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Turn Left Here: Kovy flourishes with multi-point games

Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 11:52 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

By Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Turn Left Here: Kovy flourishes with multi-point games
NHL.com's fantasy guru Matt Cubeta analyzes which left wings are most likely not just to score, but score by the bucketful.
Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy left wings in our weekly segment: "Turn Left Here." From updated left wing rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy left wing expert all season long.

Yesterday we discussed the most consistent forwards of the 2011-12 NHL season. Today we'll look at who has turned in the most multi-point efforts.

Having the ability to post at least two points in a single game is not an easy task, but of course there are players that achieve that feat with such frequency that it appears easy from our viewpoint. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom might be the most impressive of anyone this season.

Backstrom may be on the sidelines right now, but in 38 games this season he has posted 15 multi-point nights, which is simply remarkable. Backstrom has had 26 games in which he's recorded at least one point, but in well over half of those he has had at least two. Fantasy owners, and clearly the Capitals, have desperately missed Backstrom and are hoping he can return from his concussion sooner rather than later.

Backstrom is actually tied for sixth with five other players with 15 multi-point games; let's find out which other superstars rank among the top-10:

TOP 40 FANTASY LEFT 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. (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
** was listed on IR in last week's rankings

Players that dropped out of previous rankings: Michael Cammalleri

Players on IR: Matt Duchene, Brenden Morrow, James van Riemsdyk, Jordan Staal, Alexander Steen
Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux -- Both players have had 17 multi-point efforts this season -- Malkin has played in 47 games, Giroux in 49. The Penguins forward has four multi-goal games (two hat tricks) and one playmaker (three assists in one game), while Giroux has two multi-goal games (no hat tricks) and five playmakers. These guys are the elite in this category and it's to no surprise that they are also the top two in points on the season.

Pavel Datsyuk -- Datsyuk also has 17 multi-point games, but he's achieved that in 54 games -- he has just one multi-goal game and one playmaker.

Jordan Eberle -- Another player that spent some time on the shelf, Eberle is among the elite with 16 multi-point games in 50 contests, including four multi-goal efforts and two playmakers.

Ilya Kovalchuk -- While Elias is putting up a point nearly every game, Kovalchuk's points seem to come in spurts, with 16 multi-point nights in 48 games this season. Surprisingly, Kovalchuk has yet to record a hat trick.

Steven Stamkos -- Stamkos was among the elite in consistency, and he's also had several big nights -- he has 15 multi-point games and leads the NHL with six multi-goal efforts, including two hat tricks (which is tied for the NHL lead with Malkin).

PA Parenteau -- Easily the biggest surprise on this list, Parenteau has as many multi-point games as Stamkos, Backstrom, the Sedins and Spezza with 15 in 52 games. Parenteau might have 23 games without a point this season, but when he's on, he clearly puts up points (47 total points this season). His Yahoo! ownership is up to 59-percent, but it should be even higher.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin -- Both brothers have had 15 multi-point games and while Henrik has yet to have a multi-goal night, Daniel has had one less playmaker performance than Henrik.

Jason Spezza -- Spezza has been a dominant force for fantasy owners this season and a big reason for that has been his ability to notch 15 multi-point efforts in 56 games. Spezza hasn't had a playmaker or hat trick this season, but he does have three two-goal nights.

TRENDING UPWARD

Ilya Kovalchuk -- Kovalchuk's stock just keeps on rising. If he's not on your fantasy team, then you've surely missed the buy-low opportunity on this lethal scorer. Prior to being held off the scoresheet on Tuesday against the Rangers, Kovalchuk had posted three straight three-point games (including a Gordie Howe hat trick against the Flyers on Feb. 4) and now has 22 goals and 50 points in 48 games this season. His shot rate remains among the League leaders at exactly 4 per game (trails only Evgeni Malkin's 4.6 and James Neal's 4.2) and his 18 power play points have certainly helped his fantasy owners as well. Kovalchuk is once again proving that he's one of the most dynamic offensive players in the game and he should remain among the top-three fantasy left wings for the rest of the way.

Taylor Hall -- Despite being held pointless against Detroit on Wednesday, Hall has been putting his skills on display of late -- he has 3 goals and 6 assists over his previous six games. While his teammate Sam Gagner is stealing the spotlight of late, Hall has been his usual productive self this season with 18 goals and 40 points in 44 games for the Oilers. He is averaging 3:30 of power play ice time which has translated into 17 power play points, and despite playing for a struggling Oilers team, Hall still has an even rating on the season.

Ray Whitney -- While Patrik Elias saw the greatest jump in our left wing rankings, he was talked about as being one of the most consistent performers in our "Center Stage" feature yesterday, so today we felt we should talk about another extremely reliable forward -- Ray Whitney. The veteran playmaker actually has recorded at least one point in 33 of his 54 games, which isn't too bad in comparison to Elias' League-leading 40 games with at least one point. Whitney has been one of the hottest players in the NHL with a current six-game point-scoring streak, including three straight two-assist performances -- he has also registered a plus-1 rating or better during that time. With 16 goals, 49 points and a plus-18 in 54 games overall, Whitney has proven to be one of the biggest draft-day bargains of the fantasy season.

TRENDING DOWNWARD

Loui Eriksson -- The swings continue. After notching a point in four straight games, Eriksson has now gone four straight without one. He has also registered a minus-1 rating in each of the last four contests and was even held without a shot in one of those games. Eriksson will end up with solid point totals (currently has 17 goals and 27 assists in 52 games), but his limited production in the penalty minute department (6 PIMs) and power play category (6 PPP) limit his value going forward.

Evander Kane
Left Wing - WPG
GOALS: 18 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 31
SOG: 172 | +/-: 2
Evander Kane -- While Kane is back from his concussion, his fantasy owners should know that it will likely take some time for him to return to his previous form. He made his way back into the lineup on Tuesday and received just 13:44 of ice time -- down from his 17:24 season-average -- so clearly the Jets plan on easing him back into the swing of things. Kane is arguably Winnipeg's most skilled player and you can still expect him to finish with around 25 goals and 50 points by season's end, but you should consider benching him on your team until the Jets are using him like they were prior to the injury.

Milan Michalek -- Michalek's 23 goals on the season still rank among the top 10 in the NHL, but clearly his scoring pace is slowing down. The Sens forward has gone 11 games without a goal and has just 2 assists and has only been a plus-rating once during that time. He'll still easily surpass the 30-goal plateau but with just 10 assists on the season overall, Michalek could have a tough time reaching the 50-point mark. Throw in the fact that his plus/minus isn't great (minus-7) and he doesn't record too many penalty minutes (14 PIMs) and you'll see that Michalek isn't as valuable as most think.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Antoine Vermette -- He's far from being a must-add in any fantasy league, but Vermette is certainly worth monitoring. He has a modest three-game point-scoring streak (1 goal, 2 assists) with a plus-2 rating during that span and has 23 points in 53 games overall. Vermette quietly put up 65 and 47 points in each of the last two seasons with the Blue Jackets and perhaps he has a hot streak left in him before this season ends. We wouldn't go grabbing Vermette (owned in 8 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) right away, but he's worth taking note of.

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OFFSEASON FANTASY RANKINGS

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4. Evgeni Malkin
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CUBETA & JENSEN'S COMPLETE RANKINGS