Analyzing Yahoo ADPs to find 2023 Fantasy Hockey Sleepers

      Published -

      Everyone knows you should take Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, or Auston Matthews with your first few Fantasy Hockey Draft picks. But who should you be drafting in the mid-to-late rounds? Who is going much later than they should be? Who has the same profile as a player going much earlier? I looked at Yahoo ADPs (Average Draft Position) and compared them with my projections and customizable rankings tool to find the biggest draft day steals as of right now.


      Mark Scheifele (WPG – C | ADP – 132.9)

      Scheifele missed 15 games last season, the first games he’s missed since 2018. He finished the season with 29 goals and 41 assists (70 points) in 67 games, topping a point-per-game for the sixth consecutive season. He’s been a model of consistency over that time, averaging 34 goals and 51 assists (85 points) per 82 games. He’s not suddenly going to break out for 100 points but you know that you’ll get 30 goals and 50 assists from Scheifele. That’s the same kind of production you can expect from someone like John Tavares (ADP – 65.8), who is currently going 67.1 spots ahead of Scheifele. The Jets’ centre is a legitimate No.2 fantasy centre going in the 11th round of drafts. Picking him up in the double-digit rounds allows you to draft wingers, defensemen and goalies early on, positions with much less depth than centre.

      Roope Hintz (DAL – C | ADP – 133.1)

      Hintz is in a very similar spot as Scheifele but doesn’t have the same career consistency to back him up. Still, he’s coming off an impressive 72 points (37G / 35A) in 80 games. His career-high 17.4 SH% is a bit alarming, but he raised his shot volume from 6.7 to 8.8 SOG/60, and maintaining that will help him hold strong above 30 goals in 2022-23. Hintz centres the Stars’ top line with Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski, a line that was one of the best in the NHL a season ago. They were fifth in xGF/60 (3.28) among lines with 300-plus 5v5 TOI together. Given their success, it seems unlikely that the Stars’ new head coach (Peter DeBoer) will break them up. As a result, he should finish with similar or better production than a player like Nazem Kadri, who is being selected 66.1 spots earlier.

      Tage Thompson (BUF – C | ADP – 141.5)

      Based on his current ADP, it doesn’t seem like many fantasy players are buying into Thompson’s breakout season. I think you should, though. Thompson had just ten goals and eight assists (18 points) in his first 30 games last season, but then he flipped a switch. In his next 48 games, Thompson was tied with Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin for 16th in the NHL in goals (28) and 41st in points (50). His 17.5 SH% over that span likely won’t be sustainable, but his elite volume is. As long as he’s top-25 in the NHL in SOG/60, Thompson will score 30-plus goals. His SH% could crater from 15.0 percent to 11.3 percent, and he’d still hit 30 goals with that shot volume. There’s also room for his assists to grow. The towering centre had just six power-play assists last year. Some of that has to do with being the shooting option on the PP, but even Ovechkin has averaged 12 PPA over the previous five seasons. He has 40/40 upside in the 12th round; something owners are paying third-round capital for when drafting Sebastian Aho. The Hurricanes centre is far more likely to hit that mark, but Thompson is a great gamble in the double-digit rounds.


      David Perron (DET – RW | ADP – 150.9)

      Perron averaged 31 goals and 42 assists (73 points) per 82 games in his four seasons since leaving Vegas to return to St. Louis. Over that stretch, he’s 24th in the NHL in power-play points (88) and has averaged close to 200 shots (198), making him a category stuffer in Fantasy. Now, in Detroit, there are concerns that his production could take a hit. However, he will find himself playing on a line with either Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond or with sharpshooter Jakub Vrana. There’s enough talent surrounding him that he should be able to produce at 5v5, and his addition should help improve a power-play that ranked 26th in the NHL last season. There is very little depth at RW, yet Perron, who should have 25 goals and 65-70 points, is dropping to the 13th round. His fantasy profile is similar to Bryan Rust, who is being drafted 54.9 spots earlier.

      Tyler Toffoli (CGY – RW | ADP – 165.0)

      With Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk no longer in Calgary, there’s a spot open on the Flames’ top line with Elias Lindholm and Jonathan Huberdeau. Nazem Kadri could fill it, and they move Lindholm back to the wing or Andrew Mangiapane. However, Toffoli seems like the safest bet. After a midseason trade to Calgary in 2022, he scored 11 goals with 12 assists (23 points) in 37 games. Modest results; however, he was limited to just 15:05 ATOI. Last season, Tkachuk played 17:54 ATOI, so there is room for Toffoli’s role to grow significantly. Throughout his career, he’s been a consistent source of 25 goals and 25 assists. A spot next to Huberdeau, one of the league’s premier playmakers, and a do-it-all centre in Lindholm, could unlock Toffoli. He’s worth the dart throw in the 14th round because you can drop him if he doesn’t end up on the top line. Think of the upside of Zach Hyman playing with Connor McDavid, but four rounds later.

