The fantasy hockey season has come and gone for most managers, with the remaining stragglers likely wrapping up their leagues this weekend.
It has been a season filled with adversity for all teams, some more than others. Overall, it was a season like no other. Like every season, there were several players who broke onto the scene with career years across the board. If you were lucky enough to draft some of these players, you likely did quite well in your league.
We break down the best bargain at each position. There are definitely more than just those on this list, so feel free to comment your best bargain below!
The center position is always one of the deeper ones in fantasy. Generally, if you miss out on the top guys like Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Auston Matthews, you can snag some good value centers in later rounds. This season, our best bargain winner is Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas.
With a preseason ranking of 279 and not even drafted enough in Yahoo leagues to have an ADP, Necas truly had an incredible breakout season. Through yesterday evening, his season stat line looked like this:
League wide among centers, he finished with a solid category covering season, and currently ranks 35th overall in Yahoo leagues (mine at least, categories are those listed in the table above), and 12th among centers.
For a player who wasn’t even drafted on average, this has to be one of the best early season waiver wire pickups of the season.
On the right side, always a scarce position, Necas is a clear choice once again since he’s dual eligible. Another worthy winner is Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli. Only the most diehard Habs fans could have predicted Toffoli’s insane goal scoring campaign, and he has been a huge reason why the Canadiens were able to make it to the postseason.
His preseason ranking was 147 and Yahoo ADP was 180. His stat line through yesterday evening was this:
Toffoli’s 46 goal, 71 point pace smashes his previous career highs by a large margin. Throw in a healthy dose of points on both sides of special teams, over three shots per game, and almost 1.5 hits per game, and you have a very valuable fantasy player.
He currently ranks 23rd overall and seventh among right wingers.
Left wing is definitely an easier position to fill than right wing. Still, left wingers did well this season, three appearing in the top 10 overall right now. Our left wing bargain winner is San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane. Mired by controversy entering the season, Kane had nothing short of a monster campaign.
His preseason ranking was 64 and Yahoo ADP was 90. As of last night, his stat line looked like this:
Kane has always been a great category coverer, but this season was something else. With a 34 goal and 75 point pace, Kane is having a career year. He didn’t help as much on the power play as one might expect, but his shorthanded points and peripheral dominance made up for that in a big way.
He averaged 3.5 shots, 1.7 hits, and 0.4 blocks per game, and was an easy choice to roster even when he wasn’t scoring goals every night. He currently ranks ninth overall in fantasy and third among left wingers, behind only Brad Marchand and Leon Draisaitl. Drafting Kane around 90th overall was a huge steal this year.
Adam Fox is the easy choice for defense, but he had the pedigree and expectation based on last season’s solid rookie year. For the best bargain on the blueline, our winner is Arizona Coyotes defender Jakob Chychrun. A much more unlikely story than Fox, Chychrun currently leads all defensemen in the NHL in goals and is having an incredible bounce back season.
Chychrun’s preseason ranking was 286 and Yahoo ADP was 175. This is his stat line through last night:
He covered peripherals as well as you’d expect from a top defender with 3.1 shots, 1.1 hits, and 1.6 blocks per game. Add on the insane 27 goal, 60 point pace, and you have yourself an elite fantasy defender. Anyone who took a flyer on Chychrun in the last rounds of their draft are no doubt very happy with that decision.
Chychrun currently ranks 28th overall and fifth among defensemen.
Goalies are so hard to predict. Every season there are at least a few goalies who drastically underperform like Sergei Bobrovsky in 2020, and goalies who drastically overperform like Cam Talbot in 2017. This season, our best bargain goalie winner is Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith. As a Flames fan, it pains me to speak of Smith is such good light, but you have to give credit where credit is due. Smith was a shocking positive in Edmonton this season, and a huge reason why they cruised to a playoff berth.
His preseason rank was 384 and was not drafted enough to have an ADP on Yahoo. Here’s his stat line through last night:
Smith was injured to start the season, which means most current Smith owners picked him up off the waiver wire. After the resurgent season he’s had, Smith is definitely one of the best waiver wire steals of the season, especially at the goaltender position. With stories like Alex Nedeljkovic and Jeremy Swayman, that’s really saying something.
In my league with the categories above, Smith ranks 63rd overall (58th if you add in shutouts) and seventh among goaltenders.
Who was the MVP of your team? The biggest steal? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @wincolumnblog