NHL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, fantasy MVP for each team

BySean Allen and Victoria Matiash ESPN logo
Friday, December 8, 2023

With another week in the books of the 2023-24 NHL season, it's time for an updated set of Power Rankings. As another treat this week, we've brought back ESPN fantasy hockey analysts Sean Allen and Victoria Matiash, who have identified the current projected fantasy MVP of each team and offered insights into whether that projection will hold.

The projections are determined by each player's fantasy points per game and how many remaining games they are expected to play. For goaltenders, this includes an estimate based on their crease share to date. The projection has modifiers applied that account for recent performance as well as for strength of schedule of upcoming matchups. Note that Sean handled the Eastern teams, while Victoria tackled the West.

How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors each send in a 1-32 poll based on the games through Wednesday, which generates our master list here.

Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to the previous edition, published Dec. 1. Points percentages are through the games of Dec. 7. It's not too late to sign up for ESPN Fantasy Hockey, create your team and play for free today.

1. New York Rangers

Previous ranking: 1

Points percentage: 77.08%

Next seven days: @ WSH (Dec. 9), vs. LA (Dec. 10), vs. TOR (Dec. 12)

Jacob Trouba, D | Projected fantasy points: 227.19 | Projected overall rank: 13

While Trouba does admirable work with counting stats, we shouldn't count out Artemi Panarin from taking the top Rangers spot for fantasy thanks to his shoot-first-ask-questions-later attitude this season. An Igor Shesterkin hot streak could also put him in the mix.

2. Vegas Golden Knights

Previous ranking: 3

Points percentage: 72.22%

Next seven days: @ DAL (Dec. 9), vs. SJ (Dec. 10), vs. CGY (Dec. 12)

Adin Hill, G | Projected fantasy points: 225.09 | Projected overall rank: 14

Hill's current injury -- while reportedly not that serious -- is a bother, as is the loss of defensemen Shea Theodore and Alec Martinez. Don't be surprised if Jack Eichel, who has found his productive stride of late, takes over as the Knights' leading fantasy star by season's end.

3. Los Angeles Kings

Previous ranking: 4

Points percentage: 76.09%

Next seven days: @ NYI (Dec. 9), @ NYR (Dec. 10), vs. WPG (Dec. 13)

Cam Talbot, G | Projected fantasy points: 278.62 | Projected overall rank: 1

The 36-year-old hasn't played more than 49 games in a season since 2017-18. Wear and tear could come into play, and backup Pheonix Copley is settling in after a mediocre start. However, considering the Kings' balanced scoring depth -- a good thing altogether -- Talbot is still likely to emerge as the club's fantasy front-runner.

4. Boston Bruins

Previous ranking: 2

Points percentage: 74.00%

Next seven days: vs. ARI (Dec. 9), @ NJ (Dec. 13)

David Pastrnak, RW | Projected fantasy points: 257.36 | Projected overall rank: 4

This one was sealed before the season began, as Pastrnak is in a league alone on the Bruins. The race for second is intriguing, though, with Charlie McAvoy and Jeremy Swaymanprojected to finish 43rd and 44th overall.

5. Colorado Avalanche

Previous ranking: 5

Points percentage: 65.38%

Next seven days: vs. PHI (Dec. 9), vs. CGY (Dec. 11), vs. BUF (Dec. 13)

Cale Makar, D | Projected fantasy points: 278.08 | Projected overall rank: 2

Unless his existing lower-body injury is a bigger deal than believed -- he returned Thursday night -- Makar could conceivably finish top-3 in fantasy production by season's end -- ahead of even teammate Nathan MacKinnon. The Avs' star defender is putting up Bobby Orr/Paul Coffey-like numbers.

6. Dallas Stars

Previous ranking: 7

Points percentage: 66.00%

Next seven days: vs. VGK (Dec. 9), vs. DET (Dec. 11)

Joe Pavelski, RW |Projected fantasy points: 211.24 | Projected overall rank: 29

Until Pavelski gives us real cause to believe he's running out of gas, there's no reason to believe he doesn't have plenty left. The 39-year-old reigns as Dallas' top fantasy royalty -- with Jason Robertson serving as eventual heir -- particularly with goaltender Jake Oettinger stumbling of late.

