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Fantasy hockey rankings: Why these two Coyotes can keep scoring

Small sample size? Scroll down to see why you should pick up Jakob Chychrun (L) or Nick Schmaltz (R). Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire

It may be a small sample, but when you combine small samples with pre-existing conditions, we can put a bit more confidence into the numbers.

Jakob Chychrun and Nick Schmaltz returned to the lineup for the Arizona Coyotes for the first time this season (basically, as Schmaltz was hurt two minutes into the opener and Chychrun hadn't yet played in 2022-23). In four games since then, the upstart Coyotes have earned four of a possible eight points (great by their standards), pushing two games to a shootout and shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes.

That's all well and good for the Coyotes, but the individual results are much more exciting for fantasy.

Schmaltz, if you'll recall, was a top-50 fantasy forward from mid-January until the end of last season. He clicked on a line with Clayton Keller and Travis Boyd, which has been reunited this season with his return. They were, in fact, ninth in the NHL for goals by a line with at least 200 minutes together (five-on-five, per MoneyPuck).

Schmaltz has three goals and an assist in the four games since his return, earning 2.5 fantasy points per game (FPPG).

For Chychrun's pre-existing condition we have to skip back past his relatively disastrous 2021-22 campaign. After notching the seventh-most fantasy points among skaters in the truncated 2020-21 season, there were high hopes for a 23-year-old defender last season. But he couldn't stick the landing. After posting 2.4 FPPG in 2020-21, Chychrun missed a good chunk of 2021-22 and only posted 1.7 FPPG.

But it looks like he wants to make up for lost time. In four games since making his season debut, Chychrun has fired 22 shots on goal, blocked five shots and earned three points. He's getting equal power-play time to Shayne Gostisbehere so far, which may be one of the big differences. Opting for two defenders on the blue line this season, he's not fighting with Gostisbehere at the moment, but sharing the point on the advantage with his even-strength partner.

Again, it's a small sample. But given what we know about how both of these individual Coyotes drive fantasy production in the past, there's reason for optimism on the early returns. Chychrun has shot up to 77.2% of rosters, so the bus is probably gone there, but Schmaltz is still only on 37.7%.

Forward notes

Jason Robertson, W, Dallas Stars (up 13 spots to No. 15): It's hard to argue with a campaign in which Robertson is leading the NHL in goals and hot on the heels of Connor McDavid for the points lead. His top line with the Stars is still leading the NHL in goals at five-on-five (19) and his power-play unit has posted another 14 goals.

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Jason Robertson ties it up for Stars with under 20 seconds to play

Jason Robertson ties it up for Stars with under 20 seconds to play

Alex Ovechkin, W, Washington Capitals (down four spots to No. 38): I wouldn't argue Ovechkin is doing poorly for fantasy by any measure. His 2.5 FPPG is solid. In fact, I might argue that Ovechkin is not so much lagging for fantasy production, but that the rest of the league is picking up the pace. Maybe things slow down a little, but last season 2.5 FPPG was good enough to be a top-25 player; so far this season it's only top 40.

Artemi Panarin, W, New York Rangers (down 12 spots to No. 52): During the past four weeks, Panarin has only posted 1.4 FPPG. Here's hoping the recent move to the top line can help spark him.

Nazem Kadri, C, Calgary Flames (down 28 spots to No. 83): After a flaming hot start, Kadri has fallen off a fair bit. His 1.5 FPPG during the past four weeks isn't good enough for most fantasy rosters. His line is losing more battles than its winning, especially lately. His line boasts a Corsi percentage of just 41.8 percent during the past three games.

Anze Kopitar, C, Los Angeles Kings (down 12 spots to No. 99): I'm trying not to overreact too much yet, but has the changing of the guard for the Kings happened and we still have to catch up to it mentally? Phillip Danault leads the Kings skaters in fantasy points, not Kopitar. Matt Roy and Sean Durzi lead the Kings defense in fantasy points, not Drew Doughty. The second power-play unit has the most goals for the team, not Kopitar's unit.

Jamie Benn, C/W, Dallas Stars (up 73 spots to No. 133): This is not as high as he should be. Benn actually sits 36th overall in fantasy points so far this season. But can he keep up this pace while playing on the third line? The Stars seem committed to leaving him there and Benn is unquestionably fueling his production from the power play. While he may force my hand in later weeks, ranking someone not in his team's top six among the top players requires a little more burden of proof.

Gabriel Landeskog, W, Colorado Avalanche (up 22 spots to No. 182): Based on his current timetable for a return to the lineup and his expected fantasy production for the balance of the season, yes, Landeskog is now a top-200 player for this season.

