Fantasy hockey rankings: identifying potential risers

Anthony Duclair's success in limited minutes portends a rise in the rankings should his role continue to expand. Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Every once in a while it can be helpful to review which players are doing a lot with a little. The fantasy leaderboard is populated with forwards playing 18-plus minutes per game, and rightly so; more minutes means more opportunity. But sometimes a player with a high mark for fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60) can start to earn more minutes, pushing up their opportunity and elevating their relevance to your fantasy roster.

In that vein, here's a look at some high FPP60 performers currently averaging fewer than 16 minutes per game.

Anthony Duclair, W, Florida Panthers (15:26 average ice time, 8.00 FPP60): To set the tone, we'll start with someone you probably can't get your mitts on in your league. Duclair's production is not a secret, playing big minutes with either Aleksander Barkov or Jonathan Huberdeau (or sometimes both) on a nightly basis. And, to be fair, his average minutes are only down because it was a while before even the Panthers realized they had a top-line winger on their hands. Any league with depth and competition will have Duclair spoken for, but it's worth taking a quick peek at your free-agent list, as he is technically available in 44 percent of leagues.

Nathan Bastian, W, New Jersey Devils (12:05, 7.82 with Devils): Both the stats given here are for his time with the Devils this season, not counting the brief period he was a member of the Seattle Kraken before the Devils reacquired him. Since Jack Hughes has returned to health and settled in as the offensive catalyst for the franchise, Bastian has found a role on the top power-play unit. He's a bottom-six forward at even strength, but has found a niche on the advantage to boost his output. There isn't necessarily room for Bastian to ascend to a scoring line here, but he's averaged 1.9 fantasy points per game (FPPG) over the past month, so there's arguably a role for him in medium-to-deep leagues now.

Oliver Wahlstrom, W, New York Islanders (13:14, 6.66): I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to Wahlstrom, but can we please get this youngster some more ice time? All he's done in the NHL since arriving is post elite-level production on a per-minute basis, yet remain underutilized for overall ice time. Coach Barry Trotz has a solid track record and Wahlstrom has some defensive holes in his game, so it's hard to argue with the tough treatment that includes benching him this past week against Arizona after a turnover and sending him to the press box before the game against Toronto. I would argue the Islanders are good enough at defense and can afford to give up a little in order to get a playmaker like Wahlstrom more ice time. I'm not holding my breath, but, as always, stand ready to add Wahlstrom if he gets a shot.

Tanner Jeannot, W, Nashville Predators (15:38, 6.65): A five-game hot streak props up Jeannot's fantasy contributions, and I don't see a role for him at the top of this offense when everyone else is healthy. He doesn't shoot enough and has no access to the power play. I think we can move on for this season.

Ondrej Kase, W, Toronto Maple Leafs (14:30, 6.51): I've been a Kase fan since his 20-goal sophomore campaign with the Ducks was a statistical revelation (in 66 games with 13:55 average ice time), but injuries have hampered his opportunity to repeat it. The Leafs appear open to new lines up front as of this week, with the most recent iteration putting Kase on a line with Auston Matthews -- despite all four of the team's big guns being healthy. Any access to additional ice time -- especially if it comes alongside the player ranked No. 5 in FPP60 this season -- is a chance for Kase to be worthwhile for fantasy lineups.

Jared McCann, C/W, Seattle Kraken (15:57, 6.50): When Mark Giordano gets traded, McCann likely has a clear path to finishing the season as the Kraken's most valuable fantasy asset. Why the team is still using him in such a muted fashion is beyond me. But the fact that he is doing enough overall to be borderline fantasy relevant in such a minimal amount of ice time means he needs to be on your radar. If the Kraken dump some assets among the forwards at the trade deadline, McCann could move to 18-plus minutes per game, which would take him from borderline relevant to must-start territory.

Andrew Mangiapane, W, Calgary Flames (15:59, 6.49): As expected, the well has dried up after his torrid first two months of the season. Using Nov. 21 as the split, Mangiapane had 15 goals and 17 points in 19 games prior to that date, but has posted three goals and five points in 18 games since then. If you haven't already dumped him from your roster, now's the time.

