NHL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, fantasy players to add/drop

BySean Allen and Victoria Matiash ESPN logo
Thursday, November 16, 2023

The 2023-24 NHL season turned 1 month old on Thursday (aww...), and it's been a hot time for reflection upon the trends that may or may not stick for the duration. We're also coming up on the all-important benchmark of American Thanksgiving; teams in playoff position at that time make the playoffs around 80% of the time.

With all of that in mind, here are our updated 1-32 Power Rankings for this week. As a special gift, we've asked ESPN fantasy hockey analysts Sean Allen and Victoria Matiash to suggest a player (or players) from each team to add/drop from your fantasy roster; Sean handled the Eastern teams, while Victoria tackled the West.

And just a reminder: It's not too late to sign up for ESPN Fantasy Hockey!Create your team and play for free today.

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 Nov. 3. Points percentages are through Thursday's games.

1. Vegas Golden Knights

Previous ranking: 1

Points percentage: 82.14%

Next seven days: vs. SJ (Nov. 10), @ WSH (Nov. 14), @ MTL (Nov. 16)

Remember when William Karlsson (available in 34% of leagues) erupted for 43 goals and 78 points in his first season with the Knights? Well, he's revisiting that pace six years later. Unlike Vegas' other heavy fantasy hitters, he might be available in your league. If so, snag him.

2. Boston Bruins

Previous ranking: 2

Points percentage: 88.46%

Next seven days: @ MTL (Nov. 11), @ BUF (Nov. 14)

Despite their standing, the fantasy pickings are slim on the Bruins. That said, Pavel Zacha (available in 76% of leagues) has a connection with David Pastrnak that should make him a serviceable pickup. Zacha is cresting 20 minutes per game of average ice time lately.

3. New York Rangers

Previous ranking: 5

Points percentage: 80.77%

Next seven days: vs. CBJ (Nov. 12)

Erik Gustafsson (available in 79% of leagues) will be a fantasy powerhouse until Adam Fox, placed on long-term injured reserve, returns to the Rangers lineup. In the two games since Fox was hurt, Gustafsson picked up four points.

4. Vancouver Canucks

Previous ranking: 6

Points percentage: 80.77%

Next seven days: @ TOR (Nov. 11), @ MTL (Nov. 12), vs. NYI (Nov. 15), @ CGY (Nov. 16)

Defenseman Filip Hronek (available in 32% of leagues) is criminally underappreciated across the fantasy spectrum. Maybe because position-leading point scorer Quinn Hughes is making so much positive noise. Whatever the reason, Hronek is riding a seven-game point streak, so add him if you're able.

5. Colorado Avalanche

Previous ranking: 4

Points percentage: 66.67%

Next seven days: vs. STL (Nov. 11), @ SEA (Nov. 13), vs. ANA (Nov. 15)

Devon Toews (rostered in 72% of leagues) has served as a fantasy dud, outside of ATOI, since the first week of the season. Bench him, at minimum, until there are tangible signs of a turnaround.

6. Los Angeles Kings

Previous ranking: 9

Points percentage: 73.08%

Next seven days: vs. PHI (Nov. 11), vs. FLA (Nov. 16)

Why is Phillip Danault much more popular in fantasy play than Trevor Moore? It makes little sense. Pick up Moore (available in 70% of leagues) before your league mates catch on to the top-six winger's point-per-game production.

7. Dallas Stars

Previous ranking: 3

Points percentage: 70.83%

Next seven days: @ WPG (Nov. 11), @ MIN (Nov. 12), vs. ARI (Nov. 14)

Center Wyatt Johnston (available in 89% of leagues) serves as a sneaky addition in deeper leagues. With his dreary start to November serving as an exception, the sophomore has been mostly reliable.

8. Carolina Hurricanes

Previous ranking: 14

Points percentage: 61.54%

Next seven days: @ FLA (Nov. 10), @ TB (Nov. 11), vs. PHI (Nov. 15)

"Indefinitely" could mean months on the shelf for goaltender Frederik Andersen, out with issues related to blood clots. That's a wide-open door for Antti Raanta (available in 90% of leagues) or Pyotr Kochetkov (available in 72% of leagues) to take the job and run with it on your fantasy roster.

9. New Jersey Devils

Previous ranking: 7

Points percentage: 62.50%

Next seven days: vs. WSH (Nov. 10), @ WPG (Nov. 14), @ PIT (Nov. 16)

A handful of leagues are still sleeping on Luke Hughes (available in 14% of leagues). Make no mistake: Hughes, not Dougie Hamilton, is the quarterback of what will be a dangerous power play once his brother Jack is healthy.

10. Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous ranking: 12

Points percentage: 57.14%

Next seven days: vs. CAR (Nov. 11), @ STL (Nov. 14), @ CHI (Nov. 16)

Check your waiver wire to see Andrei Vasilevskiy is available, as he is in 8% of ESPN leagues. On track to return before the end of November, he's always a top fantasy goaltender, even if he gets limited usage at the start.

11. Detroit Red Wings

Previous ranking: 8

Points percentage: 57.14%

Next seven days: vs. CBJ (Nov. 11), vs. OTT (Nov. 16)

Lucas Raymond (available in 74% of leagues) is set up to be an everyday fantasy winger thanks to his role alongside Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Larkin. He recently started joining them on the power play, too, so pick him up now before the points start accumulating.

12. Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous ranking: 10

Points percentage: 53.85%

Next seven days: vs. CGY (Nov. 10), vs. VAN (Nov. 11)

Joseph Woll (available in 49% of leagues) continues to write a hero's-journey tale for his rookie season, outperforming and outshining Ilya Samsonov in the crease at every turn. Pick him up now before the rostering snowball finds him on someone else's team.

13. Florida Panthers

Previous ranking: 17

Points percentage: 62.50%

Next seven days: vs. CAR (Nov. 10), vs. CHI (Nov. 12), @ SJ (Nov. 14), @ LA (Nov. 16)

Double-check your league's free agent list for defenseman Brandon Montour (available in 12% of leagues), as he is expected to start travelling with the team and return later this month. The power play will be all his to quarterback after his breakout last season.

14. Winnipeg Jets

Previous ranking: 18

Points percentage: 61.54%

Next seven days: vs. DAL (Nov. 11), vs. NJ (Nov. 14)

You can dump Nikolaj Ehlers (rostered in 32% of leagues) in shallower fantasy competition. The Jets are winning a bit without him playing significant minutes, or contributing much to the scoresheet. Later on, give the forward a fresh look when he gets back in scoring rhythm.

15. Anaheim Ducks

Previous ranking: 15

Points percentage: 58.33%

Next seven days: vs. PHI (Nov. 10), vs. SJ (Nov. 12), @ NSH (Nov. 14), @ COL (Nov. 15)

Impressive production from the Ducks' second scoring line, centered by sophomore Mason McTavish, is one big reason the club is enjoying so much success. A burgeoning star, McTavish (available in 32% of leagues) should be rostered in all but the shallowest of leagues.

16. New York Islanders

Previous ranking: 13

Points percentage: 54.17%

Next seven days: vs. WSH (Nov. 11), @ EDM (Nov. 13), @ VAN (Nov. 15), @ SEA (Nov. 16)

Goals and assists aren't the only way to earn fantasy points. When not banged up from blocking shots, Scott Mayfield (available in 89% of leagues) uses those blocks to earn more fantasy points per game than all but four defensemen in the NHL.

17. Arizona Coyotes

Previous ranking: 19

Points percentage: 50.00%

Next seven days: @ NSH (Nov. 11), @ DAL (Nov. 14), @ CBJ (Nov. 16)

Following a slow start, top-six forward Matias Maccelli (available in 54% of leagues) is proving to be a worthy addition to teams in deeper leagues -- and perhaps even in shallower leagues, if he continues to produce at his current pace.

18. Buffalo Sabres

Previous ranking: 20

Points percentage: 50.00%

Next seven days: vs. MIN (Nov. 10), @ PIT (Nov. 11), vs. BOS (Nov. 14)

He won't hit the next level with Rasmus Dahlin around, but Owen Power (available in 58% of leagues) is doing enough to deserve a spot on most rosters -- and would ascend to elite territory if Dahlin misses any time.

19. Minnesota Wild

Previous ranking: 24

Points percentage: 46.15%

Next seven days: @ BUF (Nov. 10), vs. DAL (Nov. 12)

Defenseman Jared Spurgeon (available in 45% of leagues) is due back any moment now, and goodness knows the Wild could use him. Perhaps your fantasy squad might as well? The Wild captain put up 34 points and blocked 179 shots last season.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous ranking: 29

Points percentage: 50.00%

Next seven days: vs. BUF (Nov. 11), @ CBJ (Nov. 14), vs. NJ (Nov. 16)

Reilly Smith (available in 77% of leagues) has pushed past Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell as the choice for fourth forward on the power play. If you add him to your team, you can enjoy games like Saturday's four-point outburst in the future.

21. Washington Capitals

Previous ranking: 16

Points percentage: 54.55%

Next seven days: @ NJ (Nov. 10), @ NYI (Nov. 11), vs. VGK (Nov. 14)

A goal-scoring burst quickly pushed Dylan Strome (available in 83% of leagues) up the depth chart to the top line. Strome is worth a pickup because he's almost always on the ice whenever Alex Ovechkin is, which is the key to acquiring fantasy points on the Capitals.

