There’s one thing you have to remember when you start your fantasy hockey draft-- you can’t win your league on draft night, but you can certainly lose it. It’s important to look for value when selecting a player. On draft night, it’s about finding players that may end up helping you win your league. It’s about finding your Pekka Rinne or Henrik Zetterberg. Let’s take a look at which players you should be targeting on draft night, and which players you need to stay far away from.


Evgeni Malkin, F PIT -- Is Malkin a sleeper pick? Of course not, but for some reason, fantasy players have decided to sleep on the Russian center. Yahoo! Has Malkin’s ADP sitting at 14.3, which is absolutely hilarious. Here’s a player who’s averaging over a point-per-game since he entered the league (1.19P/GP) and he’s going in the second round of standard leagues. He’s the fifth best fantasy player this year. Once McDavid, Kucherov, Ovechkin and Crosby are off the board, Malkin should be the next pick. He can score goals, rack up assists, pick up power play points and collect penalty minutes. There’s no reason why Malkin should be going outside the top-5, even if you believe that he’s injury prone (which of course, isn’t a thing). Draft Malkin at five and don’t look back.

Antti Raanta, G PHX -- Raanta should have an ADP inside the top-60 by now, but again, fantasy players seem to be missing the obvious here. The Coyotes are a really bad team, but they are a lot better when Raanta is in goal. He finished last season with a 2.24 GAA and a .930 SV%. That’s elite for an NHL goalie, and for some reason, people are forgetting him in drafts because he plays in a state that doesn’t have ice or snow. To put this into perspective: Carey Price has an ADP of 45.4 and there’s a legit argument that Raanta should be going ahead of him. This doesn’t mean that you should be drafting the Coyotes’ goaltender inside round four, but he shouldn’t have an ADP outside the top-100. This is a case of people drafting the players’ name and not his expected fantasy projection. There’s a good chance that Arizona finishes with more points than Montreal! All this to say-- draft Raanta. 

Elias Pettersson, F VAN -- There’s no reason to look at Vancouver for fantasy hockey (with the exception of Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat), but there’s a gem on that team that could be worth a late round pick. Elias Pettersson is a rookie being forgotten, but he’s got the skill and speed to score 20-goals with the Canucks. If he can hit the 50-point plateau, that would be a huge reward for fantasy owners. The Canucks are going to struggle scoring goals, but the 2017 5th overall pick is going to get an opportunity to show management that he should be in the lineup every night. Like his team mate Boeser, Pettersson could be poised for a big season.

Jeff Petry, D MON -- If you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months, Shea Weber is out till about December with a knee injury, which means Jeff Petry is going to be the Habs top defenseman. It’s all about opportunity for Petry, and he’s going to get a lot of it. The 30-year-old scored 12 goals and finished with 42-points, both career highs. For a defenseman, anything over 40-points is a real get, especially if you can get Petry outside the top-150. He’s going to be the quarterback on the powerplay and will probably log close to 25 minutes a game. The Habs aren’t going to be a fun team to watch, but Petry is going to get an opportunity early to rack up the points. He had a ton of success when Weber was out of the lineup last season, so there’s no reason to believe he can’t have the same success this season.

Anthony Mantha, F DET -- It’s kind of funny that Filip Zadina (164.4) has a higher ADP than Mantha (167.2) and there’s no guarantee that Zadina even plays in the NHL this season. Someone is going to have to score goals in Detroit, and it’s not going to be Justin Abdelkader or Tyler Bertuzzi. The Quebec native just missed the 50-point plateau last season, but he could manage to hit 60 this season. He finished 2016-17 with 36 points and followed that up last season with 48 points. If the trend continues, 60-points is right around the corner. Imagine getting a 60-point player outside the top-150! Crazy, but it could happen. If you’re thinking about Zadina at 164, skip the high risk factor and go with Mantha at 150. You’re welcome.


Carey Price, G MON -- There are actually people drafting Carey Price as the fifth goalie in fantasy hockey. As much as people want to believe that Price is going to bounce back, it’s probably not going to happen.?The Habs have a terrible defense, their offense is even worse than last season and Claude Julien is still the team’s head coach. Price will do better than his 3.11 GAA and .900 SV%, but let’s not pretend like he’s going to have Vezina Trophy numbers like he did a couple of years ago. People who are taking Price this early are buying his name, and only his name. Let someone else deal with him and grab another goalie that might actually win 30-plus games this season. 

Patrick Kane, F CHI -- This is the same story as Malkin, but in the bust category. It’s really tough to trust a player that has seen his point total drop from 106 in 2015-16 to just 76 in 2017-18. Look, 76 points is great, but that doesn’t merit a top-10 ADP in fantasy hockey. The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t the same powerhouse team there were a couple of years ago. Why anyone would want to draft Kane over players like Tavares, MacKinnon or even Seguin is beyond me. Can Patrick Kane score goals? Of course, but he managed to do that only 27 times last season on a team that was 21st in GF/GP (2.78). If Kane is around in the second round, take a stab at him, but there’s no reason to take a risk on him in the first round of a 14-team league.

Ilya Kovalchuk, F LA -- Here’s a fun fact--Kovalchuk and Clayton Keller both have the same ADP on Yahoo! (76). One player is going too late in drafts, while the other is going too early. Ilya Kovalchuk is going too early. Playing alongside Anze Kopitar can make you look very good (right Dustin Brown?), but Kovalchuk is 35-years-old and is making a return to a faster, younger NHL than it was five years ago when he was in New Jersey. He’s going to get lots of chances to score goals, but the Kings were an average team that looked good because of Kopitar. Even if the former first overall pick does have a good season, he won’t return ADP 77 value. He may not even total more than 50-points, which would knock him outside the top-100. Don’t get cute with Kovalchuk here, let someone draft him while you pick up Keller one round earlier.

Frederik Andersen, G TOR -- There is a lot of hype around the Toronto Maple Leafs and how good this team can be this season. As great as they are on offense, their blueline is still league average and Frederik Andersen isn’t as good as everyone thinks. His SV% has been steady over the last four years (.914-.918%) but his GAA keeps climbing, hitting 2.81 last season. A goalie giving up close to three goals a game isn’t worth a third round pick. There are a ton of solid goalies that you can grab later on in the draft. Andersen is going to rack up a bunch of wins because the Leafs are going to win a lot of games, but fantasy wise, Andersen might not hit value if he’s going off the board in the third round in a 12 team league. 

William Karlsson, F VGK -- What William Karlsson did last season was crazy, so crazy that fantasy players are buying into the idea that he may be able to repeat last season’s success. There’s no way that he does. Prior to last season, Karlsson’s career high in goals was nine and his shooting percentage (Sh%) was a whopping 23.4%. What Las Vegas did as a team was a miracle, but Karlsson is going to come back down to earth, and it’s going to be a pretty big drop. He may not even crack the 25-goal mark this season! Fantasy hockey fans are expecting a regression from Karlsson, but we all can’t decide on how large of a regression he will have. If his sh% comes back down to his career average, he’s in line for 15-20 goals this season, which wouldn’t return sixth round value.