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Over the next few weeks, RotoBaller will be kicking off the NHL offseason with a feature breaking down the top 100 player rankings heading into the 2018-2019 fantasy hockey season.

The top 100 rankings will be released in six segments, starting from the bottom (100-81) and concluding with a two-piece set featuring our top 20 players for next season. The rankings are subject to change throughout the off-season as the NHL Entry Draft and ensuing free agency period can alter player outlooks.

Note: Rankings are determined considering a standard Yahoo league format (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power play points and shots for skaters; wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts for goalies).

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Top 100 Fantasy Hockey Rankings for 2018-2019 (100-81)

100) Mike Hoffman (LW/RW, FLA)

Hoffman took a small step back playing on a poor Senators team last season posting just 22 goals to go along with 34 assists, a -20 rating and 257 shots on goal. Hoffman possesses one of the league’s best shots and certainly likes to use it (18th in the NHL in shots per game last season at 3.1). Following off-ice issues regarding his longtime girlfriend, Hoffman has been traded twice this summer. We aren’t quite sure if he’s found his final destination for the 2018-2019 season but if he has, he could come at a prime discount for fantasy owners while playing in a talented top six forward group in Florida.

99) Clayton Keller (C/LW/RW, ARI)

Following a wildly impressive freshman season at Boston University, Clayton Keller almost immediately proved that he had the talent level to produce at a high level in an NHL top-six role in 2017-2018. The 2016, seventh overall pick put up an impressive 65 points (23 goals and 42 assists) in his rookie campaign as a 19-year-old. As expected from a teenage rookie, Keller’s production ebbed and flowed throughout the long season. However, the undersized winger finished the season on a torrid pace, posting 21 points in his final 20 games throughout March and April. Keller is incredibly skilled with the puck, has outstanding speed and should build upon a strong rookie season as he continues to gain more experience in the league.

98) Cam Atkinson (RW, CBJ)

After cashing in on a seven–year, $41.125 million contract extension in mid-November last season, Cam Atkinson’s production faded to the tune of just seven points over his next 17 games to close out the calendar year of 2017. After suffering a foot injury that kept him out a month, Atkinson returned to the ice and eliminated any doubt from those questioning the Jackets decision to extend him, finishing the season on a point-per-game pace (31 points in 31 games). The Boston College alum has elite shot production (3.6 shots per game in 2018) and remains a candidate for 25 -30 goals for the foreseeable future.

97) Ryan Johansen (C, NSH)

As Ryan Johansen has ascended into his mid-twenties, his style of play has transitioned from a shoot-first mentality to one of the game’s craftiest passers. Johansen shot volume has dropped from 2.61 shots-per-game over his final two and a half seasons in Columbus to 1.87 S/G over the same time frame in Nashville. The shift in style has coincided with a slight drop in production overall but as a fixture in the middle of the Predators’ top line, Johansen elite puck distributing prowess should enable him to return to the 60-point threshold once again next season. Add in his increase in penalty minutes on a year-to-year basis and you have a quite valuable player in most formats.

96) Gabriel Landeskog (LW, COL)

Landeskog’s eclipsed the 60-point mark (62 points) for the second time in his career during 2017-2018. After his numbers dipped significantly playing on one of the league’s worst teams the season before, Landeskog rebounded quite nicely and was a major component in the Avalanche’s return to the playoffs. The 25-year-old will always carry significantly more value in any format that rewards physical play (149 hits) but as long as he’s playing on the first line with one of the NHL’s finest in Nathan MacKinnon, this kind of balanced offensive production might be the new norm.

95) Ben Bishop (G, DAL)

Despite missing the final month of the season due to knee issues, Ben Bishop put together a very respectable line of a 2.49 goals against average and a .916 save percentage in his first season in Dallas. While Bishop’s Vezina candidacy days might be in the rear-view mirror, he remains a strong option as a high tier #2 fantasy goalie. Drafting Bishop is a perceived risk due to his history of durability issues but the American goaltender should still see around 45-55 starts on an expected improved Stars squad in 2018-2019.

94) Max Pacioretty (LW, MTL)

Pacioretty, a captain in one of the NHL’s highest-pressure markets in Montreal, garnered a ton of attention as per usual last season. Typically recognized for his natural goal-scoring ability, Pacioretty instead grabbed the headlines as a prominent trade piece. After recording back-to-back-to-back 30+ goal seasons, Pacioretty regressed immensely in 2017-2018 as the winger scored just 17 goals (the worst full season total of his career). Until Pacioretty’s ticket is punched out of Montreal via trade, the constant trade rumors might continue to haunt him. He may very well get dealt this offseason but until that is done, it’s quite difficult to imagine him returning to his pre-2017 production levels in Montreal.

93) Matthew Tkachuk (LW, CGY)

Taken with the sixth-overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft, Matthew Tkachuk was coveted for his unique ability to not only regularly find the scoresheet, but also for his knack to get under his opponent’s skin. In his first two NHL seasons, Tkachuk has registered 97 points (37 goals and 60 assists) to go along with 166 penalty minutes and 145 hits in 144 games. Having just turned 20-years-old this past December, the left-winger still has plenty of room to grow offensively. If he can take a step forward in 2018-2019 and capitalize in his role on the Flames top power play unit, his ceiling in fantasy leagues is sky high.

92) William Nylander (C/RW, TOR) 

In just his second full NHL season, William Nylander once again eclipsed the 60-point mark last year. Despite seeing his power play points cut in half, Nylander’s 49 even-strength points backed up his incredible hockey sense and high-end skill. At just 22-years-old, Nylander could very well find a next level with an increase in ice time and his continued growth at both ends of the rink. Considering his evident chemistry with one of the league’s youngest superstar in Auston Matthews, Nylander could be in store for a sizable jump up the rankings as the year progresses.