Forwards on the move

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C/W, Edmonton Oilers (up 18 spots to No. 90): We finally saw some signs of life from the Oilers this past week in a win against the Flames, so the impending return of their third-best forward should go a long way to helping maintain some momentum. This will bump Kailer Yamamoto from the power play now, and it will also bump Jesse Puljujarvi from the advantage once Zach Hyman is also back from COVID protocol.

Alex Tuch, W, Buffalo Sabres (up 32 Spots tp No. 126): We've had to qualify previous comments about Sabres players' fantasy production by saying they are "doing well, for Buffalo." But without any qualifiers whatsoever, Tuch is doing quite well. And what's more, he's elevating those who were doing Buffalo-well before. In nine games, Tuch has posted a 7.08 FPP60, which is a top-50 mark if he had enough games to qualify there. He fits right in with Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner, and has helped boost Rasmus Dahlin's output to a range that should bring him off fantasy benches and into active lineups.

Kevin Fiala, C/W, Minnesota Wild (up 45 spots to No. 198): Matt Boldy was the catalyst the Wild needed to kick-start Fiala, and the results have been fantastic. Since Boldy made his NHL debut, Fiala has four goals and eight points in seven games. What can a Fiala firing on all cylinders do? Don't forget he closed out last season as a fantasy hero, posting 10 goals and 22 points in the final 19 games of the season, and was 11th in the NHL in shots on goal during that span. It kind of looks like he's going to do it again ...

Defensemen on the move

Evan Bouchard, D, Edmonton Oilers (up 32 spots to No. 97): Was it fortuitous timing that Tyson Barrie missed Saturday's game, allowing Bouchard to play the star as the power-play quarterback just when the team was ready for an offensive blast? Or, did Bouchard's presence as the PP QB cause said blast? We'll get a chance to find out, as Barrie won't play Tuesday either. Bouchard has been quietly putting up points in a subdued role this season, with Barrie dominating power-play time and Darnell Nurse still in the mix. But Bouchard is the right age and the right pedigree with the right teammates to do something special if he can push past Barrie in this window of opportunity.

Ryan Pulock, D, New York Islanders (up 18 spots to No. 115): It's hard to find any real update on Pulock's absence, but he's now out of COVID protocol and it's been more than a month since his original anticipated return date following a mid-November injury. I'll take the risk and move him up assuming we'll start to get word of a return soon. He's been dropped in far too many leagues, so check your waiver wire.

Goaltenders on the move

Robin Lehner, G, Vegas Golden Knights (up 18 spots to No. 99): One shutout is not enough to start rocketing up the standings, but this is a pre-emptive move. February is going to be a month of major transition for the Golden Knights, as we should see Max Pacioretty, Jack Eichel and Alec Martinez all back in the lineup before March. They've been hanging on so far, but that kind of boost to the roster should help propel them to the kind of hockey we anticipated before the season ... you know, when Lehner was a projected top-five fantasy goaltender.

Jordan Binnington, G, St. Louis Blues (down 32 spots to No. 168): I think it's more than fair to say something isn't right with Binnington and you should not be playing him in any fantasy format. That's not news. But I will say it might be justifiable to plan not to use him again this season. Sure, he could find his footing. But having watched this scenario play out before, the red hot newcomer to the crease -- Ville Husso, in this case -- would also need to stumble at the same time in order for Binnington to have a resurgence and save his fantasy season. You may even remember a 2018-19 season in which the Blues starting goaltender, Jake Allen, was having a rough patch in December/January, only to have an upstart rookie -- yes, Binnington -- take his job away though stellar netminding. Allen never did get his job back after Binnington propelled the Blues to the Stanley Cup.

New to the rankings

Matt Boldy, Ville Husso, Kaapo Kahkonen, Ilya Mikheyev, Nathan Bastian.

Just missed

Ryan Ellis, Bowen Byram, Mike Hoffman, Adam Boqvist, Jake Bean, Jakub Vrana, Ryan McDonagh, Brett Pesce, Connor Brown, Cam York, Cole Perfetti, Ondrej Kase.

