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.