Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid is a near lock to be chosen first overall in fantasy hockey leagues with standard scoring. After him, though, it gets interesting. With the second overall pick, there are many ways fantasy owners could go.
To assist owners picking in the No. 2 slot, theScore's Josh Wegman, Esten McLaren, and Sean O'Leary make their case for who they believe should be chosen after McDavid.
Wegman: Nikita Kucherov
Nikita Kucherov was the only player in the NHL last season to finish top 10 in goals, assists, shots on goal, and power-play points. That's four of the six standard fantasy categories where he dominated. He recorded a plus-15 rating and 42 penalty minutes as well.
With the Lightning once again projected to be an offensive juggernaut, the likelihood of Kucherov repeating his career-best 100-point season is high.
What separates Kucherov from other contenders is his position. Center is by far the deepest position in fantasy, so drafting a right-winger in Kucherov will allow you to wait on centers, thus building a deeper team.
O'Leary: Sidney Crosby
For the first time since 2015, Crosby and the Penguins didn't play deep into the heart of June. The extra rest should do wonders for No. 87 as he looks to improve on his 89-point campaign from 2017-18.
One season after claiming the Rocket Richard Trophy with 44 tallies, Crosby regressed to 29 goals this past season, despite directing only eight fewer shots on net. Sid's shooting percentage was just 11.7 last year. He should be expected to bounce back to his career average of 14.5 in 2018-19.
Crosby also holds extra value for his role as a distributor on Pittsburgh's deadly power play - which ranked first in the NHL with a 26.2 percent success rate in 2017-18. He ranked third in the league with 38 power-play points and if he's sharing a top unit with Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, and Kris Letang again, the sky's the limit for Crosby's production on the man advantage.
McLaren: Steven Stamkos
A fully healthy Steven Stamkos scored 27 goals in 2017-18. His shooting percentage of 12.7 ranked 165th in the league and was well below his career average of 16.7 percent. He set career highs in assists and plus-minus while nearing his personal-best mark in penalty minutes and chipping in 33 power-play points - the third-best total of his career.
He was one of just three players in the league with more than 70 penalty minutes to also have at least 27 goals and more than 60 points, making him one of the top targets for addressing a largely foregone category.
Stamkos shot the puck less but also finished with a career-high 59 assists. He also saw a slight reduction to his time on ice per game after being limited to just 17 contests the previous season. He certainly has the supporting cast to help him achieve his first 100-point campaign and produce 50 goals for the third time in his career.
Though Stamkos was limited to center eligibility last season, he has been granted dual status as a right wing in the past. An injury to the team's thinner wing group could again force Stamkos to the outside, further elevating his fantasy value.
(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
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