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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Expect 2014 draft class to make fantasy impact

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Rookies can make a huge impact on fantasy teams and can lead to long-term success in dynasty/keeper leagues. Nine players from the 2013 NHL Draft class saw action in at least one regular-season game in 2013-14. That group was made up of Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche), Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers), Seth Jones (Nashville Predators), Elias Lindholm (Carolina Hurricanes), Sean Monahan (Calgary Flames), Rasmus Ristolainen (Buffalo Sabres), Valeri Nichushkin (Dallas Stars), Nikita Zadorov (Sabres) and Kristers Gudlevskis (Tampa Bay Lightning).

MacKinnon became the youngest Calder Trophy winner in NHL history; however, he was joined by Lightning teammates Tyler Johnson (undrafted) and Ondrej Palat (2011 seventh-round pick) as finalists for the award, showing rookie production doesn't just come from freshly drafted players. But if previous seasons are any indication, some members of the 2014 draft class should play a big role in fantasy.

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Offseason top 200 fantasy hockey rankings

NHL.com insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen rank most valuable players

Tuesday, 07.15.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

With many players changing addresses over the past few weeks, NHL.com fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen have put together their offseason top 200 fantasy hockey player rankings.

These rankings have been built based on what the insiders have learned following several free agency signings and trades during the offseason. As of right now, this is their recommendation for draft day. As training camp draws closer, they will update these rankings and release position-by-position breakdowns.

These rankings should be viewed as our experts' opinionated projections of the League's most valuable fantasy players based on expectations of the 2014-15 season. Factors taken into account include position eligibility, line combinations, category coverage, contract status and statistical performance from previous seasons.

NOTE: These rankings project value in standard fantasy hockey leagues, which include a 6x4 category scoring system: goals, assists, plus-minus, power-play points, shots on goal, penalty minutes, goalie wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

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New teams alter fantasy outlook for these 10 players

Wednesday, 07.02.2014 / 5:30 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

Free agency means addresses are changing for players around the NHL, and it's never too early for fantasy owners to wonder how signings and trades will impact the landscape in 2014-15.

Here's an early look at how you can expect these players to stack up with their new teams in 2014-15 -- for better or worse:

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2013-14 NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Awards

Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

With the 2013-14 regular season now in our rearview mirror, it's time for our team of NHL.com Fantasy Hockey insiders to reflect on the players that have defined the fantasy landscape -- for better or worse.

Our fantasy experts -- Matt Cubeta, Pete JensenMatt Sitkoff, Brian Metzer and Justin Goldman -- have cast their votes, outlining the best fantasy players at each position based on eligibility in Yahoo! leagues.

The list of year-end awards is also complete with the biggest underachievers and most notable fantasy rookies, as well as sleeper and bounceback candidates to keep an eye on for next season.

So, as we officially say goodbye to another compelling fantasy hockey season, here are the 2013-14 NHL.com Fantasy Hockey awards.

NOTE: If a player is listed at multiple positions in Yahoo! Leagues, then it is the writer's choice to nominate that player for any eligible positional fantasy award.

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In the Cage: Final goalie ranks and a look ahead

Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

This fantasy hockey season was truly the Year of the Goalie.

When the Winnipeg Jets' Michael Hutchinson and the Anaheim Ducks' John Gibson made their NHL debuts Monday night, they became the 91st and 92nd goalies to appear in a game this season. On Thursday night, John Curry will become the fifth goalie to suit up for the Wild this season, extending the total to 93. That's an impressive number, because only once since the 1999-2000 campaign has there been more than 92 goalies to appear in a season (94 in the 2003-04 season).

With so many unknown fantasy goalie assets weaving their way in and out of starting lineups this season, the only thing more impressive than the number 92 would be the play of the class of 22 rookies. After Gibson's 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night, rookies have a combined 103-81-25 record. Their 2.52 goals-against average and .912 save percentage (5,658 saves on 6,206 shots) also includes 15 shutouts.

It's hard to believe we're wrapping up the third year of "In the Cage" articles, but in doing so, let's look back at some of the best fantasy goalies from the regular season.

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On the 'D'-fence: Final rankings and a look ahead

Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Jim Morrison, front man of the classic band The Doors, once penned these haunting words:

"This is the end

Beautiful friend

This is the end

My only friend, the end"

They are very fitting for where we are today -- the end of the fantasy hockey season. While most leagues have already wrapped, others are going through their championship rounds and will end this weekend.

It seems as if it were just yesterday that we posted our preseason defensemen rankings, and now we are about to cross the finish line on another season. While some have won and some have lost, here's hoping these rankings helped you on a weekly basis as you encountered tough decisions on who to acquire, who to drop and who to ride for the duration of each scoring period.

It has been an exciting ride as we saw the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson reclaim the throne atop of the defensive heap, the Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien put up career numbers while earning eligibility on the right wing in most formats and Victor Hedman far surpassed expectations in helping the Tampa Bay Lightning weather the loss of Steven Stamkos.

