COLUMBUS OH - NOVEMBER 10: Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the first period on November 10 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
We continue the rankings with 21-40. The ranks for positions 1-20 can be found here. Again, the stats used are Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, Penalty Minutes, Power Play Points and Shots On Goal.
21) Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks - Reader transmogrifier rightly pointed out why Getzlaf wasn't in the top 20. I understand that he's been a top producer at center for a couple of seasons and his point per game rate is over one but I think the past two injury shortened seasons will deflate his value. Playing between Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry will make for an awesome year and he makes a great low C1/high C2 with enough upside to boost himself among the best so long as health falls on his favor.
22) Jeff Carter, Blue Jackets - Going from the Flyers to the Blue Jackets is a clear downgrade in overall team depth but Carter will be paired up with their top scorer in Nash. His +/- will drop but I think the points and shots on goal will still be there so long as a chemistry develops between them.
23) Rick Nash, Blue Jackets - For too long, he's not had the a real center to work with and relieve some of the offensive pressure put on him to score goals. However, with Carter arriving and likely pairing up with him, Nash will get a boost in overall offensive production this coming season.
More after the jump...
24) Patrick Marleau, Sharks - Now that Dany Heatley's gone, the vacant spot will be filled by the ever flexible Marleau. He'll likely be paired with Joe Thornton, so he's capable of producing 60-70 points with an upside to 40 goals if he's not juggled too much between the wing and center when injuries or ineffectiveness strike.
25) Nicklas Backstrom, Captials - When you're centering with one of the best players of the game and he has a fluke season, it hurts everyone else. Such is the case with Backstrom who was the victim of a slumping Alex Ovechkin and underperforming Alex Semin. He's a prime candidate to rebound so long as Ovechkin and/or Semin returns to hitting the back of the net (which I think Ovie will).
26) Mike Richards, Kings - He'll play 2nd fiddle at center with Anze Kopitar there but I think he's a great candidate to bounce back after two good but not great seasons. He still has the potential to reach 30 goals and 70+ points so it wouldn't surprise me if he rebounds in a great way with his new teammates this season.
27) Claude Giroux, Flyers - He's a very talented and young center that will do well on the top line for the Flyers. Problem is that the extreme division in experience between his young teammates and Jaromir Jagr. Purely a C2 with still some upside but I can't image that he'll do any better than last year thanks to a exodus of top talent this past offseason.
28) Patrick Kane, Blackhawks - He's got the upside to shoot up the ranks but a recent report is that he won't be able to play any preseason games and may be ready for the season opener. Keep an eye on his status since his availability will rise or lower his stock but he's still a great player to draft as your #2 winger so long as you have a backup plan in mind if he doesn't heal in enough time for the season to start.
29) David Backes, Blues - He may have only produced 61 points and 30 goals last season with 93 penalty minutes but he's still got plenty of upside and improvements on his line with Chris Stewart and Andy McDonald suggest that last season should be seen as a baseline production with room for growth.
30) Alexander Semin, Capitals - To put it simply, it's make or break this season for Semin. Rumors of him being traded away and accusations of his lack of drive during a game is hurting his stock. He's still young and could rebound back to his 70 point production but nagging injuries still keeps his stock low. Lots of upside here only if he's healthy and brings the fire back.
31) Milan Lucic, Bruins - A great power forward with 50-60 point potential, lots of penalty minutes and a decent helping of shots on goal while only being 23 years old and plenty of upside to potentially move up the charts if things continue to go his way.
32) Danny Briere, Flyers - Briere will center the #2 line with the exodus of talent the Flyers traded away. The expectation is that he will produce the same as he did last year and in times past however I have questions how the young players will develop over the course of the season. I would look at last year as the best you could get from him but expect less than than and be happy with that as your C2.
33) Joe Thornton, Sharks - I'm half and half about my feelings about Thornton. He's one of the best playmakers in the game but his mileage and off-season shoulder surgery has me concerned abit. A good C2 for your team with some improvement from last year with him centering between Marleau and Havlat.
34) Marian Hossa, Blackhawks - Gone are his days of 90-100 points a season and health has been a big problem for the scoring winger in the past two seasons but when he is healthy, he goes at or near a point per game production with a good amount of penalty minutes and great amount of shots. If you're drafting him, be sure to move up a few wingers on your wish list to cover your bases in case of another injury.
35) Thomas Vanek, Sabres - With the signing of Ville Leino, it should relieve some of the offensive pressure from Vanek who got a career year last year. With Pominville probably still out throughout training camp, keep a close eye on who he's paired up with on the other side of the wing. Don't look at his stats too hard since I think you might be overpaying thanks to health issues he's had in the past.
36) Phil Kessel, Maple Leafs - He's a solid winger that is incredibly streaky. One week it seems like he's tearing up the net and the next, it'll seem like all he does is skate around the rink and disappear off the score sheet. If you're a patient fellow then Kessel is a good enough investment that he'll do fine and perhaps the alignment of Tim Connolly will help him be more consistent.
37) MIkko Koivu, Wild - With the arrival of Dany Heatley, perhaps the real Mikko will finally stand up. More of a playmaker than a goal scorer, this might be the year he goes back to the 70 point threshold and beyond that if things really work well between those two and Devin Setoguchi.
38) Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks - My gut feeling is telling me not to pay for a career year last year despite missing a few games. Then again, being paired up with Marian Hossa is a nice bonus. Don't try to overpay for him since he's burned me in years past but getting him a late C2 is pretty good. If he matches or beats his production last year, I'll consider it a bonus and maybe I'll start to have more confidence in him.
39) John Tavares, Islanders - It may not seem like very many players are worth owning on the Islanders team but despite the overall shortcomings of the team, Tavares seems just fine on his own. Still only 20 years old and growing with every year along with the emergence of Michael Grabner, perhaps this is the year he puts it all together. Or maybe not. Still, I can't imagine a better investment if you're all about upside and willing to wait a bit to get your C2 on your team.
40) Marian Gaborik, Rangers - With the signing of Brad Richards, this boosts the chances of Gaborik potting more goals in the back of the net. So with the potential for 40 goals and 70+ points on your team, why's he ranked so low? One word: health. Extremely inconsistent in health goes from missing most of the season to quite a few games. Still, the prospect of having a true center with him might give him incentive enough to push harder.
Thanks for your time! Let me know what you think in the comments and Forward rankings 41-80 will come soon! Follow me on Twitter at @MattPTurner!