7. Vancouver Canucks

Previous ranking: 6

Points percentage: 64.81%

Next seven days: vs. CAR (Dec. 9), vs. TB (Dec. 12), vs. FLA (Dec. 14)

J.T. Miller, C | Projected fantasy points: 248.76 | Projected overall rank: 6

Miller's goal pace has dropped recently, as has his power-play production. That suggests the door is open for Norris Trophy contender Quinn Hughes to overtake the red-hot forward in fantasy supremacy -- if only by a smidge, and in leagues that don't reward faceoff wins.

8. Detroit Red Wings

Previous ranking: 12

Points percentage: 64.00%

Next seven days: vs. OTT (Dec. 9), @ DAL (Dec. 11), @ STL (Dec. 12), vs. CAR (Dec. 14)

Moritz Seider, D | Projected fantasy points: 213.66 | Projected overall rank: 25

Seider is a safe bet to stay as the best of the Red Wings, but Alex DeBrincat is in position to challenge -- especially if the Patrick Kane bump is still as valuable as it was when the pair played together in Chicago just two seasons ago.

9. Florida Panthers

Previous ranking: 8

Points percentage: 64.00%

Next seven days: vs. PIT (Dec. 8), @ CBJ (Dec. 10), @ SEA (Dec. 12), @ VAN (Dec. 14)

Sam Reinhart, RW | Projected fantasy points: 231.99 | Projected overall rank: 12

A surprising front-runner for Florida, and his hot start might even be enough to insulate Reinhart's lead when Matthew Tkachuk remembers he's a superstar. Bonus: As linemates, Tkachuk emerging from hibernation will also help Reinhart's totals.

10. Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous ranking: 11

Points percentage: 65.22%

Next seven days: vs. NSH (Dec. 9), @ NYI (Dec. 11), @ NYR (Dec. 12), vs. CBJ (Dec. 14)

Auston Matthews, C | Projected fantasy points: 248.13 | Projected overall rank: 7

William Nylander is hot on his heels, projected for 235.52 fantasy points. The Leafs had better hope there is no correlation between fantasy stats and average annual value on contracts if Nylander surpasses Matthews.

11. Winnipeg Jets

Previous ranking: 10

Points percentage: 64.00%

Next seven days: @ ANA (Dec. 10), @ SJ (Dec. 12), @ LA (Dec. 13)

Connor Hellebuyck, G | Projected fantasy points: 215.07 | Projected overall rank: 22

Despite the recent lull, Kyle Connor is a prolific goal scorer. He'll surpass 45 by season's conclusion, amassing an impressive shot total in the process. Still, it's tough for the winger to surpass Hellebuyck, even with competent backup Laurent Brossoit available to serve as an occasional substitute.

12. Carolina Hurricanes

Previous ranking: 9

Points percentage: 55.77%

Next seven days: @ VAN (Dec. 9), @ OTT (Dec. 12), @ DET (Dec. 14)

Sebastian Aho, C | Projected fantasy points: 173.51 | Projected overall rank: 82

With Aho as top Cane but projected to be only 82nd overall, the door is still open for anyone on the roster to challenge this fantasy crown. I'm probably not alone in wishing Andrei Svechnikov would rediscover his mojo soon enough to do so.

13. Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous ranking: 13

Points percentage: 51.79%

Next seven days: @ SEA (Dec. 9), @ VAN (Dec. 12), @ EDM (Dec. 14)

Nikita Kucherov, RW | Projected fantasy points: 274.59 | Projected overall rank: 3

It hasn't been the fearsome threesome on offense for the Bolts this season, as Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos both lag well behind Kucherov's production. If anyone can catch him, it would be Andrei Vasilevskiy finding his vintage form in goal.

14. Nashville Predators

Previous ranking: 15

Points percentage: 53.85%

Next seven days: @ TOR (Dec. 9), @ MTL (Dec. 10), vs. PHI (Dec. 12)

Filip Forsberg, LW | Projected fantasy points: 224.96 | Projected overall rank: 15

While no other Predator will catch Forsberg in the fantasy race when he's healthy, defenseman Roman Josi can be counted on to give it a good go. Enhanced contributions from both have played a large part in Nashville's recent climb up the standings.

15. Philadelphia Flyers

Previous ranking: 17

Points percentage: 57.69%

Next seven days: @ COL (Dec. 9), @ NSH (Dec. 12), vs. WSH (Dec. 14)

Travis Sanheim, D | Projected fantasy points: 163.8 | Projected overall rank: 105

Interestingly, Nick Seeler is projected to finish less than a fantasy point behind Sanheim, so it's arguably a toss-up at this stage. That said, one Travis Konecny hot streak could quickly rewrite this pecking order.

