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Open Ice: Top 200 Rankings

10/29/2013 - NHL
Jen Fuller/Getty Images

It is indeed rare that we get to enjoy a trade in the NHL that is the same kind of trade you could see in a fantasy hockey league. This weekend's blockbuster between the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders was exactly that. The teams exchanged high-octane scorers that were among the top 50 fantasy forwards in the NHL coming into this season. And the fallout is quite significant in terms of fantasy value swings.

Thomas Vanek joins the Isles, and immediately gets the chance to combine his elite goal-scoring prowess with that of budding superstar John Tavares. Going the other way, Matt Moulson will become, by default, one of the top options to score for the retooling Sabres, while the team also paves the way for potential ice time for its developing stars. Let's have a look at the impact on a player-by-player basis.

Thomas Vanek, F, New York Islanders: Easily the biggest potential fallout from this deal is the possible transformation of Vanek from an elite scoring winger who has cold spells to an elite scoring winger who won't be able to have cold spells because his linemates are so good. Vanek will get the chance to replace Moulson on the Islanders' top line with Tavares, and if the two players prove to have chemistry, Vanek will jump into the top 20 among forwards. Already a proven commodity without a supporting cast, Vanek now has an exceptional supporting cast around him. It's also fun to note that a healthy Vanek could play 84 games this season because of the games in hand the Isles have on the Sabres.

The Top 200

Note: Sean Allen's top 200 players are ranked for their expected performance in ESPN standard leagues from this point on, not on the statistics that have already been accrued. ESPN standard stats include goals, assists, power-play points, shots on goal, plus/minus, penalty minutes and average time on ice for skaters, and wins, goals-against average and save percentage for goalies. Last week's ranking is indicated in parentheses.