      You can make the exact argument about Mangiapane, whose ADP is currently 160.6. Keep an eye on the Flames’ line combos in training camp because one of Toffoli or Mangiapane will get a significant boost from playing with Lindholm and Huberdeau.

      Taylor Hall (BOS – LW | ADP – 163.8)

      With Brad Marchand expected to be out for at least the first two months of the season, Hall will get a huge opportunity to play on the Bruins’ No.1 scoring line for the first time. Bruins’ head coach Jim Montgomery has already stated that Hall will be with David Krejci and David Pastrnak. At the same time, Patrice Bergeron will centre a line with Pavel Zacha and Jake DeBrusk. This is obviously great news for Hall, who already spent a lot of time with Pastrnak last season, just with Erik Haula or Charlie Coyle as their centre. Now they get Krejci, who is returning after one year in the Czech Extraliga. We’ve never seen the full trio together, but Hall and Krejci were tied at the hip after Hall was acquired from Buffalo in 2021. The two posted outstanding results, outscoring their opponents 14-to-1 in 193:13 of 5v5 TOI. So unlike Toffoli, you know Hall is locked into a huge role to open the season. Whether you trade him once Marchand returns or hold him as he plays on the second line with Krejci, Hall is a perfect value pick in the 14th round. How many former MVPs are going after pick 160? Just one.

      Adrian Kempe (LAK – LW/RW | ADP – 159.3)

      Kempe exploded for 35 goals and 19 assists (54 points) in 78 games last season. The goal production directly resulted from a drastic increase in shot volume. He went from 8.0 SOG/60 in the previous two seasons to 10.2 in 2021-22. Kempe was often a fixture on a line with Anze Kopitar in 2021, but that was taken to new heights in 2022, as he played 81 percent of his 5v5 ice-time next to the Kings’ captain. The other spot on that line was a revolving door throughout the season, but newcomer Kevin Fiala should fill that spot in 2022-23. Fiala helped turn Matt Boldy into a fantasy stud in the second half of last season, and he should have a similar effect on Kempe this year. He already built up a pretty good reason to draft him with 35 goals and 247 shots last season. Still, there’s reason to believe things can get even better in 2023 in a full-time role next to Kopitar and Fiala.


      Dougie Hamilton (NJD – D | ADP – 103.7)

      Hamilton’s first season in New Jersey did not go as planned. He scored just nine goals with 21 assists (30 points) in 62 games. That’s not the kind of production we’ve come accustomed to with Hamilton. Still, his shot volume (9.0 SOG/60) remained the best among all defensemen, suggesting he can bounce back in 2023. He shot a career-low 4.6 percent, so some positive regression would get him back to 15-to-20 goals over an entire 82-game campaign. The lack of power-play production (8 PPP) was the real issue for Hamilton, but there’s enough talent with Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, Ondrej Palat for the Devils’ power-play to improve in 2023. He’s currently being selected as the No.22 defenseman, but he has a clear path to being a top-10 blueliner. Finishing in the top-5 at the position is also within the range of outcomes for Hamilton, and that’s nearly impossible to find in the ninth round.


      Connor Hellebuyck (WPG – G | ADP – 75.8)

      Hellebuyck will come at a discount this year, as he’s currently being drafted as the No.16 goalie off the board. He wasn’t great last year, ranking t-25th in SV% (.910) and 34th in GAA (2.94). But he was still second in the NHL in games started (66) and 13th in wins (29).

      The Jets didn’t do Hellebuyck any favours, as they were a bottom-5 team in All situations xGA/60. However, the Jets hired Rick Bowness as their new head coach this offseason, which should bode very well for Hellebuyck. In his three years behind the Stars’ bench, Bowness’ team was top-3 in all situations xGA/60. The Jets may not have the same defensive makeup as the Stars did, but they should no longer be at the bottom of the league defensively with Bowness at the helm.

      Hellebuyck is still one of the few goalies you can confidently expect to start 60-plus games this season, and if the Jets play better in front of him, there’s a chance he finishes the season as a top-5 fantasy netminder. That kind of upside from a goalie is unmatched in the seventh round.

      Scroll to Next Article

      ON NOW