The 2021-22 NHL season is upon us with the puck dropping Tuesday evening. Penguins vs. Lightning and Kraken vs. Golden Knights are the games on the opening-night schedule, followed by four more games on Wednesday before the rest of the league gets in action on Thursday. That means it is down to the wire for 2021-22 Fantasy hockey drafts.
The top-five Fantasy hockey picks have been relatively consistent in most leagues, but intrigue starts later in the top 10 with Artemi Panarin, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Cale Makar among the players getting first-round consideration. Where should they all land in the 2021-22 Fantasy hockey rankings? And who are the Fantasy hockey sleepers, breakouts and busts you need to know about throughout drafts? Before making any 2021 Fantasy hockey picks, check out the Fantasy hockey rankings 2021-22 from the proven computer model at Sports Line.
Last year, the model predicted Andre Burakovsky would have a top-100 season despite the fact that he was going undrafted, and the Avalanche winger produced 19 goals and 25 assists in 53 games. It also predicted Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry wouldn’t live up to his top-70 Fantasy hockey ADP and he saw his GAA drop from 2.43 to 2.75 and his save percentage fall from .921 to .909 season over season. McClure’s model takes factors such as player history, schedule, injuries and matchups into account to create the most unbiased 2021-22 Fantasy hockey rankings possible. Now the model has zeroed in on the 2021-22 NHL season, ranked every player, and found the top sleepers, breakouts and busts.
Top 2021-22 Fantasy hockey:
One of the 2021-22 Fantasy hockey busts SportsLine has identified: Predators goalie Juuse Saros. Now Saros is the clear No. 1 after Rinne retired this offseason and he has a current 2021-22 Fantasy hockey ADP of 29. However, Saros may have benefitted from a lot of good fortune last season, with 73 goals expected from the shots he faced compared to only 53 goals actually allowed. To make matters worse, the Predators were sellers this offseason, so he won’t have as strong of a defensive group in front of him. That’s a big reason why they model ranks him outside the top 50 for 2021-22.
Another surprise: Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin is one of the model’s top Fantasy hockey breakouts. That has Fantasy hockey players waiting until outside the top 50 to draft him this year. But the model is projecting close to a full season for him, and with a career 2.59 goals-against-average, that could lead to some great production for Fantasy players. The model projects him to be the 34th best player overall, making him a steal at his current 2021-22 Fantasy hockey ADP.
How to find proven 2021-22 Fantasy hockey rankings:
The model has also made a surprising call on new Blackhawks goalie and last year’s Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury, and it features a stunner in the top 10 you won’t want to miss.