Fantasy hockey rankings: Boudreau to Vancouver fantasy impact

What will Bruce Boudreau's system mean for the top players on the Vancouver Canucks? Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Only a few occasions per season is there a massive sea change in a team that lifts all boats. A big trade is one situation. The other is a big coaching change.

Not all coaching changes are created equal. When Andrew Brunette took over the Florida Panthers, for example, he has stepping in to take the reins of an already-successful team and wasn't going to tinker much. We had Mike Yeo step in as new coach of the Philadelphia Flyers this week, but he doesn't have a resume that should excite fantasy managers to action.

Bruce Boudreau taking over for the Vancouver Canucks, on the other hand, should drive some action in fantasy.

Boudreau is one of the most successful regular season coaches in NHL history. His winning percentage is third all-time among coaches with at least 500 games behind the bench. In the key seasons of his three prior tenures (with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild), all teams finished among the top 10 in the NHL for power-play percentage and penalty killing (with the lone exception of the Capitals for penalty killing).

Stars shine under Boudreau and the Canucks have a few stars that could use some polishing.

Elias Pettersson is where the conversation starts. It's absolutely prudent to throw out some lowball trade offers for the struggling pivot, who has limped along with 1.3 fantasy points per game (FPPG) thus far. Although he had them separated in his first game behind the bench, it would also track that Boudreau will eventually put Brock Boeser with Pettersson. Boeser, who has posted a meager 1.4 FPPG, might be an even easier target in trade as he doesn't have the same associated stardom that Pettersson has with his name.

We can also assume that the outlook for J.T. Miller is bullish, even though he has managed 2.3 FPPG to date. Of course, asking for more than that would be a lot, but this change does provide hope that he maintains it.

But there are less-obvious names to target, too. In his recent coaching stints, Boudreau's teams have trended toward a two-defensemen formation on the power play. And remember, those power plays have been successful. Quinn Hughes is a guarantee for better numbers under Boudreau as the team's top defenseman, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson could be a sneaky addition to your roster. If Boudreau does opt for the two-defensemen approach after settling in, OEL would be the natural choice. For the record, the team deployed four forwards on the advantage on Monday, but Boudreau had been with the team less than 24 hours at that point.

From there, interest lies in two wingers brimming with potential: Conor Garland and Vasily Podkolzin. Both players flanked Pettersson in Boudreau's debut, which could be an indication that he wants to see what they can do. Podkolzin, in fact, played 15:54 in Monday's game, which was the most he's played in any game this season except for Nov. 24 against the Penguins. The trio combined on a second-period goal.

And then there's Thatcher Demko. Already one of the league's top workhorses, he earned his first shutout of the campaign in Boudreau's debut. Demko only trails Tristan Jarry and Juuse Saros for the highest percentage of his team's share of the crease, so we shouldn't have to worry about his workload. The question is whether the defensive play will improve enough for this shutout not to be an aberration. He's rostered in 73 percent of ESPN leagues and probably worth a trade offer if one of your opponents has him.

In summary, this coaching change in Vancouver is a chance to buy in to the previous success of the new bench boss. We'll see how it plays out, but hopes were high for the Canucks before the season, so the pieces are there. They just need someone to bring it all together. Here's betting Boudreau can do it.

Forwards on the move

Sean Couturier, C, Philadelphia Flyers (down 12 spots to No. 92): As gleaned from the beginning of this article, Mike Yeo taking over in Philly is less exciting than Boudreau's arrival in Vancouver. What sticks with me from previous coaching stints by Yeo -- and this is not easy to prove via facts -- is that he tinkers too much. That is to say, the line combinations don't have the consistency that you see from teams that build up fantasy success. Looking back to the line combinations used by Yeo with the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild, there is some anecdotal evidence of "tinkering," with the same player showing up multiple times among the most frequent combinations in any given season. We'll see what Yeo has in store for us this time -- and perhaps some tinkering is just what the doctor ordered for a team struggling at both ends of the ice. But, for the time being, I'm shifting down some of the Flyers in the ranks.

