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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Visnovsky worth owning

Wednesday, 02.13.2013 / 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.


New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow has gone about his business a little differently than some of his peers, but his approach is starting to right the ship on Long Island. He has acquired some valuable assets such as Evgeni Nabokov and Brian Strait via the waiver wire, as well as made timely trades to bring in additional talent like high-scoring defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.

Visnovsky, who was acquired on day one of the 2012 NHL Draft, wasn't exactly eager to report to the Islanders, but he finally arrived this past weekend and seems primed for a productive season.

The Front Line: Zetterberg more than just a captain

Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 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.

Henrik Zetterberg
Left Wing - DET
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 18
SOG: 45 | +/-: 6
Three players are tied for the NHL lead with 13 assists. Evgeni Malkin and Martin St. Louis are two of them -- not a huge surprise. The other is Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg is a household name, and while he was known in the past as a premier goal-scorer, he has clearly shown in the last three years that it's his playmaking abilities that have defined him.

After posting 43 goals in 2007-08, many fantasy owners began to expect Zetterberg to continue to score goals at that kind of rate -- especially given the fact that he often found himself on the same line as Pavel Datsyuk. However, since that 43-goal breakthrough, it's been a steady decline in the goals category -- he averaged 25 goals over the next four seasons.

Fantasy All-Access: A look into the quarter mark

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.

After action is finished on Monday, 19 of the NHL teams will have played a quarter of their games this season. With that in mind, here at All-Access we would like to hand out some quarter-mark Fantasy Awards.

Fantasy MVP goes to the Buffalo Sabres' Thomas Vanek. This was an easy one, as he has points in 10 of the 12 games he has played in and already has two five-point games. He has factored in 23 of the 38 goals scored by the Sabres -- what a dominant first quarter.

Category Hog Award, or the player that has excelled in many fantasy categories this season, goes to the New Jersey Devils' David Clarkson. The sixth-year pro has nine goals, 15 points, 19 PIMs, seven power-play points, 50 shots and two game-winning goals already this season.

The Stock Exchange: Those overshadowed by stars

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.

The guy. Each team has one. Some have two. Few have more.

Regardless, everyone knows who those players are. It's impossible for any of them to sneak under the radar and so, ultimately, after a round or two at most they're off the board and ready to go on many a roster.

But how about the other guy? How about the diamond in the not-so-rough? With the fantasy hockey season settling in, let's look at some players who play in the shadows of bona fide superstars, but also are the ones inevitably making the difference between victories and defeats for your squads.

In the Cage: Fasth, Vokoun emerging fantasy assets

Thursday, 02.07.2013 / 1:38 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.

Fasth is 4-0-0 on the young season and is fresh off his first career NHL shutout on Wednesday against the Avalanche. (Photo: Getty Images)
Over the last week, two goalies that are likely available in your fantasy league are quickly emerging as potential steals. With their experience and early success stabilizing their team's play, they are posting valuable fantasy stats and improving their likelihood to play in more games than anyone projected.

Viktor Fasth has now started three of Anaheim's last four games, and he's the first goalie in Ducks history to win his first four NHL games. After last night's 31-save shutout win over Colorado, he now carries a league-best 0.98 goals-against average and .962 save percentage.

Not only has Fasth stopped 101 of the 105 total shots he's faced, but he has stopped all 15 power-play shots faced. He also has the only shutout in the NHL so far this week, which is a juicy point for owners.

Back on Monday, he was owned in just three percent of Yahoo! leagues. As of this morning, he was owned by 32-percent of poolies ... and that number will keep rising.

On the 'D'-fence: Weber's woes worry fantasy owners

Wednesday, 02.06.2013 / 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.

Shea Weber
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 0
SOG: 22 | +/-: 1
The Nashville Predators have spent the past seven seasons growing into one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They have made that climb based largely on their defensive acumen, their goaltending and the play of their captain, Shea Weber.

Weber, who is in his eighth NHL season, has led the way not only in the defensive zone, but on the score sheet as he has become one of the best two-way blueliners in the League. He and former partner Ryan Suter, who departed for the Minnesota Wild during unrestricted free agency this past summer, combined to score 26 goals and 95 points last season. This makes it even more shocking to consider that Weber has yet to notch a point through his team's first nine games of the season.

The Front Line: Vanek primed to join fantasy elite

Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 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.


Slowly but surely we're starting to see the "superstars" gravitate toward the top of the ranks in Yahoo! fantasy leagues, as we all expected. Sure, there are still some surprise names at the top of the list, but our proven commodities that we all spent early draft selections on are taking their place where we hoped they would.

Steven Stamkos is currently ranked third in Yahoo! leagues -- he has seven goals and nine assists in eight games and has recorded at least one point in each contest this season. He's the only player with six multi-point efforts and has tallied a power-play goal in each of the last three games. It's safe to expect Stamkos to rank among our top three forwards all season long.

Fantasy All-Access: Slow starts or status quo?

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 segment: "Fantasy All-Access." From the waiver wire watch to roster trends and prospect rumblings, Sitkoff is here to help you all season long.

We celebrated Groundhog Day this past week, and our favorite woodchuck Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. Some players need to wake up from their hibernation, or it will be an early spring for their owners' fantasy teams.

Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel is near the top of the National Hockey League in shots on goal (36) but has yet to score his first goal. I predict an early spring for him, as he will not wake up from his hibernation in the wake of losing his linemate Joffrey Lupul, while others (James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin) have taken scoring opportunities away from the four-time 30-goal scorer.

The Stock Exchange: Buy or sell Marleau, Vanek?

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.

At this point, the freshness of it all has whittled away. Very quickly, the fantasy hockey season is in full swing, and with no shortage of topics riddling the minds of fantasy owners everywhere.

Since last week, contracts have been signed and injuries have mounted. In between, the players who make or break your weeks have shined or faded. So with that, let's examine the current fantasy marketplace.

In the Cage: Predicting bounce-back games

Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 1:00 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.

In order to make better daily starting goalie decisions in this condensed and chaotic season, you need to be able to predict strong bounce-back efforts.

Bounce-backs are vital this season because coaches are more likely to have shorter leashes in goal by being less hesitant to use their backups. But beyond doing your daily homework on team matchups, how can you determine when a goalie is primed for a big bounce-back win?

Unfortunately, because so much of this is tied to the mental side, there's no formula or fail-proof plan for predicting them. And while every starting goalie will be motivated to nip a losing streak in the bud in different ways, oftentimes the "bounce-back" takes place after they watch their counterpart play well.

Not only will most starters feel a higher sense of urgency when a bad outing is followed by the backup playing well, but the rest they receive is beneficial as well. They get to recharge the batteries a bit, while also pushing the mental "reset" button. For many goalies, that simple "fresh start" can do the trick.

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