Left Wing Rankings for 2017 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 your 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. Here are my left wing rankings.
Be sure to check out George Kurtz' other positional rankings and Top 200.
- Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: There is little denying that Ovechkin didn’t have a typical season last year. Still, he scored 33 goals, 17 of which were on the power play. I’m not ready to take another wing over him just yet.
- Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars: Benn also saw a drop-in production last season but that may have been true of the entire Dallas team. He is still one of the elite forwards in the game and a probable first-round pick.
[caption id="attachment_258725" align="alignright" width="401"] Alexander Ovechkin is coming off a somewhat down season but he's still one of the very best in the game. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar[/caption]
- Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins: He doesn’t get as much love as the other top players but that’s probably because the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Marchand is the suspension. He’s had a knack for some questionable (dirty) plays that have seen him brought to the principal’s office more than once.
- Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators: If you’re looking for a team that could become the next dynasty in the NHL, it’s Nashville. They may not have won the Stanley Cup last season but with that defense, this will be a team to be reckoned with for years to come. Forsberg should be in line for another 30-plus goal season.
- Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens are a bit of a mess right now. They let Alexander Radulov leave via free agency, Andrei Markov retired, and they acquired Jonathan Drouin from Tampa Bay. Pacioretty has had his ups and downs and how he handles his new linemate will determine what kind of year he has.
- Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets: He had a fantastic rookie season with Chicago, so it should be interesting to see him have to start all over again with Columbus. The talent is there but so is the risk.
- Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames: Gaudreau was a disappointment last season, scoring only 18 goals after tallying 54 during his first two full NHL seasons. The finger injury that required surgery may be a big reason why, but at only about 160 pounds, you should wonder whether he will always be an injury risk.
- Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets: At 19 years of age, he scored 15 goals and at 20 years old, he netted 25. What will he do in his third season? Ehlers is one of those players who is an up and coming star, and one who can be an extreme value later on in your draft, as he comes with no name value.
- Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks: Saad looked to be a star in the making with Chicago before being dealt to Columbus in salary cap move. Well, he’s back and I would expect to pick up right where he left off.
- Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators: There is some value at this point. Hoffman has averaged 27 goals over the past three seasons and 11 power plays goals over the last two. He’s another player who gets forgotten because the Senators have little star power outside of Erik Karlsson.
- James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs: JVR has always been a sniper and that would seem unlikely to change. He is slated to play on a line with Auston Matthews. Defenses will be paying much more attention to Matthews than they will JVR.
- Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets: Foligno was considered one of the elite wings after the 14-15 season, then he slumped in 15-16, before reviving his status last year. If you forget about the 15-16 campaign, he averages almost 30 goals a season, 11 PP goals, and plays for one of the better offensive teams in the league.
- Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers: Has the skill level to be one of the elite players in the game. Health will be key, however, as his 16-17 season was derailed after missing 51 games due to injury.
- Jonathan Drouin, Montreal Canadiens: Drouin has shown flashes of brilliance but how will the trade to Montreal change that. Maybe he needs a fresh start after butting heads with GM Steve Yzerman in Tampa but he won’t be playing with anywhere near the talent in Montreal that he had with the Lightning.
- Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils: If Hall was still with Edmonton and playing anywhere near Connor McDavid he would likely be in the Top 10 but his trade to Jersey before last season has significantly reduced his Fantasy value, as just reaching 20 goals may be a chore.
- Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes: He had a career-high in goals last season with 37 but there isn’t a ton of offensive talent around him. Opposing defenses will be looking to key on him this season, which could see his goal total drop to the 30 range.
- Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres: Between personal problems and injuries Kane was starting to look like he would never realize his potential but a 28-goal season and the possible opportunity to play with Jack Eichel has raised those hopes once again.
- Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild: There are three problems with Parise. One, he seems to be in decline as his goal totals have dropped in back to back seasons. Second, he doesn’t play with the most talented of teammates despite being on the top line. Last, he’s been injury prone every season in Minnesota. He’s a name player but I’ll let him be someone else’s problem.
- Anders Lee, New York Islanders: The Islanders let Lee do what he does best, use his big frame to cause havoc in front of the net. He won’t set up too many goals but playing on the top line with John Tavares and Jordan Eberle should give him plenty of freedom to get in the opposing goalies’ grill.
- Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues: Schwartz looked like a rising star after scoring 28 goals in 14-15 but a lost season due to injury in 15-16 derailed that flight. He was able to regain some of that magic last year but we are still waiting for the full rise. I’m buying as I think this will be the year.
- Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning: Palat could be in for a career year as he is slated to be on the top line with Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov. This could be the year he finally pops 25-plus goals.
- Patrick Marleau, Toronto Maple Leafs: Marleau left San Jose for Toronto during the offseason and the mystery is what line and who will he play with. Marleau is unlikely to see much action with Auston Matthews and his PP time could also be in jeopardy if the Leafs elect to go with JVR on the top PP unit over him.
- Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche: I’m a bit surprised that Landeskog wasn’t dealt at the trade deadline last season but here he sits. He certainly played last season like he wanted to be traded. Hopefully, the offseason will get him back on track.
- Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames: Has plenty of grit, now we just need him to find the back of net a little more often.
- Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks: Rakell had a true breakout season last year, totaling more goals (33) than in his first four seasons combined (29). Is he a one-year wonder or is this a sign of things to come?
- Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins: He had a magical playoff run to put him on the Fantasy radar but don’t get too fooled here. We have tried to raise the wings who play with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeny Malkin a few times and it has rarely worked.
- Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals: He could be in for a career season with the Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams no longer on the team. He should see considerably more playing time although that won’t be with Alexander Ovechkin.
- Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes: Domi, like Tkachuk, has an NHL pedigree but has yet to live up to the hype. He’s only scored 27 goals in two seasons and unlike his father, he is not a penalty magnet.
- Milan Lucic, Edmonton Oilers: The addition of Lucic gave the Oilers talented forwards the room they needed to show off their skills. Unfortunately, for Fantasy owners, though, he only had 50 PIMs when we were expecting considerably more.
- Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues: At 33 years of age, Steen is not the scorer he used to be but he still gets hurt regularly.
- Chris Kreider, New York Rangers: He has the speed to be an elite winger but not the hands.
- Nino Niederreiter, Minnesota Wild: He’s scored at least 20 goals in three straight seasons and last year had a career-high 32 assists.
- Marcus Johansson, New Jersey Devils: He would be 10 spots higher if he wasn’t traded to New Jersey and was still with the Caps.
- Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks: Don’t get fooled by the name value. Sedin was once a great player and probably a future Hall of Famer, but he is a shell of that player right now.
- Robby Fabbri, St. Louis Blues: Big things were expected out of Fabbri last season but a torn ACL ended his campaign. The problem is even when healthy, he wasn’t lighting the world on fire and could end up being a third line player this season, as the Blues are deeper on offense than in year’s past.
- Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings: Remember when the Wings used to be a great team? Not so much anymore. Tatar could rightfully be 10 spots higher on this list but his lack of PP goals hurt his Fantasy value.
- T. Miller, New York Rangers: Miller is almost a carbon copy of Tatar. He has talent and will light the lamp, but not on the power play.
- Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings: If he stays with Jeff Carter, I would like his Fantasy prospects a whole bunch more.
- Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks: Perhaps being back with Chicago he will have another solid year left in him.
- Jonathan Marchessault, Las Vegas Golden Knights: Well, someone from the expansion team has to make this list and someone on Las Vegas has to score.
You can feel free to follow me on Twitter, @georgekurtz
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