When Underdog released their Best Puck contests last week, there were some significant differences between their initial rankings and our PuckLuck projections. Since then, through a combination of the majority of Best Puck drafters using our projections and consensus public opinion, players have now settled into new average draft positions (ADP).
While this movement has limited the number of draft "steals" available compared to last week, it's clear there are still some players being severely under-drafted. If you promise to keep these players on the down-low, and draft them close to their current ADP, I'll clue you in on Best Puck's best kept secrets. So sit back, wait patiently, and win your drafts with the following players:
1. Pavel Francouz, G, Colorado Avalanche
Underdog ADP: 142.5
PuckLuck projection: 106
What if I told you the projected starting goalie for the league's consensus top team was going in round 11 or 12? No brainer of a pick for a position that rewards wins, right?
While the public opinion and Underdog's rankings favor teammate Alexandar Georgiev, truth is Francouz has been the better goalie throughout their careers. Francouz has a career .921 save percentage and a 2.46 goals-against average compared to Georgiev's .908 and 2.94, respectively. The two project as a pretty even split to begin the season based off of General Manager Joe Sakic's comments, leaving the door open for one to run with the job by season's end.
In Best Puck drafts you should always target upside, which makes both Colorado Avalanche goalies good targets. However, Georgiev's ADP is currently 81.0, making Francouz the much better bet five rounds later.
Player Projection: 45 GP - 34 W - 115 GA - 1262 SV (2.55 GAA, .916 SV%)
2. Ryan Hartman, W, Minnesota Wild
Underdog ADP: 132.9
PuckLuck projection: 37
One of the most substantial movers in ADP since the initial rankings is Kirill Kaprizov, who moved from 32.0 on Underdog all the way to 6.1. This mirrors his PuckLuck overall ranking of 7th.
One of the common strategies in Best Ball/Best Puck formats is to stack teammates, especially linemates, with correlation. To help profit off of taking Kaprizov so high, his most common linemates of Mats Zuccarello (106.2 ADP) and Ryan Hartman can be had in much later rounds.
As the center of the line with only winger eligibility on Underdog, Hartman's value is higher based off of position and opportunity. First line and first powerplay unit projections really vault his offensive output, and he brings physical play on the forecheck as well which can reward you points for hits.
Player Projection: 82 GP - 32 G - 43 A - 75 PTS - 267 SOG - 12 PPP - 45 BLK - 130 Hits
3. Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston Bruins
Underdog ADP: 107.1
PuckLuck projection: 286
Yes, our season-long projection on McAvoy is low, but this is due the 25 games or so he's expected to miss after offseason surgery. If you're able to snag a top defenseman early, however, drafting McAvoy can be a nice luxury once he returns to the lineup.
On a per-game basis, McAvoy projects as the 14th-best defenseman in Best Puck this season, despite being drafted as the D21. He's also a strong correlation pick if you are able to scoop one or two of David Pastrnak (10.6 ADP), Brad Marchand (43.3), or Patrice Bergeron (49.1).
McAvoy seems primed to take another offensive leap this season, and don't be surprised if he ends up top 10 among defenseman in Best Puck on a per-game basis.
Player Projection: 57 GP - 7 G -30 A - 37 PTS - 123 SOG - 19 PPP - 88 BLK - 83 Hits
4. Evgeni Kuznetsov, C, Washington Capitals
Underdog ADP: 119.3
PuckLuck projection: 53
Kuznetsov had a monster start to last season before leveling off a bit by the new year. He did, however, stick exclusively as Alex Ovechkin's center for most of the season, and projects to do so again with Nicklas Backstrom likely out for the entire season.
The biggest plus based off the Backstrom injury news for Kuznetsov is that the puck should be on his stick more often on the powerplay, perhaps boosting the points and powerplay bonus points attached for the Russian center.
Caught in the middle of a deep center pool, it's easy to wait on Kuznetsov and grab him in either round 9 or 10. This is despite him projected as C16 by our accord, compared to being listed currently as C30 on Underdog.
An obvious stack candidate if you knab Ovechkin (8.2 ADP) in round one, Kuznetsov also projects as a correlation candidate for defenseman John Carlson (53.5).
Player Projection: 82 GP - 32 G -58 A - 90 PTS - 205 SOG - 41 PPP - 31 BLK - 36 Hits
For an introduction to Best Puck contests, click here.
For a deep dive on Best Puck drafting strategy, click here.