1. Sidney Crosby, F, Pit (1)
2. Steven Stamkos, F, TB (2)
3. Alex Ovechkin, F, Was (3)
4. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (4)
5. John Tavares, F, NYI (5)
6. Henrik Zetterberg, F, Det (7)
7. Phil Kessel, F, Tor (8)
8. Corey Perry, F, Ana (9)
9. Evgeni Malkin, F, Pit (6)
10. P.K. Subban, D, Mon (10)
11. Anze Kopitar, F, LA (11)
12. Pavel Datsyuk, F, Det (12)
13. Patrick Kane, F, Chi (13)
14. Henrik Sedin, F, Van (15)
15. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Win (14)
16. Antti Niemi, G, SJ (18)
17. Erik Karlsson, D, Ott (16)
18. Jonathan Toews, F, Chi (17)
19. Daniel Sedin, F, Van (19)
20. Carey Price, G, Mon (29)
21. Chris Kunitz, F, Pit (22)
22. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pit (28)
23. Tyler Seguin, F, Dal (24)
24. Ryan Suter, D, Min (25)
25. Ryan Getzlaf, F, Ana (26)
26. Martin St. Louis, F, TB (27)
27. Eric Staal, F, Car (21)
28. Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR (20)
29. Craig Anderson, G, Ott (30)
30. Zach Parise, F, Min (36)
31. Logan Couture, F, SJ (37)
32. Kris Letang, D, Pit (114)
33. Evander Kane, F, Wpg (32)
34. Nicklas Backstrom, F, Was (33)
35. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (34)
36. Semyon Varlamov, G, Col (47)
37. Corey Crawford, G, Chi (38)
38. Matt Duchene, F, Col (44)
39. Jason Spezza, F, Ott (39)
40. Claude Giroux, F, Phi (40)
41. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Cls (35)
42. Shea Weber, D, Nsh (41)
43. Patrick Marleau, F, SJ (56)
44. Alexander Semin, F, Car (42)
45. Joe Thornton, F, SJ (48)
46. Drew Doughty, D, LA (58)
47. Roberto Luongo, G, Van (43)
48. Jamie Benn, F, Dal (45)
49. David Backes, F, StL (57)
50. Patrick Sharp, F, Chi (46)
51. Marian Hossa, F, Chi (49)
52. Jimmy Howard, G, Det (50)
53. Andrei Markov, D, Mon (52)
54. Marian Gaborik, F, Cls (53)
55. Jaroslav Halak, G, StL (54)
56. Niklas Kronwall, D, Det (61)
57. Thomas Vanek, F, NYI (71)
58. Joffrey Lupul, F, Tor (51)
59. James van Riemsdyk, F, Tor (70)
60. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Pho (97)
61. Alex Pietrangelo, D, StL (66)
62. Mike Green, D, Was (55)
63. Dustin Brown, F, LA (62)
64. Jonathan Bernier, G, Tor (60)
65. Tobias Enstrom, D, Win (64)
66. Johan Franzen, F, Det (68)
67. Mike Ribeiro, F, Pho (69)
68. Matt Moulson, F, Buf (63)
69. Bobby Ryan, F, Ott (72)
70. Dion Phaneuf, D, Tor (67)
71. Ryan Kesler, F, Van (77)
72. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (73)
73. Patrice Bergeron, F, Bos (59)
74. Mikko Koivu, F, Min (74)
75. Jordan Eberle, F, Edm (75)
76. Jeff Carter, F, LA (82)
77. Zdeno Chara, D, Bos (65)
78. Nazem Kadri, F, Tor (76)
79. Alexander Steen, F, StL (92)
80. Radim Vrbata, F, Pho (94)
81. Justin Williams, F, LA (78)
82. Joe Pavelski, F, SJ (79)
83. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, F, Edm (81)
84. Gabriel Landeskog, F, Col (84)
85. Jason Pominville, F, Min (85)
86. Dennis Wideman, D, Cgy (105)
87. Taylor Hall, F, Edm (31)
88. Cory Schneider, G, NJ (90)
89. Andrew Ladd, F, Wpg (86)
90. Jarome Iginla, F, Bos (87)
91. Pascal Dupuis, F, Pit (88)
92. Brad Richards, F, NYR (89)
93. Milan Lucic, F, Bos (99)
94. Mike Smith, G, Pho (91)
95. Patrik Elias, F, NJ (95)
96. Jeff Skinner, F, Car (101)
97. Tomas Fleischmann, F, Fla (96)
98. Steve Downie, F, Col (111)
99. Cody Franson, D, Tor (122)
100. Blake Wheeler, F, Wpg (100)
101. Teddy Purcell, F, TB (102)
102. David Krejci, F, Bos (152)
103. Sam Gagner, F, Edm (103)
104. Brian Campbell, D, Fla (93)
105. Brandon Dubinsky, F, Cls (128)
106. Mark Streit, D, Phi (107)
107. Jakub Voracek, F, Phi (98)
108. Tomas Hertl, F, SJ (108)
109. Mike Richards, F, LA (109)
110. Ryan O'Reilly, F, Col (110)
111. Jonas Hiller, G, Ana (80)
112. Kyle Okposo, F, NYI (145)
113. Keith Yandle, D, Pho (112)
114. Brent Burns, F, SJ (115)
115. Pekka Rinne, G, Nsh (23)
116. Braden Holtby, G, Was (138)
117. Torey Krug, D, Bos (176)
118. David Perron, F, Edm (139)
119. Tomas Plekanec, F, Mon (118)
120. James Wisniewski, D, Cls (124)
121. David Clarkson, F, Tor (120)
122. Rick Nash, F, NYR (104)
123. Scott Hartnell, F, Phi (168)
124. T.J. Oshie, F, StL (131)
125. Alex Burrows, F, Van (148)
126. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, StL (123)
127. Justin Schultz, D, Edm (125)
128. Brandon Saad, F, Chi (126)
129. Jaromir Jagr, F, NJ (132)
130. Daniel Alfredsson, F, Det (129)
131. Kari Lehtonen, G, Dal (157)
132. Derek Stepan, F, NYR (83)
133. Max Pacioretty, F, Mon (130)
134. Frans Nielsen, F, NYI (197)
135. Jack Johnson, D, Cls (133)
136. Jiri Tlusty, F, Car (116)
137. Jason Garrison, D, Van (143)
138. Kyle Turris, F, Ott (135)
139. Jonathan Huberdeau, F, Fla (136)
140. Jiri Hudler, F, Cgy (149)
141. Alex Galchenyuk, F, Mon (141)
142. Sean Monahan, F, Cgy (142)
143. Brendan Gallagher, F, Mon (144)
144. Loui Eriksson, F, Dal (106)
145. Wayne Simmonds, F, Phi (119)
146. Matt Carle, D, TB (146)
147. Alexander Edler, D, Van (147)
148. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (127)
149. Kimmo Timonen, D, Phi (134)
150. Nathan MacKinnon, F, Col (153)
151. Cody Hodgson, F, Buf (155)
152. Lars Eller, F, Mon (156)
153. Bryan Little, F, Wpg (159)
154. Brad Marchand, F, Bos (117)
155. Alex Tanguay, F, Col (164)
156. Mikhail Grabovski, F, Was (163)
157. P.A. Parenteau, F, Col (113)
158. Marek Zidlicky, D, NJ (189)
159. Evgeni Nabokov, G, NYI (165)
160. Andre Benoit, D, Col (166)
161. Justin Faulk, D, Car (167)
162. Vladimir Tarasenko, F, StL (158)
163. Slava Voynov, D, LA (161)
164. Milan Michalek, F, Ott (160)
165. Marcus Johansson, F, Was (170)
166. Mikkel Boedker, F, Pho (172)
167. Ray Whitney, F, Dal (173)
168. Vincent Lecavalier, F, Phi (174)
169. Shane Doan, F, Pho (169)
170. Ben Bishop, G, TB (180)
171. Matt Niskanen, D, Pit (188)
172. Josh Harding, G, Min (NR)
173. Seth Jones, D, Nsh (177)
174. Sami Salo, D, TB (178)
175. Ryan Malone, F, TB (186)
176. Mike Cammalleri, F, Cgy (NR)
177. Jussi Jokinen, F, Pit (182)
178. Sergei Gonchar, D, Dal (151)
179. Damien Brunner, F, NJ (183)
180. Erik Johnson, D, Col (NR)
181. Nail Yakupov, F, Edm (185)
182. Michael Grabner, F, NYI (187)
184. Nathan Gerbe, F, Car (NR)
186. Niklas Backstrom, G, Min (179)
187. Martin Hanzal, F, Pho (194)
188. Kris Russell, D, Cgy (NR)
189. Steve Mason, G, Phi (NR)
190. Cam Ward, G, Car (137)
192. Alex Chiasson, F, Dal (195)
193. Ryan Murphy, D, Car (196)
194. Kris Versteeg, F, Fla (191)
195. Matt Irwin, D, SJ (198)
196. Ryan Johansen, F, Cls (199)
198. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, SJ (NR)
199. Jay Bouwmeester, D, StL (NR)
200. Radko Gudas, D, TB (NR)

