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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Gonchar great despite no Karlsson

Wednesday, 03.27.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com Correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy defensemen in our weekly segment: "On the 'D'-fence." From updated defensemen rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Metzer will be your fantasy d-man expert all season long.

Sergei Gonchar
Defense - OTT
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 20 | PTS: 22
SOG: 55 | +/-: 4
Most people figured that the Ottawa Senators were finished the moment Erik Karlsson was lost for the season back on Feb. 13. They were already missing Jason Spezza and Jared Cowen, which would have been tough to overcome by itself, but mix in the loss of the reigning Norris Trophy winner? No chance.

All the Senators have done since that fateful February day is go 11-4-4 and keep pace with both the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens in the Northeast Division. One of the main catalysts for their success has been Sergei Gonchar.

Gonchar, who turns 39 years old in less than a month, has been nothing short of amazing for the Senators and has done a masterful job of offsetting the loss of Karlsson.

The Front Line: Alex Ovechkin returning to elite form?

Tuesday, 03.26.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy forwards in his weekly segment: "The Front Line." From updated rankings to players you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy forwards expert all season long.

UPDATED TOP 100 FORWARD RANKINGS


It's time, folks. Alex Ovechkin is officially back among the elite fantasy forwards, and this time, you can't argue it. And we're not talking about him moving up because of his current five-game goal-scoring streak -- this goes back long before then.

On Feb. 26, I moved Ovechkin up five spots in my forward rankings to the No. 13 overall slot. Several readers criticized the move, saying he didn't deserve the bump. He did. For starters, on Feb. 23, Ovechkin recorded a hat trick and an assist in a 5-1 victory over the Devils -- sure, that's nice. But look a little further back and you could see how he was slowly rounding into form.

On Feb. 3 (the Capitals' ninth game of the season), Ovechkin notched a power-play assist, a plus-1, two penalty minutes and five shots on goal -- nothing too special, but a solid fantasy line nonetheless. He carried over that strong performance into a five-game point-scoring streak in which he totaled three goals and four assists while averaging 4.6 shots on goal per game. This gave fantasy owners a glimpse of hope that Ovechkin might be returning to his dominant fantasy ways. Unfortunately, after the five-game streak, the Washington captain was then held without a point for three straight contests while posting a minus-3 rating.

Fantasy All-Access: 'March Madness' in the NHL

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

As we hit the last full week in March, the talk of brackets are floating around the water cooler as both the NCAA hits its yearly tournaments. Let's look at some Fantasy Hockey players that are making an impact Bracketology style.

Sidney Crosby
Center - PIT
GOALS: 14 | ASST: 39 | PTS: 53
SOG: 112 | +/-: 23
The Sweet 16 PIMs that Sidney Crosby has given fantasy owners this season, an added bonus to his NHL-high 53 points. The Elite Eight goals Minnesota Wild forward Devin Setoguchi has scored during March Madness already marches his career high for goals in a month, and he has four games remaining. The Frozen Four straight shootouts that Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had in a stretch from March 10-16, winning two of them -- part of eight wins for the hottest goalie this month.

Last, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz is the Cinderella Story of this fantasy season. Who would have guessed the 33-year-old forward would be the second ranked Yahoo! player and be ranked second in both points (40) and goals (19). This was a guy that was drafted on average of 140th overall in Yahoo! leagues and is leading the charge on most fantasy teams' run toward a championship.

The Stock Exchange: Finding the 'one and dones'

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

The grind of a fantasy hockey season is just that: A grind. When you consider all the details, big and small, all the nuances and all the possibilities, you're still left with roster setting and juggling, trade offers and rejections and day-to-day focus and attention. But ain't it great?

To get fantasy hockey owners to where they want to be, NHL.com fantasy insider Sergei Feldman brings you his weekly piece highlighting various players who have increased or decreased their value after each week and suggesting which players to buy or sell moving forward. In the end, you'll have a clearer picture of the marketplace and be in perfect position to enhance your fantasy hockey portfolios.

Let's be frank, with a condensed 48-game schedule, you've been in the thick of things from the first drop of the puck. But nowadays, you're in the thick of the thick of things. As such, tinkering with your rosters becomes a much more difficult task.

The stars aren't available. The sleepers woke up and are likely picked up by your competitors. Trade deadlines have come and gone.

What now? Simple: pick 'em and drop 'em. Do a couple repetitions of that a couple times a week and you'll find your lineups growing into lean, mean machines.

The first trick is to find players who have come out of nowhere or who have been forgotten and, in all likelihood, will ride their waves of success for just a little while longer.

In the Cage: Kings' Bernier on the rise

Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 1:15 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.

Jonathan Bernier
Goalie - LAK
RECORD: 7-2-0
GAA: 1.94 | SVP: 0.923
The month of March seems to bring out the best in Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier. In 58 career games, the former first-round draft pick (11th overall in 2006) is 10-2-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

That includes this month's current stat line of 3-1-0 with a 2.33 GAA and .914 SV%, as well as one of the best games in his career, a 40-save gem in a 3-2 win over the Coyotes Tuesday night.

And since volume (games played, shots faced) is intimately tied to a goalie's fantasy value, when forced to sit behind one of the league's best goalies, every single start and save is that much more important.

On the 'D'-fence: Martin enjoying rebound season

Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 1:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com Correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy defensemen in our weekly segment: "On the 'D'-fence." From updated defensemen rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Metzer will be your fantasy d-man expert all season long.

Paul Martin
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 19
SOG: 35 | +/-: 7
After going through one of the toughest seasons of his career, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin could have taken the easy way out over the summer. General manager Ray Shero was willing to trade his high-priced defenseman if he wished to move on and get a fresh start someplace else, but that just didn't sit well with Martin.\

The once-maligned blueliner knew he had it in him to be better -- to be the player that earned a five-year, $25 million contract during the 2010 free agency period.

The Front Line: Stewart rises in ranks, Hartnell falls

Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

For the past couple of weeks NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen has taken over The Front Line graciously, but after a two-week absence, I am here for you again and ready to jump back into the fantasy hockey pool.

So what did I miss? Sidney Crosby is still the best. Chris Kunitz is quite valuable himself, ranking second among all players in Yahoo! fantasy leagues. No one is even close to as good as a duo as Crosby and Kunitz, who have recorded a point on the same goal 28 times (seven more than the next best NHL duo, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis).

Fellow Pittsburgher James Neal has climbed the ranks quickly -- he's seventh in Yahoo! leagues. Stamkos has 21 goals in 29 games, which is a 59-goal pace over the course of an 82-game season. Jeff Carter has 18 goals, but miraculously only three assists (he notched one last night). How is that possible? How does he not accidentally get an assist more than three times in 28 games?

What else? Mike Ribeiro is tied for the NHL-lead with 16 power-play points (Andrei Markov). Evander Kane leads the NHL in shots on goal with 126 -- 10 more than Alex Ovechkin, who's second on the list. Jiri Tlusty is the only NHLer with five multi-goal games (Kunitz, Marian Hossa and Patrick Marleau all have four). Other than Crosby, St. Louis is the only other player to have at least 30 assists (he has 31; Crosby has 35).

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.

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.

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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NHL.COM FANTASY STORIES | VIDEOS
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Jensen's top 100 forward ranks | Big steals
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Top 30 goaltenders | Back-to-back analysis
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