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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Green hoping for healthy return

Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 12:26 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.

We watched the year 2011 breathe its final gasp a couple days back and fans of the National Hockey League, especially fantasy owners, should be saying good riddance! The year brought with it a rash of injuries that started with a high-profile concussion sustained by Sidney Crosby and left multiple star players in its wake, including several top-ranked defensemen.
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Holiday Special: Fantasy Predictions for the New Year

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

The start of the New Year may signal an end to the holiday season, but it represents a positive outlook for the year to come. While reflecting on the fantasy hockey year that was in 2011, many questions loom as to which players will define the landscape in 2012.

Whether superstars or unsung heroes, players from around the League will excel in different categories to help your fantasy squad make a push for a championship.

Thus, NHL.com Fantasy Insiders Pete Jensen and Deborah Francisco have painted a picture for the New Year by casting 30 bold predictions for 2012. Our experts have selected a compelling name from each of the 30 NHL teams, and predict strong second halves from each of those players.

So, with that, here's a player from each NHL team that we expect to shine in 2012...

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In the Cage: New Year's resolutions

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.

For every NHL goaltender, a new year opens the door for a new resolve. Those failing to live up to our expectations can still salvage the season by finding ways to reverse their fortunes, but it has to happen starting right now. With this in mind, we pick five of the biggest disappointments so far this season and then post their New Year's resolutions for what we hope will be successful second halves.

Jonas Hiller -- Must resolve to average at least three more timely saves per game, and must post below a 2.50 goals-against average at home. Heading into January, Hiller is just 7-9-1 with a 3.31 GAA and .893 save percentage at the Honda Center in Anaheim, which calls for much doubt surrounding his second-half projections. We think the potential is there, but the odds are anywhere from low to moderate. Maybe the return of injured forward Jason Blake will help balance the team's offensive attack.

Ryan Miller -- Must resolve to forget the drama that transpired in the first half of the season, and simply focus on stopping pucks by pushing the mental reset button. Regardless of past injuries, poolies expect Miller to be one of the top goalies to own, and he can carry that label in the second half if he clears his mind and rediscovers his true self. To us, that's the one with the aggressive positioning, quality rebound control and even-keeled, confident attitude that frustrates his foes.
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Malkin leads list of midseason fantasy awards

Wednesday, 12.28.2011 / 12:46 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

In light of the holiday season and the NHL's fast-approaching midway point on Jan. 9, NHL.com's fantasy experts are proud to present the midseason fantasy hockey awards. As all of you know, players around the League have made their mark through three months of NHL action -- for better or for worse. Thus, our aim is to recognize the names that have most defined the fantasy landscape in that span.

Our regular fantasy contributors -- Matt Cubeta, Sergei Feldman, Pete Jensen, Justin Goldman and Brian Metzer -- have cast their votes, outlining the best fantasy players at each position based on eligibility in Yahoo! leagues. If a player is listed at two positions in Yahoo! Leagues, then it was the writer's choice to put him where he wanted among the awards.

We made the list, checked it twice and stuffed it with the most notable fantasy rookies, surprises, disappointments and much more. So, without further ado, here's our gift to our loyal fans: The 2011-12 NHL.com midseason fantasy hockey awards.
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Holiday Special: The 'X-Mas' Factors

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Santa Claus is coming to town…

And this year, he’s bringing with him a bag full of fantasy gifts.

Fortunately, for all you fantasy team owners out there, NHL.com’s fantasy insider Sergei Feldman digs deep inside Santa’s bag and hands out the Top 5 impactful fantasy performers of the season at each position up to the holiday break.

Without further adieu, here is this year’s All-Christmas Fantasy Team:

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CENTER: Evgeni MalkinPittsburgh Penguins

Evgeni Malkin
Center - PIT
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 25 | PTS: 40
SOG: 133 | +/-: 7
The knee injury Pittsburgh PenguinsEvgeni Malkin faced last season, which forced him to undergo surgery and miss a large chunk of the season is old news for those familiar with the star center. The nagging knee injury this season—after supposedly fully rehabilitating leading up to the season—is also old news, but of the don’t-forget-about-it variety.

“Geno” started the season with a three-game point streak, but then missed games on and off (seven total) until he felt he was near 100 percent for good. He returned and produced modestly until Nov. 21, Sidney Crosby’s first game back from a concussion. Suddenly, Malkin dazzled. In the 14 games since, with or without Crosby in the lineup, the 25-year-old has put up points in all but two games. In that span, he has amassed 24 points.

As a result, Malkin has climbed the NHL scoring leaders ladder. Despite ranking third in points (40), the 6-foot-3, 195-pound center reigns supreme atop fantasy performs in Yahoo! Standard leagues. As his Penguins get injured bodies back in the lineup, Malkin’s production could only improve. Much like his status as one of the premier fantasy contributors.


