Patrick Kane’s reign at the top of his position came to an end in 2016-17 when a new fantasy superstar emerged as the top fantasy option at right wing. That said, Kane didn’t finish far behind. We ranked the top players at each position based on the standard fantasy hockey league categories including goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, powerplay points, shorthanded points and shots on goal. Here is a look at the top-five right wingers in NHL fantasy leagues from the 2016-17 season.
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
After flashing his potential over the past couple of seasons, Kucherov put it all together with a career year in 2016-17. The 23-year-old scored 40 goals and added 45 assists for 85 points. Kucherov did a lot of his damage on the man advantage to lead his position with 32 powerplay points. He was also a plus-13 at even strength. His 246 shots were nearly 50 fewer than Kane, but he finished with six more goals. With Kucherov likely to be reunited with Steven Stamkos for the start of next season, the potential is there for the superstar winger to top the numbers he put up in 2016-17.
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
While he didn’t come close to matching his 106-point season from 2015-16, Kane still delivered at more than a point-per-game pace with 89 points in 82 games. The 28-year-old finished with 34 points and 55 assists, including 23 powerplay points. Tyler Seguin was the only right-wing eligible player with more shots on goal this past season. Kane has established himself as one of the premier scorers in the NHL. He should have a spot on this list for years to come.
Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets
Wheeler continued to perform at a high level in 2016-17 when he scored 26 goals and added 48 assists to finish as the third-ranked right winger in standard fantasy hockey leagues. Wheeler continued to produce on special teams as he recorded 21 power play points and three shorthanded points this past season. Wheeler’s 259 shots on goal were actually higher than Kucherov but he wasn’t nearly as efficient. As long as he continues to put pucks on net he should score enough to rank among the top fantasy options at his position.
The Jets were again a lousy, middling team last season and not much is expected to change. That’s good for Wheeler’s NHL fantasy value. However, the Jets were just 40-35-7 and finished with 87 points. What’s worse is that they ended the year on a seven-game winning streak, so they were essentially a sub-.500 team the entire year until the final week they have plenty of work to do.
Viktor Arvidsson, Nashville Predators
Arvidsson was one of the breakout fantasy stars of the 2016-17 season as he scored 30 goals and added 31 goals to rank among the top players at his position. Arvidsson recorded 246 shots on goal to put him up there with the best at the position. The only real negative was his lack of powerplay production as he finished with just nine PPP. Arvidsson’s time on the Predators powerplay should increase next season and that could mean more point production from the 24-year-old.
Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers
The fact that Simmonds was among the top-five players at his position is a testament to the value of his penalty minute production. Simmonds recorded just 13 assists and was a minus-18. However, he still scored 31 goals, recorded 25 powerplay points and registered 122 penalty minutes. Simmonds even contributed shorthanded with a pair of SHP while firing off 224 shots on goal. If he can maintain his goal scoring and penalty minute production while improving his assist total next season, then Simmonds could end up climbing even higher on this list of the top right wingers in NHL fantasy leagues.
The Flyers have a long way to go to get back to relevance. They were actually one of the best teams in the league through the halfway point in December before falling off the map. They were 19-10-3 on December 14th but were then one of the worst teams in the NHL the rest of the way. The Flyers would go on to lose 30 of their final 50 games to finish with just 88 points.
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