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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Fantasy All-Access: Stars coming off IR to produce

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

On Saturday, we saw two top fantasy contributors get activated off injured reserve and pay immediate dividends for their owners.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul, who missed 25 games with a broken forearm, scored on his first shift back and later added a second goal. The 29-year-old played mostly on a line with Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin, and with three games this week against two teams giving up a lot of goals (TB, @BUF, BOS) Lupul needs to be activated or picked up (owned in 68 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) for your drive toward the fantasy playoffs.

About 750 miles away in St. Louis, the hot-shot rookie that stole the first week of the fantasy season, Vladimir Tarasenko, returned for the Blues. The 21-year-old returned after missing 10 games with a concussion and had a power-play assist and four shots on goal. The Blues have one of the top-rated power plays with Tarasenko now healthy, and he is only owned in 41 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.

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NHL.com's Midseason Fantasy Hockey Awards

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 3:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

With the first half of the 2012-13 season now in our rearview mirror, it's time for our team of NHL.com Fantasy Hockey insiders to reflect on the performers and storylines that have defined the fantasy landscape through 24 games.

WATCH: MIDSEASON AWARDS HANGOUT

Our regular fantasy contributors -- Matt Cubeta (@NHLQubes), Pete Jensen (@NHLJensen), Chris Foster (@NHLFoster), Sergei Feldman (@NHLFeldman), Matt Sitkoff (@MSitkoffNHL), Brian Metzer (@Brian_Metzer) and Justin Goldman (@TheGoalieGuild) -- have cast their votes, outlining the best fantasy players at each position based on eligibility in Yahoo! leagues.

The list of midseason awards is also jam-packed with the most notable fantasy rookies and sleepers to watch in the second half of the season. So, without further ado, here are the 2012-13 NHL.com midseason Fantasy Hockey awards. For further analysis, be sure to watch the replay of our "Midseason Awards" NHL.com Fantasy Google+ hangout.
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In the Cage: Bobrovsky red hot for Blue Jackets

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 12:45 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, the Director of Goalie Scouting for McKeen's Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in NHL.com's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

Sergei Bobrovsky
Goalie - CBJ
RECORD: 8-6-4
GAA: 2.19 | SVP: 0.923
Heading into Thursday night's game with Chicago, the Columbus Blue Jackets have tied a franchise record with their eight-game point streak (5-0-3). Without question, a major reason why the club could make history against the Blackhawks is the red-hot play of Sergei Bobrovsky.

Like many goalies, the undrafted 24-year-old was inconsistent in the first half of the condensed season. He was 2-2-1 with a 2.97 goals-against average and .907 save percentage in his first five games, and then 1-4-2 with a 2.86 GAA and .892 SV% over his next seven games.

This month, however, he's a near-perfect 5-0-1 with an 0.83 GAA and .970 SV%. During this stretch, he has allowed just five goals on 166 shots and earned his first career shutout, a 30-save gem against Detroit on March 9. For his efforts, he was voted as the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday.

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Fantasy experts set for 'Midseason Awards' hangout

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

We're past the halfway point of the 2012-13 NHL season and it's time to evaluate the fantasy hockey landscape. How's your team looking? Need some assistance?

As always, NHL.com's team of fantasy insiders has you covered.

NHL.com and Rotoworld fantasy hockey experts get together Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET to dish out their selections for mid-season Fantasy Norris, Vezina, and Hart Trophies in their latest Google+ hangout.

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On the 'D'-Fence: Burns back ... but on the wing?

Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 11:07 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Brent Burns
Defense - SJS
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 1
SOG: 13 | +/-: -5
To say that Brent Burns has frustrated fantasy owners this season would be an understatement. The talented defenseman has missed all but seven games due to injury. He missed the start of the season with a sports hernia, returned for six games in which he didn't register a point, and then was out with a lower-body issue before returning to the ice Tuesday night.

Injuries have been the focal point of what should be a great NHL story. Burns, who was converted from forward to defense during his days with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League, has shown that he can be a very productive scorer. However, he has managed to play an entire season just once during his career.

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The Front Line: Rangers' Nash a fantasy game-breaker

Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen provides owners with in-depth fantasy forward analysis in this week's edition of "The Front Line." From updated top-100 rankings to players worth keeping an eye on, Jensen will guide your fantasy squad in the right direction.

If his recent performance is any indication, Rick Nash has taken his game to new heights as a member of the New York Rangers.

Since returning from injury, Rick Nash has put the New York Rangers on his back and carried many owners' fantasy teams as well with his tremendous all-round production. (Photo: Getty Images)

Nash is locked into the longest point streak of his NHL career (10 games) with seven goals and nine assists over that span. He's notched multi-point games in five of his last six outings after missing four contests due to an undisclosed injury last month.

