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Fantasy Hockey: 2023-24 Top 10 Hardest Calls

Fantasy Hockey

(ESPN Imagine)

Fantasy Hockey
The 2023-24 NHL Season is almost here. What are the ten hardest calls fantasy hockey managers need to make this year? (ESPN Imagine)

Fantasy Hockey: 2023-24 Top 10 Hardest Calls

We did this same post last year and had great success with it. If you notice in last year’s post, we talked ourselves through a lot of stumbling blocks and got out unscathed winning fantasy hockey again. With that in mind, what are the hardest calls in fantasy hockey for the 2023-24 NHL Season? As always, if you have a strong take your comments are encouraged.

*This is in no particular order*

10: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

WTF do you do with RNH? I put him on the cheese list, but I don’t exactly feel confident in it. How can I? RNH posted 104 points last year. Part of that is due to the fact that the Oilers have the greatest power play in NHL history. That part isn’t going to change.

RNH deserves a high ranking but how can we buy that his production is sustainable? My eyes tell me he lowkey stinks and his prior career high is 69. If he played for any other team this would be a no brainer. Because he plays with McDavid and Draistaitl, it’s super hard to predict. Good luck.

9: Can Thatcher Demko Stand On His Head?

People can say whatever they want. The Canucks season hinges on if Thatcher Demko can stand on his head. Rick Tocchet should help the defense and they brought in guys like Carson Soucy, Filip Hronek, and Ian Cole. Those three are big improvements over the poo poo platter they were trotting out last year.

Demko is a really good goalie but the entire season was doomed from the start last year. Can he get back to the guy that posted a .915 SV% in 2021 and 2022? If so, he’s a big value in fantasy. He’s going to face a ton of shots and if he’s dialed in, Demko should be a league winner. There is also a non-zero chance he’s traded but that’s tough to predict. Things could also go sour like they did a year ago. Good luck.

8: Should Dougie Hamilton Worry About Luke Hughes?

Luke Hughes is a stud. This is more of a case of when not if. You get what I mean by that or at least you should. Dougie Hamilton isn’t a scrub either and isn’t just going to hand the PP job over. What if Hughes is so good that he just takes it? Are we sure we can rule that out? I would still lean toward Dougie as the Devils’ D man to own in fantasy but I don’t exactly feel confident in it.

7: Who Wins The Sens Defensemen Job?

We have a three-way race here, huh. Thomas Chabot is the longest member of the party but are we sure he has a strong grip as the number one guy? What if Jakub Chycrun pops? What if Jake Sanderson takes that next step? Are you looking at what Ottawa just paid Sanderson?

I said this in the team preview, but I really like the Sens chances this year. The winner of this job will be primed for a big season. I would go Chabot, Sanderson, and Chycrun in that order but I don’t exactly feel great about it. Of course, where that dope Sean Allen has Chycrun ranked, you’re better off going with me on this one.

6: Did Detroit Cheese Mo Seider?

I really like Mo Seider. I think he’s going to be a great player but we were all over this last year. You’re welcome in advance for predicting the sophomore slump. I think Detroit will be better and would buy the dip on Seider. I won’t lie, I’m nervous about it though.

Mostly because Detroit had to be pricks this offseason and sign Shayne Gostisbehere. What if the ghost steals PP points? That can’t happen. It’s one thing that Seider has to deal with that bum Ben Chiarot. It’s another that Ghost is now here. If you’re picking Seider at cost, you can’t be wrong. I like the bounceback but how do you not worry about this?

5: The Calgary Flames

The Flames were the topic of the column last year. For good reason based on how their year went. You were basically correct to stay away from their entire team outside of Rasmus Andersson. Now it’s a different ball game. New coach, new GM, new everything minus the roster which is mostly intact from last year.

This team made the conference finals two years ago. They have talent. They missed the playoffs last year. That could happen again. Calgary could be in sell mode within two months into the year. Their entire team is a wild card. Proceed with caution.

4: The Winnipeg Jets

I can say the same thing about the Winnipeg Jets. Another team that was supposed to sell but it hasn’t happened yet. The problem is they actually have good players so you can’t ignore them. Do you have a strong take because I don’t know how you can…

3: How Good Will Connor Bedard Be As A Rookie?

I talked about this in a prior post. I think Bedard is a fade in fantasy for just this year. Do you understand how good this guy has to be to be a top 25 finisher as an 18-year-old? He doesn’t just have to be good. He has to carry one of the worst teams in the league as a teenager. I mean seriously, have you seen that Chicago team? They suck, suck. Taylor Hall is not fixing your problems and you’re crazy if you think otherwise.

What if I’m wrong? What if Bedard is the greatest hockey player to ever live? I’m not going to pretend that I know how his games with the Regina Pats translate to the NHL. The guy posted 143 points in the CHL last year. He’s banana land good. I get all those but he’s also a teenager. Maybe Bedard is god but I gotta see it first before I’m pulling the trigger this high.

2: Can You Trust Erik Karlsson In Pittsburgh?

I have a longer form post on this you can check out. If you want Karlsson, you have to pick him really high this year. The past injury history should be considered. Usurping Kris Letang isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. Are we sure the Penguins are good? This team is old as dirt. I’m willing to take the shot but we can’t pretend that there isn’t enormous risk attached to this pick. Karlsson could also be the No. 1 scoring defenseman in fantasy again like last year. If he won the Norris in San Jose, what can he do with Crosby and Malkin?

1: Is Tage Thompson Really A Top 10 Forward?

I trust my eyes. I bought Tage Thompson stock before almost anyone. He was on my salary cap team last year. If you want Thompson, you have to take him as a top-ten pick basically. Are we sure he’s THAT good? We’re talking about taking him two or three rounds higher than established number one centers Jack Eichel and Sasha Barkov. That’s rich, not?

I like Thompson but the Sabres need to be a serious contender for him to be worth that spot. I don’t doubt it can happen but god it’s risky. Are we really ready to say Thompson can be the best player on a championship-winning fantasy team? That’s a high bar and I don’t think I’m ready to do it. That said, he’s awesome and it could easily happen.

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