Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy forwards in his weekly segment: "The Front Line." From updated rankings to players you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy forwards insider all season long.
In all likeliness, your league's trade deadline has passed (March 6 was the standard league trade deadline date). Hopefully you've made some moves to help your team toward winning a championship, or if you weren't in contention for the title, you made some trades to build for the future.
The NHL saw plenty of trades that will impact your league. From the Montreal Canadiens' acquisition of Thomas Vanek to the subtle Minnesota Wild trade for Matt Moulson, here's a look at how six of the top forwards have performed since joining their new team and what to expect for the remainder of the fantasy season (in order of where they fall in my updated rankings).
Games with new team: 3 (0 G, 1, minus-1, 0 PIMs, 1 PPP, 9 SOG)
St. Louis has been skating on a line with former Tampa Bay Lightning teammate and good friend Brad Richards and speedy forward Carl Hagelin. The one noticeable difference is his playing time. With the Rangers having a bit more depth than the Lightning, St. Louis has eclipsed the 20 minute mark just once in three games -- on the season St. Louis' has averaged 21:33 of ice time per game.
Expectation: He'll remain a top-15 forward and should continue to put up point-per-game numbers while getting comfortable in New York.
Games with new team: 2 (0 G, 0 A, minus-1, 0 PIMs, 0 PPP, 4 SOG)
Like St. Louis, Vanek has seen his time drop in his first two games with the Canadiens (15:34 and 17:54). While this number is sure to rise if the Canadiens want to utilize Vanek's scoring prowess, the fact he no longer plays alongside an elite player like John Tavares will surely hurt his value.
Expectation: As evidenced in my updated rankings, Vanek's fantasy value could continue to diminish.
Games with new team: 3 (0 G, 0 A, plus-1, 0 PIMs, 0 PPP, 7 SOG)
The Kings need goal scoring and Gaborik should be able to help. He's been skating on a line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams and this has the potential to lead to great things for the three-time 40-goal scorer. Gaborik also has been used heavily on the power play in his first three games.
Expectation: While it hasn't been a pretty season for Gaborik, he could easily move up a lot in my rankings once he gets acclimated in Los Angeles.
Games with new team: 2 (1 G, 1 A, plus-2, 0 PIMs, 1 PPP, 7 SOG)
After struggling with the Buffalo Sabres, it was expected that a trade to a contending team would boost Moulson's fantasy value. And so far, so good in Minnesota. Moulson has been skating on a line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle and things are clicking early on. Moulson also is receiving just over four minutes of power play ice time per game with Koivu, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Jason Pominville.
Expectation: Right now I have Moulson ranked 75th among forwards, but he could end up cracking the top-50 like he used to when he was on a line with Tavares on Long Island.
Games with new team: 3 (0 G, 2 A, plus-2, 0 PIMs, 0 PPP, 10 SOG)
Callahan is currently skating on the team's second line with Valtteri Filppula and Ondrej Palat. Not a bad line, but he didn't land the jackpot spot of playing alongside Steven Stamkos. At least not yet. Callahan has two points with the Lightning so far, but he's seeing very limited power play time.
Expectation: Unless he ends up on Stamkos' line, you're best off benching the hard-nosed former captain. He remains a top-100 forward but could be bounced out if his production remains capped in Tampa Bay.
Games with new team: 3 (0 G, 6 A, plus-3, 0 PIMs, 2 PPP, 8 SOG)
Expectation: If Hemsky can stick on that line he'll have some sneaky value and should be added in deep leagues, especially if you need assists.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks -- Despite only moving up one spot in my forward ranks, Toews is once again proving why he is an elite fantasy player. Toews has goals in each of his past four games (six goals, one assist) and now has 62 points in 65 games.
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars -- He is streaky, there's no denying that. But regardless of the streakiness, he still ranks 14th among all players in Yahoo leagues and is now 16th among my forwards. Seguin has five goals and five assists in the past six games, but even more impressive is what he's been doing for the past two months. Since Jan. 14, a span of 19 games, Seguin has eight goals and 17 assists, including five multi-point games. He leads the NHL with three hat tricks, his 66 points are tied for fifth, his 29 goals are tied for eighth and his 215 shots on goal are ninth.
Ryan O'Reilly, Colorado Avalanche -- O'Reilly has yet to record a penalty minute this season and doesn't shoot as much as other forwards (155 shots on goal), but his point production has been outstanding, especially of late. O'Reilly is in the middle of a six-game point-scoring streak (three goals, seven assists) and he has shown extreme consistency, being held without a point just four times in his past 20 games.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning -- The last time I ranked Stamkos was on Nov. 5, when I had him as the No. 2 forward behind only Sidney Crosby. Four-plus months later and 45 missed games, Stamkos returns to my rankings as the No. 6 forward. Coming back from an injury as severe as his is never an easy task and I think Stamkos owners need to temper their expectations. The departure of Martin St. Louis also will hinder Stamkos' value. Instead of having a playmaker like St. Louis on his wing, Stamkos is now centering a line with Alex Killorn and Teddy Purcell. Of course, Stamkos still remains one of the best pure goal-scorers of our generation (103 goals in his past 150 games). Start him regularly, but know it won't be as rewarding as you've been accustomed to.
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks -- With one point in his past 13 games, Sedin continues to fall in the forward ranks. And with his brother and linemate Daniel Sedin on the injured list, Henrik's production woes could continue. I recommend benching him until he shows he can produce something close to what you expect.
Clarke MacArthur, Ottawa Senators -- MacArthur, currently day-to-day with a hand injury, has been one of the brighter surprises in fantasy hockey this season, but it looks like he's starting to run out of gas. In his nine games prior to the injury he had two points and was a minus-6. While his 64 penalty minutes have provided plenty of value to his owners, you should know that 20 of them came on two misconduct calls.
