Colorado Avalanche: Best Fantasy Choices According to Puck Daddy


The Colorado Avalanche may not be the best team in the league right now. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a few very interesting players for your NHL fantasy team — at least Puck Daddy thinks so.

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Yahoo’s popular NHL blog recently released a few guides and rankings for whom to draft and not to draft. It isn’t really surprising to see some Avalanche players in the top-100 ranking. It also isn’t surprising to have Semyon Varlamov in the top-goalie guide. But it’s always nice to see anyway, and it’s interesting to see where exactly they ended up.

Before we start, here’s a little reminder. Fantasy hockey isn’t simply about who the best players are. It’s all about measurable stats. So it comes as no surprise that Alex Ovechkin, who just won his third consecutive Rocket Richard Trophy, tops the list ahead of guys that score less, but play better defensively — like Jonathan Toews.

Colorado Avalanche in the Top-100 Ranking

So, let’s get started with the top-100 player ranking, which includes skaters as well as goalies. As said, Ovechkin tops the list, and it isn’t exactly a surprise. Over the past three seasons, Ovechkin scored .65 goals per game — he’s a scoring machine, plain and simple.

It takes quite a while to find the first Avalanche player on the list, as we move past guys like Sidney Crosby (2), Carey Price (7), Jonathan Toews (17) and Anze Kopitar (28). They are all extremely good players, so 35th, which is where we find the first Colorado Avalanche player, is still a fairly good rank. It may come as a little bit of a surprise to some of us — myself included — that the highest-ranked Avs player is no other than Nathan MacKinnon.

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That’s right, that MacKinnon guy who’s coming off a nasty sophomore slump. I mean, it wasn’t that outstandingly terrible, but was it enough to declare him a better fantasy player than, say, Matt Duchene? We’ll find out. He definitely has the potential to score around 70 points next season, if everything goes right for him.

Speaking of Duchene, our No. 1 center actually didn’t make the top 50 — and also not the top 60 or top 70. But let’s go in order. Next up is Avalanche captain (and Colorado’s next top model) Gabriel Landeskog.

The Swedish left wing is the 48th-ranked player on Yahoo’s list. Again, to me it is slightly surprising to see even Landeskog far ahead of Duchene, but he has definitely been making a case for himself ever since he joined the NHL. Definitely a good addition to your fantasy team!

A little ways down the list, we find goalie Semyon Varlamov, who is ranked 74th. His 2014-15 season wasn’t nearly as good as the previous one, as he only recorded 28 wins and a goals-against average of 2.56. However, he showed everyone what he can do in the 2013-14 campaign, and even last year, he recorded five shutouts, including the 54-save one against the Chicago Blackhawks.

November 12, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) before the game against Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Center. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

In Puck Daddy’s “Which goalies should you draft or completely avoid?” piece, Varlamov is entitled a “Tier 2” goalie. It sounds somewhat bad, but tier 2 actually includes elite goalies like Jonathan Quick, Tuukka Rask and Henrik Lundqvist. Varlamov is said to have had a mediocre year last season, but if the team in front of him gets it together, he should be a great pick for your team.

Varlamov and Duchene are only devided by Pavel Datsyuk in the top-100 ranking, so they are in good company. Next season is the time to step up for Duchene, so he could turn out to be a little bit of a sleeper pick. Be ready for a 70-point season from him as well.

The last Colorado Avalanche player that made the top 100 is Tyson Barrie. Last season, he recorded 53 points, and was the sixth best scorer on the Avalanche. Arguably one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL, Barrie will be an amazing addition to your fantasy team!

Colorado Avalanche in the Top Rookie List

Not surprisingly, Connor McDavid was the only ranked rookie for the 2014-15 season, as Puck Daddy ranked him 42, even ahead of Taylor Hall (44). I have to say, I’m not a fan of ranking someone as one of the league’s best players before he’s played a single game, but in fantasy hockey, that’s totally acceptable. He does seem like a player with a lot of fantasy value, especially if the Oilers decide to play him on a line with Hall.

However, beyond the first rounds of your fantasy draft, it will be important to find some nice depth players, including rookies that may be a bit of a wild card. But, as Dobber Hockey puts it on Puck Daddy, “Every season there’s a non-Top 5 pick who steps directly into the NHL and makes an impact. Cue Finn Mikko Rantanen to fill that potential role.”

We still don’t know which one of the three possible routes (NHL, AHL, Liiga) Rantanen will go, but if he makes the NHL, he could most certainly be the one making an impact in his draft year. The Colorado Avalanche is arguably missing another top-six forward, since the depth the team supposedly has may be nothing more than a myth. Rantanen didn’t score too much back in Finland (56 GP, 9 G, 19 A), but paired with a star player like Duchene, he could definitely be one of the top rookies next season.

As a Colorado Avalanche fan, you definitely need some Avs on your fantasy roster. I hope this little guide could give you some help. Happy fantasy drafting!

Who is your Colorado Avalanche fantasy choice? Do you agree with Yahoo’s rankings? Let us know in the comments!

Next: Predicting the Avs' 2015-16 Top Scorers

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