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Despite being a Cup champion, Mackinnon enters the 2022-23 season looking to bounce back when it comes to fantasy hockey. The center’s 88 points in 2021-22 put him outside the NHL’s top 15 scorers for the first time in five years. His 32 goals ranked 37th in the league, surprising considering his 299 shots ranked seventh. A slight increase in his 10.7 shooting percentage from a season ago could be the difference between reaching 100 points and not this coming season. A three-time 90-point scorer, there are fantastic better options early in the first round as Mackinnon looks to break above the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career (eight players had over 100 points in 2021-22). That said, he plays on one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and a career year isn’t out of the question. Expect Mackinnon to be dropped from the top-5 draft boards in nearly every draft this season as he builds on his Stanley Cup-winning season.
In the past five NHL seasons, only 16 players have scored more points than Rantanen (370 points). At 25, Rantanen enters the 2022-23 season looking to build career highs in points (92) and goals (36). Ranked 24th in league goals, scoring 14th in points, 21st in shots and 12th in plus/minus, Rantanen makes a very safe choice at a weak position this fantasy season. Paired on a line with Mackinnon and a power play that features Cale Makar, Rantanen could flirt with the 100-point mark for the first time in his career. Take Rantanen with confidence.
Makar enters his fourth fantasy season as the undisputed No. 1 defenseman in the NHL and fantasy leagues after finishing in the top 5 in goals (1st), assists (5th), points (2nd), more / under (2nd), power play goals (2nd), power play points (3rd) and shots (2nd). With just 32 total defenders scoring in double figures last season, Makar’s elite, forward goals and cross-category production can be the difference between winning and losing many fantastic weeks. At just 23 years old, the sky is the limit for what many consider to be the next Bobby Orr. Only two defenders have scored more than 30 goals in a season in the last 30 years; Makar has a reasonable chance of becoming the third. As a result, Makar is a deserving and foolproof top 10 pick in all fantasy drafts.
Even with knee surgery that cut his 31-game season short, Landeskog finished 2021-22 just one assist short of his second career 30/30 season. With an impressive career-high 1.16 points per game, Landeskog should be a third- or fourth-round pick as he enters the season in great shape. A safe choice considering he’s entrenched in the top power-play unit and first line with Mackinnon and Rantanen. Landeskog only managed to top 20 goals twice during his 11-year career with the Avalanche, but also only eclipsed 66 points once (2018-19). At this point in his career, we know the steady 30/30 production we’ll get from Landeskog, who added value in the banger leagues.
A surprise Norris candidate in 2021-22, slick skater Toews finished his second season with the Avalanche remarkably ranked ninth among all defensemen in points (57), ninth in goals (13), first in plus/minus (+52), 13th in points/gm (0.86) while amassing just 12 PPI overall. Another season strapped to Makar’s hip should bode well for Toews’ fantastic prospects as he builds his career year. Capped by his lack of power play, Toews makes up for it with the Avalanche’s solid 5-on-5 play. As a result, he makes an incredibly safe draft day pick that can provide more/less elite goals, scoring and numbers.
After signing a juicy eight-year contract, Nichushkin heads into 2022-23 as a vital part of the Avalanche’s top-flight top 6. His 25 goals and 27 assists were both career highs, swelled by 15 points in the last 14 games as he filled out the top line for an injured Landeskog. If Nichuskin can find himself on the Avalanche’s first line, he instantly becomes a must-have player in all leagues, as evidenced by his late-season run. For now, consider him a safe and late choice as you fill the weak winger slots in your fantasy team. We can expect a similar production to last season, but his cap will be capped if he doesn’t land on PP1.
Nazem Kadri and his 87 points left town, leaving a glaring hole on the second line. Enter Alex Newhook, 21. Fresh off a 33-point rookie season, which rarely saw him crack the Avalance top 6, Newhook will be looking to prove to everyone that he can not only keep the pressure of a top 6 going, but excel. . Newhook will battle with JT Compher for that spot in training camp and is expected to step onto the draft boards if he’s the No. 2 center to open the season.
Byrams’ 2021-22 rookie season has been filled with more ups and downs than most NHL players will experience in an entire career. From indefinite concussions to being an integral part of the Avalanche hoisting the Stanley Cup, Byram enters his second season as a highly intriguing late-round fantasy selection. His five goals and 12 assists in 30 games average nearly 47 points in 82 games. This production would have ranked in the top 25 in goals and points. Byram’s high potential, along with previous successful results from Colorado’s top-4 defenders like Toews and Samuel Girard, rightfully has Byram on many fantasy radars this season as he gets more nighttime minutes. Byram has what it takes to be a potential contender, but his early ADP (117.3) and injury history make him a bit of a draft day bet, as you’ll likely have to select him as your fantasy defender n ° 3.
Francouz enters the 2022-23 season with a golden ticket to the top starting job in the NHL. Last year, Darcy Kuemper finished top 5 in wins; Francouz will seek to duplicate similar production as a successor to Kuemper. In two injury-filled seasons as a backup for the Avalanche, Francouz had a career save percentage of .921 and won 63% of his appearances. With Alexandar Georgiev joining him in the Avalanche crease, it’s unclear how the starts will be split. However, they know Francouz better, and he’s had the better numbers of the two in recent years, so it’s expected he’ll see more starts if he can stay healthy. His first ADP is four and a half rounds after Georgiev’s, so Francouz could be a steal on draft day.
Stuck in the shadow of Igor Shesterkin, Georgiev found his way out of New York and into a fantastic big position in Colorado. After a disappointing season that saw him finish below a .900 SV% (.898) for the first time in his five-year career, the 26-year-old will be looking to break out in a big way as he attempts to return to the midpoint of 0.910 SV% from his early days as a Ranger. Georgiev’s overall value will depend on how the Avalanche split games. However, if Georgiev gets hot, it’s not unrealistic to believe he can be the Avalanche’s everyday starter at some point this season.
|Arturi Lehkonen||LW/RW||75.3||18.2||18.1||36.3||4.7||22.3||3.0||4.5||7.6||165.4||11.0%||4:43 p.m.||10.1||43.7||116.4|
|J.T. Compher||C/LW||72.9||17.0||16.4||33.4||9.4||26.2||2.7||2.9||5.6||102.1||16.7%||4:32 p.m.||359.4||60.6||38.7|
|Jayson Megna||RW||58.0||3.7||5.4||9.0||-2.0||4.6||0.0||0.5||0.5||60.1||6.1%||10:30 a.m.||49.2||64.5||36.4|