Trevor Zegras, C, Anaheim Ducks (up 45 spots to No. 203): Outperforming even the Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson line during the past week, Zegras, Sonny Milano and Rickard Rakell are on fire. If you act now, you can still get four games out of them this week too! All three are widely available, but Zegras and Rakell have the most long-term appeal.

Jack Eichel, C, Vegas Golden Knights (just missed): Three months is what we keep hearing about Eichel's rehab from his surgery. If that's true, it's Feb. 12. And if that's the case, he actually gets until Feb. 25 without missing a game due to the league's Olympic break. That's potentially 32 games remaining this season for the superstar center, if all goes well. If you give him a modest 2.1 FPPG, his totals would be approaching relevancy to fantasy rosters now. Of course, that value increases the more you play chicken with your league mates over picking him up. I don't think the time is nigh, but it's coming faster than you might think -- especially because 2.1 FPPG might be conservative if Eichel shares the ice with Max Pacioretty and/or Mark Stone.

Goaltenders on the move

Carter Hart, G, Philadelphia Flyers (down 25 spots to No. 94): Just one more note on Yeo, as his previous goaltenders of record aren't anything to write home about. While Niklas Backstrom and Jake Allen may not have the pedigree that Hart has, they did not have successful fantasy runs with Yeo as their coach.

Pavel Francouz, G, Colorado Avalanche (up 47 spots to No. 189): In his first game since August 2020 in the AHL, Francouz looked a little rusty, allowing three goals on 18 shots against the Arizona Coyotes farm team last Friday. Then he promptly shut them out on Saturday. There is plenty of wiggle room for Francouz to carve out decent playing time in the NHL this season if his form is there. Stay tuned.

Ben Bishop, G, Dallas Stars (enters ranks at No. 250): It's been a while. And it's been a long road to recovery for Bishop, who last appeared in a game in August 2020. Expected to play this week in the AHL, he'll be back with the Stars soon to join a very complicated goalie situation. Jake Oettinger has been playing his lights out, posting the best fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60) in the NHL -- if you allow for his small sample size. Braden Holtby has also been doing just fine in the crease, fantasy-wise (3.18 FPP60). (We can forget Anton Khudobin is a factor here, as he's not going to be competing for time in the net with his -0.23 FPP60). But this is further complicated by salary-cap issues, as Bishop's salary would put the Stars over at the moment. Look for a Khudobin trade in the near future. But what from there? The team isn't going to carry three goalies, right? We know Oettinger is waiver exempt to go to the AHL, so the Stars may have no choice but to tuck him there if they want him playing regularly.

As for Bishop's potential performance ... we'll have to wait and see. He was still posting solid stats in 2019-20, but, as mentioned, it's been a while. For fantasy, I'm still reserving Oettinger in any kind of deep league or keeper, but leaving him on waivers or spot-starting him (even during this hot streak) in shallow leagues. Holtby should remain on rosters. And Bishop is a speculative pickup in deeper leagues now, shallower leagues once we see some usage.

New to rankings

Erik Johnson (just steady, defensive fantasy points), Reilly Smith (the line is back together now with William Karlsson healthy), Alex Nedeljkovic, Ryan McDonagh, Adrian Kempe, Zach Whitecloud, Damon Severson, Ben Bishop.

Just missed

Alexander Edler, Evgeni Malkin (still no timetable, but skating a lot), Jeff Petry, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Jeff Skinner, Adam Boqvist, Jake Oettinger (if only he had a clear path to minutes), Kris Russell, Marcus Foligno, Jesper Bratt, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Sonny Milano, Jack Eichel.

Dropped out

Spencer Knight (not doing enough with opportunities to be a threat), Joel Farabee (hurt for a while, shoulder surgery), Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Toffoli (out for "weeks"), Robert Hagg, Linus Ullmark, Alexander Wennberg, Kirby Dach.

