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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Staying patient, Drouin among hot fantasy topics

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Last week I advised owners to stay patient with some players that were struggling early on. At that time, San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture had one point in four games. Fans were asking if they should look to trade or drop him (crazy, but true). I advised his owners to stay patient with the 25-year-old forward. In his next four games he went on to record four goals and three assists.

With players of Couture's caliber, you must stay patient. I typically use four weeks as my benchmark in fantasy hockey. If a player is still really struggling after four weeks, I might start considering my options. You can either sell them at their lowest point and just take anything back you can get, or you can drop them outright.

On the other hand, the same goes for a player that's exceeding expectations. If they've been a pleasant surprise for four-plus weeks, I tend to start believing in that player and think he can carry the hot start for at least most of the season. Of course it doesn't always work out, but four weeks usually gives a player about 12-15 games to prove himself.

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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Hot start for Ducks' Andersen

Thursday, 10.23.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Goldman will be your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

A month ago none of the fantasy experts doubted that a tandem of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson would be talented enough to keep the Anaheim Ducks competitive in the daunting Western Conference.

But it was anyone's guess as to which goalie would earn more starts and produce more fantasy value.

Furthermore, when two unproven or inexperienced goalies are vying to claim a starter's job in terms of workload, a tricky pendulum effect usually takes place. Minutes earned and overall fantasy value will swing back and forth between the two depending on their performance, coaching decisions and other variables, so there's no knowing how long that will last.

But with six straight wins to start the season, Andersen is proving the job is his. Behind this red-hot start, the native of Denmark has 26 wins in his first 31 decisions (26-5-0), which is a new NHL record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Fantasy Top 60 'D': Flames' Brodie heating up

Wednesday, 10.22.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

It has become clear during the past few seasons that, when healthy, Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano is among the best fantasy hockey assets in the League. What might not have been as clear is that his partner, TJ Brodie, has become a must-own player in his own right.

What started as a whisper with a modest breakout that saw him put up four goals and 31 points last season is becoming a loud roar this season as he is rolling up points with the best of them.

Brodie has points in six of his eight games this season and had a six-game scoring streak stopped in the Flames' 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. His seven points are tied for second among all defensemen heading into play Wednesday.

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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Emerging trios by the slice

Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen will provide you with in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen will be your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.

It's tough to order pizza by the pie in fantasy hockey. Grabbing a slice is much more realistic.

Because of frequent changes to forward combinations and injuries over the course of the regular season, it's always tough to land an under-the-radar point pair, let alone all three pieces of an emerging line. But, in many cases, one slice of the pie can be satisfying.

Three examples have come into fruition over the first two weeks of this season. Each of these trios was either underrated or unlikely entering the season, but has meshed so well that each component has turned into a commodity. The quicker you land a piece of one of these trios, either via trade or the waiver wire, the quicker your team can reap the benefits.

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Fantasy All-Access: Surprise starts around League

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The Colorado Avalanche were the surprise team last season. They rose triumphant in the Central Division behind an MVP season by goaltender Semyon Varlamov and the coaching of Jack Adams winner Patrick Roy. Flash forward to this season and in six games they have already started three different goalies thanks to injuries, averaging only 1.50 goals per game and being outscored 5-2 in the third period.

All-Access is here to tell you to pull your hand off the panic button and realize this season is a marathon, not a sprint. Reigning Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon does have three points in the first six games and Varlamov could be returning by the end of the week from his groin injury. The Avalanche won’t be the team to beat in the Central this season, but that doesn’t mean their players can't be assets to your fantasy team.

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Islanders, Hedman among burning fantasy questions

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

It's been 10 days since the season began. Ten. Don't start panicking if your fantasy team isn't in first place as you expected them to be. Don't go dropping San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture because he has one point in four games. And no, New York Islanders sensation Brock Nelson isn't going to lead the NHL in points.

These are a couple samples of the many questions or concerns that have been raised to me on Twitter regarding fantasy hockey since the season started 10 days ago. It's a long season. Have some patience and give your team a little breathing room.

With that said, there have been storylines galore to start this season. Here's a look at five of the biggest questions in fantasy hockey right now.

