For many fantasy hockey participants, season-long formats are all they need. But for the hardcore owners, the extreme hockey fans, keeper and dynasty formats are all they know.
The difference between season-long and keeper/dynasty leagues is that you don’t get an entirely clean slate from one season to the next. Most basic keeper leagues allow an owner to hold onto anywhere from 2-6 players, and sometimes even more. Certain leagues will allow you to keep players without any repercussions. Others force you to give up a draft pick according to which round you selected said player the previous year.
A dynasty league normally allows you to keep your entire roster. So, when drafting in such a format, it’s important to consider the long-term scope rather than just what to expect from a player this season. You’ll also want to consider recent high draft picks, players expected to break into the NHL within the next 2-3 years who will have prominent roles on their respective teams. Knowing which of these prospects to select is even more important if you’re allowed to stash a few players outside of your active roster.
Here are the top 50 keeper/dynasty league players for Yahoo standard leagues. Players who will be 24 years old or younger at the start of the 2017-18 season (Oct. 4) are eligible for this list; each player’s age is noted next to his name.
NOTE: Top rookies have been identified in a separate story and have not been included on this list.
1. Connor McDavid, C, EDM (20)
2. Auston Matthews, C, TOR (20)
3. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (24)
4. Jack Eichel, C, BUF (20)
5. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (24)
6. Patrik Laine, RW, WPG (19)
7. Matt Murray, G, PIT (23)
8. Leon Draisaitl, C/RW, EDM (21)
9. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TBL (23)
10. David Pastrnak, RW, BOS (21)
Notes: McDavid is the consensus No. 1 pick in pretty much every format imaginable. … Kucherov comes in ahead of Eichel because of who he plays for, the Tampa Bay Lightning (perennial Stanley Cup contenders), compared to the Buffalo Sabres (haven’t made Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2011). … Scheifele ranks ahead of his teammate Laine, providing better category coverage with a higher overall point ceiling (82 in 82 games last season).
11. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (24)
12. John Gibson, G, ANA (24)
13. William Nylander, C/RW, TOR (21)
14. Mitchell Marner, C/RW, TOR (20)
15. Dougie Hamilton, D, CGY (24)
16. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, BUF (22)
17. Zach Werenski, D, CBJ (20)
18. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, WPG (21)
19. Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH (23)
20. Seth Jones, D, CBJ (22)
Notes: We finally see some defensemen get into the mix with Hamilton, Ristolainen and Werenski. Each is young and sees first power-play usage for an emerging team. … The Toronto Maple Leafs, with Matthews, Nylander and Marner, have three players among the top 15 keeper/dynasty rankings. Nylander gets the slight nod ahead of Marner since he plays with center Auston Matthews, but each wing on a prolific power-play unit. … You could argue Ehlers should be higher, playing with either Scheifele or Laine in the top six.
21. Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (22)
22. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (22)
23. Jonathan Drouin, LW/RW, MTL (22)
24. Jake Guentzel, C/LW, PIT (22)
25. Rickard Rakell, C/LW, ANA (24)
26. Alexander Wennberg, C, CBJ (22)
27. Brandon Saad, LW, CHI (24)
28. Jacob Trouba, D, WPG (23)
29. Nathan MacKinnon, C, COL (22)
30. Sebastian Aho, LW/RW, CAR (20)
Notes: Monahan may be one of the safer keeper/dynasty picks, expected to spend most of his immediate time centering Gaudreau on the Calgary Flames. He’s signed long-term and has at least 58 points in each of the past three seasons. … Guentzel has a ton of upside if he sticks on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ top line with center Sidney Crosby for a full season. … Rakell could take the next step as a center and power-play staple in Ryan Kesler‘s injury absence and never look back. … Although the Colorado Avalanche were at the bottom of the NHL standings last season, things should eventually turn around. MacKinnon will have young forwards on his side in right wing Mikko Rantanen and rookie center Tyson Jost.
31. Colton Parayko, D, STL (24)
32. Alex Galchenyuk, C/LW, MTL (23)
33. Aaron Ekblad, D, FLA (21)
34. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, CGY (19)
35. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, PHI (24)
36. Max Domi, LW, ARI (22)
37. Oscar Klefbom, D, EDM (24)
38. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, FLA (24)
39. Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW, NSH (24)
40. Bo Horvat, C, VAN (22)
Notes: Klefbom has plenty of upside as the No. 1 defenseman for the Edmonton Oilers, offering constant exposure to McDavid and Draisaitl. … Ekblad has injury concerns but also a high goal-scoring ceiling and elite shot on goal volume for a defenseman. … Gostisbehere’s NHL career points-per-game average (0.60) remains impressive even after his underachieving season. … In a multi-category format, Tkachuk has the coverage to be worthy of an even higher pick.
41. Sam Reinhart, C/RW, BUF (21)
42. Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, EDM (19)
43. Robby Fabbri, C/LW, STL (21)
44. Jaccob Slavin, D, CAR (23)
45. Anthony Mantha, LW/RW, DET (23)
46. Elias Lindholm, C/RW, CAR (22)
47. Andre Burakovsky, LW/RW, WSH (22)
48. J.T. Miller, LW/RW, NYR (24)
49. Nick Schmaltz, C/LW, CHI (21)
50. Shea Theodore, D, VGK (22)
Notes: Puljujarvi has limited NHL experience (28 games) but carries lofty fantasy upside on a line with either McDavid or Draisaitl for years to come. Same goes for Reinhart (potential linemate: Eichel), Burakovsky (Evgeny Kuznetsov) and Schmaltz (Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews). … Theodore figures to be the top defenseman and power-play quarterback for the Vegas Golden Knights. … It’s worth noting Miller (56 points last season) is starting training camp at center for the New York Rangers and could see more power-play time after the departure of Derek Stepan.
Other 24-or-younger players to prioritize in a keeper/dynasty league: Mika Zibanejad (C, NYR), Vincent Trocheck (C, FLA), Ryan Strome (C/RW, EDM), Dylan Larkin (C/RW, DET), Brady Skjei (D, NYR), Mikko Rantanen (LW/RW, COL), Teuvo Teravainen (C/LW, CAR), Ivan Provorov (D, PHI), Pavel Buchnevich (LW/RW, NYR), Christian Dvorak (C, ARI)