Matt Moulson, F, Buffalo Sabres: Moulson is definitely downgraded by this deal, but not nearly as much as one might think. He was a star by association to Tavares with the Isles, but he has proved he can produce offense in the NHL. His two goals in his Sabres debut sets the tone a little too well, but the bottom line is that Moulson is still a top-line player in the NHL, it's just for the top line of a team that won't be quite as good at scoring goals. Playing with Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson is adequate for Moulson to earn his fantasy keep.

Kyle Okposo, F, New York Islanders: Moulson and Vanek are both natural left wingers and Michael Grabner might still be in the mix here, but Okposo appears to have upgraded from being on a line with one elite NHLer to being on a line with two of them. If you weren't already on the Okposo train, it's too late now. He hit 100 percent ownership in ESPN leagues this week. But if someone in your league thinks they are selling high by dealing him away at this point, accept their challenge. Okposo has it about as good as it gets for linemates in the NHL, and he is cashing in on the assignment already. Things could get even better with Vanek in the fold.

Mikhail Grigorenko, F, Buffalo Sabres: It won't happen right away, but at some point during a season that is now clearly a rebuild, the kid gloves have to come off for the Sabres' prospects. Chiefly talented among those prospects is Grigorenko. He played only nine minutes of ice time in the first game of the post-Vanek era, but it's fitting that Grigorenko managed his first point of the season in the contest. When the ice time begins to rise for Grigorenko, it's time to think about him as an option.

Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo Sabres: There is a chance that Miller's rough numbers combined with a signal that the Sabres are retooling will result in him being dropped in some deeper leagues. If he is, feel free to pounce. Miller won't last all season in Buffalo, and will have shining potential if he finds a new home through trade. The way goaltenders around the league are dropping like flies, it may be sooner rather than later that a trade occurs. Any league with 12 or more fantasy teams should have Miller at least stashed on the bench for later.

Matt Donovan, D, New York Islanders: Donovan gets a mention due to the combination of Vanek's arrival and the injury to Lubomir Visnovsky. Without a natural choice as the puck-moving defenseman and power-play quarterback, Donovan becomes a default choice for the role. He handled it last season for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL (to the tune of 48 points) and will now have a chance to man a power play that will be improved with the presence of Vanek. Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic are the only other options, and both have fallen woefully short of expectations while handling spot power-play duties in the past. The longer Visnovsky is out, the better chance Donovan has of emerging as a fantasy option.

Forwards rising and falling

Alexander Steen, F, St. Louis Blues (up 13 spots to No. 79): Steen has been this good before, but never has it appeared that he might have the consistency to keep it up for an extended period of time. That is the case here, as he appears to be healthy and absolutely dominating on a St. Louis Blues top line that has no reason to change. Obviously, he will come down to earth from the 10 goals in nine games that he has managed thus far in the season, but it's not as if you should expect him to crash and burn entirely. No, with David Backes doing his thing as the team's top center, and T.J. Oshie looking even stronger, it is just a matter of Steen staying healthy. If someone thinks they are selling high by aiming for a top 60 forward in trade, let them believe they are correct.