Defense notes

Erik Karlsson, D, San Jose Sharks (up 11 spots to No. 20): Even Erik Karlsson can't maintain a 14% shooting success rate from the blue line. In his prime, Karlsson never topped 7.8 percent. That said, we've seen enough now that you can't confidently consider Karlsson back in the elite tier.

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Erik Karlsson evens the score for the Sharks

Erik Karlsson evens the score for the Sharks

Mikhail Sergachev, D, Tampa Bay Lightning (up nine spots to No. 24): The Sergachev surge continues. I made a fuss in last week's rankings about not pushing him past Victor Hedman -- but the trend directions continue. It's not even so much about Hedman being down, but Sergachev has posted 3.0 FPPG in the past four weeks, which is just blazing.

Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers (up 48 spots to No. 31): Speaking of 3.0 FPPG, that's what Ekblad has posted since his return to the lineup. A top-30 showing among skaters is what we were hoping for this season as he hits his prime years.

Tony DeAngelo, D, Philadelphia Flyers (down 21 spots to No. 130): In order for DeAngelo's prospects for a solid fantasy season to improve, the Flyers advantage needs to improve. The Flyers have four power-play goals on 42 opportunities in the month of November and only 10 power-play goals on the season. They are at risk of sinking to the basement of the NHL for production on the advantage, as all eight of the Blue Jackets power-play tallies have come in November. Could the return of specialist James van Riemsdyk and the season debut of Cam Atkinson eventually improve things? Yes, but it won't turn the Flyers advantage into world-beaters and it won't push DeAngelo into the fantasy tiers we are used to.

Goaltender notes

Ville Husso, G, Detroit Red Wings (up 48 spots to No. 55): So often the mercurial rankings for goaltenders through a season are driven by hot-hand tandems. But now almost through the end of November, Husso's hot hand may just be his regular hand. He's blowing away Alex Nedeljkovic and running away with the starts. He's one of only three goaltenders in the NHL with at least 4.00 fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60) and at least 70% crease share (Connor Hellebuyck, Linus Ullmark are the others).

Martin Jones, G, Seattle Kraken (up 14 spots to No. 140): Jones has been doing enough to stay in the fantasy mix, but his 2.85 FPP60 is only good if he keeps getting such a heavy workload. But now that Philipp Grubauer is back to health, it's unlikely that Jones can maintain his 74% crease share going forward.

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Martin Jones makes beautiful save

Martin Jones makes beautiful save

Spencer Knight, G, Florida Panthers (up 39 spots to No. 144): With a 51% crease share, Knight is ahead of Sergei Bobrovsky for workload now. His 3.19 FPP60 stands in stark contrast to Bobrovsky's 0.14. At the very least, this is a full-blown tandem going forward, but is more likely Knight's crease as the trends continue.

