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Posted On Wednesday, 06.18.2014 / 3:22 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Trending up, down after 2014 playoffs

The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs were as unpredictable as ever, and fantasy owners can expect many developments from around the NHL to impact next year's landscape.

There were elite-level players (Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Henrik Lundqvist, Patrick Kane, P.K. Subban, etc.) who fueled deep playoff runs for their respective teams, as well as breakout stars from the regular season (Nathan MacKinnon, Jamie Benn, Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Johansen, Matt Niskanen, etc.) who carried over their strong play to the big stage.

But the players who will stick in the minds of fantasy owners all summer long are the playoff surprises and disappointments. Here are some players who are trending in fantasy, for better or worse, heading into the offseason as a result of their postseason performances.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.22.2014 / 6:47 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Islanders make big upgrade with Halak

The New York Islanders have a fantasy-relevant starting goalie. Let that sink in.

After trading for the rights of pending unrestricted free agent Jaroslav Halak on May 1, the Islanders locked up their new goalie Thursday with a four-year contract. For a team that hasn't had much stability at the position or success on the free-agent front in recent years, the signing is a major step in the right direction.

Halak, a productive fantasy goalie behind a stingy defense during his tenure with the St. Louis Blues, is one of four goalies with a 2.15 goals-against average and .920 save percentage or better over the past three regular seasons combined (minimum 100 outings). Cory Schneider, Tuukka Rask and Henrik Lundqvist are the others.

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Posted On Monday, 05.19.2014 / 3:00 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Elliott-Allen tandem in the works

What had the looks of a cloudy goalie situation for the St. Louis Blues just became crystal clear.

Brian Elliott signed a three-year contract to remain with the Blues, meaning he will likely anchor the team's goalie tandem alongside touted prospect Jake Allen in 2014-15.

And as a result of this contract development, it's certain that Ryan Miller, a pending unrestricted free agent, will either have his rights dealt elsewhere or test the market this summer.

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Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 12:00 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Best steals based on ADP, ownership

As the NHL regular season comes to a close, it's appropriate to marvel at how fantasy league champions were crowned after a six-month roller-coaster ride.

Besides avoiding the unpredictable injury bug, championship teams generally draft well in early rounds. But the fantasy playoffs always boil down to depth and consistency, and that's where late-round and waiver-wire gems put teams over the top.

Average draft position in standard Yahoo leagues provides a strong indication of the fantasy expectations surrounding a particular player coming into the season. When comparing ADPs with year-end ownership, it's clear which players have been the biggest fantasy "steals."

Here are the forwards, defensemen and goalies who exceeded expectations this season based on Yahoo ADP and ownership:

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 2:19 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Penguins' Letang back on map

An alarming health concern put the career of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang on hold, but his promising recovery has him back on the ice and ready to contribute.

The 26-year-old suffered a stroke on Jan. 29 and has been recovering over the past 10 weeks. Letang has practiced with contact for the past few weeks after being cleared by doctors and the team announced he will return Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

From a fantasy standpoint, any owner who held onto Letang during his recovery period is now likely to see him pay dividends down the stretch. If your one-year, head-to-head league does not permit owners from making waiver-wire transactions once eliminated, there's even a chance Letang is available at this time for your championship round (owned in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues).

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Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 3:26 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Avalanche's Barrie could be final piece

Last season, Colorado Avalanche defensemen combined to score five goals. Yes, it was a 48-game campaign, but that NHL-low total was a glaring weakness for a team that finished 29th among 30 teams in the standings.

What a difference a year makes.

This season, through 76 games, the Avalanche are the only NHL team with five defensemen who have six or more goals apiece. Bounce-back offensive seasons from Erik Johnson (eight goals) and Jan Hejda (six) as well as the additions of Nick Holden (nine) and Andre Benoit (seven) have made a huge difference, but the unit's improvement can be traced to the emergence of Tyson Barrie.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 12:18 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Loktionov builds trust with new team

We've seen Andrei Loktionov scratch at the surface of fantasy ownership before, but inconsistency always doomed his chances of sticking with highly skilled linemates for extended periods of time.

But since being traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Carolina Hurricanes, Loktionov has earned his stripes one day at a time, leading to regular ice time in a more prominent role and, most importantly, production.

The 23-year-old has six points and 12 shots on goal over his past five games and is seeing more ice time with the Hurricanes (13:51 per game) than with the Devils (12:18). His eight points (three goals, five assists) in 14 games for Carolina trails only Ales Hemsky (12), Thomas Vanek (11), Marian Gaborik (10), David Legwand (10), Ryan Callahan (10), Lee Stempniak (9) and Matt Moulson (9) for the most points since March 5 among players traded on NHL Trade Deadline day.

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 6:26 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Duchene injury tough to overcome

The road to a fantasy championship just got that much more difficult for owners of Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene.

The 23-year-old Duchene, who has a career-high 70 points, plus-8 rating and 217 shots on goal this season, is expected to miss about four weeks with a sprained MCL. It's an injury that will severely alter the depth of the Stanley Cup Playoff-bound Avalanche and offensive production for fantasy owners around the globe.

With recent injuries to Duchene and PA Parenteau, Colorado has shifted Calder Trophy favorite Nathan MacKinnon from right wing to center and onto a line with Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn. Paul Stastny looks to remain the team's second line center alongside Gabriel Landeskog but has John Mitchell -- for now -- lining up on his right.

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Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 1:59 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Category MVPs win championships

When the fantasy playoffs roll around, production across the board is magnified. One category point, more or less, could make the difference between moving on and being sent home.

Time and time again, category coverage wins head-to-head fantasy leagues, and this season provides the latest reminder. Watching some of the game's proven multi-category producers peak at the right time and others burst onto the scene over the course of a full season gives owners all the more confidence in them moving forward. Whether they are fueling your championship run or proving to be a thorn in your team's side as opponents, these assets should not be forgotten come draft day next season.

Here are the most valuable six- and seven-tool assets around the NHL to prioritize in drafts next season depending on your league format.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 3:32 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Top-line stint revitalizes Ducks' Selanne

It would not be surprising if Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne decides to retire at the conclusion of the 2013-14 NHL season.

But whether or not that ends up being the case, a recent lineup development is setting the 43-year-old up for a strong finish to his season -- and possibly his career.

In a move that is revitalizing the short-term fantasy stock of the "Finnish Flash," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has been playing the veteran on the left side of the NHL's top point pair, center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry. Boudreau made the switch against the Colorado Avalanche on March 14, and Selanne has since answered the call admirably on the team's top flock.

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