1. What's the deal with Boychuk and Nelson?

The Islanders are off to a great start, and to no surprise John Tavares has been at the center of a lot of that success. But on the other hand, Nelson and newcomer Johnny Boychuk have been extremely pleasant surprises to fantasy owners to this point. Boychuk is currently the No. 4 overall fantasy player. He's second among defensemen with six points, he has a plus-5 rating and his five power-play points are tied for the lead among d-men. Boychuk has never had more than 23 points in any single season, so expecting him to keep at this pace is absurd. However, he is receiving a career-best 3:00 of power-play ice time per game on a unit that includes Tavares, so there's a chance he could post 30-40 points and carry solid fantasy value. As for Nelson, 23, he's been anchoring the team's second line and has four goals and seven points in four games. His ownership has soared up to 46 percent, but again, expecting him to continue to put up these kind of gaudy numbers is likely unrealistic. Nelson has four goals on five shots! Nelson is capable of a 20-goal, 50-point season, but both he and Boychuk make ideal sell-high candidates for fantasy owners right now.

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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Backups prove worth early

Thursday, 10.16.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Goldman will be your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

Since 2010, due to factors like sheer skill, injuries and better goalie coaching in the minors, the overall usage of rookies and backups has been steadily rising.

Last season was a great example, as a large class of 26 rookies posted a cumulative .912 save percentage (6,089 saves on 6,676 shots) and played in 20.7 percent of the NHL's total games (254 of 1,230).

This season may be no different, as 21 teams have already used both goalies, including four rookies.

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Lightning's Hedman among elite

Wednesday, 10.15.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

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Fantasy owners have been waiting a long time for Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman to show he should be mentioned in the same sentence as players like P.K. Subban, Erik Karlsson, and Duncan Keith. That patience was finally rewarded with a breakout performance last season and things look to be getting even better.

Hedman rolled up career highs in goals (13), assists (42), points (55), plus-minus (plus-5), shots (170), power-play goals (three) and game-winning goals (two) in 75 games. Those numbers were good enough to place him fourth in the defensive scoring race.

Hedman, who stands 6-foot-6, 229 pounds, picked up just five points through 12 October games. One can only wonder what his totals would have looked like had he clicked at the rate that saw him produce 50 points over his next 63 games.

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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Line combinations crucial

Tuesday, 10.14.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen will provide you with in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen will be your go-to guy for fantasy forwards all season long.

When it comes to fantasy forwards at this time of year, it starts and ends with line combinations.

Early-season formations may or may not stick for the full 82-game schedule, but these trials lay the groundwork for the games ahead.

Let's kick things off with lineup developments that could impact the fantasy forward landscape:

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Fantasy All-Access: Another NHL season underway

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The new fantasy season has just begun and owners already are overloaded with big decisions. On Saturday we saw all 30 teams play on the same night for the sixth time in League history.

In the 919 minutes played there were 86 goals scored (5.73 per game), with 25 of those goals being scored on the man-advantage. There were 911 shots on goal (60.7 per game), 465 penalty minutes (31.0 per game), 767 hits (51.1 per game) and 910 faceoffs (60.7 per game).

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Montreal Canadiens defenseman, Andrei Markov led all scorers with three points. Carolina Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty had a hat trick and his teammate, Jay Harrison, tied the Colorado Avalanche’s Erik Johnson for the most penalty minutes with 17.

WAIVER WIRE WATCH

Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils (owned in 22 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The surprising offensive juggernaut of the first five days of the season has been the Devils, with 11 goals in two games. They have been led by the line of Henrique, Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe, who have combined for nine points. Henrique, who scored a career-high 25 goals last season, has three points in two games and we expect the scoring to continue in the Devils' three games this week, at the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals, and home against the San Jose Sharks.

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NHL.COM FANTASY STORIES | VIDEOS
DraftKings roster recommendation: Oct. 25
Cubeta's hot topics: Stay patient, Drouin's value
Replacing Chara | Yahoo position updates
Top 30 goalie rankings | Andersen's hot start
Top 60 defensemen ranks | Brodie heats up
Top 100 forward ranks | Emerging trios