91) Sebastian Aho (LW/RW, CAR)

If we’ve learned one thing from Sebastien Aho’s ascension from junior hockey in Finland to the National Hockey League, it’s that the kid can score. After sitting second in points-per-game in Finland’s top professional league as an 18-year-old (45 points in 45 games), Aho turned heads in his NHL rookie season in 2016-2017 with 49 points. In his sophomore campaign last year, Aho took his game to another level with 65 points (29 goals and 36 assists) in 78 games. Turning 21 this summer, it’s easy to imagine him building off his successful second season.

90) Logan Couture (C/LW, SJS)

Logan Couture set a career high in goals last season with 34, capitalizing on a 16.7 shot percentage. At 29-years-old, Couture has evolved into a reliable scorer over the course of his career and has proven that can step up in a top line center role when needed. With the emergence of younger players such as Timo Meier and Joonas Donskoi as well as the addition of Evander Kane, Couture has plenty of pieces to work with in San Jose.

89) Wayne Simmonds (RW, PHI)

Something seemed a little off with Wayne Simmonds last season. His goal, assist, penalty minutes, shot, hit and power-play point totals all dropped to the lowest we’ve seen from him since the 2012-2013 lockout season. At 29 years old, was he just hitting his decline? We learned after the regular season that Simmonds fought through a myriad of injuries throughout the year, including a fractured ankle, pulled groin, pelvic tear and finally a torn ligament in his thumb that ultimately ended his season. Simmonds seems primed for a bounce-back season in 2018-2019 to prove that his deflated numbers were, in fact, due to his long list of injuries.

88) Tyson Barrie (D, COL)

Tyson Barrie emerged as one of the better point-producing defenseman in the game last season.  Barrie put together a 14 goal, 43 assist (0.84 point per game – 2nd in the NHL among defenseman) stat line and checked in at second overall in power-play points from a blueliner (30 PPP). If the 26-year-old defenseman can stay healthy next season, he might have a shot at capturing the title for most points as a defenseman and perhaps capturing some Norris votes.

87) Anders Lee (LW, NYI)

Seems a little odd having Lee, a 40-goal scorer, this low in the rankings but there are a few points of concern surrounding his game. First, Lee’s production trailed off in the second half of last season (23 points in 42 games) after coming out of the gates on fire. Second, Lee looks primed to lose his most common linemate in John Tavares, one of the best playmakers in the game, to Free Agency this summer. Despite that, Lee has proven that he has an outstanding nose for the back of the net and a potential combination with Matthew Barzal could make him a substantial draft bargain.

86) Patric Hornqvist (RW, PIT)

When you take a look at Hornqvist’s career statistics, there’s not a single statistical category that truly jumps off the page. He’s never put up elite numbers and likely never will. But you draft Hornqvist to become the elite fantasy point producer. You draft him because he is a peripheral monster (one that happens line up next to Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin on a regular basis. When you add together the Swedish native’s 29 goals, 20 assists, 58 penalty minutes, 247 shots, 22 power-play points and 137 hits from last season, you arrive at the conclusion that Hornqvist is a legitimately valuable fantasy asset.

85) Jonathan Huberdeau (LW, FLA)

In his 6th NHL season, Jonathan Huberdeau put together the season we envisioned when he stepped onto to the stage as the third overall pick at the 2011 draft. Huberdeau set career highs in goals (27), assists (42), shots on goal (204) and power play points (19). At just 25-years old, the immensely talented winger is likely not done evolving his game. His proven chemistry with two emerging star centers in Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck will surely only help him find a higher level to his game.

84) Jaden Schwartz (LW, STL)

When you gaze at Jaden Schwartz’s numbers last year, it’s difficult to imagine him sitting at #84 in the early rankings. In 62 games last season, Schwartz put up 24 goals, 35 assists (0.95 points per game) and truly blossomed on the Blues’ top line. At this point in his career, Schwartz has become a premiere point producer. The only thing holding him back is his limited peripherals. Schwartz managed to register just 157 shots on goal, 26 penalty minutes, and a meager 11 power-play points during the season. Until he manages to get these numbers up, it’s hard to place him any higher in the rankings.

83) Brayden Schenn (C/LW, STL)

After posting more than half of his points on an electric Flyers power-play (28 power-play-points/27 even strength points) in 2016-2017, there were concerns that Schenn’s overall numbers might decline following a trade to St. Louis last summer. How illegitimate were those worries? Schenn blew away his personal bests in goals (28) and assists (42), en route to eclipsing the 70-point barrier for the first time in his career. It should be noted that Schenn’s point-per-game total dropped off a bit in the second half of last season but this 70-point range, combined with his already strong peripherals (56 penalty minutes, 210 shots on goal, 154 hits) might just be the new norm.

82) Mikael Granlund (C/RW, MIN)

Watch any Minnesota Wild game and it won’t take you long to notice how dynamic Mikael Granlund is with the puck on his stick. The former 2010, 9th overall draft pick potted 21 goals and 46 assists in 77 games last season, aligning his numbers with how quickly he passes the eye test. Granlund is by no means a physical player so his upside is somewhat limited in any format that counts hits, but the skilled center should provide a healthy amount of shots on goals as well as power-play points. We might not have even seen his best yet either.

81) Devan Dubnyk (G, MIN)

Dubnyk’s overall statistics might have fallen to just slightly above average last season (2.52 goals against average and a 9.18 save percentage), but the Regina native has proven that he remains a viable goaltending option for fantasy owners. Dubnyk has started at least 60 games in all of the past three years and should continue to pile up wins on an expected strong Wild team next season.

 

Stay tuned for the continuation of our weekly countdown of the top 100 players for 2018-2019 fantasy hockey.