ESPN fantasy NHL top-250 rankings

1. Connor McDavid, C, Edm (F1)
2. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Edm (F2)
3. David Pastrnak, RW, Bos (F3)
4. Auston Matthews, C, Tor (F4)
5. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TB (F5)
6. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Col (F6)
7. Cale Makar, D, Col (D1)
8. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Min (F7)
9. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Col (F8)
10. Brad Marchand, LW, Bos (F9)
11. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Wpg (G1)
12. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (D2)
13. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buf (D3)
14. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G2)
15. Jason Robertson, LW, Dal (F10)
16. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G3)
17. Elias Pettersson, C, Van (F11)
18. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Fla (F12)
19. Jake Oettinger, G, Dal (G4)
20. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D4)
21. John Carlson, D, Wsh (D5)
22. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G5)
23. Mika Zibanejad, C, NYR (F13)
24. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D6)
25. Timo Meier, RW, SJ (F14)
26. Steven Stamkos, C, TB (F15)
27. Mitchell Marner, RW, Tor (F16)
28. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ott (F17)
29. Linus Ullmark, G, Bos (G6)
30. Jack Eichel, C, Vgk (F18)
31. Aaron Ekblad, D, Fla (D7)
32. Alexandar Georgiev, G, Col (G7)
33. Aleksander Barkov, C, Fla (F19)
34. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D8)
35. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D9)
36. Logan Thompson, G, Vgk (G8)
37. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bos (D10)
38. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Wsh (F20)
39. J.T. Miller, C, Van (F21)
40. Tage Thompson, C, Buf (F22)
41. Sebastian Aho, C, Car (F23)
42. Sidney Crosby, C, Pit (F24)
43. Jack Hughes, C, NJ (F25)
44. Roope Hintz, C, Dal (F26)
45. John Tavares, C, Tor (F27)
46. Dylan Larkin, C, Det (F28)
47. Nick Suzuki, C, Mon (F29)
48. Bo Horvat, C, Van (F30)
49. Elias Lindholm, RW, Cgy (F31)
50. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pit (F32)
51. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vgk (D11)
52. Artemi Panarin, LW, NYR (F33)
53. Kyle Connor, LW, Wpg (F34)
54. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nsh (F35)
55. Ville Husso, G, Det (G9)
56. Nico Hischier, C, NJ (F36)
57. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Ott (F37)
58. Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Car (F38)
59. Moritz Seider, D, Det (D12)
60. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ari (D13)
61. Josh Morrissey, D, Wpg (D14)
62. Tim Stutzle, LW, Ott (F39)
63. Seth Jones, D, Chi (D15)
64. Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Col (F40)
65. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos (F41)
66. Alec Martinez, D, Vgk (D16)
67. Tristan Jarry, G, Pit (G10)
68. Juuse Saros, G, Nsh (G11)
69. Joe Pavelski, RW, Dal (F42)
70. Travis Konecny, RW, Phi (F43)
71. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Cgy (F44)
72. William Nylander, RW, Tor (F45)
73. Dougie Hamilton, D, NJ (D17)
74. Noah Dobson, D, NYI (D18)
75. Vitek Vanecek, G, NJ (G12)
76. Troy Terry, C, Ana (F46)
77. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D19)
78. Ivan Provorov, D, Phi (D20)
79. Brayden Point, C, TB (F47)
80. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Min (F48)
81. Darcy Kuemper, G, Wsh (G13)
82. Martin Necas, C, Car (F49)
83. Nazem Kadri, C, Cgy (F50)
84. Jacob Markstrom, G, Cgy (G14)
85. Justin Faulk, D, StL (D21)
86. Cole Caufield, RW, Mon (F51)
87. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Cls (F52)
88. Carter Verhaeghe, C, Fla (F53)
89. Jesper Bratt, RW, NJ (F54)
90. Brock Nelson, C, NYI (F55)
91. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Wpg (F56)
92. Zach Hyman, LW, Edm (F57)
93. Mark Scheifele, C, Wpg (F58)
94. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edm (F59)
95. Quinn Hughes, D, Van (D22)
96. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (F60)
97. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dal (D23)
98. Tomas Hertl, C, SJ (F61)
99. Anze Kopitar, C, LA (F62)
100. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, StL (F63)
101. Boone Jenner, C, Cls (F64)
102. Anders Lee, LW, NYI (F65)
103. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pit (F66)
104. Artturi Lehkonen, LW, Col (F67)
105. Devon Toews, D, Col (D24)
106. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Det (F68)
107. Alex Tuch, RW, Buf (F69)
108. Claude Giroux, LW, Ott (F70)
109. Nick Schmaltz, C, Ari (F71)
110. Jordan Kyrou, C, StL (F72)
111. Rasmus Andersson, D, Cgy (D25)
112. Darnell Nurse, D, Edm (D26)
113. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Ari (D27)
114. Kris Letang, D, Pit (D28)
115. Logan Couture, C, SJ (F73)
116. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Min (G15)
