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Right of Way: Could Semin's New Year be brighter?

By Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Right of Way: Could Semin's New Year be brighter?
What should players like Martin St. Louis, Alexander Semin and Chris Stewart be promising their fantasy owners now that 2012 has arrived? Look to NHL.com for the answers.
Every Friday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy right wings in our weekly segment: "Right of Way." From updated right wing rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy right wing expert all season long.

Earlier in the week we looked at which centers and left wings have disappointed fantasy owners and what those players needed to do to turn their seasons around. Today, we'll break down the right wings and explain what we hope they can do to snap out of their struggles.

Here are five of the biggest right wing disappointments and their New Year's resolutions for how they can turn their season around starting right now:

Martin St. Louis -- Nobody thinks your 31 points in 34 games this season has been disappointing, but it's the rest of your stat line that isn't helping your fantasy owners. A minus-1 rating, 8 penalty minutes, 6 power-play points and only 2.5 shots per game (down from 3.1 last season) are the main reasons your current Yahoo! rating is at 142 overall (you came into the season rated 10th among all players). We're hoping your power-play ice time goes up (down from 4:31 last year to 3:52 this season) and you start firing the puck on net more frequently, which will lead to more goals.

Alexander Semin -- What a shocking turn of events this has been for you this season. After posting 40 goals and 84 points two seasons ago, many owners thought you'd be a perennial 40-goal scorer, but last season you battled injures while notching 28 goals and 54 points in 65 games, and this season has just been a complete disaster: 10 goals and 10 assists in 34 games with only 3 power-play points is not what anyone would expect from someone as skilled as you. We're hoping you get completely healthy and carry your recent surge (5 goals, 4 assists in the last seven games) for the remainder of the season.

TOP 40 FANTASY RIGHT WINGS

These modified re-rankings are based on expectations of the season going forward (including injuries). The plus or minus for each player is movement based on our most recent rankings from last week. (NR means not ranked in previous rankings). Note: Positions are dictated by how they're labeled in Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues.
*dual position eligibility in Yahoo! Leagues

Players that dropped out of previous rankings: Shane Doan

Players on IR: Jeff Skinner, Martin Havlat
Chris Stewart -- While your penalty minute total hasn't been a disappointment (50), your points production is clearly at a career-worst clip. Last season you scored 15 goals in just 26 games when you were traded to the Blues, but this season you have just 9 goals and 16 points in 37 contests. We're hoping Ken Hitchcock helps you rediscover your glory days, that the return of David Perron on your line helps, and that your ice time gets back to where it was last season (down about a minute per game total and on the power play).

Martin Havlat -- While you didn't post Chicago-like numbers with the Wild the last two years, we were hoping you'd get back to your scoring ways with the trade to the Sharks in the offseason. Unfortunately, your San Jose tenure has not treated you well to this point. First you were injured, and then you returned to put up just 2 goals and 15 points in 26 games before returning to the sidelines with a torn hamstring. We're hoping you can come back healthy and stick on San Jose's second line with Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe -- it will be hard not to put up decent points playing with them.

Michael Grabner -- You came out of practically nowhere last season to notch 34 goals as a rookie on Long Island and finish as a Calder Trophy finalist. However, the 2011-12 season has not been close to the same. With 10 goals and 6 assists in 36 games, you're currently on pace for just 22 goals and 35 total points. Your ice time is up in all facets of the game, but the production is simply not there. It seems like a stretch, but we're hoping you somehow find your goal-scoring touch from last season and that maybe a possible new coach behind the bench would bring things back for you.

TRENDING UPWARD

David Backes -- Backes is finally living up to his preseason hype. After recording points in his last two games, Backes' season stat line now sits at 12 G, 16 A, plus-9, 40 PIMs, 7 PPP and 120 SOG. Having been drafted in preseason with the 60th overall fantasy pick, Backes is currently rated 45th among all players and should be relied on as a top three forward in standard fantasy leagues.

Jordan Eberle -- Speaking of living up to expectations, Eberle seems to be putting all of his skills on display for the world to see. With 43 points in 40 games and a November and December to remember (16 points in 14 Nov. games and 13 points in 12 Dec. contests), Eberle should clearly be owned in more than the 80 percent of Yahoo! Leagues he's currently owned in. Despite the loss of linemate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle has continued to impress with a point in each game since RNH has been out of the lineup. Start him with complete confidence.

Blake Wheeler -- Wheeler is quietly putting his name on everyone's fantasy radar -- his Yahoo! ownership has spiked up to 35 percent. (It should be higher, folks!) Prior to being held pointless on Wednesday, Wheeler had gone six straight games with at least a point (4 G, 5 A). Wheeler plays the wing on the Jets' top line with Evander Kane on the other side and Bryan Little in the middle, and with over 17 minutes of ice time per game, Wheeler is starting to reward anyone that owns him -- his 30 points and plus-8 rating lead the Jets.

TRENDING DOWNWARD

Corey Perry -- Prior to scoring his team-leading 15th goal on Tuesday, Perry had gone a season-high four straight games without a point. While his 59 penalty minutes and 136 shots on goal continue to help his fantasy owners, we still need Perry to put up more points. We knew a repeat of 50 goals would be difficult, but most of us were banking on 40-plus goals from Perry -- who's currently on pace for 32 goals and 64 points.

Danny Briere -- The last two weeks haven't been so kind to Briere. The talented winger has been held without a point in five straight games and has only been a plus in one of those games (he also hasn't recorded any penalty minutes during that span). The biggest reason for Briere's recent slump: he's not skating with an elite playmaker (his linemates on Wednesday were Jakub Voracek and Maxime Talbot). Briere is still shooting the puck at his regular rates, so that's a sign that things may soon turn around for the Flyers forward.

Shane Doan -- Doan falls out of our top-40 right wing ranks thanks largely to a dreadful run in which he's been held pointless in his last six games while also registering a minus-7 rating during that time. Doan (9 G, 13 A, minus-12, 20 PIMs, 7 PPP, 117 SOG) does have value for fantasy owners in hits leagues -- his 115 hits rank him 12th in the NHL. Doan skates on the team's second line with Daymond Langkow and Mikkel Boedker and that certainly limits his production despite 3:20 of power-play ice time per game. For now, you can safely drop Doan (66 percent ownership), unless you're in a really deep league or one that count hits.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Michael Ryder -- Ryder is extremely streaky, but right now he's in the middle of a hot run and fantasy owners should be taking note. Ryder has 8 goals and 3 assists in his last nine games, and his 17 goals lead the Stars on the season. He has an unbelievable shot, and skating on a line with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson will continue to boost his fantasy value going forward.
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OFFSEASON FANTASY RANKINGS

RANK TEAM PLAYER
1. Sidney crosby
2. Steven Stamkos
3. Corey Perry
4. Evgeni Malkin
5. alex Ovechkin

CUBETA & JENSEN'S COMPLETE RANKINGS