Most importantly, Nash is making a habit of putting the Rangers on his back when their offense goes quiet. Whether it was his power-play onslaught against the Buffalo Sabres on March 3 or his late-game heroics in a road win over the New York Islanders on March 7, Nash has come through in a number of big spots since being shipped from Columbus to the Big Apple last offseason.

Consistency has been the most impressive facet of Nash's fantasy arsenal. He has registered at least a point in 16 of his 20 games played, while turning in shots on goal at a high rate. Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets (4.4) is the only forward with a higher shots-per-game average in the League than Nash (4.2) -- who reeled off a career-high 12 on net in his return from injury on Feb. 28.

The Rangers have shuffled lines all season long, but Nash is beginning to settle in during his point streak on a unit with Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin. But regardless of which line he's operated on in any particular game, Nash has put forth maximum effort consistently -- and it's paying dividends from a fantasy standpoint.

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Fantasy All-Access: Second half begins now

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Every Monday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey contributor Matt Sitkoff will provide you with fantasy hockey advice in his weekly piece: "Fantasy All-Access." From the waiver wire watch to roster trends and prospect rumblings, Sitkoff is here to help you all season long.

John Tavares
Center - NYI
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 29
SOG: 100 | +/-: -8
Later this week you will get the NHL.com fantasy midseason awards as well as a Google+ #NHLHangout as our crew gives their picks for some of the top awards. With that in mind, in this week's Fantasy All-Access let's hand out some more hardware.

The "Glad I Drafted That Guy Award" goes to John Tavares. While most people got to select Crosby, Malkin or Stamkos with their first-round picks, others were getting Ovechkin, Lundqvist and Quick. In steps Tavares, who was picked on average 9.9 in Yahoo! leagues and has lived up to his late first-round status and made fantasy owners glad they got him over some struggling superstars.

The "Thankful My Waiver Priority Was Top That Week Award" goes to Viktor Fasth. I do tip my hat to those who actually drafted the 30-year-old goalie, but for the majority of leagues whoever swiped this Swedish import off the waiver wire has been enjoying his early success.

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In the Cage: The Markstrom Era begins in Florida

Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 12:20 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, the Director of Goalie Scouting for McKeen's Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in NHL.com's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

Jacob Markstrom
Goalie - FLA
RECORD: 1-2-0
GAA: 2.36 | SVP: 0.931
With Justin Peters and Keith Kinkaid making their season debuts Tuesday night, 15 teams have now used at least three goalies this season. Of those 16 goalies (Calgary has used two), we're sounding the fantasy alarm on one we feel is primed to have a breakout in the second half of the season.

Jacob Markstrom is just one piece of a large shipment of AHL players currently in the Panthers' lineup. But due to the inconsistency of Scott Clemmensen and the possible season-ending injury to Jose Theodore, he not only has a chance to play the majority of the minutes, but to carry the entire team.

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On the 'D'-Fence: Letang takes over top spot

Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 12:30 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

It may be hard to believe, but the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to secure the services of Kris Letang with a third round draft pick in 2005. His offensive skills were evident almost immediately as he went on to score 68 points in just 60 games for the Val-d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL the year after he was drafted.

Kris Letang
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 18 | PTS: 21
SOG: 49 | +/-: 5
The defensive side of his game took a bit longer to mature, but he has spent the past seven seasons becoming one of the finest two-way blueliners in the league.

He skates like the wind, has amazing one-on-one ability, as evidenced by his 16 career shootout goals, and is a crafty playmaker that finds passing lanes that sometimes aren't visible to the naked eye.

Letang might not be as big as Erik Karlsson, or have the booming slap shot of Shea Weber, but he does have the skill and hockey sense to mesh with two former MVPs in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, a 40-goal scorer in James Neal and a host of others in a Penguins' lineup that ranks second in the National Hockey League in goals with 80.

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The Front Line: Linemates key to Staal's resurgence

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen provides owners with in-depth fantasy forward analysis in this week's edition of "The Front Line." From updated top-100 rankings to players worth keeping an eye on, Jensen will guide your fantasy squad in the right direction.

Eric Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 12 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 25
SOG: 74 | +/-: 15
Only 13 players League-wide posted a worse rating than Eric Staal last season. Luckily for his fantasy owners, Staal's new linemates have helped him put a positive spin on the situation.

The Carolina Hurricanes' top unit of Staal, Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty has emerged as one of the most lethal fantasy line combos in the land. Each member of the trio sports a plus-15 through 21 games this season -- the best combined rating of any NHL line.

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NHL.COM FANTASY STORIES | VIDEOS
Top 30 goalie ranks | Add Scrivens, Lehner
Top 60 D-men | Severson climbing ranks
Fantasy Spin: Replacing Bruins' Krug on 'D'
Top 100 forward ranks | Dallas trio rolling
Fantasy Spin: How to replace Bobrovsky
All-Access: Buying low on MacKinnon, Rask