Our fantasy hockey draft kit here at Fake Teams is humming right along. We've already introduced our plan for the rest of the offseason, showed you how to set up an effective league, outlined the offseason changes, and provided our center and left wing rankings for the upcoming season. If you missed anything, you can find it all here:
I'm not going to go into the process in which I rank players, I've already wrote about it once. You can read about it in the intro to my center rankings: Fantasy Hockey 2014-15: Centers Will Anchor your Team. I will say though that there may be differences between ranks in different positions for dual eligible players and the individual rankings might not always be consistent. As I continue to do research, my thoughts will change. Always use the most recent article when there are differing opinions. You've been warned.
The top level talent for the right wing looks considerably different than the left wings; there are five or six right wings that would rank higher than the top left wing. Overall, its just a deeper position, a position where you can fill your lineup with solid scoring options all around. Right wing has some pop to it. Let's bring out the first tier of right wings:
Giroux and Malkin were discussed in our center rankings, so I'll leave them be. Perry, like his linemate Getzlaf, is a king of consistency. He's good to score at least a point in more than half of his games which is an incredibly underrated asset in fantasy. His elite goal scoring ability and the fact that he records more penalty minutes than the average skilled player lands him at the top of most right wings lists, but I'm dropping him one spot due to the fact that I don't see the same upside with Perry that I do with Giroux.I think Perry has basically maxed his value already whereas Giroux I think can be a one hundred point player. Ovechkin would also be ahead of Perry if I could be convinced that a) he had even a shred of the consistency that Perry has, b) his terrible plus/minus will increase without a setback in his offensive stats, and c) Barry Trotz will not have a negative impact on his fantasy value. His upside is still the highest out of any right wing as so he remains in the first tier. Both Perry and Ovi have additional value in hits leagues, Ovi so much so that he tops the right wing list in such formats.
Centers are making quite a name for themselves with their high rankings and dual eligibility... Once again, lets skip the centers and talk about the only pure right wing in this tier: Phil Kessel. Kessel used to annoy me when he was younger because he was never very consistent. He would go three weeks without you knowing he was even playing... and then he'd play lights out for a month to bring his season numbers back up to par. This has led to me never drafting him and forever disliking him, but he's really turned it around the last three years. He's been remarkably consistent and now that Brian Burke trade for two first round picks (Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton) and a second round pick (Jared Knight) from the Bruins doesn't seem like such a terrible move (it doesn't seem good, it's just no longer terrible). Kessel has really seemed to mesh well with young James van Riemsdyck and he might be the top volume shooter in the league outside of Ovi, resulting in him putting stats on the board regardless of what kind of night he's having.
|10||Martin St. Louis||NYR||RW|
St. Louis, affectionately referred to as Mighty Mite, has been a top tier right wing for the better part of a decade which is remarkable given his undrafted status. It really annoys me to think that he was once a Flame and not only did we release him, but we actually bought out his contract to get rid of him. Another future hall of famer let go by the Flames... Anyway, St. Louis is coming into the season in a far different position than fantasy managers are used to seeing from him. His trade deadline move to the Rangers last year took him off the line of one of the best players in the league and onto an offensively challenged roster where he will be looked on to provide a spark. Given his advancing age, I'm not sure he'll provide the Rangers with what they're looking for. Don't get me wrong, he's still great, but he's no longer a first tier wing. Gaborik is coming off a superb playoff showing and seems to have gelled on the top line with Kopitar. That said, the Kings have a habit of not scoring during the regular season and then playing like Stanley Cup winners during the playoffs. They also like to shuffle their lines frequently, but it's hard not to get excited about Gabby again, I like him this year. It's also worth noting that Gabby has a history of playing well in his first year with a new club. Hossa continues to age and Hossa continues to play like a top right wing. Because he plays on such a deep Blackhawks club, he sometimes gets forgotten. It's hard to remember that he was a top player in the league and a hundred point player with the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers. Make no mistake, Hossa is one of the leagues most underrated players and is fully deserving of being in the third tier while playing with the like of Jonathan Toews.
Here are our no longer first option right wings, but our depth/upside second right wings. Most of these guys are consistently good in all categories while not being elite, or they provide elite numbers in some categories while contributing little in other categories. Eberle could easily jump up a tier if the Oilers ever find a way to capitalize on all the potential on their club. He'll help in scoring, but will not help in much else. Simmonds is a young powerful player who can add penalty minutes to your club while having the potential to build on his breakout year last season. It looks as if he might have the chance to play on Giroux's wing which could be what he needs to make the jump up to an elite winger. He'll have a solid impact in all categories with the opportunity to post some elite numbers in the right situation. I covered Iginla in my article regarding offseason changes: Fantasy Hockey 2014-15: What`s Changed? I think he'll have a solid season playing with the youngsters on the Avalanche roster and is a safe veteran for your fantasy roster. Iggy will only help in scoring categories.
It seems like every year I drafted Okposo as a late breakout player who should capitalize on playing on Tavares' wing, his early first round pedigree, and a Islanders team that is stockpiling young talent. Guess which year I didn't? Last year of course. Can he do it again? I think so for all the same reasons that I kept predicting his breakout in the first place. Pominville has fallen down draft boards, but I can't tell why. He's still playing with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu on the top line and shows a lot of consistency there. He's a great safe pick who's remarkably affordable. Voracek is playing with Giroux on the top line and while inconsistent, he racks up some decent numbers. Vrbata is a goal scorer who looks likely to get some time playing with the Sedin twins. I'm confused why Wheeler is higher on draft boards than Little when he's lower on their depth chart. I will agree though that there is little fantasy difference between the two of them. If Horton can stay healthy, he has proved in the past that he can be a fantasy contributor. Johansen could have a big year with him at the side. Byfuglien has more value if he's playing right wing this year as he's one of two fantasy relevant players that have forward and defense eligibility. Putting a forward on your defensive roster is a huge bonus. I think he'll play forward this year, but that his value doesn't change much as he'll likely be on the third line instead of a top four defensive pairing. Toffoli is also building off a great postseason run in which that 70's line (Tanner Pearson - number 70, Jeff Carter - 77, and Tyler Toffoli - 73) really came together. This is one of the King's lines that I actually expect to stay together through the year and Toffoli could be in line for a big breakout year. This is the same kind of hunch I had about Giroux when I selected him in the fourteenth round of his breakout season. I think he's going to make an impact this year. Everyone in this tier should be rostered with most of them being upside guys on the bench.
Tier six is our bench or watch list right wings. Nichushkin is coming into his second year and should be playing on the top line again with Benn and Seguin, watch out for a potential breakout here. Burns is the other forward with defensive eligibility. It remains to be seen how he'll be used this year, but he was often playing with the top line last year. Gallagher plays on the top line with Pacioretty and Callahan could be playing with Stamkos. There is lots of upside in the group, but you'll have to determine what the right fit for your fantasy roster is.
If you want a Microsoft Excel version of my rankings, here's the link: Right Wing Rankings 2014.
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