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Ranking the Top 20 Left Wingers for Fantasy in 2020/21 (11-15)

Hello and welcome in the second installment in this series in which I break down my top 20 left wingers for fantasy hockey in 2020/21. These projections and rankings may vary over time as the draft/free agency/coaching changes come down, but at least this should give everyone a place to start. Before we get started, I just want to clarify that I am not allowing any overlap, so if a player made my Top 20 Centers or Right Wingers list he will not be on my Top 20 Left Wingers list even if he is eligible in most leagues. Let’s kick it off with #15:

#15: Brady Tkachuk

Brady Tkachuk starts us off at #15 in my rankings, and is a player whose value will vary tremendously based on your league’s stat categories: if your league tracks shots, hits, or PIM, Tkachuk provides in each of those categories in spades. If you’re in need of all three, Tkachuk might be a top 5 winger on your board. Tkachuk provides an enticing individual chances for profile, ranking among league leaders in individual scoring chance and high danger chance for rates. Unfortunately all those chances haven’t resulted in a ton of goals for the youngest Tkachuk, even as his ice time took a huge leap in 2019/20 from 16 minutes to nearly 19. I expect that jump to come for Tkachuk in season #3, as nearly every underlying metric pointed upward for him this season but the points didn’t. While Tkachuk certainly lacks a #1 center which holds him back, this is a player good enough to flirt with 60 points without help from top-flight linemates.

Brady Tkachuk 2020/21 Projection
#14: Alex DeBrincat

Alex DeBrincat is my #14 left winger for 2020/21, coming off a severely disappointing 18 goal season but just a year removed from a 41-goal 2018/19 campaign. So which Alex DeBrincat is the real one? I’m going to be unequivocal here: DeBrincat is much closer to a 41-goal player than an 18-goal player. All of DeBrincat’s chances for rates (both individual and team-based) actually improved in 2019/20, but DeBrincat’s shooting percentage took an unbelievable and inexplicable 10% drop in what has to be one of the unluckiest campaigns of anyone in the league. It may be hard for fantasy managers to trust DeBrincat again after this down season, but I’m here to tell you that he will be a draft day bargain that everyone is going to wish they had the foresight to give a second chance.

Alex DeBrincat 2020/21 Projection
#13: Mike Hoffman

Mike Hoffman ranks at #13 for me, and to me Hoffman is a bankable, known commodity. He’s going to score 30 goals and 60-70 points. And if your league counts PP points or goals, he’s going to outperform all but three or four left wingers across the league. Hoffman has been very consistent across his two seasons in Florida and should he return to the Panthers for a third season I would see no reason to expect a different result in terms of his production. Going elsewhere would likely hurt Hoffman’s value, as he has maintained a higher shooting percentage while playing in the Sunshine State.

Mike Hoffman 2020/21 Projection
#12: Tomas Tatar

Tomas Tatar lands at #12 for me, a player who has found a true home in Montreal skating with Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault on the Canadiens’ top line. Tatar’s on-ice chances for rates with the Canadiens over the past two years have been nothing short of elite, but after two full seasons it seems unlikely that Tatar will break through to another level of production. That’s ok, because Tatar’s current level of production is plenty good. I don’t know why NHL coaches around the league hate playing their best players, but Tatar is another player who is severely underutilized, playing just 16:17/game last season by Claude Julien. Tatar does carry one warning sign, a huge spike in second assists that represented nearly the entire difference between his .90 PPG rate in 19/20 versus his .73 PPG mark in 18/19. I’m betting on Tatar splitting the difference between his 18/19 rates with a shade towards his improved 19/20 stats.

Tomas Tatar 2020/21 Projection
#11: Matthew Tkachuk

We start with a Tkachuk and end with a Tkachuk as elder brother Tkachuk rounds out the group at #11. Similar to Brady, Matthew offers value in hits and PIMs (albeit at a lesser rate), but also provides more scoring punch. Saddled with B tier linemates for much of the year in Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund, Tkachuk still led the team in points in what was a down year scoring wise for nearly all Flames players. Tkachuk likely had a bit of an unsustainable shooting percentage in 2018/19, but the 12-14% range seems pretty bankable for Tkachuk’s career and while Tkachuk’s ice time has grown year after year to a new high of 18:18/game in 2019/20, his assist rates remained nearly identical to his breakout 2018/19 campaign. This is a very encouraging sign as an established baseline for Tkachuk, giving him a safe floor and enticing upside if the Flames get their offense back on track in 2020/21.

Matthew Tkachuk 2020/21 Projection

Now that left wingers 11-15 have been revealed, let’s put them side by side and I’ll explain the rankings a little bit:

Fantasy Left Wingers (11-15) 2020/21 Projection

Brady Tkachuk has the lowest offensive upside of this group due to his lack of top-flight teammates, but as mentioned above if your league tracks two or three of the shots, hits, and PIM categories he catapults way up this list. DeBrincat, Hoffman, and Tatar represent another tier to me, not an easy group to delineate. Hoffman and DeBrincat are projected for very similar point production, but Hoffman gets the edge due to PPP and shots. I rank Tatar just a little higher because his production could get into the 70+ point range if Julien finally decides he’d like to win a few more games and plays his top line more often. Matthew Tkachuk is a clear cut above the other four for me, a higher floor player in terms of point production and adding a bunch of hits and PIMs to boot.

Stay tuned for ranks 6-10!

If you’ve enjoyed this content I hope that you’ll take a minute and fill out my five-question survey here as I explore the possibility of doing this full-time. Make sure you follow Apples & Ginos on Twitter for more content and to ask any fantasy hockey questions you may have.

Thanks for reading, you are much appreciated!

NGN

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Published by Apples & Ginos

Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Advice

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