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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Fantasy Mailbag: Take your pick, E. Staal or Lupul?

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 2:07 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com fantasy insider Pete Jensen has you covered all season long with the weekly Fantasy Hockey Mailbag. The most compelling questions posed each week will be answered in an effort to provide you with the best chance to succeed in your particular league.

Submit your best questions for the NHL.com Fantasy Mailbag by contacting
PJensen@NHL.com.



ADRIAN FROM JAMESTOWN, NORTH DAKOTA
is in a keeper league that factors in goals, assists, plus-minus, PPP, SHP and GWG. He can retain four keepers from his current squad for next season. He is planning on keeping Corey Perry, Eric Staal, Jonathan Toews, and Jonas Hiller, but is wondering if it would be worth the risk to instead keep Joffrey Lupul over one of those four players.

Staal and Lupul are having very different seasons based on the context of their careers, but hold similar value as point-producing forwards entering next season. I would agree that Perry, Toews and Hiller are untouchable keepers. Toews has missed 11 straight games with a concussion, but is a top-five fantasy skater when healthy and is nearing a return as the Chicago Blackhawks gear up for the playoffs. Hiller and Perry were simply not themselves early on this season, but have shown positive signs of production recovery over the past two months. With a clean slate to work with, each should be in line for a bounce-back season.
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Turn Left Here: McDonald, Hagelin key for stretch run

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 1:37 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

Time is running out. For those of you in head-to-head leagues, anything can still happen, assuming you've made the playoff bracket. But for those in rotisserie style leagues, it won't be easy to gain ground and move up in the standings now that there are only a dozen or so games remaining for each NHL team.

With that, here are five left wings that are available in the majority of Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues and could turn out to help you during these last couple weeks of the regular season:

Pascal Dupuis (owned in 34 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- The energetic forward has 5 points in his last three games and at least one point in seven of his last nine. With Sidney Crosby due back tonight, there's a definite possibility that Dupuis will line up on Sid's wing at some point -- if that's the case, Dupuis should be extremely valuable down the stretch.
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On the 'D'-fence: St. Louis young guns stepping up

Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 11:52 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Tuesday 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.

The 2011-12 NHL season has provided a number great stories, including the return of the Winnipeg Jets, the resurgence of the Florida Panthers and one of our favorites here at "On the 'D'-fence," Erik Karlsson's meteoric rise to stardom, but the most impressive might be the season the St. Louis Blues have put together.
 
The Blues didn't start the way that they wanted, but a coaching change back on Nov. 6 that saw Ken Hitchcock enter the fold kicked off an impressive 39-11-7 stretch that has them sitting on top of not only the Central Division but the entire League.

No skaters on the Blues roster have benefitted more from Hitchcock's arrival than Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, who have each spent the season becoming more complete players and adding to the already impressive resumes they had accumulated over the past couple of seasons.
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The Real Spiel: Implications of Crosby's return

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

Given the complex, never-steady landscape of fantasy hockey, each week, NHL.com Fantasy Insider Sergei Feldman will give you The Real Spiel on some of the quirks and trends that permeated your week of fantasy hockey by way of in-depth analysis.


CROS-BY ALL YOU CAN BE: The Real Spiel on Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby
Center - PIT
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 12
SOG: 31 | +/-: 7
When the Pittsburgh Penguins revealed that Sidney Crosby was cleared for contact, speculation of his return grew rampant. It was thought that he might return when the Penguins hosted the Boston Bruins Sunday afternoon, but the team captain ruled himself out and said he wanted to take advantage of more physical practice sessions between games. While no official return date is set, Thursday night at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers remains a possibility. Either way, one of the League's most dominant players could be back soon enough to alter the fantasy hockey landscape as the playoffs near.

In his first return from concussion symptoms earlier this season, Crosby collected four points in his first game and added four more in five games that followed before suffering from more symptoms. He looked his old self, creating chances and being an across-the-board asset that filled the fantasy stat sheet. With the Penguins rolling and looking to catch the Rangers for the Atlantic Division title, it's safe to believe Crosby would perform at a similar level this go-around. Still, his potential return could have adverse impact on some other key fantasy contributors, such as Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Chris Kunitz. Malkin is in the midst of an MVP season and his wingers, Neal and Kunitz, have been the beneficiaries. Typically, Crosby has played alongside Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis.

The question remains: Will coach Dan Bylsma break up Malkin's line and join Kunitz with Crosby? If so, fantasy owners should wonder about the production of the aforementioned players. It's possible that the 1-2 punch down the middle will make the Penguins more potent and, as a result, all will benefit. On the other hand, however, breaking up a line that’s been dominant for months could be costly.
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In the Cage: Pick a rookie, any rookie

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Monday during the season, goalie specialist and founder of The Goalie Guild Justin Goldman 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.

As if the loss of Tuukka Rask and Craig Anderson wasn't enough for poolies to handle, now Mathieu Garon is down and out, while Josh Harding left a game last Thursday with a lower-body tweak. The goalie infirmary is running out of beds, and at the worst possible time; the playoffs start today for many poolies, meaning tougher decisions when picking up potential replacements.

