Every year in fantasy hockey, there are multiple changes to what position forwards are assigned in fantasy hockey. In some cases, value is added as players may be dual-eligible or have all three positions assigned to them. Jordan Kyrou is an excellent example of strong value last year, not only because of his play last year, but because of the number of positions he was assigned.
Overall, players can either gain value through positional changes, but they can also lose value as well. One of the keys to winning your fantasy hockey league is being able to have a flexible roster, where players can play in multiple positions. This is essential not only when injuries happen, but also on busy game nights when you are trying to set the most optimal lineup.
Let’s take a look at some of the changes for this upcoming fantasy year. Who has added value, and who has lost value?
Forwards with added fantasy value
Elias Pettersson (C, LW)
If you are banking on a rebound season from Elias Pettersson, this should be even more of a reason to draft him. Petterson initially only had the centre position assigned to him. And although he is a great player, last season’s slump made carrying him on your roster a little more painful. Add the fact that Petterson could only be slotted into the lineup in one spot, and that really limited flexibility for fantasy managers who had him rostered.
This year, however, Petterson has both centre and left wing positions assigned to him. Many are already expecting a rebound year from Vancouver’s franchise player, and it is likely that he may drop in the draft as well. Adding him to your team will ensure you give yourself an opportunity to take advantage of a bounce-back year, increased flexibility, and value on the draft board.
Jonathan Marchessault (LW, RW)
This is a player who has never been shy to put up incredible shot totals. Jonathan Marchessault has always been a valuable player for fantasy owners. Initially, Marchessault was assigned the positions of left wing and centre in fantasy. This year, Marchessault can be placed on both sides in fantasy, left-wing and right wing. Although the number of positions he can play is still at two, right wing is a much tougher position to find elite talent with.
There are many more left wingers who can put up points in fantasy compared to right wingers. Add in the sneaky potential that he might play a full season on a healthy Eichel’s line and that he should be on the first power play unit, suddenly Marchessault has much more fantasy value to his name.
Forwards with lost fantasy value
Johnny Gaudreau (LW)
Johnny Gaudreau had an incredible career year in 2021–22, and during that year, he was both left wing and right wing eligible. This year however, Gaudreau is only a left wing. Gaudreau is an incredible talent, and should be owned on all fantasy teams, however, due to his positional change, and the fact that he has moved on to a much worse team and forward group, his point totals are likely to drop.
I believe Gaudreau might be more around the point-per-game mark this year and not the 115-point Hart candidate. If Gaudreau is available in the draft, definitely draft him, but it may not be worth doing so unless he slides slightly lower on the draft board.
Tage Thompson (C)
This is one of the biggest positional changes of the 2022 offseason. Tage Thompson was once left wing, center, and right wing eligible. This flexibility, along with his breakout year last season, made him one of the biggest steals of the fantasy year. Unfortunately, he’s heading into 2022-23 as only a centre.
I don’t doubt that Thompson will put up great numbers this year, but due to this change, his value has decreased mightily. There are many other centres one could draft who can get similar, if not better, results for the league. Thompson will be a valuable addition to a fantasy roster, however definitely do not reach for him, and only add him if he has dropped in the draft, or even available on the waiver wire.
Jordan Kyrou (LW, RW)
Take this with a grain of salt, please. Kyrou is still an incredible player and is a must-own in all leagues. The only reason why he is in this section is that he has lost his centre eligibility. Make no mistake, Kyrou is a player you want to draft onto your team, however, don’t reach for him during the draft if you are looking for optimal flexibility.
Kyrou will have a great year next year, but it is worth keeping in mind that he will not be putting up point totals as a centre, so make sure to pencil in someone else on your team for that.
It’s never too early to plan for fantasy hockey
Though it is still summer, fantasy hockey is not far away. It’s never too early to plan for the draft, and starting to think about positional changes like the ones mentioned will benefit your draft strategy. Success in fantasy hockey is just as much about finding valuable players, as it is anything else. Best of look to all fantasy owners for the upcoming season!