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Fantasy Hockey Rankings Tiers (2021)

by Mat Vilcek
Jan 6, 2021

Patrick Kane could struggle alongside a downgraded supporting cast this season.

With the NHL and NHLPA recently agreeing on terms for the regular season and playoffs, not much time remains for us to prepare for the upcoming fantasy hockey season.

If you are not caught up, I have another article that will help you learn what is set to happen this year. Make sure you continue to keep up-to-date on players who may have a last-minute injury or illness.

Today we dive into some tier rankings for your impending draft. Many key elements must be taken into account for rankings this year, more so than in years past. Injuries have become a big part of the season already, as we have seen from Nikita Kucherov and Jonathan Toews. Another change that must not be overlooked is the new divisions.

Like any other fantasy sport, matchups play a key role in who to start, sit, or draft. For example, Player A is considered a Tier 2 elite player versus player B, a low-end Tier 1 player. Player A goes up against the top-ranked defense and goalie in a given division for eight games, while player B goes against the bottom-ranked defense and goalie in a division.

Many people would argue that player B could be ranked higher and may have more upside, as it should be. Now, I tell you Player B is in the West while Player A is in the Central. Using last year’s information and some information we already have this year, Player B would be the overwhelming choice. Here’s why. While most teams in the West finished at the bottom of the league last year, the Central is a stronger division that includes both teams from last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

Finally, look at a team’s offseason additions and subtractions. Players like Patrick Kane may struggle this year since trades and injuries have severely weakened the Blackhawks heading into the season. Meanwhile, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will flourish on a team with minimal changes to an already stout roster.

Now how about some rankings?

Create the perfect NHL fantasy cheat sheet with consensus rankings from multiple experts >>

Forwards Defensemen Goalies
Tier 1 Tier 1 Tier 1
Connor McDavid (EDM)

Artemi Panarin (NYR)

Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

Auston Matthews (TOR)

Cale Makar (COL)

Victor Hedman (TB)

Quinn Hughes (VAN)

Alex Pietrangelo (VGK)

Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)

Jordan Binnington (STL)

Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)

Tier 2 Tier 2 Tier 2
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)

Sidney Crosby (PIT)

Andrei Svechnikov (CAR)

Elias Pettersson (VAN)

Mikko Rantanen (COL)

Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)

Patrick Kane (CHI)

Dougie Hamilton (CAR)

Torey Krug (STL)

Brent Burns (SJ)

Roman Josi (NSH)

Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI)

Tuukka Rask (BOS)

Carter Hart (PHI)

Robin Lehner (VGK)

Sergei Bobrovsky (FLA)

Tier 3 Tier 3 Tier 3
Sebastian Aho (CAR)

Patrik Laine (WPG)

Brayden Point (TB)

Brad Marchand (BOS)

Mitchell Marner (TOR)

Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA)

Mathew Barzal (NYI)

Morgan Rielly (TOR)

Erik Karlsson (SJ)

Kris Letang (PIT)

Mark Giordano (CGY)

Tyson Barrie (EDM)

Shea Theodore (VGK)

Tristan Jarry (PIT)

Ilya Samsonov (WAS)

Darcy Kuemper (ARI)

Philipp Grubauer (COL)

Semyon Varlamov (NYI)

Tier 4 Tier 4 Tier 4
Steven Stamkos (TB)

Evgeni Malkin (PIT)

Mika Zibanejad (NYR)

Gabriel Landeskog (COL)

Matthew Tkachuk (CGY)

Jake Guentzel (PIT)

John Tavares (TOR)

Seth Jones (CLS)

Zach Werenski (CLS)

Neal Pionk (WPG)

Rasmus Dahlin (BUF)

Miro Heiskanen (DAL)

Ivan Provorov (PHI)

Braden Holtby (VAN)

Frederik Andersen (TOR)

Igor Shesterkin (NYR)

Carey Price (MON)

Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK)

Tier 5 Tier 5 Tier 5
Aleksander Barkov (FLA)

Jonathan Marchessault (VGK)

Patrice Bergeron (BOS)

Blake Wheeler (WPG)

Teuvo Teravainen (CAR)

Mark Stone (VGK)

J.T. Miller (VAN)

Tony DeAngelo (NYR)

Charlie McAvoy (BOS)

Jeff Petry (MON)

John Klingberg (DAL)

Adam Fox (NYR)

Shea Weber (MON)

P.K. Subban (NJ)

Jacob Markstrom (CGY)

Anton Khudobin (DAL)

Petr Mrazek (CAR)

Juuse Saros (NSH)

Ilya Sorokin (NYI)

Tier 6 Tier 6 Tier 6
Mark Scheifele (WPG)

Brock Boeser (VAN)

Max Pacioretty (VGK)

Brady Tkachuk (OTT)

Claude Giroux (PHI)

Taylor Hall (BUF)

Evgeny Kuznetsov (WAS)

Kyle Connor (WPG)

Ryan O’Reilly (STL)

Thomas Chabot (OTT)

Ryan Ellis (NSH)

Aaron Ekblad (FLA)

Colton Parayko (STL)

Ryan Pulock (NYI)

Keith Yandle (FLA)

Pavel Francouz (COL)

Elvis Merzlikins CLS)

Joonas Korpisalo (CLS)

Mikko Koskinen (EDM)

Matt Murray (OTT)

Tier 7 Tier 7 Tier 7
Elias Lindholm (CGY)

Sean Couturier (PHI)

Filip Forsberg (NSH)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)

Brayden Schenn (STL)

Brendan Gallagher (MON)

Evander Kane (SJ)

William Nylander (TOR)

Mikhail Sergachev (TB)

Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF)

Jacob Trouba (NYR)

Matt Dumba (MIN)

Darnell Nurse (EDM)

Jonathan Quick (LA)

Pekka Rinne (NSH)

Jaroslav Halak (BOS)

John Gibson (ANH)

Tier 8 Tier 8 Tier 8
Travis Konecny (PHI)

Alex DeBrincat (CHI)

Mike Hoffman (STL)

Pierre-Luc Dubois (CLS)

Timo Meier (SJ)

Kevin Fiala (MIN)

Tom Wilson (WAS)

Ryan Suter (MIN)

Nate Schmidt (VAN)

Jaccob Slavin (CAR)

Jake Muzzin (TOR)

Duncan Keith (CHI)

Malcolm Subban (CHI)

Thomas Greiss (DET)

Thatcher Demko (VAN)

Linus Ullmark (BUF)

Tier 9 Tier 9 Tier 9
Anders Lee (NYI)

Kyle Palmieri (NJ)

Nicklas Backstrom (WAS)

Kailer Yamamoto (EDM)

Jakub Vrana (WAS)

Jamie Benn (DAL)

Drew Doughty (LA)

Ryan Graves (COL)

Filip Hronek (DET)

John Marino (PIT)

Erik Gustafsson (PHI)

Jake Allen (MON)

Cam Talbot (MIN)

Mackenzie Blackwood (NJ)

Corey Crawford (NJ)

When reading fantasy hockey tiers, it is important to remember that this is not fantasy football. The tiers are stacked with many more players with minimal separation because those groupings can have the most similar stats at the end of the year.

However, in fantasy hockey, a player in a specific tier can often easily slide into a tier above or below. Yet it’s unlikely for players to jump multiple tiers. In a shortened season, it will be even rarer.

These are my rankings to start the year. Happy drafting, and as always, have fun hockey friends. 

View consensus odds from all major sportsbooks for the Stanley Cup Champion at BettingPros >>

Mat Vilcek is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Mat, check out his archive and follow him @Mat1Thockey.