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5 of Fantasy Hockey’s Greatest Draft Hits

Occasionally, I think it’s important to feel like an all-knowing fantasy genius and one of the best ways to get to that feeling is realizing your team contains one of the greatest draft hits of the season. If you play DFS and have one of those nights, it can be instant gratification about your genius status. But season-long fantasy hockey can be a grind. It can be confusing at times, and in 2021-2022, we have all been hoodwinked into thinking our teams might play a game only to find out that “Haha just kidding, your team is out for ten days.”

Since most teams are around the 50-game mark (I’m not talking about you, Islanders), it’s a good time to take stock of our drafts and waiver moves thus far to locate our 2021-2022 Fantasy Hockey Greatest Draft Hits: Volume 1. Who did you draft or pick up that has far exceeded their rankings and, in related news, made you a fantasy genius?

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5 of Fantasy Hockey Greatest Draft Hits: Currently in the Top 25

  1. Nazem Kadri (COL): Preseason 198 – Current 4
  2. Roman Josi (NSH): Preseason 68 – Current 6
  3. Chris Kreider (NYR): Preseason 126 – Current 13
  4. Timo Meier (SJ): Preseason 225 – Current 21
  5. Jacob Trouba (NYR): Preseason 345 – Current 25

Other Notable Hits

  1. Tanner Jeanot (NSH): Preseason 406 – Current 43
  2. Moritz Seider (DET): Preseason 337 – Current 52
  3. Ryan Hartman (MIN): Preseason 370 – Current 62
  4. Tyler Bertuzzi (DET): Preseason 305 – Current 63
  5. Marcus Foligno (MIN): Preseason 372 – Current 68

For today, we’re going to focus on the Top 25 Greatest Draft Hits. It’s probably cheating to put Nazem Kadri on this list until you recall our preseason concerns that the 30-year-old had begun his precipitous decline after shooting 6.5 percent in last year’s 56-game campaign. He tumbled down preseason lists daring fantasy managers to take a chance on him. Congratulations to those who did as you have been rewarded with 63 points in 46 games and a rebounded shot percentage of 12.9.

Roman Josi fell a bit in drafts after some concern regarding his point drop in 2020-2021 and increasing age (31). But the preseason No. 3 overall defenseman has collected 51 points thus far this season to dwarf his positional competitors. (Kris Letang is next at No. 24.) If you can get Top 10 overall performance from a defenseman pick in the fifth-seventh round, you can sign up to receive your genius medal anytime.

In 50 games last season, Chris Kreider took only 102 shots on goal and his shot percentage was an “unsustainable” 19.6 percent so the Rangers wing fell in drafts. He came with a neon “Warning” light for negative regression and we drafters acted accordingly. He has only responded to our doubts with 33 goals (only 2 behind the human goal machine Leon Draisaitl) on 21.3 percent shooting while taking 159 shots through the same 50 games. Oh – and he’s collected 23 points as the leader of the No. 3 most efficient power play squad in the league. The “Warning” light has been permanently shut off.

Remember last year when Timo Meier spent time on the third line for San Jose? And pundits were concerned about his ability to put it all together and remain in a prominent role? Meier has responded to those concerns by accumulating 50 points in 43 games, providing a rebounded shot percentage from 7.7 to 12.6, taking 182 shots, and filling the stat sheet with 82 hits. He is solidified as a featured player for the Sharks and his 200-spot jump in rankings is the hat tip to those geniuses who nabbed him late in drafts.

Finally, Jacob Trouba likes to play defense. He likes it to the tune of 132 hits and 113 blocked shots in 49 games played. He’s also kicked in 69 PIM and 131 shots on goal just for good measure. For a guy ranked north of 200 in the preseason to be sitting in the Top 25 at this point in the season is quite a feat. To the eight of you who went into your drafts and intentionally sought out this 27-year-old, congratulations. You’re the cream of the fantasy hockey greatest draft hits crop at this point in the season.

For the rest of us, check out Brandon Altomonte’s waiver wire pickups and rest of season rankings to see if you can nab someone who might end up on this list when it’s all said and done. And, as always, good luck!

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