Top 10 Maple Leafs Players to Draft in Fantasy Hockey in 2023-24

Hockey fans, it is that time of year again! Fantasy hockey drafts are just about to happen, which means it is time to talk about the top 10 draft candidates from the Toronto Maple Leafs. In this article, I will rank the players on the Maple Leafs in the order in which I feel they could be picked if they are available in your fantasy hockey league. 

The stats that I will talk about are as follows: goals, assists, points, shots, hits, and blocked shots for skaters. For goalies, we will look at wins, goals-against average (GAA), save percentage (SV%), and, of course, shutouts. I find these stats to be the best for a head-to-head setup in my fantasy leagues, but it is completely up to you which scoring style you use.

10. John Klingberg, RD

Alas, John Klingberg wraps up the list at number ten. Another newly acquired player by the Maple Leafs, he is an offensive-minded defenceman, who should excel with his new team. Toronto is a strong offensive team, and Klingberg can use his strength to add to that, especially on the power play. Klingberg will most likely be the fourth or fifth defenceman on your fantasy team and could be picked in the eighth to ninth-round range.

John Klingberg Minnesota Wild
John Klingberg, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

However, there could be a lot of potential with this pick. Klingberg should easily be able to beat his point total from last season when he had 33 points in 67 games. If he can find his game again with the Maple Leafs, he could score 50 points this season. Other than scoring, he can provide you with a bit more; he had 84 blocks and 55 hits last season, which should be on par with what he gets with the Maple Leafs.

9. Matthew Knies, LW

Every Maple Leafs fan’s favourite prospect, Matthew Knies, makes the list, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to many. He will be a later-rounder pick, probably around the five- to seven-round range, unless someone in your draft is a huge Maple Leafs fan and takes him earlier on in the draft. In his seven appearances in the 2023 NHL Playoffs, he scored one goal and had three assists in seven games. He could see time in the top six as well but may start the season on the team’s third line. In terms of point production, Knies could easily score 50 points in his rookie season. He also appears to enjoy throwing the body, with 15 hits in his seven playoff games, so that is another area where he could help your team.

8. Max Domi, LW/C

Max Domi is in a similar spot to Tyler Bertuzzi, both on the Maple Leafs and in your fantasy draft. These two will be picked very close to each other based on the point production that they could have this season with their new squad. Domi is coming off a good season in 2022-23, where he scored 20 goals and 36 assists for 56 points in 80 games. 

Related: Maple Leafs 2023-24 Roster: Building a Balanced Lineup

If he can do this again, it would be exactly what the Maple Leafs need: another player who produces like a top-six forward. This season, he is slotted in on the team’s second line with Marner and Tavares, where the possibility of him scoring around the same as he did last season is high. He also had 179 shots, 24 blocks, and 22 hits last season, as well as a 53.7% faceoff winning percentage. However, fans and fantasy hockey general managers should expect his hit total to go up to around 40-50 based on him playing for his childhood team, where his dad, Tie Domi, was known for the rough stuff. 

7. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW

The aforementioned Bertuzzi is a Maple Leafs fan’s dream. He brings an element to the team that they have been missing for quite some time. In the fantasy hockey world, he could truly be a steal. He will most likely drop to the third or fourth round but could be in for a career-high in points. Early lineup predictions have Bertuzzi alongside William Nylander and Auston Matthews, which means his point production could double from last season; he only had eight goals and 22 assists for 30 points in 50 games. But this season, he could be sitting around 65 points, assuming he has a clean bill of health. Bertuzzi also typically gets you up to 30–40 blocks per season and 65–80 hits, which again can only help your team if those stats are counted in your league.

6. Ilya Samsonov, G

Ilya Samsonov will be in the second tier of goaltenders, behind names like Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin. He will most likely be available in the third round and could be a steal of a draft pick. Last season, he had 27 wins, which was tied for 11th in the league. He also had a .919 SV%, which was ninth best in the league (filtered to a minimum of 10 games played), and a 2.33 GAA, which was seventh best in the league (filtered to a minimum of 10 games played). This season, he owns the Maple Leafs net, and barring an injury, he will play more games, which could mean that his wins will increase. 

5. Morgan Rielly, LD

Morgan Rielly is typically the Maple Leafs’ most offensive defenceman, which is why he is a good pick to be the second defenceman on your fantasy team. Depending on where you are drafting, he could be your late second or early third-round pick, so be sure to watch for him. 

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The good thing about Rielly is who he plays alongside on the powerplay. He usually plays with the Core Four, which generates a good amount of points per season. In 2022-23, Rielly had four goals and 37 assists for 41 points in 65 games. He also had 126 shots, 85 blocks, and 70 hits, which can earn you some extra points in your league. 

4. John Tavares, C/W

Starting off the Core Four for the Maple Leafs is the captain, John Tavares. He is another second-round pick who comes with a very consistent history. Last season, he had 36 goals and 44 assists for 80 points in 80 games, and in his career with the Maple Leafs, he has 354 points in 360 games, just six points off of a point per game since joining the team in 2018-19. Tavares is also very good in the faceoff circle, which is something to keep in mind if your league has faceoffs as a stat. He also shoots a decent amount, with 277 shots last season. 

3. William Nylander, LW

Nylander could be the first Maple Leafs player to fall into the second round of your fantasy draft (depending on the number of teams). If he does fall to the second round, he won’t be there long, so keep an eye out for him. Last season, he had a career-high in points with 40 goals and 47 assists for 87 points and could be looking to maximize his earnings entering the final year of his contract. 

Related: 7 Maple Leaf Players vs. Their ESPN Projections

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Nylander could be on the top line alongside Matthews and newly acquired winger Tyler Bertuzzi, so the potential for an increase in point production this season is high. He had 293 shots last season, which was also a career-high and could be up over 300 by the end of 2023-24.

2. Mitch Marner, RW

Another surefire pick from the Maple Leafs is Mitch Marner. He is coming off of a 99-point season that included a 23-game point streak, which is the longest in the team’s 105-year history. During that streak, he scored 11 goals and 21 assists for 32 points. This is the type of streak that makes you move up in the standings in your fantasy league. Marner finished with 196 shots on goal, which is the third-highest in his career. He is also looking to have another outstanding season and hopes to finally break the century mark in points for the first time in his seven-year NHL career. He will be a first-round pick in just about every fantasy hockey league, so if you have a mid-round draft choice, he would be a smart selection.

1. Auston Matthews, C

This one shouldn’t be a shock to anyone; Matthews is typically a fantasy hockey legend based on his stat line at the end of the season. Last season, in 74 games, he scored 40 goals and 45 assists for 85 points, which made him a 1.14-point-per-game player. He is an ideal pick if you have a top-five selection in your fantasy league draft. In terms of shots, Matthews loves to shoot; he had 327 last season, placing him sixth in the league in that category. He also led all forwards in blocked shots with 92.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Looking ahead to this season, Matthews is coming in healthy and incredibly hungry because of how last season ended for the team. He is projected to have 53 goals by ESPN, which is easily attainable for a player like Matthews. He should be a very safe pick, especially with this season being deemed a bounce-back year after his 85-point season in 2022-23.

Honourable Mention: Jake McCabe, Calle Jarnkrok

Of course, this is just my opinion based on my experience drafting fantasy hockey teams. This can change based on your preferences and what stats your league counts. However, if you want to pick a Maple Leafs player or two, this is a good guide to go off of. 

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