16. Arizona Coyotes

Previous ranking: 19

Points percentage: 56.00%

Next seven days: @ BOS (Dec. 9), @ BUF (Dec. 11), @ PIT (Dec. 12)

Connor Ingram, G | Projected fantasy points: 223.63 | Projected overall rank: 16

Count us as believers in Ingram. He's been too solid all season, for a visibly improved team, to discount as the real deal. Unless the Coyotes' No. 1 stumbles, or gets hurt, there's no other member of André Tourigny's balanced squad to catch him. Not even the impressive Clayton Keller.

17. New Jersey Devils

Previous ranking: 18

Points percentage: 56.25%

Next seven days: @ CGY (Dec. 9), @ EDM (Dec. 10), vs. BOS (Dec. 13)

Jack Hughes, C |Projected fantasy points: 242.9 | Projected overall rank: 9

Hughes' full arrival as a superstar is on display this campaign, and there isn't any suspense over him leading the Devils for fantasy. What will be interesting to watch is just how high into the top 10 overall he can push by the end of the season.

18. Washington Capitals

Previous ranking: 14

Points percentage: 58.70%

Next seven days: vs. NYR (Dec. 9), @ CHI (Dec. 10), @ PHI (Dec. 14)

John Carlson, D | Projected fantasy points: 182.21 | Projected overall rank: 65

It's telling of how "meh" the Capitals are that Carlson is easily leading the pace at a rate that would finish 65th overall. It's unlikely anything will change to make Alex Ovechkin challenge him, but Max Pacioretty returning to the ice could be an X factor.

19. New York Islanders

Previous ranking: 22

Points percentage: 58.00%

Next seven days: vs. LA (Dec. 9), vs. TOR (Dec. 11), vs. ANA (Dec. 13)

Noah Dobson, D | Projected fantasy points: 244.73 | Projected overall rank: 8

Dobson adding physicality to his game in the form of blocks and hits makes him deserving of the fantasy crown for the Isles. It doesn't look as ifIlya Sorokin, his only real competition, will be making a push.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous ranking: 20

Points percentage: 50.00%

Next seven days: @ FLA (Dec. 8), vs. ARI (Dec. 12), @ MTL (Dec. 13)

Tristan Jarry, G | Projected fantasy points: 202.78 | Projected overall rank: 37

Jarry is great, but this season won't be a success for the Penguins if he leads the team in fantasy scoring. Sidney Crosby is right behind him (198.79), but Erik Karlsson is way back at 157.67 projected points. The Pens need Karlsson in the mix.

21. St. Louis Blues

Previous ranking: 16

Points percentage: 54.00%

Next seven days: @ CBJ (Dec. 8), @ CHI (Dec. 9), vs. DET (Dec. 12), vs. OTT (Dec. 14)

Justin Faulk, D | Projected fantasy points: 161.32 | Projected overall rank: 111

Any one of Faulk, Robert Thomas, Pavel Buchnevich, Brayden Schennor Colton Parayko could finish atop the Blues' fantasy podium. That speaks loudly to St. Louis' lack of star power and mediocre record. In fact, rookie Jake Neighbours has been the team's most exciting player this December.

22. Edmonton Oilers

Previous ranking: 24

Points percentage: 45.65%

Next seven days: vs. MIN (Dec. 8), vs. NJ (Dec. 10), vs. CHI (Dec. 12), vs. TB (Dec. 14)

Connor McDavid, C | Projected fantasy points: 249.36 | Projected overall rank: 5

Without much question, a healthy McDavid will next-level himself into fantasy supremacy on his own team. But let's spare an appreciative moment for the club's other members of the league's projected top 25 fantasy players: Zach Hyman, Evander Kane and Leon Draisaitl, while providing a stick tap to defenseman Evan Bouchard, who is close.

23. Calgary Flames

Previous ranking: 23

Points percentage: 48.08%

Next seven days: vs. NJ (Dec. 9), @ COL (Dec. 11), @ VGK (Dec. 12), @ MIN (Dec. 14)

MacKenzie Weegar, D | Projected fantasy points: 204.19 | Projected overall rank: 35

The Flames aren't scoring much. Which essentially cements Weegar -- who contributes nicely across the fantasy board -- as the team's leader by a prairie mile. And probably drives coach Ryan Huska bananas.

