NHL Fantasy Mock Draft: Round One

Justin Bruni
Connor McDavid
TSN.com

It’s official, the NHL is back and It’s time to turn up for Fantasy Hockey! Below is Take it to the Hizzy’s first-round mock draft for 12 team leagues. Take a peak a let us know what pick or player you would prefer to land for your draft. I reserve the first round for my high-end point producers; you won’t see any defensemen or goaltenders below.

1. Connor McDavid

Connor McDavid is coming into the prime of his life, and he’s already set the league on fire! McDavid recorded 97 points in 64 of Edmonton’s 71 total games last season. He’s also recorded 100+ points in three out of the past four seasons. McDavid is exceptionally gifted at every level: Speed, Vision, Offensive Awareness, and Scoring Ability. He lacks some size, so that a few checking lines can slow him down, but the growth is still coming! McHockey has steadily increased his points per game averages every year since entering in 2015-2016; he’s turning 24 in three days!

McDavid recorded 1.51 points per game in 2019-2020; he was on pace for 123 points based on a full 82 game season. In 2018-2019 he finished with (1.48), in 2017-2018 (1.31), and 2016-2017 (1.21); if these numbers continue this pace, we could see 95+ points in 56 games this season! McDavid is my clear First Overall Pick in Fantasy Hockey, don’t get cute with MacKinnon or Draisaitl, they are great players, but no one in the league has this kind of offensive ceiling.

McDavid is the MOST dangerous player in open ice and is an offensive juggernaut. Perhaps his only fault, he finished minus six on the ice last year. It was the first time since his rookie season he finished the year on the negative side of +/-; I expect him to rebound in that department in 2021. Please keep it simple and draft The Next One with your first overall pick!

2. Nathan MacKinnon

Mackinnon is an exceptional hockey player; he’s my second favorite two-way player in the NHL behind my “Sun and Stars” in Jonathan Toews. He’s a versatile scorer with great speed and vision. Like McDavid, Mackinnon is still growing as a player; his trends indicate a spectacular 2021 campaign and career to come.

Mac has recorded at least 35+ goals in the past three seasons. Oddly enough, he’s registered exactly 58 assists the last three seasons as well; he loves to set up his teammates! MacKinnon has steadily decreased his penalty minutes across the same period while maintaining at least 10+ on the ice; there’s a lot to be desired.

MacKinnon will fill the box score for you in many areas, whether you’re playing in a points-based or category league. He doesn’t have the same offensive ceiling as McDavid, but he is efficient in many ways. MacKinnon will sprinkle in a steady 50+ hits and 30+ blocks across the year; he does alot for his squad and is leaned on to provide steady offense on a roster that’s still finding its identity. Colorado newcomer Brandon Saad could boost MacKinnon’s value if they throw out a heavy first line in Saad, MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen; my guess is they won’t do so to start the year. Prioritize MacKinnon over Draisaitl. He’s more consistent and plays a much better game defensively.

3. Leon Draisaitl

Leon Draisaitl, or the “German Gretzky,” is a specular offensive weapon! He’s posted a booming 20% shooting percentage in back to back seasons. Leon plays with a ton of passion and consistently receives high marks and praise from teammates and coaches. The problem with Draisaitl is that he lacks defensive upside and consistency.

Drisaitl plays with passion but it can be his achilles heel at times. His consistent vitality sometimes puts him on the wrong side of a poor play or turnover. Draisaitl has given up the puck more than 200 times in the past two years. He tries to force things sometimes, and it can show in the box score; he’s -12 across his last three seasons and -24 on his career.

Despite these setbacks that hold him at pick three in my mock draft, Draisaitl is still fantastic in many ways. He’s totaled 100+ points in each of his last two seasons and is also a stud at the faceoff circle. Leon’s career faceoff percentage is at 50.9%, and he’s averaged 52% across his last three seasons. He also plays exceptionally well on the power play as 44 of his 110 points came on the PP last year. He won the Hart Memorial and Art Ross trophies last season, but the oddsmakers predict Connor McDavid retakes those crowns in 2021. Don’t let Leon slip past the 3rd spot in your draft!

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