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Finding Value at the RW Position

September 19, 2023   Left Wing Lock Staff   0 Comments


In part two of a five-part series on finding value in your fantasy hockey draft, today's article will focus on right wings (read Part I on left wings here). Specifically, we're interested in using the Yahoo average draft position (ADP) to not only determine the best players to target in your fantasy hockey draft, but also when to target them. The assumptions made in this article include the following: (1) you're in a Yahoo standard league, (2) your league has 12 managers, and (3) your league is not a keeper league.

Manager Behavior

Before we jump into the details of which right wings are undervalued, it's important to get a handle on how managers are behaving in their fantasy hockey drafts so far. In the image below, you'll see exactly how many right wings are drafted in each round of a standard draft (on average). At the right wing position, there are seven players taken in the first three rounds combined; this is down nearly 50% from the amount of right wings chosen in the first three rounds just last Summer. Following the drop to just one right wing drafted in Round 3, a steady stream of right wings are taken off the board each round for the remainder of the draft. We can use this information to better understand who and when to take when our name is called during the draft.

Finding Value at Right Wing Position

Player Rankings and ADP

At leftwinglock.com, we create annual fantasy hockey draft kits which marry your scoring settings with our projections to generate customized player rankings. This exact type of draft kit was used by our team to defeat the fantasy experts at NHL.com, win the first-ever Zero Transaction Fantasy Championship, and go undefeated in the Battle of the Fantasy Hockey Podcasts. The draft kit includes sortable spreadsheets filled with projections in 25+ categories for over 600 NHL players. For the purpose of this article, we generated the customized player rankings for NHL players that can be drafted as right wings in the Yahoo fantasy hockey system. We then compared these player rankings to the player's ADP (average draft position) to determine which players are undervalued (it's never wise to draft on rank number alone). That is, we're looking for players who our draft system ranked highly and whom managers are overlooking.

Below, you'll find a table of 10 players who are eligible at right wing and are being undervalued by managers in fantasy drafts (there are many more listed in our draft kit). Detailed comments for some of these players can be found below the table.

J.T. Miller VAN C,RW 20 42.6
Andrei Svechnikov CAR LW,RW 26 81.6
Sam Reinhart FLA C,RW 50 119.0
Valeri Nichushkin COL LW,RW 59 142.0
Jordan Kyrou STL C,RW 62 102.6
Patrik Laine CBJ LW,RW 64 158.1
Adrian Kempe LAK C,RW 70 90.2
Mats Zuccarello MIN RW 78 103.2
Rickard Rakell PIT RW 88 118.2
Tom Wilson WSH RW 108 157.5

J.T. Miller - In three of the past four seasons, Vancouver forward J.T. Miller has been on pace for 32 (or more) goals, 50 (or more) assists, 27 (or more) power play points, and 145 (or more) hits. His dual-eligibility at C/RW combined with his 2.5 shots per game, make him a multi-category dream in fantasy hockey. Miller played at point-per-game pace last season and still managed 200 hits. Factor in an unlucky tEVSH% of just 6.9% (league average is 8.7%) and Miller's production is likely to match his recent totals. Managers value Miller as a 4th-round pick this Summer; if you find yourself drafting in that 8-12 slot, Miller could be the perfect draft-day steal.

Sam Reinhart - Reinhart very quietly posted his third consecutive 30+ goal season during the 2022-2023 campaign. The Florida forward can be slotted in at right wing or center and is currently surviving until late in the 10th round in Yahoo drafts. Reinhart will generate at least 2.5 shots per game, has produced nearly 30 power play points per season (during his two seasons in Florida), and can be counted on for 50 hits. Similar to Miller, Reinhart saw his points total last season muted by an unlucky tEVSH% of just 6.5%. Anticipate a modest uptick in production from Reinhart who is expected to cash in as a UFA next July. Target him in Round 8 or 9 for maximum value.

Adrian Kempe - Kempe is an outstanding target for multi-category coverage in Yahoo default leagues (and many other scoring systems). He plays on the Kings' top line and their top power play unit and has 76 goals in his last 160 games (good enough for 14th overall in the NHL). Kempe takes 3 shots per game, generates 110+ hits, and should be good for close to 20 power play points. Perhaps the only weakness in Kempe's toolbox is assists as the 27-year-old forward has eclipsed the 25-assist mark just once in his career. Managers are targeting Kempe in the 8th round this year; this leaves a narrow band between Rounds 6-8 for you to capture value during your draft.

Tom Wilson - The gritty Washington forward recently signed a seven-year contract extension which kicks in next Summer. Wilson was limited to just 33 games last season following off-season surgery to repair a torn ACL. Aside from Brady Tkachuk and Evander Kane, Wilson in the only Top-200 skater in this scoring format capable of producing 200+ hits. Wilson's weak spot in this scoring format is that he's typically used on the second power play unit (limiting his power play production) -- and this is why he lands outside of the Top-100. But there is real value here from Wilson's production; if Wilson can maintain shot levels above 2.3 per game, he makes for a fine, draft-day target. Should you be concerned about his -13 rating in just 33 games last season? We don't think so; Washington goalies stopped just 87.5% of the shots they faced with Wilson on the ice last year. We see this value as unsustainable (presumably, fewer goals against with Wilson on the ice will lead to an improved +/- rating). Interestingly, Wilson's most common line mate from last season was Nicklas Backstrom -- who was limited to just 39 games following off-season, hip-resurfacing surgery. Target Wilson before the 13th round and you'll hear a lot of moans and groans of "nice pick" from managers on draft day.

Customized Player Rankings

If you're looking for a chance to draft players with great projections who are being ignored by the other fantasy hockey websites, then consider downloading one of our fantasy hockey draft kits this season. You won't be disappointed. While this article focused on the Yahoo standard scoring system, our customized draft kits can handle just about any scoring system you throw our way. You'll find plenty of draft day steals.

For 17 years, you've trusted Left Wing Lock as a reliable source to bring you accurate starting goalie information, line combinations, and player news alerts. That same passion and dedication fuels us as we create the best fantasy hockey draft kits available. We invite you to let us build your customized fantasy hockey draft kit for the 2023-2024 season. Order your kit today!


PLAYER: an NHL player involved in this analysis. Click player name to visit player profile page.

TEAM: the current NHL team for this player.

YPOS: the official position designation for this player in the Yahoo Fantasy Hockey system.

LWLRANK: the rank assigned by Left Wing Lock for this player in this specific scoring system only.

ADP: the average draft position for this player in the Yahoo Fantasy Hockey system.

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