With the NHL free agency period in full swing, now is the time for fantasy owners to start analyzing which players to consider for the 2015-16 season. The pool of quality forwards is much larger than that of viable defensemen, so it's important to be selective on which blueliners to target.
Assembling a deep group of defensemen is key; getting good fantasy numbers from your third or fourth option can help bring home a championship.
The following players were recently traded or signed with new teams and could see a boost in fantasy value next season:
Ekblad won the Calder Trophy and his 39 points were two shy of the NHL record for a defenseman to start the season as an 18-year-old, set by Bobby Orr in 1966-67 (13-28-41). Ekblad was joined by forwards Johnny Gaudreau (2011 fourth-round pick) and Mark Stone (2010 sixth-round pick) as finalists for the Calder, showing rookie production doesn't just come from freshly drafted players. But with two generational talents at the top of its class, some members of the 2015 draft class should play a big role in fantasy sooner rather than later.
But mainstream playoff heroes are usually taken in early rounds or retained in keeper leagues the following season. That's why surprising players who stay under the radar for a variety of reasons (sample size, position battles, etc.) will be much more attainable in fantasy.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs get started next week and that means another fantasy hockey season is in the books. It's hard to believe we all entered our drafts wide-eyed and hopeful roughly eight months ago dreaming of fantasy glory.
After six months of setting lineups, swinging trades and scouring the waiver wire, we're reaching the finish line of another thrilling fantasy season. Whether you've won your fantasy championship or fallen short of the ultimate goal, most would agree that 2014-15 has been defined by its surprises.
This season has proven how valuable under-the-radar forwards can be. Preseason standouts Filip Forsberg and Nikita Kucherov have been mainstays among the top 30, Rick Nash has bounced back with 40-plus goals, and Jakub Voracek has been among the League's top point-scorers all season.
Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.
The fantasy championship week is finally here, and knowing the schedule is the most important piece to your championship. You can make a plan to drop some players who only have two games for players who play four games and bring more value to your team.
Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com's Evan Sporer will provide you with in-depth analysis of goaltenders. From updated weekly top-30 rankings to trending players and more, Sporer will be your go-to guy for advice on fantasy goalies all season long.
Logic will tell you that if a player is performing at a certain level against the same level of competition consistently, should the competition get stiffer the expectation should not be for said player's performance to get better.
Goaltending though can be rather fickle, as we've learned this NHL season.
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.
Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen burst onto the fantasy scene last season as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins with his best offensive showing since 2008-09, putting up a career best numbers in goals (10), assists (36), points (46), plus-minus (33), power play assists (12) and shots on goal (162).
That he did so during a contract year helped him cash in with lucrative seven-year, $40.25 million dollar contract with the Capitals.
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