Fantasy Hockey: All-Too-Early ADP Report

Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall
Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall
April 19 2013 Denver CO USA Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall 4 controls the puck during the third period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4 1 Ron Chenoy USA TODAY Sports

Part of the research process for any fantasy league is keeping track of ADP reports throughout the preseason. Who the is rising, who is falling and how players are being drafted relative to each other are all important pieces of information that can help us shape our draft strategy.

Very recently, Yahoo! opened its Fantasy Hockey doors and that means early mock drafts. To my knowledge, there are no other sites up right now and running mock drafts, so we have to make do with what we have, so to speak.

I spent the day yesterday doing a few mock drafts and for the most part, the drafters were there and ready. Believe me, if people are doing fantasy hockey mock drafts before the NFL season even starts, they’re hardcore.

With that said, this is an all-too-early ADP report.

Taylor Hall (LW) – Edmonton Oilers

Y! Rank – 20

ADP – 22

In the drafts I’ve done, Hall hasn’t fallen outside of the first 15 guys selected yet. That’s pretty much around where I have him ranked in my preliminary rankings and the people drafting are ahead of the Yahoo! on this one.

Hall has seen all of his per game numbers increase across the board each season he’s been in the NHL, culminating last year in being only one of nine players to finish the season with at least 50 points.

I see Hall as a fringe top-10 forward again this year with a lot of upside. There’s not much reason to think he won’t crack 30 goals and 75 points, so if you want to take him at the turn of round one and two, that seems fine to me.

Anze Kopitar (C) – Los Angeles Kings

Y! Rank – 31

ADP – 34.2

For some reason, people just don’t seem to believe in Kopitar even though he only has 20 fewer points than Eric Staal since Kopitar came into the league.

I have not seen Kopitar exceed his ADP yet in my drafts which puts him as a late third round pick. If he can fall that far to you in your leagues, kudos to you: You drafted a player who is just reaching his prime but is still the eighth leading scorer in the NHL over the last four years.

Kopitar should be seen as top-10 center yet he’s being drafted as a top-15 center, this is providing an opportunity for value early on in the draft season.

James Neal (LW/RW) – Pittsburgh Penguins

Y! Rank – 27

ADP – 28

I don’t understand what exactly James Neal has done to deserve falling from a first round pick last year to a third round pick this year; only 15 players in the NHL scored 20+ goals last year (Neal had 21), and trails only Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin in goals scored over the last two seasons.

Neal is a player who, if he plays enough games, will crack 30 goals, 300 shots, 60 PIMs and 20 power-play points. In other words, he’s a multi-category fantasy stud who is eligible at both wings. That kind of flexibility can be very valuable once you hit the dredges of January and February.

Neal should not be falling out of the second round in any re-draft league. Make sure you keep that in mind when you get to your draft table.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri
May 6 2013 Toronto Ontario CAN Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri 43 passes the puck against the Boston Bruins during game three of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the Air Canada Centre Boston defeated Toronto 5 2 John E Sokolowski USA TODAY Sports

Nazem Kadri (C) – Toronto Maple Leafs

Y! Rank – 108

ADP – 125

It kind of shocked me to see Kadri fall as far as he has. The ADP of 125 puts him outside the first 10 rounds of a 12 team draft and at that price, he has a lot of value. In the drafts I’ve done, he’s gone from anywhere between 90 and 100 overall, so you can already see his ADP trending upwards.

Kadri is a player who will not draw top opposition and will be surrounded with good line-mates so I really like his prospects for this season. My concerns include the inevitable regression of his plus/minus from last year (he was the only Leafs forward with a +/- of +10 or better, and that will be unlikely to repeat) and his contract status.

I think that if he signs a contract in the next couple of weeks – even if it doesn’t appear likely right now – you will see him drafted much earlier. With the expectation of his contract resolution, I can see his ADP rising by about 50 spots.

Erik Karlsson (D) – Ottawa Senators

Y! Rank – 32

ADP – 27

Another situation where the people are catching up faster than the rankings, Karlsson has dropped from an early second round pick last year to a mid-third round pick this year and that’s a bit confounding to me. In the mocks I’ve done, the earliest I’ve seen him go is the last pick of the second round.

He suffered that gruesome Achilles injury last year, but returned much earlier than expected and didn’t seem to miss a beat: In the 13 games he played between the regular season and playoffs after he came back, Karlsson tallied 12 points.

It probably won’t take long for his ADP to normalize, but if he falls anywhere outside the first round, I am comfortable taking him there.

Nail Yakupov (RW) – Edmonton Oilers

Y! Rank – 44

ADP – 48.7

This is exactly what I feared. Yakupov finished the season extremely strong but we have to remember, YakCity has pretty much one good month in the NHL. Is that really worth one of your first four picks?

Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau tied Yakupov for the rookie scoring lead and Huberdeau took home the Calder Trophy. Despite this, Huberdeau is going about four rounds later than Yakupov.

I like Yakupov a lot and think he can be an elite goal scorer in the NHL. But we have to remember that as of right now, we have no idea if Yakupov fits in to Edmonton’s top six forwards now that it looks like Ales Hemsky may be around for a while. I haven’t seen him fall out of the first five rounds and that is way too much risk for me.

David Backes (C/RW) – St. Louis Blues

Y! Rank – 110

ADP – 125

It is simply amazing how one half season can completely ruin what otherwise had been a sterling reputation as a fantasy beast. This is someone who I typically take as one of my first three or four forwards in a rotisserie league.

I always say I want about two full seasons from a player to be comfortable with projections. This is a situation where a player hit the wrong end of the shooting percentage volatility scale – his 6 percent shooting last year is more than 4 percent lower than any other season of his career and nearly half his career rate of 11.6 percent – and you can reap the rewards.

Other than goals (and by extension, power-play goals), his numbers were pretty much on par with his previous three seasons. There’s no reason to think he won’t rebound this year. Buy, buy, buy.

Marian Gaborik (RW) – Columbus Blue Jackets

Y! Rank – 57

ADP – 61.9

To save the best for last, Marian Gaborik is falling out of the first five rounds in some drafts, and is a player I had ranked as a top-10 Forward before the lockout-shortened season.

I get that people are scared that with the move to Columbus, Gaborik’s production will fall off the face of the Earth. I do not share that sentiment, however.

Gaborik played eight seasons with the Minnesota Wild back when they were still neutral zone trapping teams and averaged 35 goals a season. Just like Backes, Gaborik shot a career-low last year and finished the season shooting over 5% lower than his career mark.

I don’t think he puts up 40 goals and is nearly a point-per game, but that is his upside and his floor is about 30 goals and 60 points. He’s being drafted about a round later than Yakupov. Stop the insanity, guys.

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Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford was born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and is a graduate of the Unviersity of New Brunswick. He writes about fantasy hockey and baseball for XNSports and He can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy for any fantasy hockey questions. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');