Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries the most fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.
Monday, NHL.com fantasy expert Matt Cubeta debated the center position. Now we move on to the left wing position, where fantasy insider Matt Sitkoff weighs in on who he believes should be selected first, Taylor Hall or Daniel Sedin.
When drafting in fantasy hockey, the debate of potential versus performance rages on -- never more than in deciding which left wing should be the first taken off the board. In our NHL.com rankings of the top 40 left wings, we go with the No. 1 pick from the 2010 NHL Draft, Taylor Hall, as our top-ranked player. But close behind him is a former Art Ross Trophy winner, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.
Hall, a 21-year-old budding superstar, is filled with potential and has produced 0.85 points-per-game and 0.38 goals-per-game over his three NHL seasons.
Looking more closely at their most recent sample from last season, Sedin was drafted on average as the 7.8th pick in Yahoo! leagues while Hall was picked on average as the 45.7th pick. However, the Oilers forward finished as the 13th ranked player in Yahoo! and Sedin as the 36th, showing fantasy owners they got more production from a player drafted about three rounds later.
There is injury concern for the 6-foot-1, 194-pound Oilers forward, but as we pointed out in our "Young players to target" story, Hall played in 45 games last season, which is much better than his previous two years when he missed 17 games as a rookie and 21 in 2011-12. He has also become a focal point of the offense in Edmonton as he finished third in the League by being involved in 40.7 percent (50 of 123) of his team's goals.
On the other hand, for the first time in seven seasons, Sedin will have a new coach behind the bench as John Tortorella takes over for Alain Vigneault. Tortorella stresses his stars must play a two-way game and Sedin led the team in offense zone start percentage of 66 percent (via behindthenet.ca). If his zone starts shift under the new defensive first system, that should affect his point production. Also keep an eye on Hall's offensive zone starts, as he led the team at 54.8 percent, and also is under a new watchful eye of Dallas Eakins, but his coaching style promotes fast, aggressive hockey, which could help the speedy Hall.
Sedin, who has six 70-plus point seasons, should be targeted in the second round, as his performance does not seem to be slowing down. Hall should be a first-round pick in all fantasy formats, as we expect the potential to equal the production in a full season, and that's why he gets the edge over Sedin in this Fantasy Faceoff.
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