KEEP AN EYE ON ...
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals -- Kuznetsov's much-anticipated NHL career started out with him skating on the Capitals' fourth line. The 21-year-old had two shots on goal in 10:22 of ice time, with 1:10 of that coming on the power play. As NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff pointed out in his Fantasy All-Access story on Monday, Kuznetsov is worth adding in keeper leagues and could end up providing some value this season.
TOP 100 FANTASY FORWARDS
These rankings are based on expectations of the season going forward. The plus or minus for each player is movement based on our most recent rankings -- NR means not ranked in previous rankings. They are based on a standard fantasy league with these offensive categories: G, A, plus/minus, PIMs, PPP, SOG.
1 Sidney Crosby, Penguins (same)
2 Alex Ovechkin, Capitals (same)
3 Corey Perry, Ducks (same)
4 Evgeni Malkin, Penguins (same)
5 Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks (same)
6 Steven Stamkos, Lighting (NR)*
7 Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks (-1)
8 Phil Kessel, Maple Leafs (+2)
9 Patrick Kane, Blackhawks (-2)
10 Claude Giroux, Flyers (+1)
11 Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks (+1)
12 Chris Kunitz, Penguins (-3)
13 James Neal, Penguins (-5)
14 Joe Pavelski, Sharks (-1)
15 Martin St. Louis, Rangers (-1)
16 Tyler Seguin, Stars (+7)
17 Jamie Benn, Stars (+3)
18 Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals (-3)
19 Patrick Marleau, Sharks (-3)
20 Zach Parise, Wild (-2)
21 Logan Couture, Sharks (same)
22 Alexander Steen, Blues (-3)
23 Anze Kopitar, Kings (-1)
24 Matt Duchene, Avalanche (+5)
25 David Backes, Blues (same)
26 Rick Nash, Rangers (-2)
27 Eric Staal, Hurricanes (+1)
28 Taylor Hall, Oilers (+2)
29 David Krejci, Bruins (+2)
30 James van Riemsdyk, Maple Leafs (-2)
31 Thomas Vanek, Canadiens (-4)
32 Jarome Iginla, Bruins (+2)
33 Wayne Simmonds, Flyers (-1)
34 Max Pacioretty, Canadiens (+1)
35 Joe Thornton, Sharks (-2)
36 Gabriel Landeskog, Avalanche (same)
37 Milan Lucic, Bruins (+4)
38 Evander Kane, Jets (+2)
39 Jeff Carter, Kings (+4)
40 Jason Spezza, Senators (+4)
41 Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche (+1)
42 Bobby Ryan, Senators (-4)
43 Ryan Kesler, Canucks (-4)
44 Jaromir Jagr, Devils (+2)
45 Henrik Sedin, Canucks (-8)
46 Jeff Skinner, Hurricanes (-1)
47 Patrice Bergeron, Bruins (+3)
48 Scott Hartnell, Flyers (+4)
49 Johan Franzen, Red Wings (+6)
50 Blake Wheeler, Jets (-3)
51 Kyle Okposo, Islanders (-3)
52 Kyle Turris, Senators (-1)
53 Marian Gaborik, Kings (-4)
54 T.J. Oshie, Blues (same)
55 Jakub Voracek, Flyers (+1)
56 Mikko Koivu, Wild (-3)
57 Andrew Ladd, Jets (+6)
58 Bryan Little, Jets (same)
59 Derek Stepan, Rangers (+1)
60 Ryan Johansen, Blue Jackets (+1)
61 Brad Richards, Rangers (+1)
62 Brandon Dubinsky, Blue Jackets (-3)
63 Radim Vrbata, Coyotes (+1)
64 Jordan Eberle, Oilers (+1)
65 Clarke MacArthur, Senators (-8) DTD
66 Chris Kreider, Rangers (+1)
67 David Perron, Oilers (-1)
68 Joffrey Lupul, Maple Leafs (same)
69 Alexander Semin, Hurricanes (same)
70 Brad Marchand, Bruins (same)
71 Jaden Schwartz, Blues (+2)
72 Nazem Kadri, Maple Leafs (same)
73 Mats Zuccarello, Rangers (NR)*
74 Jason Pominville, Wild (-3)
75 Matt Moulson, Wild (+7)
76 Brandon Saad, Blackhawks (-1)
77 Patrik Elias, Devils (+2)
78 Brent Burns, Sharks (same)
79 Martin Hanzal, Coyotes (-5) DTD
80 Daniel Alfredsson, Red Wings (-3)
81 Paul Stastny, Avalanche (-1) DTD
82 Shane Doan, Coyotes (+1)
83 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oilers (-7)
84 Ryan O'Reilly, Avalanche (+6)
85 Valtteri Filppula, Lightning (-1)
86 Tomas Plekanec, Canadiens (-5)
87 Nick Bonino, Ducks (-1)
88 Mike Ribeiro, Coyotes (same)
89 Loui Eriksson, Bruins (+3)
90 Jussi Jokinen, Penguins (-4)
91 Justin Williams, Kings (-2)
92 Tyler Bozak, Maple Leafs (-1)
93 Gustav Nyquist, Red Wings (+1)
94 Adam Henrique, Devils (NR)
95 Dustin Brown, Kings (same)
96 Mike Richards, Kings (+2)
97 Brendan Gallagher, Canadiens (+3)
98 Ryan Callahan, Lightning (-5)
99 Ales Hemsky, Senators (NR)
100 Troy Brouwer, Capitals (NR)
* Appeared on injured list last week
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