Top-250 rankings

1. Connor McDavid, F, EDM (F1)
2. Leon Draisaitl, F, EDM (F2)
3. Alex Ovechkin, F, WSH (F3)
4. Auston Matthews, F, TOR (F4)
5. Roman Josi, D, NSH (D1)
6. Nathan MacKinnon, F, COL (F5)
7. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G1)
8. Mikko Rantanen, F, COL (F6)
9. Brad Marchand, F, BOS (F7)
10. Jack Campbell, G, TOR (G2)
11. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D2)
12. David Pastrnak, F, BOS (F8)
13. Frederik Andersen, G, CAR (G3)
14. Anze Kopitar, F, LA (F9)
15. Cale Makar, D, COL (D3)
16. Mika Zibanejad, F, NYR (F10)
17. Sebastian Aho, F, CAR (F11)
18. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G4)
19. Aleksander Barkov, F, FLA (F12)
20. Timo Meier, F, SJ (F13)
21. Dougie Hamilton, D, NJ (D4)
22. Gabriel Landeskog, F, COL (F14)
23. Kyle Connor, F, WPG (F15)
24. Jacob Markstrom, G, CGY (G5)
25. Elias Lindholm, F, CGY (F16)
26. John Carlson, D, WSH (D5)
27. Charlie McAvoy, D, BOS (D6)
28. Mitch Marner, F, TOR (F17)
29. Artemi Panarin, F, NYR (F18)
30. Andrei Svechnikov, F, CAR (F19)
31. Steven Stamkos, F, TB (F20)
32. Jake Guentzel, F, PIT (F21)
33. Max Pacioretty, F, VGS (F22)
34. Vladimir Tarasenko, F, STL (F23)
35. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D7)
36. Juuse Saros, G, NSH (G6)
37. Kirill Kaprizov, F, MIN (F24)
38. Tristan Jarry, G, PIT (G7)
39. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G8)
40. Aaron Ekblad, D, FLA (D8)
41. Sidney Crosby, F, PIT (F25)
42. Seth Jones, D, CHI (D9)
43. Drake Batherson, F, OTT (F26)
44. Kris Letang, D, PIT (D10)
45. Robin Lehner, G, VGS (G9)
46. Brady Tkachuk, F, OTT (F27)
47. Darnell Nurse, D, EDM (D11)
48. Roope Hintz, F, DAL (F28)
49. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, FLA (G10)
50. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, F, EDM (F29)
51. Mark Scheifele, F, WPG (F30)
52. Chris Kreider, F, NYR (F31)
53. Filip Forsberg, F, NSH (F32)
54. Zach Werenski, D, CLS (D12)
55. Patrice Bergeron, F, BOS (F33)
56. Patrick Kane, F, CHI (F34)
57. Jonathan Huberdeau, F, FLA (F35)
58. Miro Heiskanen, D, DAL (D13)
59. J.T. Miller, F, VAN (F36)
60. Connor Hellebuyck, G, WPG (G11)
61. Elvis Merzlikins, G, CLS (G12)
62. Tyler Bertuzzi, F, DET (F37)
63. Evgeny Kuznetsov, F, WSH (F38)
64. Alex DeBrincat, F, CHI (F39)
65. Patrik Laine, F, CLS (F40)
66. Alex Pietrangelo, D, VGS (D14)
67. Mark Stone, F, VGS (F41)
68. Nazem Kadri, F, COL (F42)
69. Zach Hyman, F, EDM (F43)
70. Matt Duchene, F, NSH (F44)
71. John Tavares, F, TOR (F45)
72. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D15)
73. Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, WPG (F46)
74. Ilya Samsonov, G, WSH (G13)
75. Logan Couture, F, SJ (F47)
76. Neal Pionk, D, WPG (D16)
77. John Gibson, G, ANA (G14)
78. Cam Talbot, G, MIN (G15)
79. Devon Toews, D, COL (D17)
80. Jordan Binnington, G, STL (G16)
81. Brent Burns, D, SJ (D18)
82. Ivan Provorov, D, PHI (D19)