Dropped out

Anthony Mantha (I don't really have a good excuse for why I held on for so long), Ryan Lindgren (still borderline), William Karlsson, Calvin Petersen, Joel Farabee (hurt for a while, again).

Top-250 rankings

(Editor's Note: a previous version of the rankings was published using an outdated edition of Allen's ranks. This has now been corrected.)

1. Connor McDavid, EDM (C1)

2. Nathan MacKinnon, COL (C2)
3. Leon Draisaitl, EDM (LW1)
4. Auston Matthews, TOR (C3)
5. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB (G1)
6. Nikita Kucherov, TB (RW1)
7. Jack Campbell, TOR (G2)
8. Mikko Rantanen, COL (RW2)
9. Brad Marchand, BOS (LW2)
10. Alex Ovechkin, WSH (LW3)
11. Igor Shesterkin, NYR (G3)
12. Roman Josi, NSH (D1)
13. Cale Makar, COL (D2)
14. Adam Fox, NYR (D3)
15. Frederik Andersen, CAR (G4)
16. Timo Meier, SJ (RW3)
17. David Pastrnak, BOS (RW4)
18. Gabriel Landeskog, COL (LW4)
19. Jake Guentzel, PIT (LW5)
20. Juuse Saros, NSH (G5)
21. Tristan Jarry, PIT (G6)
22. Sebastian Aho, CAR (C4)
23. Aleksander Barkov, FLA (C5)
24. Mika Zibanejad, NYR (C6)
25. Kyle Connor, WPG (LW6)
26. Drake Batherson, OTT (C7)
27. Steven Stamkos, TB (C8)
28. Charlie McAvoy, BOS (D4)
29. Kirill Kaprizov, MIN (LW7)
30. Anze Kopitar, LA (C9)
31. Elias Lindholm, CGY (RW5)
32. Filip Forsberg, NSH (LW8)
33. Victor Hedman, TB (D5)
34. Jacob Markstrom, CGY (G7)
35. Nazem Kadri, COL (C10)
36. Brady Tkachuk, OTT (LW9)
37. Sidney Crosby, PIT (C11)
38. Alex Pietrangelo, VGS (D6)
39. Patrice Bergeron, BOS (C12)
40. Kris Letang, PIT (D7)
41. Vladimir Tarasenko, STL (RW6)
42. Aaron Ekblad, FLA (D8)
43. Drew Doughty, LA (D9)
44. Seth Jones, CHI (D10)
45. Artemi Panarin, NYR (LW10)
46. John Carlson, WSH (D11)
47. Ilya Sorokin, NYI (G8)
48. Chris Kreider, NYR (LW11)
49. John Tavares, TOR (C13)
50. Matthew Tkachuk, CGY (LW12)
51. Brayden Point, TB (C14)
52. Devon Toews, COL (D12)
53. Josh Norris, OTT (C15)
54. Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA (LW13)
55. Bryan Rust, PIT (RW7)
56. J.T. Miller, VAN (C16)
57. Sergei Bobrovsky, FLA (G9)
58. Joe Pavelski, DAL (RW8)
59. Darnell Nurse, EDM (D13)
60. MacKenzie Weegar, FLA (D14)
61. Johnny Gaudreau, CGY (LW14)
62. Mark Scheifele, WPG (C17)
63. Roope Hintz, DAL (C18)
64. Tyler Bertuzzi, DET (LW15)
65. Jack Hughes, NJ (C19)
66. Mark Stone, VGS (RW9)
67. Mitch Marner, TOR (RW10)
68. Jason Robertson, DAL (LW16)
69. Patrik Laine, CLS (RW11)
70. Zach Werenski, CLS (D15)
71. Mats Zuccarello, MIN (RW12)
72. William Nylander, TOR (RW13)
73. Andrei Svechnikov, CAR (LW17)
74. Noah Dobson, NYI (D16)
75. Connor Hellebuyck, WPG (G10)
76. Ryan Hartman, MIN (RW14)
77. Brock Nelson, NYI (C20)