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Malkin atop updated fantasy forward rankings

Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 1:54 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

The time has come to give fantasy hockey fans a joined look at all the forwards -- not just our usual Center-Left Wing-Right Wing break downs, but a look at the League's elite forwards. With the holiday's approaching and the midway point of the NHL season just a couple of weeks away, we thought this week would be a good time to provide you with updated rankings of all the top fantasy hockey forwards.

After entering preseason as the top overall fantasy player, where does Alex Ovechkin now rank among the forwards after 32 games of NHL play? How about the emergence of Joffrey Lupul, where does he fit in with the world's best offensive players? What about injured players like Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux, where do they stand? You'll have to read on to find out...

While our weekly rankings help you gauge the value of each player at their respective positions, these rankings will help you assess the value of every forward. Is Zach Parise going to outperform Anze Kopitar going forward? Will Kris Versteeg continue to be more valuable than Joe Thornton? These rankings allow you to see if a wing is going to be more productive than a center, and vice versa. They are based on expectations of the season from this point on -- this means that just because Phil Kessel leads the NHL in points right now, we don't necessarily think he'll be the most valuable fantasy player for the rest of the way.
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On the 'D'-fence: Niskanen easing loss of Letang

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.

When Matt Niskanen arrived in Pittsburgh as part of the trade that saw the Penguins swap Alex Goligoski for James Neal, many felt he wasn't much more than a throw-in -- an extra piece that would give the Penguins some flexibility to offset a number of injuries plaguing their lineup.

The young defenseman, who had burst onto the scene with seasons of 26 (7G-19A) and 35 (6G-29A) points during his first two years in the League, had come crashing down to earth during his third and fourth, mustering a combined 25 points (4G-21A).

Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk and Penguins GM Ray Shero both felt a change of scenery could be just what the doctor ordered for Niskanen.

Unfortunately, at least at first glance, that didn't seem to be the case. He had some trouble adapting to new coach Dan Bylsma's system, and quickly fell down the Penguins' depth chart. In fact, there was some question if he would even make the Penguins' 2011-12 roster as training camp approached. 
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In the Cage: Windows of opportunity for backups

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.
 
For many hidden gems and rarely seen backups, the windows of opportunity to raise their value are few and far between. So when these chances do occur, they must win every start they get and play extremely well if they expect to increase their role with the team.
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The Real Spiel: Devils' trio more than 1-2-3 punch

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.


DEVILS IN DETAILS: The Real Spiel on New Jersey’s Trio

Zach Parise
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 27
SOG: 121 | +/-: -3
The New Jersey Devils have their share of marquee names. Ever heard of Martin Brodeur? How about Zach Parise? Or Ilya Kovalchuk? While the future Hall-of-Fame netminder hasn’t dazzled in 2011-12, Parise, Kovalchuk and youngster Adam Henrique certainly have. In the past five games, the aforementioned trio has combined for 7 goals, 13 assists and 20 points. Sometimes the production of line combinations can be misleading, particularly when one player has a dominant stretch of play. Not the case here. Parise, Kovalchuk and Henrique, individually, are fantasy hockey threats. Parise has 11 goals, 16 assists, 27 points and ranks third in the NHL with 121 shots. Of late, he has goals in three of his past four games, including eight points. Kovalchuk's 10 goals, 15 assists, 25 points and 98 shots make him a valuable players, as does his stretch of three straight two-point nights. How about Henrique? The 2008 third-round selection has 25 points and is a plus-7. Of late, he has 2 goals, three assists in his past five games. It may be a risk to rely on a trio, but the reward can be greater.


 
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Fantasy Mailbag: Dealing with the injury wave

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 12:53 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.



JEFF FROM ST. LOUIS is contemplating trading Sidney Crosby since there's no time frame for his return in dealing with concussion-like symptoms. Jeff has received a trade offer where he would receive Claude Giroux - who is also out indefinitely with a concussion - straight up for Crosby.

This trade involves two of the game's top offensive forces, both of whom are young and dealing with concussion-like symptoms. Crosby (2 G, 10 A, plus-7, 8 PIM, 3 PPP, 31 SOG, 7 hits) battled a similar injury earlier this calendar year with a 10-month absence from the game, but dazzled upon his return to the League in November. Crosby absorbed a number of hits in the Penguins' loss to the Bruins on Dec. 5, leaving the 24-year-old out indefinitely again with concussion-like symptoms only eight games into his season. Giroux, meanwhile, leads the NHL with 39 points on the season but a ended up with a concussion last Saturday against Tampa Bay and is out indefinitely as well. Like Crosby, the injury came as a major setback to Giroux – who was putting together a top-tier fantasy season at age 23.
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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