117. Frederik Andersen, G, Car (G16)
118. Vincent Trocheck, C, NYR (F74)
119. Jake DeBrusk, LW, Bos (F75)
120. Owen Tippett, RW, Phi (F76)
121. Thomas Chabot, D, Ott (D29)
122. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, StL (F77)
123. Carter Hart, G, Phi (G17)
124. Drake Batherson, C, Ott (F78)
125. Mark Stone, RW, Vgk (F79)
126. Patrick Kane, RW, Chi (F80)
127. Clayton Keller, C, Ari (F81)
128. Kevin Fiala, C, LA (F82)
129. David Krejci, C, Bos (F83)
130. Tony DeAngelo, D, Phi (D30)
131. Jeff Petry, D, Pit (D31)
132. Robert Thomas, C, StL (F84)
133. Jamie Benn, LW, Dal (F85)
134. David Perron, RW, Det (F86)
135. Brent Burns, D, Car (D32)
136. Brandon Montour, D, Fla (D33)
137. Kevin Hayes, C, Phi (F87)
138. Jordan Binnington, G, StL (G18)
139. Hampus Lindholm, D, Bos (D34)
140. Martin Jones, G, Sea (G19)
141. Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (F88)
142. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Det (F89)
143. Anthony Duclair, LW, Fla (F90)
144. Spencer Knight, G, Fla (G20)
145. Andrei Kuzmenko, LW, Van (F91)
146. Trevor Zegras, C, Ana (F92)
147. Brayden Schenn, C, StL (F93)
148. Chandler Stephenson, C, Vgk (F94)
149. Neal Pionk, D, Wpg (D35)
150. Alexander Romanov, D, NYI (D36)
151. Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Min (F95)
152. Sam Reinhart, RW, Fla (F96)
153. Bryan Rust, RW, Pit (F97)
154. Thatcher Demko, G, Van (G21)
155. Gabriel Vilardi, C, LA (F98)
156. Shea Theodore, D, Vgk (D37)
157. Rickard Rakell, C, Pit (F99)
158. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (D38)
159. Jeff Skinner, LW, Buf (F100)
160. Nicholas Paul, C, TB (F101)
161. Matty Beniers, C, Sea (F102)
162. Tyler Johnson, C, Chi (F103)
163. Matt Boldy, LW, Min (F104)
164. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Sea (F105)
165. T.J. Oshie, RW, Wsh (F106)
166. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Cgy (F107)
167. Brock Boeser, RW, Van (F108)
168. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vgk (F109)
169. David Savard, D, Mon (D39)
170. Adrian Kempe, C, LA (F110)
171. Adam Larsson, D, Sea (D40)
172. Jason Zucker, LW, Pit (F111)
173. Ilya Samsonov, G, Tor (G22)
174. Jonathan Toews, C, Chi (F112)
175. Sam Bennett, LW, Fla (F113)
176. Reilly Smith, RW, Vgk (F114)
177. Phillip Danault, C, LA (F115)
178. Michael Bunting, LW, Tor (F116)
179. Alex Iafallo, LW, LA (F117)
180. Filip Hronek, D, Det (D41)
181. Patrik Laine, RW, Cls (F118)
182. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Col (F119)
183. Shane Pinto, C, Ott (F120)
184. Brayden McNabb, D, Vgk (D42)
185. Jake McCabe, D, Chi (D43)
186. Matt Murray, G, Tor (G23)
187. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Wsh (F121)
188. Matt Duchene, C, Nsh (F122)
189. Brandon Hagel, LW, TB (F123)
190. Noah Hanifin, D, Cgy (D44)
191. Karel Vejmelka, G, Ari (0)
192. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Fla (G24)
193. Kirby Dach, C, Mon (F124)
194. Radko Gudas, D, Fla (D45)
195. Sean Durzi, D, LA (D46)
196. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D47)
197. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D48)
198. Blake Wheeler, RW, Wpg (F125)
199. Jack Campbell, G, Edm (G25)
200. Nino Niederreiter, RW, Nsh (F126)
201. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Wpg (F127)
202. Cam Talbot, G, Ott (G26)
203. Ryan O'Reilly, C, StL (F128)
204. Teuvo Teravainen, RW, Car (F129)
205. Nathan Bastian, RW, NJ (F130)
206. Vince Dunn, D, Sea (D49)
207. Torey Krug, D, StL (D50)
208. Victor Olofsson, RW, Buf (F131)
209. Tyler Seguin, C, Dal (F132)
210. John Klingberg, D, Ana (D51)
211. Jamie Oleksiak, D, Sea (D52)
212. Cam Atkinson, RW, Phi (F133)
213. Lawson Crouse, LW, Ari (F134)
214. Brandon Tanev, LW, Sea (F135)
215. Mason Marchment, LW, Dal (F136)
216. Logan O'Connor, RW, Col (F137)
217. Stuart Skinner, G, Edm (G27)
218. Jake Sanderson, D, Ott (D53)
219. Nick Perbix, D, TB (0)
220. Connor Murphy, D, Chi (D54)
221. Lucas Raymond, LW, Det (F138)
222. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, LA (F139)
223. Mike Matheson, D, Mon (D55)
224. Ryan Hartman, RW, Min (F140)
225. Joel Edmundson, D, Mon (D56)
227. Luke Schenn, D, Van (D57)
226. Marcus Bjork, D, Cls (0)
228. Rasmus Sandin, D, Tor (D58)
229. Dylan Strome, C, Wsh (F141)
230. Calen Addison, D, Min (D59)
231. Marcus Pettersson, D, Pit (D60)
232. Dmitry Kulikov, D, Ana (D61)
233. Adam Henrique, C, Ana (F142)
234. Tyson Barrie, D, Edm (D62)
235. Jordan Eberle, RW, Sea (F143)
236. Ben Chiarot, D, Det (D63)
237. Caleb Jones, D, Chi (D64)
238. Bowen Byram, D, Col (D65)
239. Ethan Bear, D, Car (D66)
240. Nikita Zadorov, D, Cgy (D67)
241. Olli Maatta, D, Det (D68)
242. Andrew Peeke, D, Cls (D69)
243. Ian Cole, D, TB (D70)
244. Justin Schultz, D, Sea (D71)
245. Juuso Parssinen, C, Nsh (0)
246. Jarred Tinordi, D, NYR (D72)
247. Mark Giordano, D, Tor (D73)
248. Christopher Tanev, D, Cgy (D74)
249. Jani Hakanpaa, D, Dal (D75)
250. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (G28)

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