83. Mario Ferraro, D, SJ (D20)
84. Jason Robertson, F, DAL (F48)
85. Dylan Larkin, F, DET (F49)
86. Jack Hughes, F, NJ (F50)
87. Troy Terry, F, ANA (F51)
88. Mikko Koskinen, G, EDM (G17)
89. Elias Pettersson, F, VAN (F52)
90. Tony DeAngelo, D, CAR (D21)
91. Matthew Tkachuk, F, CGY (F53)
92. Sean Couturier, F, PHI (F54)
93. Boone Jenner, F, CLS (F55)
94. Carter Hart, G, PHI (G18)
95. Mathew Dumba, D, MIN (D22)
96. Jordan Eberle, F, SEA (F56)
97. Josh Norris, F, OTT (F57)
98. Darcy Kuemper, G, COL (G19)
99. Sam Bennett, F, FLA (F58)
100. Moritz Seider, D, DET (D23)
101. Rickard Rakell, F, ANA (F59)
102. Adam Henrique, F, ANA (F60)
103. Oliver Bjorkstrand, F, CLS (F61)
104. Brock Nelson, F, NYI (F62)
105. Tom Wilson, F, WSH (F63)
106. Nicklas Backstrom, F, WSH (F64)
107. Victor Olofsson, F, BUF (F65)
108. Mats Zuccarello, F, MIN (F66)
109. Anthony Duclair, F, FLA (F67)
110. Johnny Gaudreau, F, CGY (F68)
111. Teuvo Teravainen, F, CAR (F69)
112. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D24)
113. Joe Pavelski, F, DAL (F70)
114. Claude Giroux, F, PHI (F71)
115. Joel Eriksson Ek, F, MIN (F72)
116. William Nylander, F, TOR (F73)
117. T.J. Oshie, F, WSH (F74)
118. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D25)
119. MacKenzie Weegar, D, FLA (D26)
120. Tyler Seguin, F, DAL (F75)
121. Taylor Hall, F, BOS (F76)
122. David Perron, F, STL (F77)
123. Mikael Granlund, F, NSH (F78)
124. Vincent Trocheck, F, CAR (F79)
125. Ondrej Palat, F, TB (F80)
126. Quinn Hughes, D, VAN (D27)
127. Jonathan Marchessault, F, VGS (F81)
128. Viktor Arvidsson, F, LA (F82)
129. Alec Martinez, D, VGS (D28)
130. Thomas Chabot, D, OTT (D29)
131. Bryan Rust, F, PIT (F83)
132. Evan Bouchard, D, EDM (D30)
133. Lucas Raymond, F, DET (F84)
134. Artem Zub, D, OTT (D31)
135. Blake Wheeler, F, WPG (F85)
136. Chandler Stephenson, F, VGS (F86)
137. Tyson Barrie, D, EDM (D32)
138. Jordan Kyrou, F, STL (F87)
139. Brayden Point, F, TB (F88)
140. Alex Iafallo, F, LA (F89)
141. Brock Boeser, F, VAN (F90)
142. Andrew Copp, F, WPG (F91)
143. James Reimer, G, SJ (G20)
144. Andrew Mangiapane, F, CGY (F92)
145. Ryan Getzlaf, F, ANA (F93)
146. Alex Killorn, F, TB (F94)
147. Pavel Buchnevich, F, STL (F95)
148. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, ANA (D33)
149. Ryan Hartman, F, MIN (F96)
150. Ryan O'Reilly, F, STL (F97)
151. Jaden Schwartz, F, SEA (F98)
152. Ryan Strome, F, NYR (F99)
153. Shea Theodore, D, VGS (D34)
154. Nick Suzuki, F, MON (F100)
155. Nikita Kucherov, F, TB (F101)
156. Colton Parayko, D, STL (D35)
157. Esa Lindell, D, DAL (D36)
158. Bo Horvat, F, VAN (F102)
159. Andre Burakovsky, F, COL (F103)
160. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D37)
161. Nikolaj Ehlers, F, WPG (F104)
162. Jesse Puljujarvi, F, EDM (F105)
163. Ryan Graves, D, NJ (D38)
164. Brayden McNabb, D, VGS (D39)
165. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (G21)
166. Tomas Hertl, F, SJ (F106)
