There always seem to be a handful of threads over on the forums asking the question – who do you think the top 10 keeper league players are? The list below is for standard rotisserie or head-to-head leagues, with no cap. The cap is an interesting option, but it changes these leagues big time. Patrick Kane becomes a top 10 player because of his entry level deal, and someone like Vincent Lecavalier may slip a bit. Let’s get to the list…
1. Sidney Crosby | C Pittsburgh Penguins. Crosby is an obvious choice here. He is the best player on the planet at the age of 21, and he has a ton of room to grow. His upside is probably 160-170 points, and he won’t ever dip below 115 unless he gets hurt. Do not trade him unless you are getting at least two players from this list. (And even then ask for more!)
2. Alex Ovechkin | LW Washington Capitals. Ovechkin is a rotisserie monster, putting up a ton of shots, decent PIM totals, and goals a plenty. He is going to be the consensus number two pick for the next decade in basically any league. Not much else to write that you don’t already know.
3. Evgeni Malkin | C Pittsburgh Penguins. Malkin will lose is LW eligibility on Yahoo this season, which sucks for me. He is a dominant force who at his best can even overshadow Crosby in Pittsburgh. Expect to see a lot of 100+ point seasons from him for a long time. Again, with these top three there isn’t a ton to write.
4. Roberto Luongo | G Vancouver Canucks. Luongo is the best goalie on the planet (debatable) who is going to play a lot of games (not debatable). He is a workhorse who thrives playing in 75+ games. Vancouver will be much better this season with a fresh start after the retirement of Linden and the departures of Morrison and Naslund. Look for Luongo to return to his 2006-2007 form that saw him narrowly lose the Hart (to Crosby) and Vezina (to Brodeur).
5. Dany Heatley | LW/RW Ottawa Senators. Heatley produces as a very consistent rate for such a prolific scorer. He is almost assured to get 50 goals and 100 points if he plays a full season. He is still young and is expected to carry the Senators along with Jason Spezza. Heatley is a pure sniper who can score goals from anywhere in the offensive zone – he basically shoots any puck he gets on his stick. Grab him to solidify your wing position as he is definitely the best bet after the big four are gone.
Here is where it gets interesting…
6. Dion Phaneuf | D Calgary Flames. Phaneuf is far and away the best keeper league defenseman to own, which makes him a worthwhile first round pick. He won’t produce 100 points like a lot of forwards still on the board, but he will proportionately out produce defenseman at a much higher rate. Goals, assists, shots, power play points, PIM, he has got it all.
7. Henrik Zetterberg | LW/C Detroit Red Wings. Zetterberg is a great player to have because of his versatility. He can slot in either at center or at wing, and he puts up huge numbers across the board. Detroit’s offense gets even scarier with the addition of a guy who is up right after Zetterberg on this list. Zetterberg is just entering his prime and after Ovechkin and Heatley is the best winger to own in a keeper league, bar none.
8. Marian Hossa | RW Detroit Red Wings. Hossa will see a return to 100 points this season. He has no weaknesses in his game and it is going to be very fun to see what he can do with the talent that the Red Wings possess. The Wings could quite possibly have three players eclipse the 100-point mark. Hossa is a big time scorer with solid playmaking skills. If he puts up wicked numbers, he won’t be staying in Detroit (unless he takes another pay cut). He wants to win and he went to the right place to do it. RW has now overtaken LW as the key position to draft because the talent is so thin (relative to the other positions).
9. Evgeni Nabokov | G San Jose Sharks. The second goalie to make this list, Nabokov is a workhorse on a very good team. He doesn’t have many bad games, which is a key for daily fantasy leagues. He is still young, and the Sharks boast a lineup that will be good for at least another five seasons. He was robbed of the Vezina last season after he carried the Sharks. He should have been up for the Hart Trophy, as well. Nabokov is the second best keeper league goalie to get, ahead of the tier two goalies.
10. Jarome Iginla | RW Calgary Flames. There are a few centers on the board that will out produce Iginla, but the amount of good centers available makes him the best pick here. He produces in all categories and will be playing late into his 30’s if he stays in the kind of shape he is in now. Iginla helps out whoever he plays with and can produce on any line. Imagine if he played in the Eastern Conference?
Honorable Mentions (in no order):