What Is A Utility Player In Fantasy Hockey?

By Abhay Acharya / 9 October 2023 03:55 AM

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What is a Utility Player in Fantasy Hockey? A player who can play both forward and defense is known as a utility player in Fantasy Hockey.

With the 2023-24 NHL regular season all set to start this Tuesday, there is a rising enthusiasm among hockey fantasy lovers. People strategize their way into the league with the players of their selection, either from the NHL or any other professional hockey league. 

Fantasy hockey is a form of fantasy sport where you can build a team as a manager or a commissioner and compete with other similar groups. The competition is based on the statistics fostered by pro teams or hockey players. 

A hockey pool or league comprises 8-12 teams. However, with an increase in hockey enthusiasts, the number often reaches as many as 20 clubs.

You can choose the player who best fits your team by looking at the player's Average Draft position through several sources like CBS, Yahoo, and ESPN. 

In addition, undertaking extensive research not just on the top-ranked players but also on the breakouts and sleepers is a must for acquiring the best squad in your team, primarily for Auction drafts and Salary Cap leagues. 

UL Position In Yahoo Fantasy Hockey

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey defines the utility position as a roster spot in your starting lineup. The player earns points irrespective of their play. 

This grants you the flexibility of assigning any player from any position to fill the utility position, uplifting your team's scoring potential. Most teams trust an extra forward in their squad to the utility spot that differs from a bench spot.

This is a starting lineup in fantasy hockey where the statistics for the player in the area get counted in the team's per-day enactment.

Being a flexible roster spot, an additional defenseman or a forward can be added. However, if your team can play an extra forward to enhance the goal-scoring chances in the game, you would also be choosing a forward over a defenseman for your UL spot.

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In addition, a player in this spot can acquire full credit for his stats in your league's scoring. The limitations, however, used by the team are subject to influence the utility player and other players.

As per the NHL player projections for the 2023/24 regular season, Jake Oettinger - Goalie, Connor McDavid - Forward, and Cale Makar - Defense are the top players in their respective positions.

McDavid remains the no. 1 pick in all Yahoo Fantasy Hockey leagues, while the most common composition of the player for teams includes 9 F, 6 D, 2 G, 1 UL, and some players on the bench and injured reserve. 

Best Utility Players To Draft 2023

The best utility players to draft are Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, David Pastrnak, and more. The draft is made from the offense or defense category. 

The ranking of the players is based on the points they scored during the 2022-23 NHL regular season. Also, the points are assigned in fantasy hockey by adding the number of goals and assists of the respective player during the season. 

Furthermore, skaters do not get their shootouts recorded, while a player's plus/minus point is irrelevant to the power play goals. In fantasy hockey, a player's power-play points are computed by adding the number of power-play goals and assists. 

The best offensive utility player in fantasy hockey is Connor McDavid, with 153 points last season. Following him is the list of best utility players to draft per the points they gained in the 2022-23 season.

  • Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers) - 128 points
  • Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning) - 113 points
  • David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins) - 113 points
  • Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche) - 111 points
  • Matthew Tkachuk (Florida Panthers) - 109 points

Connor McDavid is the best pick for your fantasy hockey team, scoring 153 points (89 assists and 64 goals) for the Oilers during the 2022-23 season. He earned at least one point in the Oilers' final 16 games.

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The Oilers' forward, Leon Draisaitl, led the team during the previous season with 128 points (52 goals and 76 assists). He recorded the highest points, 17, in a Battle of Alberta series history during the 2022 Stanley Cup second-round fixture against the Calgary Flames. 

With 113 points (30 goals and 83 assists) during the 2022-23 season, Nikita Kucherov ranks third in the best utility player list. The Tampa Bay right-winger finished seventh in scoring in the NHL in the 2019-20 season before leading the team to the 2020 Stanley Cup win.

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The Boston Bruins forward right-winger David Pastrnak scored 113 points with 61 goals and 52 assists in the 2022-23 NHL regular season,

He became the Hart Trophy first-time finalist. Pastrnak played his 500th NHL game on 19 March 2022 in a 4-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Center with 15:48 ice time. 

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey Position Eligibility

Position eligibility defines what position a player is eligible to play in the fantasy hockey leagues. The player can have more than one position eligibility. 

In Yahoo fantasy hockey, a player's position eligibility is defined by their NHL coordinator. It is determined considering his listed position in the NHL, depth charts, starting lineups, and past performances. 

If the player shows notable trends in the said sectors, he will be eligible for the secondary position in the league. For instance, a center-forward player can also be eligible to play as a defenseman if he shows such defensive qualities in his NHL career. 

Primarily, the player is given a position eligibility considering his position in the NHL and his past playtime in the said position. Additional position eligibilities are assigned to the player after a significant time in the league. 

In contrast, ESPN Fantasy Hockey position eligibility is assigned to the players via the League office. Just like in Yahoo, the players in the NHL are primarily given the position before each season with their past year's playing time as the criteria, incorporating rookies, too. 

With the primary position eligibility fixed throughout the season, players can be given additional position eligibility by the league office. The addition is done considering the player's playing minutes in a particular position, his defensive assignments, and his positioning in the offensive sets. 

Following that, the League office also considers any official designations made by the National Hockey League. However, it holds the final say in the matter. 

Likewise, the fantasy hockey manager can't change a player's position eligibility (Yahoo and ESPN). However, commissioners in Yahoo Fantasy can use the custom position eligibility tool to award the players' position eligibility despite needing to be eligible in Yahoo Fantasy's standard. 

The commissioner, however, can only add positions, neither edit nor remove them with the tool. 

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey Position Changes

Yahoo fantasy hockey position changes comprise Yakov Trenin (LW), Marcus Foligno (RW), and more. The alteration depends on various factors, like past playtime, etc. 

The players become eligible for a new position after their significant performance in that role throughout the past season and pre-season games. The owners of the fantasy hockey team can request the addition of position eligibility to a player via mail. 

At Yahoo Fantasy's discretion, the forward positions can be added throughout the season, while the old ones won't be lost and can be regained as per the lineup changes.

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Some of the most recent fantasy hockey forward position eligibility changes for the 2023-24 season are noted below:

  • Yakov Trenin, Nashville Predators: C, LW (gained LW)
  • Marcus Foligno, Minnesota Wild: LW, RW (gained RW)
  • Morgan Barron, Winnipeg Jets: C, LW (gained LW)
  • Klim Kostin, Detroit Red Wings: C, LW (gained LW)
  • Michael Rasmussen, Detroit Red Wings: C, LW (gained LW)
  • Noel Acciari, Pittsburgh Penguins: C, RW (gained RW)
  • Austin Watson, Tampa Bay Lightning: LW, RW (gained RW)
  • Morgan Geekie, Boston Bruins: C, RW (gained RW)
  • Dakota Joshua, Vancouver Canucks: C, LW (gained LW)
  • Tyler Motte, Tampa Bay Lightning: LW, RW (gained RW)
  • Carl Grundstrom, Los Angeles Kings: LW, RW (gained LW)
  • Sam Lafferty, Toronto Maple Leafs: C, RW (gained RW)
  • Nicholas Paul, Tampa Bay Lightning: C, LW (gained C)
  • Brandon Duhaime, Minnesota Wild: LW, RW (gained LW)
  • Yegor Sharangovich, Calgary Flames: C, LW (gained LW)

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