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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Kesler's return can change fantasy landscape

Wednesday, 10.19.2011 / 1:12 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Vancouver Canucks are once again believed to be Stanley Cup contenders this season, and their chances of justifying that label just increased significantly.

Stud two-way center Ryan Kesler joined the lineup Tuesday night against the visiting New York Rangers for the first time after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip in the offseason.

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Brodeur's injury makes Hedberg a hot commodity

Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 11:19 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Eric Lipschutz - NHL.com Staff Writer

Attention all Martin Brodeur owners: If you haven't already made the move to scoop up Johan Hedberg off the waiver wire, the time has officially come.

According to reports on Tuesday, Brodeur is unlikely to play Friday when the Devils host San Jose.  His status for Saturday night's game in Pittsburgh is also very much in doubt.  When Brodeur was originally hurt in a 2-1 shootout win over the Kings, the injury was not thought to be serious.  However, Brodeur has already missed New Jersey’s win over Nashville and now his return to the ice appears to be up in the air.
 
Meanwhile, Hedberg has been stellar in Brodeur's absence.  He was perfect in relief of Brodeur against Los Angeles and made 29 stops to earn a victory over the Predators. Hedberg is a seasoned veteran and a former No.1 goalie in the NHL and should continue to be consistent in net for as long as he is required to fill in for Brodeur.
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On the 'D'-fence: Rocky Mountain High

Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 11:49 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.

Each year fantasy owners plan out their strategies and spend countless hours poring over statistics, cheat cheats and rankings trying to find a couple of players that will give them the edge against the competition. We here at NHL.com do the same thing when it comes to studying the statistics and determining where to rank players to help provide that edge for you and, yes, even our own teams.

Though we have all done the work, it seems there are always surprises during the season's infancy, and that is the case again this year. The Colorado Avalanche didn't get a ton of respect heading into October based on the fact that they were placing a ton of faith in a young injury-prone goaltender and leaning on a new-look blue line led by former No. 1 pick Erik Johnson.  

Thus far, the Avs are getting it done, and after an opening-night loss they have reeled off five consecutive victories. That success is noteworthy to fantasy owners and specifically those in need of some defensive depth, as they are getting far more production from the blue line than one would have dreamed. In fact, of the 18 goals they have scored as a team, 17 have run through their defense.
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In the Cage: Evaluating coaching strategies

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.

When it comes to choosing a nightly starter, every head coach has their own unique goalie strategy. Some stick to the same strategy every year, no matter who is rostered. Some make their choices depending on how the goalies perform in practices and games, otherwise known as the “riding the hot hand” strategy. Others have a strict routine; they adhere to a schedule created before the season began. Others fly by the seat of their pants and adjust things on a weekly or daily basis; nothing is written in stone, there's no visible pattern, and the goalies essentially make the coach's decisions for them.

With this in mind, the more you evaluate a coach's goaltending strategy, the more likely you will be to find free agents with hidden fantasy value before your competition does. Remember, last year was the first time since the 2003-04 season that a goalie didn't win 40 games. Combined with the barrage of backups that have already played this season, it looks like coaches will once again utilize both of their goalies in a more balanced and effective manner this year. 
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Fantasy Mailbag: Caps' offense will aid Vokoun

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 7:15 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

All season long, NHL.com’s weekly Fantasy Mailbag will feature the best fantasy hockey-related questions from you, the fans.

Locked into a toss-up in deciding which player to add or drop? Looking for insight on a trade proposal? Look no further than this interactive forum every Saturday during the season for comprehensive analysis on moves that can make or break your fantasy squad.

NHL.com fantasy insider Pete Jensen has your inquiries covered all season long. 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.
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Fantasy Spin: Crosby Cleared for Contact

Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 6:20 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

He's baaack --- well, almost.

Ten months after going down with a concussion, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has officially been cleared for full contact, a giant -- though incremental -- step forward in his recovery from a concussion he sustained after big hits in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 and the Pens' next game on Jan. 5.

As thrilling as that news is for Penguins’ management, coaches, players and fans, it’s just as thrilling for fantasy hockey owners.

Crosby’s return from IR -- remember, there’s been no official timetable set for his return to game action -- could transform your roster completely and elevate your team to a championship level.

When healthy, Crosby is arguably the world’s best player, be it the real world or fantasy world. Prior to suffering the concussion, he was putting up points at an other-worldly pace, to the tune of 66 points (32 goals) in 41 games.
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Right of Way: Pavelski emerging into fantasy star

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.

We are officially a week into the 2011-12 NHL season. What does that mean for your fantasy team? We've stated in each position update this week that you must be patient with your players. You've got to give them more than a week before making any impulsive changes.

For a player your drafted late in your fantasy draft, 10 games is usually a good gauge on when to decide whether you want to drop the player or hold onto them. For a player that's struggling early on who you drafted earlier and are counting on for big things this season, you should consider giving them more like 15-20 games as a trial period. Some players are slow starters; some are just unlucky; some might be dealing with injuries. It could be anything, but either way, you have to show patience.

With that said, let's provide a little breakdown of what's happened with our right wings through one week of action. You'll notice not one player actually moved up in our new and updated rankings -- that's not because the players aren't performing well, it's because we've added dual-position eligible players to the rankings. You'll see guys like Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Claude Giroux and many others in the ranks this time around.
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Turn Left Here: Nash, Burrows moving up in LW ranks

Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 1:27 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

As stated in our 'Center Stage' story Wednesday, fantasy owners must not start panicking about players they invested in on draft day. While several under-the-radar players like Milan Michalek, Joffrey Lupul, Pascal Dupuis and Jason Chimera rank among the top 15 fantasy left wings in Yahoo! Leagues, the usual suspects like Alex Ovechkin, Daniel Sedin and Zach Parise will all be there at season's end.

In fact we're confident enough in this group of left wings that our top three rankings didn't even change a bit since our original release on Aug. 30 -- the top five players would have remained the same as well had we not factored in dual-position eligible players. Even if these elite players get off to a slow start, odds are they will finish the season where they belong -- they're that good.
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Fantasy Spin: Seguin embraces top-line opportunity

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 11:23 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

Get drafted second overall in a given draft and expect expectations to be through the roof.

Fortunately, though, when you're drafted that high, the thinking is you can handle and overcome high expectations.

Such is the case with Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin, a highly skilled 19-year-old who's looking to burst onto the NHL stardom scene in his sophomore season after a Stanley Cup-winning rookie campaign.


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Center Stage: Surprise starts stealing early attention

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 12:41 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.

In standard Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey Leagues, the top-ranked centers currently are: David Legwand (8th overall), Anze Kopitar (10th overall), Craig Smith (11th overall), Jordan Staal (12th overall) and Jason Spezza (13th overall).

Legwand has totaled 2 goals and 3 assists in just two contests, with three of those points coming with the man advantage. His teammate Smith has 2 goals and 2 assists in two games, as well as seven shots on goal.

While many of you probably know who Legwand is, he's not a player that's been on most fantasy radar fors quite some time -- he hasn't recorded more than 44 points in each of the last four seasons. Smith is a 22-year-old rookie that had never appeared in an NHL game until this season and was drafted in the 4th round in 2009 -- most of you have probably never even heard of him. We all know who Kopitar and Spezza are, and Staal is a name we've all grown to love -- thanks largely in part to his brother Eric, but maybe this is the year Jordan finally breaks out.
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