167. Samuel Girard, D, COL (D40)
168. Cam Fowler, D, ANA (D41)
169. Noah Dobson, D, NYI (D42)
170. Adam Larsson, D, SEA (D43)
171. Jakob Chychrun, D, ARI (D44)
172. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D45)
173. Morgan Rielly, D, TOR (D46)
174. Jeff Carter, F, PIT (F107)
175. Jared Spurgeon, D, MIN (D47)
176. Brandon Saad, F, STL (F108)
177. Travis Konecny, F, PHI (F109)
178. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, ARI (D48)
179. Max Domi, F, CLS (F110)
180. J.T. Compher, F, COL (F111)
181. Ryan Johansen, F, NSH (F112)
182. Mark Giordano, D, SEA (D49)
183. Conor Garland, F, VAN (F113)
184. Nate Schmidt, D, WPG (D50)
185. Sam Reinhart, F, FLA (F114)
186. Nico Hischier, F, NJ (F115)
187. Anthony Cirelli, F, TB (F116)
188. Jakub Voracek, F, CLS (F117)
189. Pavel Francouz, G, COL (G22)
190. Joshua Morrissey, D, WPG (D51)
191. Mathew Barzal, F, NYI (F118)
192. Brandon Tanev, F, SEA (F119)
193. Justin Faulk, D, STL (D52)
194. Brayden Schenn, F, STL (F120)
195. Jamie Benn, F, DAL (F121)
196. Mike Hoffman, F, MON (F122)
197. Jonas Brodin, D, MIN (D53)
198. William Karlsson, F, VGS (F123)
199. Cam Atkinson, F, PHI (F124)
200. Jared McCann, F, SEA (F125)
201. Evan Rodrigues, F, PIT (F126)
202. Thatcher Demko, G, VAN (G23)
203. Trevor Zegras, F, ANA (F127)
204. Anthony Mantha, F, WSH (F128)
205. Filip Hronek, D, DET (D54)
206. Charlie Coyle, F, BOS (F129)
207. Braden Holtby, G, DAL (G24)
208. Mike Smith, G, EDM (G25)
209. Alexander Radulov, F, DAL (F130)
210. Valeri Nichushkin, F, COL (F131)
211. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, PHI (D55)
212. Jeremy Swayman, G, BOS (G26)
213. Torey Krug, D, STL (D56)
214. Anders Lee, F, NYI (F132)
215. Erik Johnson, D, COL (D57)
216. Ryan Suter, D, DAL (D58)
217. Clayton Keller, F, ARI (F133)
218. Vladislav Gavrikov, D, CLS (D59)
219. Carter Verhaeghe, F, FLA (F134)
220. Vince Dunn, D, SEA (D60)
221. Rasmus Dahlin, D, BUF (D61)
222. Justin Braun, D, PHI (D62)
223. John Klingberg, D, DAL (D63)
224. Tage Thompson, F, BUF (F135)
225. Yanni Gourde, F, SEA (F136)
226. Anton Lundell, F, FLA (F137)
227. Jonathan Dahlen, F, SJ (F138)
228. Danton Heinen, F, PIT (F139)
229. Reilly Smith, F, VGS (F140)
230. Martin Necas, F, CAR (F141)
231. Ryan Ellis, D, PHI (D64)
232. Oliver Wahlstrom, F, NYI (F142)
233. Blake Coleman, F, CGY (F143)
234. Ivan Barbashev, F, STL (F144)
235. Radko Gudas, D, FLA (D65)
236. Ben Chiarot, D, MON (D66)
237. Rasmus Andersson, D, CGY (D67)
238. Connor Murphy, D, CHI (D68)
239. Mackenzie Blackwood, G, NJ (G27)
240. Sean Durzi, D, LA (D69)
241. Pavel Zacha, F, NJ (F145)
242. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, DET (G28)
243. Ryan McDonagh, D, TB (D70)
244. Adrian Kempe, F, LA (F146)
245. Robert Thomas, F, STL (F147)
246. Zach Whitecloud, D, VGS (D71)
247. Lawson Crouse, F, ARI (F148)
248. Damon Severson, D, NJ (D72)
249. Bowen Byram, D, COL (D73)
250. Ben Bishop, G, DAL (G29)