Rotoworld's NHL online draft guide ranks and projects the production of every player, but which ones are getting overlooked in fantasy drafts all over the continent? The ability to draft players that greatly outperform their Average Draft Position (ADP) can make or break your season. Who are currently the best value picks in 2011-12? For a very early look at fantasy draft trends and undervalued players check out my analysis below:
Ryan Getzlaf (C) - (ADP: 36) Getzlaf has missed time due to various injuries the last couple of seasons but is healthy now. The Ducks captain is one of the top fantasy centers in hockey and will brush the 90- point mark this season barring injuries. Quite simply, Getzlaf is a great combination of points, penalty minutes and is an above average player in the plus/minus category. If by chance he is still available in the late second/third round of your draft, jump all over him.
The talented Russian has missed an average of 16 games per season over the past four and is coming off his second straight sub-par postseason. Yet, Semin remains one of the league's elite snipers and I expect a big bounce-back season for him especially since he will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Joe Thornton (C) - (ADP: 45) The former Art Ross trophy winner took a bit of a step back last season in terms of production but getting Jumbo Joe in the fourth round would be a steal. He's still likely to get around 80-90 points in 2011-12 and is someone I am targeting in the third round of all my fantasy drafts.
It looks as if Hossa is finally 100% healthy from the shoulder surgery and should get back to 75 plus points this season. I think he is the perfect RW2 on any fantasy squad and should be taken before the eighth/ninth round in a 12-team league.
Cammy has been limited to fewer than 70 games in three of his last four seasons but a new off-season training regimen has him feeling confident going into the season. As always, there is a lack of depth at left wing this year and Cammalleri is a solid LW2 who you can draft in the ninth/10th round in a 12-team league.
After recording two back-to-back 57-point seasons, Spezza’s stock has plummeted all the way down to the seventh round. Finally healthy, the former number two overall pick has been playing point-per-game hockey over the past three years and with the return of a healthy Daniel Alfredsson, he could go back to his 80-90 point ways. If by chance Spezza is still available in the seventh round of your draft, take him.
Ribeiro finished last season on a strong note and bounced back from a rough 2009-10. He potted 18 goals and registered 68 points in 78 games in 2010-11 and should be counted on to give your fantasy team 70 plus points this season. The Montreal native will enjoy a more prominent role in the Stars offense now that Brad Richards is in New York and should see plenty of action alongside stud RW Loui Eriksson.
Plekanec missed a little bit of time because of injuries last season and has seen his stock plummet in early mock drafts. Plekanec has always struggled with consistency, recording 57, 70, 39, and 69 points in each of his last four seasons. However, look for the smallish Czech forward to score 25-30 goals and 70 points this season.
Koivu is the heart and soul of the Minnesota Wild. The Finnish native will get the chance to play on a line with Dany Heatley and will average a point-per-game this season. Koivu is someone I am targeting in all my fantasy drafts this year and is yet another perfect example of why waiting on centers come draft time is probably a good idea this year.
The leg injury that kept Roy out of the lineup for the better portion of last year’s schedule is no longer an issue as training camp opens in a few days. The diminutive forward can be penciled in for 75 plus points this season.
Selanne had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in Finland at the end of June and is currently working out on and off the ice trying to strengthen his knee. The Finnish Flash is doing all he can to get back into game shape and my gut feeling is that he will be ready to go come October 7th. If by chance Selanne is still available in the eighth round of your draft, jump all over him. Rene Bourque (RW) - (ADP: 155) Bourque is a good all-around fantasy player. He is a complete player who has the potential to post strong numbers across the board in what could be a career year for him in Calgary.
Simon Gagne (LW) - (ADP: 160) Injuries have plagued the former superstar but a healthy year in Los Angeles could see him bounce back to a 65-70 point season. Considering the lack of depth at the LW position, Gagne is absolutely worth a late-round flier and could see a high return on investment, given that he will be a low pick in most fantasy drafts.
The face of the Ottawa Senators is one of the leading candidates for a rebound campaign. Although the players around him have not improved much during the off-season, a healthy Jason Spezza will help the Sens’ captain immensely.
Cory Schneider (G) - (ADP: 162)
Schneider is a young and highly touted goalie who played a very small role with the Canucks last season yet was very impressive. He has a great head on his shoulders, moves very efficiently in the net, doesn't get rattled and seems to be consistent. Schneider had an excellent year in 2010-11 but we have to remember that he is still fairly unproven. Right now, he is very fantasy hockey relevant but only if you're patient. Like Michal Neuvirth and Tuukka Rask, he should be considered as a perfect number-three fantasy goalie on your roster. His fantasy value has obviously been limited because of the presence of Roberto Luongo, but someday he'll get a chance to prove what he can do as a number one goaltender.
Connolly is by and large a point-per-game player who has underachieved throughout his career due to various injuries. The highly skilled center should render ample results with Phil Kessel on the team’s top line and will brush the 75-point mark this season barring injuries.
Tuukka Rask (G) - (ADP: 164)
Rask was greatly overshadowed by the fantastic record-breaking season Tim Thomas enjoyed last year. Despite Thomas' heroics in 2010-11, he isn't getting any younger and it will be interesting to see how much Rask gets to play this year. The Finnish netminder still remains one of the league's top goaltenders and will put up decent numbers in limited action. Rask makes for a perfect third-goalie option on your fantasy team and should obviously be drafted by all Tim Thomas owners.
Teddy Purcell: (ADP: 164) Purcell had a real opportunity to live up to his potential last season in Tampa Bay under Guy Boucher and is expected to be a top-six forward for the Lightning in 2011-12. Purcell also had an outstanding playoff run last season on a strong Lightning club. He should be on everyone's fantasy radar in this year's draft, especially in leagues that reward power-play points.
Derick Brassard (C) - (ADP: 174) Brassard, who is entering his fourth season in the NHL, is a gifted center who could be in line for a breakout year. The former sixth overall pick is a top-six forward with plenty of upside in a revamped Columbus lineup that will be more potent this year. The Hull, Québec native has progressed every year since 2006 and could register 60-70 points this season, especially if he plays on a line with Rick Nash.
Marc Lapierre Catch him on Twitter: @MarcLapi