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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Canadiens' Subban ranked No. 1 fantasy defenseman

NHL.com's Brian Metzer ranks top 60 blueliners

Thursday, 09.05.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


There are many different weapons you can wield when heading into a fantasy hockey battle; the defenseman is just one of them. Sure, the forward is the most formidable, but the defenseman is the wild card, the factor that can make the difference between coming in second and hoisting the fantasy crown!

Here is our creed.

These are our fantasy defensemen rankings. They can be your best friend, as fantasy championships aren't won without blueliners. You must draft defensemen before "he" drafts defensemen, and you must do so with faith that these selections will ring true as assets that will separate you from those who shun the defensemen.

As years go by, defensemen get more valuable. Gone are the days of one guy rising above the group and everyone else just sort of stepping in line. We're in an era that features a number of dynamic options, and this year any of P.K. Subban, Erik Karlsson or Kris Letang could have claimed the top spot. Each player has the ability to score at a point-per-game pace or to at least come close to it, as they put up .90, .82 and 1.09 points per game respectively last season.

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Defense: Subban vs. Karlsson

Thursday, 09.05.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries the most fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

Earlier this week our NHL.com fantasy writers debated the forward positions. Now we move on to the blue line, where Brian Metzer weighs in on who he believes should be selected first among defensemen, P.K. Subban or Erik Karlsson.


When you enter the market to make a purchase or acquisition of any kind, there are always options.

Looking for a luxury car? You can go towards Cadillac or Lincoln.

Maybe it's a guitar you are hoping to acquire? Some folks will point you towards the Fender Stratocaster, while others will say you have to go with a Les Paul.

It even happens in the realm of decadent food. Some want Lobster; others go with filet mignon. For the indecisive there is the ever popular Surf and Turf platter which gives you both.

At the end of the day it all comes down to preference and that is where we sit this year in terms of the top fantasy defenseman.

Really, how can you pick between P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson? Heck, some will even say that our third-ranked player, Kris Letang, should be the guy that goes first in your league and he very well may. But we're here to discuss the merits of Subban over Karlsson, since that is how we ranked them.

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Ovechkin tops fantasy right wing rankings

NHL.com's Pete Jensen ranks top 40 players at RW position

Wednesday, 09.04.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


Corey Perry had a two-year reign atop NHL.com's preseason fantasy right wing rankings, but the resurgence of two dynamic forwards alters the landscape at the position entering 2013-14.

Alex Ovechkin, who led the NHL in goals, power-play goals and shots on goal during the shortened 2012-13 season, is a no-brainer for the top fantasy right wing spot. His smooth transition from the left side to the right together with his category coverage immediately gives the position representation among the top-five overall assets.

Ovechkin put up his best season in years, but Patrick Kane still isn't far behind at No. 2 among right wings. The 24-year-old reeled off points on the second-most consistent basis in the League among players with 47-plus games played (at least one point in 35 games), and touched on five of the six standard-league fantasy categories. He was the team's anchor in the offensive zone, and his explosiveness in the playoffs spoke for itself.

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Right wing: Ovechkin vs. Kane

Wednesday, 09.04.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries more fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

Earlier this week, NHL.com fantasy expert Matt Cubeta debated the center position and NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff tackled left wing. Now we move on to right wing, where fantasy insider Pete Jensen weighs in on who he believes should be selected first, Alex Ovechkin or Patrick Kane.


Last season, the average fantasy owner with a top-four pick did not select Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

Then, after a slow start and a position change under new coach Adam Oates, Ovechkin went on a multi-category outburst – making owners who passed on him regret their move. At the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, Ovechkin finished as the top-ranked Yahoo! Fantasy player.

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Oilers' Hall tops fantasy left wing rankings

NHL.com's Matt Sitkoff ranks top 40 players at LW position

Tuesday, 09.03.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


When Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates moved Alex Ovechkin to right wing last season, the top fantasy left wing spot went up for grabs.

So with Ovechkin now deemed a fantasy right wing by NHL.com, Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers sits atop the left wing rankings entering 2013-14.