Due to those injuries, a new pair of rookies now has the potential to provide some solid fantasy points this week -- Matt Hackett and Dustin Tokarski. So which one carries more value down the stretch?

Hackett is trying to survive on a team struggling to win games. The Wild are just 3-6-1 in their last 10, and currently sit eight points out of eighth place in the West. This works in his favor, however, as he's likely to get more looks while the Wild inevitably evaluate their goaltending situation for next season.

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Right of Way: Purcell, Ryder provide unlikely value

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Friday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy right wings in our weekly segment: "Right of Way." From updated right wing rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy right wing expert all season long.

The right wing position has proven to be arguably the deepest in fantasy hockey this season, but over the last month or so there have also been a few unexpected players delivering in ways we didn't think would be possible.

Sure, Evgeni Malkin (center and right wing eligible in Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues) and Corey Perry have been coming through as we expected over the last 30 days, but let's take a look at guys you didn't expect that are producing at an elite level of late and can be extremely useful for your run at first place:

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Turn Left Here: Landeskog set for strong finish

Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 12:27 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

It's been two weeks since our last left wing update, and you'll notice a lot of players have moved around quite a bit in our updated rankings -- none more noticeable than Gabriel Landeskog's rise from No. 36 two weeks ago to No. 23 this week.

Earlier this season, all the talk among rookies was about Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- deservedly so, as he had 35 points in his first 38 games prior to getting injured. However, Landeskog has stolen the show and has been red-hot since the start of Februray.

The No. 2 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Landeskog got off to a solid start with 7 points in 11 October games. He cooled off in November with just 1 goal and 4 points in 14 contests, but during December and January he started to show some consistency. He finished those two months with 9 and 7 points respectively and it appeared that Landeskog was showing what type of player he'd be like for most of the season -- that of a 40-point player.
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Center Stage: The return of Crosby inches closer

Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 2:45 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy centers in our weekly segment: "Center Stage." From updated center rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy center expert all season long.

The NHL trade deadline is behind us and the playoffs are inching closer. That means fantasy leagues are drawing even closer to an end. Most fantasy league trade deadlines have passed, meaning the team you've got right now likely is the squad you're going to battle with in the most important time of the season.

That is, unless you have Sidney Crosby.

If you've got Crosby in your fantasy league, then you'll likely get a boost for the final run that no one else in your league is going to get. Sure, Pavel Datsyuk is only a week or two away from returning from a knee injury, but the owner of Datsyuk has had him in his lineup more times than not, so that boost won't be much different from their usual roster. Crosby has appeared in your lineup just eight times all season.

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On the 'D'-fence: Kronwall red hot for Red Wings

Tuesday, 03.06.2012 / 12:19 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Tuesday 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.

The Detroit Red Wings have been one of the best teams in not only the Western Conference, but the entire National Hockey League throughout the 2011-12 season. They reeled off a record-setting 23 consecutive home wins at Joe Louis Arena and look primed to make another sustained postseason run.

The most impressive thing about this Wings team is that they have been able to do it all while losing 141 man-games to injury. They have seen a number of key contributors go down for stretches, including Jimmy Howard, Pavel Datsyuk and most recently Nicklas Lidstrom, but someone has always stepped up to keep the gears of the Red Wings' attack turning.
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Fantasy Mailbag: Downie, Ott valuable for stretch run

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com fantasy insider Pete Jensen has you covered all season long with the weekly Fantasy Hockey Mailbag. The most compelling questions posed each week will be answered in an effort to provide you with the best chance to succeed in your particular league.

Submit your best questions for the NHL.com Fantasy Mailbag by contacting
PJensen@NHL.com.



AMOS FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
just made a trade and has an empty spot on his roster. His current arsenal of forwards includes Steven Stamkos (C), Ryan Kesler (C), Logan Couture (C/LW), Chris Kunitz (LW), Ryane Clowe (LW/RW), Michael Ryder (RW) and Radim Vrbata (RW). He’s looking to add a winger who can provide both points and PIMs, and has narrowed his choices down to Steve Downie and Steve Ott.

This question deals with two gritty wingers of similar build that can bolster any fantasy team for its playoff push. There are likely teams out of the playoff race in many leagues -- especially keeper ones -- so this question can apply to owners who may see Downie (owned in 46 percent of Yahoo! leagues) or Ott (35 percent) on the waiver wire and also those in deeper leagues who are torn on whether to acquire either Downie or Ott via trade. Both touch on PIMs and hits with regularity, and have also proven to be catalysts on the offensive end for their respective clubs.
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TOP 100 FANTASY FORWARDS

RANK TEAM PLAYER
1. Sidney crosby
2. Steven Stamkos
3. Corey Perry
4. Alex Ovechkin
5. Evgeni Malkin

CUBETA'S COMPLETE TOP 100 FORWARD RANKS