24. Minnesota Wild

Previous ranking: 30

Points percentage: 45.83%

Next seven days: @ EDM (Dec. 8), @ SEA (Dec. 10), vs. CGY (Dec. 14)

Joel Eriksson Ek, C | Projected fantasy points: 204.38 | Projected overall rank: 34

A sustained upswing in scoring by Kirill Kaprizov -- on a team that finally appears headed in the right direction -- could topple Eriksson Ek from Minny's fantasy throne. But take nothing away from everything the big center does, including the fantasy-friendly physical stuff, that makes his club better all around.

25. Ottawa Senators

Previous ranking: 27

Points percentage: 47.62%

Next seven days: @ DET (Dec. 9), vs. CAR (Dec. 12), @ STL (Dec. 14)

Brady Tkachuk, LW | Projected fantasy points: 205.2 | Projected overall rank: 33

It's going to come down to Tkachuk or Tim Stutzle leading the Sens in fantasy points. They have been playing on separate lines lately and finished last season only eight points apart, so this is an intriguing race.

26. Montreal Canadiens

Previous ranking: 25

Points percentage: 48.08%

Next seven days: @ BUF (Dec. 9), vs. NSH (Dec. 10), vs. PIT (Dec. 13)

Mike Matheson, D | Projected fantasy points: 201.27 | Projected overall rank: 39

The Canadiens probably wish it wereCole Caufield claiming the top spot for fantasy, but Matheson's strong even-strength and power-play work have him well out in front. In fact, his closest competition on the club is sophomore blueliner Kaiden Guhle.

27. Buffalo Sabres

Previous ranking: 21

Points percentage: 44.44%

Next seven days: vs. MTL (Dec. 9), vs. ARI (Dec. 11), @ COL (Dec. 13)

Rasmus Dahlin, D | Projected fantasy points: 212.66 | Projected overall rank: 27

The Sabres are hoping that, with Tage Thompson returning from injury this week, he can have some of his signature big games to close the gap with Dahlin. If anyone can, it's the forward who had four hat tricks last season.

28. Seattle Kraken

Previous ranking: 26

Points percentage: 40.74%

Next seven days: vs. TB (Dec. 9), vs. MIN (Dec. 10), vs. FLA (Dec. 12), vs. CHI (Dec. 14)

Eeli Tolvanen, LW | Projected fantasy points: 172.94 | Projected overall rank: 85

Good for Tolvanen, who's off to his best season yet. But surely the Kraken would rather another skater lead the fantasy charge, and with greater gusto. Maybe last season's star, Jared McCann, who seems back in a scoring groove?

29. Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous ranking: 29

Points percentage: 37.50%

Next seven days: vs. STL (Dec. 8), vs. FLA (Dec. 10), @ TOR (Dec. 14)

Boone Jenner, C | Projected fantasy points: 191.75 | Projected overall rank: 48

When the team that has Johnny Gaudreau, Patrik Laine and Adam Fantilli has Jenner easily leading the way for fantasy scoring, you know something isn't going as hoped. Surprisingly, Ivan Provorov is the next best Blue Jacket for fantasy this season.

30. Anaheim Ducks

Previous ranking: 28

Points percentage: 38.46%

Next seven days: vs. WPG (Dec. 10), @ NYI (Dec. 13)

Frank Vatrano, RW | Projected fantasy points: 216.2 | Projected overall rank: 20

Although his scoring is drying up some, Vatrano's proclivity for shooting on net and blocking shots should still carry him through as the Ducks' No. 1 fantasy star. How close rookie Leo Carlsson would've come, if he had played a full first season, is the more pressing question.

31. San Jose Sharks

Previous ranking: 32

Points percentage: 33.33%

Next seven days: @ VGK (Dec. 10), vs. WPG (Dec. 12)

Mario Ferraro, D | Projected fantasy points: 165.08 | Projected overall rank: 100

After a lackluster first stretch, Tomas Hertl is ramping up his fantasy swagger. That trend should suffice for him to surpass Ferraro, and all others, on a team lacking prominent points-accruers. Getting a healthy Logan Couture back -- eventually -- will also help Hertl in that regard.

32. Chicago Blackhawks

Previous ranking: 31

Points percentage: 34.00%

Next seven days: vs. STL (Dec. 9), vs. WSH (Dec. 10), @ EDM (Dec. 12), @ SEA (Dec. 14)

Connor Bedard, C | Projected fantasy points: 150.64 | Projected overall rank: 139

Defender Seth Jones has the long-game fantasy edge on a team where the star forward isn't yet surrounded by a strong enough supporting cast. No doubt, injuries and organizational moves haven't helped.