Fantasy Hockey 2021: 1st-Round NHL Mock Draft and Top Team Names

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IISeptember 21, 2021

Fantasy Hockey 2021: 1st-Round NHL Mock Draft and Top Team Names

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    Nick Didlick/Associated Press

    NHL training camps begin this week, which is a sign that hockey season is right around the corner. The first puck will drop in the 2021-22 season in less than a month, as a pair of games will take place Oct. 12.

    That also means there isn't much time for fantasy hockey managers to schedule their draft. At some point over the next three weeks, you'll need to get your league created and organized and find a time for the members to come together to select players.

    With each of the 32 NHL teams playing an 82-game schedule, fantasy hockey is a longer commitment than some sports, such as football. So if you're interested in playing this year, make sure you're ready to keep going well into the spring.

    For those preparing to play fantasy hockey, here are some suggestions for team names, as well as everything you need to know on how the first round may potentially unfold.

Suggestions for Team Names

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    Shut Your 5-Hole

    Kane is Abel

    Oshie's Eleven

    Malkin in the Middle

    Rotating Staal

    Oh Oh Oh O'Reilly

    D'yer Makar

    Eichel Tower

    Crash Test Domi

    Puck Norris

1st-Round Mock Draft

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    1. Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers

    2. Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers

    3. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche

    4. Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

    5. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning

    6. Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

    7. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals

    8. Artemi Panarin, LW, New York Rangers

    9. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado Avalanche

    10. Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks

    11. David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins

    12. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche

1st-Round Breakdown

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    Nick Didlick/Associated Press

    If you're fortunate enough to land the No. 1 overall pick in your fantasy hockey draft, it's hard to go with a player other than Oilers center Connor McDavid.

    Entering his seventh NHL season, McDavid has led the league in points in three of the past five years. That includes the 2020-21 campaign, during which he recorded 33 goals and an NHL-high 72 assists. The four-time All-Star is a talented offensive player on one of the best teams in hockey.

    How strong are the Oilers offensively? Well, they also have center Leon Draisaitl, who ranked second in the NHL with 84 points last season. No other player in the league finished with more than 69.

    So McDavid and Draisaitl will both come off the board early in fantasy drafts, and for good reason. But McDavid has been a notch better than his Edmonton teammate in recent seasons, making him the better choice to go No. 1 overall. But if you're at No. 2, it could be wise to follow up with Draisaitl.

    As you might expect, many of the top scorers will get drafted early. But that doesn't mean there won't be some defensemen and/or goaltenders who get considered and potentially selected.

    Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy is the probable top goaltender, as he's coming off a 2020-21 season in which he posted career bests in save percentage (.925) and goals against average (2.21) over 42 games. He also led the Lightning to a second straight Stanley Cup.

    Colorado's Cale Makar is one of the top defensemen to target, because he also possesses some offensive skills that could be valuable to a fantasy lineup. The 22-year-old has tallied 94 points (20 goals and 74 assists) in 101 games over his first two seasons.

    Still, it's most common to see nine or 10 offensive players get taken during the first round of a fantasy draft. It's important to get somebody who can rack up big numbers in various statistical categories and the top projected players, such as McDavid, Draisaitl and others, are ideal to build a lineup around for that reason.

    There's still time for projections to change over the next three weeks, but don't expect any massive overhauls. Barring any major injuries, these are likely to be the top players in the NHL this season, and it would be a surprise if they're not.