Nine of our preseason top 15 have managed to rank in the top 13 scorers at the position as of April 8, but there were also plenty of surprises at the position that will change the face of our rankings well into the future. While the structure of many blue lines around the NHL is sure to change over the summer, below is where we feel the position stands as the season concludes.

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The Front Line: Final forward ranks and a look ahead

Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

We are nearly at the finish line, and yet again it's been an incredible fantasy hockey season. Although NHL teams still are fighting to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs or battling for position, we fantasy owners are at the end of the road. Standard head-to-head leagues are now complete and though some rotisserie leagues might come down to the final game, most of those are likely locked up as well.

Hopefully our NHL.com fantasy hockey staff has helped you earn some bragging rights this season. Sadly, my advice to you comes to a close today. Now it's time to reflect and start looking ahead.

From Sidney Crosby staying healthy all season long to Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Evgeni Malkin missing lengthy periods of time, we've seen plenty of surprises from the forward position. Patrick Sharp currently is the No. 3 forward in Yahoo leagues; who saw that coming? Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin are all top 10 overall players in Yahoo leagues, while both Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin are outside the top 100. Jaromir Jagr found the fountain of youth and has been a top-40 forward pretty much all season long, while 18-year-old Nathan MacKinnon has had one of the most prolific rookie seasons in recent memory.

It has been a season that overflowed with storylines, excitement and heroics, and while many things may change between now and the first fantasy hockey draft for the 2014-15 season, below is where I believe the forward position stands at this very moment.

A LOOK AT THE TOP

Who gets the honor of holding down the No. 1 ranking throughout the offseason? How about who's second and third? Let's have a look ...

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Fantasy All-Access: Keeper candidates to retain

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

We have hit the final week of the NHL regular season and some of our readers are preparing for their fantasy league's championship. For the others, don't worry, we will look at some top young players' keeper value going into next season, because how someone finishes can help you decide if they are worth building your team around.

For those fighting for bragging rights with your friends all summer and that engraving of your name on the league trophy, here are some schedule facts you need to know when setting your lineup this week. Twenty of the 30 NHL teams have four games scheduled, so you will have plenty of good players to choose from.

The Colorado Avalanche play all four games on the road while the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins play all three of their games at home. Pay attention to those teams' home and road splits when deciding on lineup decisions.

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In the Cage: Bryzgalov's late-season surprise value

Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

In a season loaded with stretches of stellar goaltending from surprising fantasy assets, nobody will ever forget the inspirational play of Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding.

Not only has Harding earned 18 wins in just 29 games (18-7-3), but he also still holds the NHL's best goals-against average (1.65) and save percentage (.933). Unfortunately, he hasn't played since Dec. 31, 2013 due to complications with multiple sclerosis, a situation that opened the door for Darcy Kuemper to produce a breakout rookie season.

But now there is another pleasant surprise in the Wild goalie carousel: the recent play of Ilya Bryzgalov.

Since joining the Wild at the NHL Trade Deadline, Bryzgalov has gone 4-0-2 with a 2.16 GAA and .909 save percentage, including a 36-save shutout against the New York Islanders on March 18. Those stats aren't startling, but the wins have helped Minnesota cling to a wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.

After being bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers at the end of last season, Bryzgalov faced an uncertain NHL future. Instead of settling for a gig in the Kontinental Hockey League, the 33-year-old spent part of his summer training with elite Swedish goalie coach Erik Granqvist. That led to an opportunity with the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers in October, where he would continue to train, this time with Wranglers goalie coach Michael Lawrence.

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On the 'D'-fence: Martinez matters in fantasy playoffs

Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

If you were to take a look at the stat line for the Los Angeles Kings' Alec Martinez you wouldn't be blown away. You wouldn't be scrambling to add him to your fantasy roster for your playoff run and he'd likely only garner interest in the deepest of leagues, but take the time to scrutinize his game log and you see a player who quickly is becoming a must-own commodity.

He is in the middle of one of those special runs that players sometimes have. You know the kind we are talking about; think John Druce scoring 14 goals during the 1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Washington Capitals or Lee Stempniak putting up 18 points in 18 games for the Phoenix Coyotes after arriving in a deadline deal during the 2009-10 season.

It's the kind of unexpected production that seemingly comes out of nowhere, the fantasy hockey version of a golden ticket in a Willy Wonka chocolate bar.

One minute Martinez, is putting up four goals, three assists and 48 shots on goal in 40 games, and the next he is being added in close to 800 Yahoo standard leagues per day.

What happened? How did he make himself one of the most coveted fantasy defensemen in the league?

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NHL.COM FANTASY HOCKEY COVERAGE
Sitkoff: Expect impact from 2014 draftees
Offseason top 200 fantasy hockey ranks
New teams alter outlook for these 10
Spin: Hartnell can hit 'refresh' with CBJ
Elliott-Allen duo | Halak's value with Isles 
Biggest steals based on draft position

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