78. Pierre-Luc Dubois, WPG (C21)
79. Alex DeBrincat, CHI (LW18)
80. Mario Ferraro, SJ (D17)
81. Jacob Trouba, NYR (D18)
82. Thomas Chabot, OTT (D19)
83. Evgeni Malkin, PIT (C22)
84. Jordan Kyrou, STL (C23)
85. Thatcher Demko, VAN (G11)
86. Morgan Rielly, TOR (D20)
87. Dylan Larkin, DET (C24)
88. Cam Talbot, MIN (G12)
89. Miro Heiskanen, DAL (D21)
90. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM (C25)
91. Tony DeAngelo, CAR (D22)
92. Dougie Hamilton, NJ (D23)
93. Matt Duchene, NSH (C26)
94. Boone Jenner, CLS (C27)
95. Evgeny Kuznetsov, WSH (C28)
96. Brent Burns, SJ (D24)
97. Evan Bouchard, EDM (D25)
98. Joel Eriksson Ek, MIN (C29)
99. Robin Lehner, VGS (G13)
100. Zach Hyman, EDM (LW19)
101. Sam Bennett, FLA (LW20)
102. Logan Couture, SJ (C30)
103. Darcy Kuemper, COL (G14)
104. Patrick Kane, CHI (RW15)
105. Tomas Hertl, SJ (C31)
106. Moritz Seider, DET (D26)
107. Alec Martinez, VGS (D27)
108. Anthony Duclair, FLA (LW21)
109. Pavel Buchnevich, STL (RW16)
110. Troy Terry, ANA (C32)
111. Nicklas Backstrom, WSH (C33)
112. Neal Pionk, WPG (D28)
113. Teuvo Teravainen, CAR (RW17)
114. Nikolaj Ehlers, WPG (LW22)
115. Ryan Pulock, NYI (D29)
116. Elias Pettersson, VAN (C34)
117. T.J. Oshie, WSH (RW18)
118. Max Pacioretty, VGS (LW23)
119. Tom Wilson, WSH (RW19)
120. Ivan Provorov, PHI (D30)
121. Elvis Merzlikins, CLS (G15)
122. Ondrej Palat, TB (LW24)
123. Colton Parayko, STL (D31)
124. Mathew Dumba, MIN (D32)
125. Vincent Trocheck, CAR (C35)
126. Alex Tuch, BUF (RW20)
127. Taylor Hall, BOS (LW25)
128. Andrew Copp, WPG (C36)
129. John Gibson, ANA (G16)
130. Artem Zub, OTT (D33)
131. Jordan Eberle, SEA (RW21)
132. Claude Giroux, PHI (LW26)
133. Sean Couturier, PHI (C37)
134. Cam Atkinson, PHI (RW22)
135. Erik Karlsson, SJ (D34)
136. Jonathan Marchessault, VGS (LW27)
137. Zach Whitecloud, VGS (D35)
138. Valeri Nichushkin, COL (RW23)
139. Andre Burakovsky, COL (LW28)
140. Samuel Girard, COL (D36)
141. Blake Wheeler, WPG (RW24)
142. Oliver Bjorkstrand, CLS (RW25)
143. Erik Johnson, COL (D37)
144. Jared Spurgeon, MIN (D38)
145. Tuukka Rask, BOS (G17)
146. Shayne Gostisbehere, ARI (D39)
147. Esa Lindell, DAL (D40)
148. Andrew Mangiapane, CGY (LW29)
149. Pavel Francouz, COL (G18)
150. Quinn Hughes, VAN (D41)
151. Alex Iafallo, LA (LW30)
152. Lucas Raymond, DET (LW31)
153. Brock Boeser, VAN (RW26)
154. Viktor Arvidsson, LA (RW27)
155. Shea Theodore, VGS (D42)
156. Mathew Barzal, NYI (C38)
157. Mark Giordano, SEA (D43)
158. Chandler Stephenson, VGS (C39)
159. Jeff Carter, PIT (C40)
160. Rasmus Andersson, CGY (D44)
161. Adam Larsson, SEA (D45)
162. Clayton Keller, ARI (C41)
163. Rickard Rakell, ANA (C42)
164. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA (C43)
165. Rasmus Dahlin, BUF (D46)
166. Ivan Barbashev, STL (C44)
167. Sam Reinhart, FLA (RW28)
168. Jordan Binnington, STL (G19)
169. Evander Kane, SJ (LW32)
170. Jonathan Quick, LA (G20)
171. J.T. Compher, COL (RW29)
172. Jaccob Slavin, CAR (D47)
173. Ryan Johansen, NSH (C45)
174. Jesse Puljujarvi, EDM (RW30)
175. Oliver Wahlstrom, NYI (RW31)
176. Ryan Graves, NJ (D48)
177. Anthony Cirelli, TB (C46)
178. Jakob Chychrun, ARI (D49)
179. Tyson Barrie, EDM (D50)
180. Alex Killorn, TB (LW33)
181. Brayden McNabb, VGS (D51)
182. Jack Eichel, BUF (C47)
183. Jared McCann, SEA (LW34)
184. Connor Murphy, CHI (D52)
185. Ilya Samsonov, WSH (G21)
186. Kevin Shattenkirk, ANA (D53)
187. Tage Thompson, BUF (C48)
188. Marcus Foligno, MIN (LW35)
189. Tim Stutzle, OTT (LW36)
190. Bo Horvat, VAN (C49)
191. John Klingberg, DAL (D54)
192. Mikhail Sergachev, TB (D55)
193. David Perron, STL (RW32)
194. Ryan O'Reilly, STL (C50)
195. Carter Hart, PHI (G22)
196. James Reimer, SJ (G23)
197. Kevin Fiala, MIN (C51)
198. Ryan Strome, NYR (C52)
199. Cam Fowler, ANA (D56)
200. Matthew Boldy, MIN (LW37)
201. Nico Hischier, NJ (C53)
202. Jamie Benn, DAL (LW38)
203. Mikael Granlund, NSH (LW39)
204. Yanni Gourde, SEA (LW40)
205. Jesper Bratt, NJ (RW33)
206. Anders Lee, NYI (LW41)
207. Trevor Zegras, ANA (C54)
208. Tyler Seguin, DAL (C55)
209. Adam Henrique, ANA (C56)
210. Semyon Varlamov, NYI (G24)
211. Ville Husso, STL (G25)
212. Nate Schmidt, WPG (D57)
213. Joshua Morrissey, WPG (D58)
214. Mikko Koskinen, EDM (G26)
215. Brayden Schenn, STL (C57)
216. Vladislav Gavrikov, CLS (D59)
217. Adrian Kempe, LA (C58)
218. Justin Faulk, STL (D60)
219. Evan Rodrigues, PIT (C59)
220. Nick Suzuki, MON (C60)
221. Conor Garland, VAN (RW34)
222. Mike Smith, EDM (G27)
223. Anton Lundell, FLA (C61)
224. Jaden Schwartz, SEA (LW42)
225. Marc-Andre Fleury, CHI (G28)
226. Jonas Brodin, MIN (D61)
227. Matt Roy, LA (D62)
228. Lawson Crouse, ARI (LW43)
229. Alex Goligoski, MIN (D63)
230. Kaapo Kahkonen, MIN (G29)
231. Torey Krug, STL (D64)
232. Rasmus Ristolainen, PHI (D65)
233. Jeff Skinner, BUF (LW44)
234. Filip Hronek, DET (D66)
235. Braden Holtby, DAL (G30)
236. Reilly Smith, VGS (RW35)
237. David Savard, MON (D67)
238. Ben Chiarot, MON (D68)
239. Ilya Mikheyev, TOR (RW36)
240. Robert Thomas, STL (C62)
241. Radko Gudas, FLA (D69)
242. Tyler Toffoli, MON (RW37)
243. Jake Oettinger, DAL (G31)
244. Tyler Myers, VAN (D70)
245. Linus Ullmark, BOS (G32)
246. Nathan Bastian, NJ (RW38)
247. Carter Verhaeghe, FLA (C63)
248. Sean Durzi, LA (D71)
249. Alex Nedeljkovic, DET (G33)
250. Justin Braun, PHI (D72)