The No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft finally stayed healthy and finished ninth overall in scoring with 50 points, and with the ongoing development of the young Oilers expect big things from the 21-year-old on the left side. Hall has been a force on the power play (25 career power-play goals) since entering the League, has proven to be a clutch player (25 career game-winning goals) and most recently posted a career-best 34 assists last season. If you're in a league that accounts for shots, Hall has 547 in 171 career games.

The top 10 has familiar faces, as consistent performers should continue to produce. Only four players have more points over the last three seasons than Daniel Sedin (211 points in 201 games), which is why he ranks right behind Hall. Joffrey Lupul always raises injury concerns, but had 18 points in 11 games last season and has a career 0.64 points per game. If he stays healthy, he won't end up the 333rd ranked player like he was last season by Yahoo!

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Left wing: Hall vs. Daniel Sedin

Tuesday, 09.03.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries the most fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

Monday, NHL.com fantasy expert Matt Cubeta debated the center position. Now we move on to the left wing position, where fantasy insider Matt Sitkoff weighs in on who he believes should be selected first, Taylor Hall or Daniel Sedin.


When drafting in fantasy hockey, the debate of potential versus performance rages on -- never more than in deciding which left wing should be the first taken off the board. In our NHL.com rankings of the top 40 left wings, we go with the No. 1 pick from the 2010 NHL Draft, Taylor Hall, as our top-ranked player. But close behind him is a former Art Ross Trophy winner, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.

Hall, a 21-year-old budding superstar, is filled with potential and has produced 0.85 points-per-game and 0.38 goals-per-game over his three NHL seasons.

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Crosby tops deep group of fantasy center rankings

NHL.com's Matt Cubeta ranks top 40 players at C position

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


Every year, every draft, everyone knows it: Center is the deepest position in fantasy hockey. It's not a debate. It has become a fact. Fittingly, this year is no different.

Within NHL.com's consensus top 200 overall rankings, 47 centers made the cut, with 17 in the top 50 and 28 among the top 100 players. Nearly 25 percent of the players in our overall rankings were centers. What's most notable are the 17 centers within the top 50 ranks, proving there is great strength at the position among the top-tier players. Comparatively, only 11 left wings, eight right wings, five defensemen and nine goalies made the top 50.

What does all this mean for you come draft day?

It means that if you miss out on grabbing one of the elite centers early on (first or second round), you'll still be able to draft a No.1-caliber center for your roster in rounds three through five because of this immense amount of depth.

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Center: Crosby vs. Stamkos

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries the most fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

We begin at the center position, where NHL.com fantasy expert Matt Cubeta will debate the battle for the No. 1 ranking between the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos.


In this case, not only am I debating the top two fantasy centers, but in my opinion, I'm evaluating the top two overall fantasy players.

While many fantasy owners may be hesitant to draft Sidney Crosby as their No. 1 center because of his injury history, I'm here to tell you that he is 100 percent worth any risk or doubt you may have. Steven Stamkos has become one of the most prolific scorers over the past four years, but Crosby is the best player in the world and should be selected before the Tampa Bay sniper.

There's really no argument when breaking down per-game stats, but the questions regarding Crosby will continue to surround his health. But as long as he's healthy going into the year, he has to be the first player off the board in all fantasy leagues. And as of this moment, Sidney Crosby is completely healthy -- he'll be at Penguins training camp and should be as strong as ever. That's not to say he couldn't end up getting hurt at any point during the 2013-14 season (any player could get hurt at any time), but regardless, he is always worth that risk because of his per-game production.

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Boedker, Silfverberg among Sitkoff's fantasy sleepers

Thursday, 08.29.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With very few exceptions, the vast majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. While these players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues as well.

Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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Drouin, Bennett among Jensen's fantasy sleepers

Wednesday, 08.28.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With few exceptions, the majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. Though those players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues.

Jonathan Drouin
2012-13 REG. SEASON (QMJHL)
Goals: 41 | Assists: 64 | Pts: 105
PIM: 32 | +/-: 48
Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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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