David Krejci, F, Boston Bruins (up 50 spots to No. 102): There is always some hesitance when it comes to believing that the playoff Krejci has finally shown up in the regular season, but numbers don't lie. With the Bruins' second line not showing itself on the score sheet, Krejci and the top line have been piling up the points. In 10 games, Krejci has 10 assists and a pair of goals. We know he can score at this pace, as he now has two Stanley Cup playoffs on his resume where he was among the leading scorers. That is why it is easy to buy into Krejci's hot start and expect it to continue. We actually have a history of him piling up fantasy value, it's just not as obvious, because he's done it while many fantasy owners are busy with the start of baseball season in the spring.

Defensemen rising and falling

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Phoenix Coyotes (up 37 spots to No. 60): It was only a matter of time until Ekman-Larsson took over from Keith Yandle as the top fantasy defenseman for the Coyotes, but it may be happening at least a season sooner than expected. Yandle is coming off a rock-solid campaign last season, but Ekman-Larsson appears to have made some leaps and bounds at the age of 22. Though Yandle isn't done contributing, as evidenced by his eight points to Ekman-Larsson's nine, the younger defenseman already has the advantage in ice time by more than four minutes per game this season. There is little doubt that you can be sure Ekman-Larsson has taken a step forward this season, and you can buy into his strong start.

Zdeno Chara, D, Boston Bruins (down 12 spots to No. 77): Speaking of taking steps forward, the young members of the Bruins defense -- Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton -- have taken enough of a step forward to force Chara to take a step backward this season. While Krug and Hamilton may not have the ability to keep up their pace all season, it is clear that Chara is taking a back seat to them for now. We hoped Chara would bounce back from last season's dismal showing, but stretched out over the lockout-shortened campaign his numbers have been sub-par for some time now. Chara had four shots on goal against the Buffalo Sabres last Thursday, but looking at the other three of the past four games he has just one shot on goal. For a guy who generated his fantasy value with a blistering shot from the point, that is troubling to see. Given the presence of young studs looking to usurp his role, and the lack of his bread and butter shots on goal, selling Chara now may not be a bad move. He could turn this thing around quickly, but it's starting to look like that might not happen.

Goaltenders rising and falling

Jonas Hiller, G, Anaheim Ducks (down 31 spots to No. 111): Even with his challenger Viktor Fasth on the shelf, Hiller can't seem to get a foothold on the starting goalie gig; Hiller has yielded starts to Frederik Andersen while Fasth is recuperating. Hiller has posted a 2.64 goals-against average and allowed 12 goals in his last eight periods (three starts), while Andersen has been showing up the veteran by posting three wins and a 1.50 goals-against average in three appearances. None of the Ducks' goaltenders should be in your plans as a No. 1 fantasy netminder and, until further notice, there isn't a preferred candidate to potentially earn that title. If Fasth's struggles at the start of the season were due to the lower-body ailment from which he is now recovering, he could be an interesting target when he is healthy. In the meantime, we'll have to see how long Andersen can keep up his run of success. Hiller owners need to bench him and sit tight.

Quick Hits (Injured Goalie Edition)

• With Pekka Rinne gone, and Carter Hutton imploding against the St. Louis Blues, Magnus Hellberg has to be considered a target. Even if coach Barry Trotz is endorsing Hutton, Hellberg needs to be seriously considered, both by Rinne owners and anyone else seeking goalie stats.

• With Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin hurt, there isn't much reason to consider the leftovers in the Carolina Hurricanes' crease. Justin Peters wasn't able to be fantasy relevant in a chance to put up numbers last season, and there's no reason to expect any different this season. If Khudobin beats Ward back to health, things will get interesting, as he was already making a move on Ward at the start of October.

Niklas Backstrom allowed as many goals in his past two starts as Josh Harding has in nine appearances this season. Changing of the guard on the way? There was already talk of running with Harding after Backstrom returned. Harding has a back issue right now, but when he is healthy, it will only take one solid start to get back his foothold on the starting gig.

• With third-string netminder Richard Bachman putting on the best performance in the Edmonton Oilers' goal this season, there is no harm in monitoring the situation closely. Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera have have struggled behind an inexperienced defense that often leaves them to the wolves, but Bachman impressed with 47 saves against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. To be clear, only a situation to watch at the moment with Dubnyk hurt.

Cory Schneider isn't expected to be out long, but Martin Brodeur finally earned his first win of the season in his absence. Sadly, that squares them at one win apiece for the season. However, Schenider's numbers are clearly superior and, as sad as it is to say, Brodeur is clearly the backup this season. Consider Schneider a midrange No. 2 goaltender with potential to rise if the Devils get their act together defensively.