NHL

Will Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel Be a Better Fantasy Hockey Option in 2015-16?

Evaluating the fantasy potential for the NHL's top draft picks in the 2015-16 season.

A long-awaited 2015-16 NHL season will begin on Tuesday bringing with it a lot of hype surrounding what could be the emergence of the next generation of NHL stars. 

Particularly speaking, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the league's top-two draft picks: Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.

McDavid is the young Canadian star who has already been mentioned as an emerging great alongside Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. The Boston University star, Eichel, is USA Hockey's top prospect. 

However, fantasy (and daily fantasy) NHL players have surely started to ask the questions: who is the better bet for fantasy production? 

The preseason data covering the main statistical categories indicates the narrow margins between their performance. 

Player GP G A PPG +/-
Connor McDavid 5 0 5 1 4
Jack Eichel 4 2 4 1.5 3


Their preseason numbers are close and promising, but even with McDavid putting up 9 shots and Eichel 10, Eichel beat out McDavid on peripheral stats. He impressively boasts two short-handed goals and two game-winning goals.

McDavid, on the other hand, even while skating with a proven offensive unit boasting Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, will likely serve as the focal point of the Oilers' offense, more so than Eichel, and will probably receive the attention of opponent's top caliber defensemen. 

McDavid will certainly have big nights on daily fantasy scoreboards, but overall, Eichel could prove to be a more consistent value especially while skating with relatively more dangerous NHL forwards such as Tyler Ennis and Evander Kane

As for our season-long projections, it should be a tight race. McDavid is pegged for 176 shots, 18 goals, 26 assists, and a +/- of -11. Our algorithms expect 177 shots, 18 goals, 27 assists, and the same +/- for Eichel.