The vast majority of fantasy hockey leagues will value forwards quite heavily, so you need to know which ones to build your team around. There’s the perennial superstars to draft early, then plenty of players that could be sleepers or breakout candidates to find in the later rounds. We’ll cover the specifics as we approach the upcoming season, but for now the focus will be on the overall best forwards in fantasy hockey.
2022 Fantasy Hockey Forward Rankings
The Best of the Best
Connor McDavid takes the number one spot to no surprise. His 123 points last season was eight more than the next closest, marking the second consecutive season McDavid led the league in scoring. I don’t think it’d be a shock in the slightest if he did it again this year. He’s an easy pick for anyone drafting first overall.
In the second slot there can be some variance. I have Auston Matthews here, as his ability to net 60 goals gives him the edge in my mind. Matthews has topped the league in goals the past two campaigns. He has arguably taken the reins from Alex Ovechkin as the best goal scorer in the league.
In third, I listed Leon Draisaitl. He was the NHL’s top scorer in 2019-20, and always finds himself near the top of the leaderboard each year. There’s a very valid argument to take him ahead of Matthews, as they should be the next two drafted after McDavid in most formats.
Nathan MacKinnon could push his way into the conversation for the top three. Fresh off a Stanley Cup victory, and with one more season remaining on his contract, he could be motivated to have his best season yet. His 88 points in 65 games in 2021-22 made his fantasy totals less than others drafted in the first round. Although I wouldn’t be too concerned about that.
The same can be said for Nikita Kucherov. Injuries forced him to miss the first half of the season, yet he still posted 69 points. With him finally being healthy, he should reclaim his spot among fantasy hockey’s top contributors. With the talent level he and MacKinnon have, I think they cement themselves in the top five. Personally, I think these are the clear top five, and that there’s a notable drop off after them.
Mikko Rantanen and Kirill Kaprizov would be the next best players in my books. Followed by Alex Ovechkin, Aleksander Barkov, and Steven Stamkos to round out the top 10. After the top seven though, I feel that’s where things open up. There will be a handful of other players you could justify taking there, depending on your league’s scoring.
Big Names to Keep an Eye On
Jack Eichel is going into the season healthy. He’s only played 34 games as a Vegas Golden Knight, so I’m expecting him to be much more productive during a full campaign. Mark Stone also dealt with injuries last year, and there is some concern about his health going into this season. There is risk in drafting the Vegas duo, so I feel like this will make them fall a bit in drafts. This could make them good value picks – provided they avoid the injury bug.
Brad Marchand is normally a regular near the top of the rankings, but he had surgery and is expected to return in December. Missing potentially two months makes it tough to draft him. But he’s such a high-end producer it’s worth taking the chance on him with a mid to late-round pick. If your league has IR slots, you can stash him away there until he’s healthy. Then stream players from the waiver wire to fill in for his absence.
Rankings are based on the following categories: Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, Shots on Goal, Power Play Points, Hits.
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Notable Injuries: Nicklas Backstrom, Anthony Duclair, Max Pacioretty, Tom Wilson