ability to be the next Alexander Ovechkin. AP Photo/David Zalubowski[/caption]
- Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets: If you’re looking for the next Alexander Ovechkin, Laine could be it. He’s a sniper who loves to shoot and shoots hard. The Jets have two scoring lines so it doesn’t matter where he plays. Laine will not be suffering a sophomore slump this season.
- Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins: When we think of Kessel, we think about a player who is going to score 35- plus goals season in and season out. Well, since coming to Pittsburgh, that hasn’t been the case. He is averaging about 25 goals a season. He’s just not asked to be the goal scorer with PIT that he was with TOR. The Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, plenty of guys to share the goal scoring load. It’s for this reason that I wouldn’t blame anyone for dropping Kessel 3-4 slots.
- Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers: As of right now, he is not expected to play on a line with Connor McDavid, at least not at even strength. This could change of course but as of now he is penciled in to center (his natural position) the second line. I still believe he will play with McDavid on the power play but Ryan Strome has taken his right-wing slot heading into training camp.
- Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks: With Joe Thornton likely no longer playing center on the top line, how will Pavelski react to that? Will he and Logan Couture hit it off together? Thornton was one of the best setup men in the game. Couture is more of a goal scorer. Pavelski and Thornton still may play on the top power play unit together, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Pavelski’s goal scoring numbers are depressed over the first half of the season.
- Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets: The Jets can score goals and Wheeler is one of the reasons why as he is about as consistent as they come. He has scored 26 goals in three straight seasons but has only a handful on the power play and with Laine on board, that is unlikely to change this year.
- Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers: Simmonds is extremely valuable because he is one of those rare goal scorers that will also give you 100-plus penalty minutes this season. While I hate that PIM are a category, most leagues have them, and finding a goal scorer who will put them up is extremely valuable.
- Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets: We should probably be giving more love to Atkinson as he hit career highs in just about every imaginable Fantasy category last season. While I don’t see him bettering those numbers this season, he may not end up all that far off either
- Alexander Radulov, Dallas Stars: He came back to the NHL last season and proved that he can still be a legitimate goal scores. Playing on a line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin should only enhance that perception this year.
- David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins: Whether or not Fantasy owners believe in his breakout season, we know the Bruins do when they signed him to a $40 million contract earlier this week.
- J. Oshie, Washington Capitals: He has always had talent, but had never been able to put it all together. It’s somewhat suspicious that he had his best season goal scoring wise in a contract year but playing with Alexander Ovechkin does seem to be working for him.
- Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks: Perry was a first-round pick in a majority of leagues last season but fell off the table by only scoring 19 goals, his lowest total in a full season since the 2006-07 season. Is this the beginning of the end for the 32-year old wing or just a blip on the radar? I’m not spending an early round pick to find out.
- William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs: He also may have center eligibility depending upon your league rules which can only enhance his value. The Leafs will look to take the next step in their revival and no team may have a better corps of three first or second year players than Toronto.
- Jordan Eberle, New York Islanders: How Eberle meshes with John Tavares will go a long way towards determining how much success he and the Islanders have this season. Eberle has always had talented linemates but that hasn’t always led to production. Tavares and Eberle have worked well together in the past so the Islanders are hoping that they will pick up where they left off and hit the ground running.
- Viktor Arvidsson, Nashville Predators: Quick, who was the player that led Nashville in both goals and points last season? Yeah, it was Arvidsson. I’m not sure I see a repeat of that this season but he can be a value play as he doesn’t have name value and is likely to slip on draft day.
- Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild: An ankle injury could cause a slow start this season but the 25-year old forward will look to build upon his career season in 2016-17.
- Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators: The upside may be limited with Stone but another 25-goal season should be within reach.
- Mitchell Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs: Marner is another one of those good young forwards that the Leafs have and if you’re looking for upside, then he can be moved up another 3-4 slots. If everything clicks offensively with Toronto, goals will be scored by the bucket load.
- Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers: Only 31 goals the past two season and only six of those are on the power play. It’s hard to justify a valuable pick on a player who is turning into a one category player.
- Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings: What do you believe will determine when you pick Toffoli. Is he the player who scored 31 goals in 2015-16 or the one who scored 16 times last year? Throw in that we aren’t sure what line he will play on and there is reason for concern about him.
- Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes: He had an impressive rookie season for a poor team and will now look to build off that success. Could be a good value selection later in your draft.
- Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks are loaded at RW with Perry, Silfverberg, and Patrick Eaves. Silfverberg is what he is. A low 20s goal scorer with limited ability to score power play goals.
- Kyle Okposo, Buffalo Sabres: He missed a chunk of last season due to illness which could help make him a value play this season. He will play on the top line with Jack Eichel and if both can remain healthy for the entire year, they both could be in line for career seasons.
- Richard Panik, Chicago Blackhawks: He’s playing on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. What’s not to like? He doesn’t need to be a special talent in order to produce solid Fantasy numbers.
- Patrick Eaves, Anaheim Ducks: If the Ducks were to move Eaves ahead of Silfverberg or even to left wing I would have him in my Top 20 as he has proven to be a solid goal scorer both with Dallas and with Anaheim but it could be a trying season for Eaves if he remains on the 3rd
- Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins: Hornqvist is not guaranteed to play on a line with either Crosby or Evgeni this season and If he’s not, his value will plummet.
- Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators: Remember when Ryan scored 30-plus goals in four straight seasons from 2008-12? Yeah, neither do I. The talent may still be there but 19 goals being averaged over the past four seasons just isn’t very tempting.
- Brandon Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens: What are you hoping for here? He only had 10 goals, one on the power play last season. He’s missed 47 games over the past two seasons. I’ll pass.
- Rick Nash, New York Rangers: It was only three years ago that Nash scored 42 goals but injuries and a possible loss of a step or two have seen his production decline in a big way (38 goals combined over the last two seasons).
- Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers: Somebody has to step up for the Rangers this season, perhaps it will be Zuccarello. This offense is not designed to score goals. Depth and speed have replaced skill and talent.
- Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings: At one time, it looked like Nyquist would be a solid goal scorer for both Fantasy players and Detroit. Well, 29 goals over the past two years plus Detroit in a rebuild mode have seen that fire put out.
- Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils: He’s miscast as a top line wing. One might argue that the Devils don’t have a Top 3 forward with the possible exception of Taylor Hall.
- Conor Sheary, Pittsburgh Penguins: Fantasy owners love to find players later in the draft who are lesser known that will play on a line with a superstar. Sheary is one of those players although he did make a name for himself in the playoffs. Proceed with caution here as it has rarely worked out that these kinds of players are ever beneficial for Fantasy owners over the long course of the season.
- Joshua Ho-Sang, New York Islanders: His skill level is off the chart but now we will see what he can do over a full season and when the opposition is aware of what he can do.
- Sam Reinhart, Buffalo Sabres: Hard to see a big year coming here if he’s centering the third line rather than playing wing on one of the top two.
- Charlie Coyle, Minnesota Wild: It’s hard to see the Wild having another top season lighting the lamp. There really isn’t that much offensive talent here.
- Ryan Strome, Edmonton Oilers: I really want to put Strome about 10 spots higher but perhaps that’s the Islander fan in me. He’s always had talent but inconsistency and being moved all over the place seems to have stunted his growth. As of now he is scheduled to play wing on a line with McDavid. I’ll be willing to roll the dice here.
- David Backes, Boston Bruins: His first season in Boston was a bust, I’m not sure I see the second being much better.
You can feel free to follow me on Twitter, @georgekurtz
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