11. Alex Ovechkin
If you get to the 11th pick in any fantasy draft and Alex Ovechkin is still on the board, it is a no brainer that he should be taken. There are so many “experts” who kept making claims that last season Ovechkin was having a down year, but that down year still kept him as the 5th highest goal scorer. Ovechkin is a very good pick because he is an elite scorer who takes more shots than any one and hits anything that moves. Every team should want to add Ovechkin to their fantasy lineup.
12. Phil Kessel
Phil Kessel is a player who takes a lot of heat, but that mostly comes from the city that he plays in. Kessel is a young and elite scorer, who will only be helped by having a great line to support him. The Leafs are hoping that the line of Lupul, van Riemsdyk, and Kessel will work out. Having an improved line will be a big advantage and add to the production from last season.
13. James Neal
James Neal is a big fish in a massive pond. If Neal played for any other team he would be the biggest star, but he ended up in Pittsburgh where he is hidden behind Crosby and Malkin. Neal might not be front and center, but he benefits so much from the big names around him. Neal is usually on a line with Malkin, which means that Malkin takes the attention of the defense and gives Neal a lot of scoring chances. James Neal might get over looked during the Crosby centered analysis of the Penguins, but he is still a great option.
14. Jason Spezza
It’s no secret that Spezza has been in Ottawa for more than a few years, and that he is about to be on the wrong side of 30. Spezza might have his best years behind him, but he is an amazing fantasy player that usually gets overlooked. Spezza might not score a ton of goals, but he has huge assist numbers, and will win huge amounts of face-offs. Spezza will be overlooked by most people but will improve any fantasy team.
15. Pekka Rinne
Pekka Rinne has been the anchor for the Nashville Predators for a few years now, and is the wheel that makes their defensive team move. Nashville shipped out backup Anders Lindback during the offseason, leaving Rinne to man the net. Rinne will get a ton of wins and will have great stats and will end up one of the top goaltenders in the league.
16. Erik Karlsson
The reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson is one of the best defenders to take in a fantasy draft. Karlsson winning the Norris is clearly a sign that actually playing defense is no longer a requirement for winning the award. Karlsson has fooled people by being a forward that just plays back on the blue line, but still only cares about scoring. Karlsson is horrible at defense, but to get forward level production from a defense spot is a great reason to pick up Karlsson early.
17. Ilya Kovalchuk
Ilya Kovachuk is one of the great wonders to come out of Russia, and is worthy of being picked up early. It is almost a sure thing that Kovalchuk will be back in America in time for the season, and put his glory days in the KHL on hold. Kovalchuk will shoot the puck a million times and at least some of those will result in goals, so why not take the chance.
18. Zach Parise
The prodigal son has returned to the homeland! Zach Parise has gone home to the great state of Minnesota, where he is looking to bring some pride to the Wild. Parise is a great player when he is healthy, and the long off season has ensured he will return in top shape. The Wild is looking to become a top team in the NHL and they will get there on the back of Parise.
19. Henrik Zetterberg
Henrik Zetterberg is the newly named captain for the Red Wings, and the new job title will result in a big season. Zetterberg is a very skilled player, and his first season wearing the C in Detroit will need to be a good one. It is almost a sure thing that Zetterberg will put up great numbers to prove that he deserves to be the man in the motor city.
20. Ilya Bryzgalov
If you have the chance to draft Ilya Bryzgalov in the second or third round of a fantasy draft, ask yourself one question. Why not? Why shouldn’t you draft him, there really aren’t that many reasons. Last season for Bryzgalov was an outlier in a very solid career. The Flyers have attempted to fix the defense, and Bryzgalov got to go home to mother Russia during the lockout to clear his head. If Bryzgalov is back to his Phoenix ways he will be one of the league’s best, if not you will have an entertaining player on your team.