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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Defensemen in new places could see fantasy spike

Eric Goodman - NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

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:

Top 2015 NHL Draft picks with fantasy value

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Rookies can make a major impact on fantasy teams and can lead to long-term success in dynasty and keeper leagues. Seven players from the 2014 NHL Draft class played in at least one regular-season game in 2014-15. That group was made up of defenseman Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers)  and forwards David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins), Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres), Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers), Viktor Arvidsson (Nashville Predators), Samuel Bennett (Calgary Flames), and Kevin Fiala (Predators).

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.

Underrated playoff standouts to target in fantasy

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

We're only a few days removed from the conclusion of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it's already back to the drawing board for fantasy hockey owners.

When reflecting on another memorable postseason, it's easy to recall elite-level players (i.e. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Henrik Lundqvist, Alex Ovechkin, Corey Perry, Duncan Keith) fueling deep playoff runs for their respective teams. Breakout forwards (i.e. Tyler Johnson, Vladimir Tarasenko, Filip Forsberg, Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau), emerging defensemen (i.e. Victor Hedman, Roman Josi) and rising goalies (i.e. Braden Holtby, Ben Bishop) also held their ground on the big stage.

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.

2014-15 NHL.com Fantasy Hockey award selections

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

With the 2014-15 regular season now in our rearview mirror, it's time for NHL.com's fantasy hockey insiders to reflect on players that have defined the landscape -- for better or worse.

Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Matt Sitkoff, Brian Metzer and Evan Sporer 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 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 season, here are the 2014-15 NHL.com Fantasy Hockey awards.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Ranks entering offseason

Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 12:15 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

It was an unpredictable season for goaltending in the NHL.

There were some big names who, as expected, put up impressive numbers. Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils each had Vezina Trophy-caliber seasons.

There were also players like Devan Dubnyk, Cam Talbot, Michael Hutchinson and Andrew Hammond, who at one point or another became must-own fantasy assets.

Fantasy top 60 defenseman: Ranks entering offseason

Wednesday, 04.08.2015 / 12:28 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

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.

P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens), Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators), Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) and Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks) were the first four defensemen off the board in Yahoo Standard Leagues and all were on rosters inside the first 40 picks. They rewarded their owners, but for those who waited around the rewards were still great.

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Ranks entering offseason

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 12:13 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

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.

Fantasy All-Access: Championship week tips

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

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.

The teams that have four games this week are the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: AHL transitions unpredictable

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

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.

Fantasy top 60 'D': Niskanen heats up just in time

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 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.

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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Darling will share with Crawford | Top 30 ranks
Thanksgiving feast on blue line | Top 60 ranks
Buy-low forward trade targets | Top 100 ranks
All-Access: Be thankful for Klingberg, Panarin
Projected goalie starters | Fantasy Spin blog
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