22. Montreal Canadiens

Previous ranking: 11

Points percentage: 53.85%

Next seven days: vs. BOS (Nov. 11), vs. VAN (Nov. 12), vs. CGY (Nov. 14), vs. VGK (Nov. 16)

Sean Monahan (available in 69% of leagues) is turning back the clock, thanks in no small part to his locked-in role on the top power-play unit with the youngsters. The pace will surely dip, but it can afford to after his hot start (2.1 fantasy points per game).

23. St. Louis Blues

Previous ranking: 25

Points percentage: 54.17%

Next seven days: @ COL (Nov. 11), vs. TB (Nov. 14), @ SJ (Nov. 16)

It might be time to drop Jordan Kyrou (rostered in 88% of leagues) in shallow leagues. He can't score against quality teams, or even against some less quality teams. Browse your waiver wire. Guaranteed there's a less popular fantasy forward available who's kicking in greater returns.

24. Nashville Predators

Previous ranking: 23

Points percentage: 38.46%

Next seven days: vs. ARI (Nov. 11), vs. ANA (Nov. 14)

Does your league reward blocked shots? Alexandre Carrier (available in 69% of leagues) blocks a lot of them. More than anyone else in the NHL not named Jacob Trouba. The Predators blueliner also pitches in the odd assist as a bonus.

25. Philadelphia Flyers

Previous ranking: 21

Points percentage: 42.31%

Next seven days: @ ANA (Nov. 10), @ LA (Nov. 11), @ CAR (Nov. 15)

Peppering shots, time on the top line and opportunities on the power play show that Cam Atkinson (available in 76% of leagues) is all the way back after missing last season. The depth chart is fluid for the Flyers, but Atkinson is a staple so far, and should be added.

26. Ottawa Senators

Previous ranking: 22

Points percentage: 41.67%

Next seven days: vs. CGY (Nov. 11), vs. DET (Nov. 16)

Note that Jake Sanderson's (available in 18% of leagues) outburst of offense started even before Thomas Chabot was injured. Sanderson should be picked up in all leagues as the power-play quarterback for the Sens' offense.

27. Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous ranking: 27

Points percentage: 42.31%

Next seven days: @ DET (Nov. 11), @ NYR (Nov. 12), vs. PIT (Nov. 14), vs. ARI (Nov. 16)

In a shallower fantasy league? I could get behind dropping Johnny Gaudreau even though it's early. Returns have been poor and even last season's totals were near-replacement level in a 10-team league. Sit tight in deeper leagues, as the offense will change when Patrik Laine returns.

28. Seattle Kraken

Previous ranking: 26

Points percentage: 46.43%

Next seven days: vs. EDM (Nov. 11), vs. COL (Nov. 13), @ EDM (Nov. 15), vs. NYI (Nov. 16)

Making the most of his limited minutes, defenseman Justin Schultz (available in 98% of leagues) is currently on a tear with a four-game point streak. Anchoring Seattle's top power play certainly helps. Sub him onto your fantasy roster, if only temporarily, while he's riding hot.

29. Edmonton Oilers

Previous ranking: 30

Points percentage: 20.83%

Next seven days: @ SEA (Nov. 11), vs. NYI (Nov. 13), vs. SEA (Nov. 15)

Regardless of how the Oilers are faring, Evander Kane (available in 47% of leagues) sports way too much upside to bypass. With his multipoint performances more than making up for the odd worthless outing, it all works out wonderfully in the fantasy wash.

30. Calgary Flames

Previous ranking: 31

Points percentage: 37.50%

Next seven days: @ TOR (Nov. 10), @ OTT (Nov. 11), @ MTL (Nov. 14), vs. VAN (Nov. 16)

Add Nazem Kadri (available in 85% of leagues) if you need a scoring boost up front. The former fantasy gem is starting to look his old feisty, productive self, with all-around numbers to match.

31. Chicago Blackhawks

Previous ranking: 28

Points percentage: 41.67%

Next seven days: @ FLA (Nov. 12), vs. TB (Nov. 16)

Clear your fantasy roster of any Blackhawk not named Connor Bedardor Seth Jones. At least until other players on the depth chart begin to contribute with any sense of consistency.

32. San Jose Sharks

Previous ranking: 32

Points percentage: 19.23%

Next seven days: @ VGK (Nov. 10), @ ANA (Nov. 12), vs. FLA (Nov. 14), vs. STL (Nov. 16)

Ex-Wild defenseman Calen Addison (available in 97% of leagues) will be afforded every opportunity to make the Sharks better, at even strength and on the power play. He'll put up points, maybe even more than 40 by season's end. Consider giving Addison a whirl if you're in a deep league.