After finishing the 2019-20 NHL season in late September because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 NHL schedule will begin on Jan. 13 with five games on NHL Opening Night. Fantasy hockey owners everywhere are preparing for what will be another unusual season. The NHL schedule has been shortened from 82 games to 56 games due to the late start and the possibility of lingering coronavirus complications. That means building depth in your upcoming Fantasy hockey drafts will be as important as ever.
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Nov 23, 2018; San Jose, CA, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (40) warms up prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose.
Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov will miss the entire regular season after undergoing hip surgery and that could have a major impact on the 2021 Fantasy hockey rankings. How will other Lightning stars like Brayden Point, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn fare without Kucherov's playmaking ability in the lineup, and who are some of the other 2021 Fantasy hockey sleepers, breakouts and busts that you need to be aware of? Before going on the clock in any 2021 Fantasy hockey drafts, check out the Fantasy hockey rankings 2021 from the proven computer model at SportsLine.
The model was created by Mike McClure, a predictive data engineer and professional daily Fantasy player with almost $2 million in career winnings. He's used his prediction model to simulate the entire 2021 NHL schedule 10,000 times and identify the top Fantasy hockey sleepers, breakouts and busts. Head to SportsLine now to see them.
McClure has used this model to help him win almost $2 million in daily Fantasy sports, and it also powers his season-long NHL rankings. The projections can help you create a draft strategy that ensures you have the depth necessary to survive what could be another challenging season.
McClure's model takes factors such as player history, schedule, injuries and matchups into account to create the most unbiased 2021 Fantasy hockey rankings possible. Now the model has zeroed in on the 2021 NHL season, ranked every player, and found the top sleepers, breakouts and busts. See every pick here.
Top 2021 Fantasy hockey picks
One of the 2021 Fantasy hockey sleepers from SportsLine's 2021 Fantasy hockey rankings: Canucks center Elias Pettersson. The No. 5 overall pick at the 2017 NHL Draft and 2019 Calder Trophy winner has put up 66 points in both of his first two seasons in the NHL. Pettersson had 28 goals and 38 assists over 71 games in his rookie season and then put up 27 goals and 39 assists in 68 games during the truncated campaign last season.
Then in the 2020 NHL Playoffs, Pettersson put up 18 points in 17 games to help the Canucks win two playoff series and take the Vegas Golden Knights to a Game 7 in the second round. Pettersson is surrounded with a lot of young talent in Vancouver and last year's playoff performance showed he's ready to take the next step towards superstardom, which is why the model ranks him as its No. 11 overall player despite a 2021 Fantasy hockey ADP of 32.
Another surprise: Lightning wing Steven Stamkos is one of the biggest 2021 Fantasy hockey busts. Stamkos has battled injuries throughout his career at various stages, but when he's been healthy he's been one of the league's biggest stars. Last season, he only managed to play in 57 games (missing the final 13 contests of the regular season) and then only played in one playoff game as the Lightning marched to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Stamkos is on the path to recovery from the core muscle injury that cost him all that time and is on track to play in Tampa Bay's opener against the Blackhawks. However, he's on the wrong side of 30 now and not having Kucherov to partner with on the top power-play unit will probably sap some of his productivity. That's a big reason why the model ranks him as a late third-round pick despite that he's coming off the board in the first round on average.
How to find proven 2021 Fantasy hockey rankings
The model has also made a surprising call on where Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl ranks after winning the Ross Trophy, Lindsay Award and Hart Trophy last season and features a stunner in the top 10 that you need to see. You can only see the latest Fantasy hockey rankings 2021 here.
So what's the exact value of every NHL player in the 2021 Fantasy hockey rankings? And what surprising player cracked the top 10? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy hockey rankings, all from a DFS pro who has won almost $2 million in his career and has simulated the entire NHL season 10,000 times, and find out.