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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Letang starts season on IR

Wednesday, 10.02.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The preseason is a necessary evil in professional sports. Talent evaluators, coaches and general managers need to take a period of time to study their rosters, tweak them and determine which players give them the best chance to win. There is a drawback to playing as many as eight preseason games and it comes in the form of injuries.

The regular season kicked off Tuesday night with three games, and as the puck dropped there were 98 players listed on NHL injury reports, or roughly 14 percent of all League players. Of those 98, over 30 of them were defensemen suffering from injuries of varying severity. One of those defensemen was Kris Letang, who we already know will miss the Pittsburgh Penguins opener on Thursday night.

Many folks couldn't understand why Letang would only rank third in our preseason rankings, but this validates the positioning. Letang is one of the most productive defensemen a team can have; however, he has played a full season just once over the past five years. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have drafted him, because he will likely finish the season with the highest points per game among all players at his position.

The Front Line: Preseason recap and looking ahead

Tuesday, 10.01.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

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 insider all season long.


With the 2013-14 NHL season set to begin Tuesday night, fantasy hockey owners are surely ready for their teams to embark on a championship season.

Drafts are complete; rosters should be in place, now we just have to manage our teams and hope to outsmart the opponent until April 13, when the regular season and fantasy hockey comes to an end.

With that said, let's take a look at some notable tandems during the preseason and how it affects the fantasy landscape:


Jordan Eberle and David Perron (Edmonton Oilers) -- Perron missed Edmonton's last preseason game due to an illness, but prior to that he and Eberle had been two of the most productive players in preseason. Eberle tied for the NHL lead with eight points in five games while Perron tied for the lead in goals with five (in just four games). With injuries to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner, the Oilers will be leaning heavily on Eberle and Perron, and fantasy owners should too.

Cubeta to host weekly Twitter fantasy faceoff


Have you ever wanted to put your fantasy hockey knowledge up against an NHL.com fantasy hockey expert? You'll have the chance to do so once a week during the 2013-14 NHL season.

Starting Friday, Oct. 4, NHL.com randomly will select one lucky fan to compete against NHL.com fantasy insider Matt Cubeta in a one-week Twitter fantasy faceoff (each matchup will include NHL play from Saturday to Thursday).

The rules are simple. Every Thursday via Twitter, Cubeta (@NHLQubes) will post the weekly guidelines. From a pool of specific players (announced on his Twitter account), you'll be able to compete against the NHL.com fantasy insider in a specific category. Whoever finishes with the better results for that week wins the fantasy face-off. Fans will be able to follow and comment using #MeVsCubeta.

Every Friday on NHL Live (5-7 p.m. ET), Cubeta will reveal who won the faceoff and what fan he'll be playing next.

Fantasy trends: Five up, five down this preseason

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 10:20 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

Anyone who has played fantasy hockey in the past can attest to how drastically the landscape can change in a short timeframe.

Injuries, holdouts, line changes, signings and tryout contracts, suspensions and preseason performance need to be taken into account leading up to fantasy drafts. If you have already drafted a team at this point, these factors can give you a reason to take an early dive into the waiver wire pool.

NHL.com fantasy insiders take a look at the latest upward and downward trends over the past few weeks and determine the potential fantasy impact of these developments -- for better or worse.

Analysis of NHL.com's fantasy hockey mock draft

Thursday, 09.19.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

You've seen our fantasy hockey player rankings, sleepers and bounce-back candidates over the past few weeks. Now we're putting it all together for NHL.com's first preseason mock draft.


  • Roster size: 2 C, 2 LW, 2 RW, 4 D, 2 G, 4 BN
  • Skater categories: G, A, +/-, PIMs, PPP, SOG
  • Goalie categories: W, GAA, SV%, SO

Rankings provide fantasy owners with a look at the strength and depth at each position, but everything changes once you're on the clock. Positional and category needs, league rules and your instincts need to be taken into account when making selections. Also, owners must always be conscious of the best player available.

We gathered 12 NHL.com employees, ranging from fantasy insiders to staff writers to web producers, to each draft a 16-player team based on standard Yahoo! league settings.

Here are the results of NHL.com's Mock Draft, complete with commentary pertaining to each round. Fantasy owners should use this analysis as a guideline for draft-day decisions.

Rookies Strome, Scheifele worth drafting in fantasy

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

We already broke down the 2013 draftees and who can have an immediate impact in the fantasy landscape, and realistically any of those players could have their name on the fantasy rookie of the year trophy.

But last season's Calder Trophy finalists were selected in the 2010 (Brendan Gallagher) or 2011 (Jonathan Huberdeau and Brandon Saad) NHL Draft, showing rookie production doesn't just come from freshly-drafted players.

Here are some rookies to keep an eye on when creating your fantasy team:

The fantasy specialists: Who helps in each category?

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

When drafting a fantasy hockey team, it's always important to make sure you address every statistical need. The goal is to put together the best possible well-rounded roster you could have.

For skaters, you want to make sure you draft a player that's capable of burying the loose puck; a playmaker that will get you plenty of assists; a guy on a good team that's likely to have a great plus/minus; someone that receives plenty of power-play time to chip in with power-play points; a player that drops the gloves every now and then to address PIMs; and someone that has no fear of putting the puck on net from any angle to bulk up your shot totals.

These are the things you should be thinking about throughout a fantasy draft. In the later rounds, you should be asking yourself, "Have I addressed every one of these needs?" And if you haven't, scoop someone up late that fits what you're missing.

There are only a handful of players capable of providing value in all or most of these categories (Corey Perry, Milan Lucic, Evander Kane, Wayne Simmonds and Alexandre Burrows, to name a few), which is why you must draft players for specific needs. Here are some skaters to consider for each fantasy category, some at the mid-level, and some as options late in the draft:

Fantasy: 10 injury bounce-backs with high upside

Tuesday, 09.10.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Injuries are a fantasy owner's worst nightmare. They are impossible to predict and can decimate your roster in the blink of an eye.

That said, anticipating a bounce-back season from a player looking to overcome an injury is a worthwhile fantasy strategy.

A glaring example is Sidney Crosby, who came into last season having played 63 of a possible 164 games during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 regular seasons. It wasn't easy for fantasy owners to spend their No. 1 draft pick on such an injury-prone player, but Crosby's 56 points in 36 games (he missed the last 12 with a broken jaw) rewarded those who invested in his potential.

Gaborik, Ryan among fantasy bounce-back candidates

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

The bounce-back player. It's what we target in every fantasy draft. We hope to identify that player that struggled the previous season and will turn things around to be a dominant player in the year ahead. If we get lucky, we'll nab one of these bounce-back players, but determining who they are going into a fantasy draft is always the toughest part.

Going into the 2011-12 season, Alex Ovechkin was riding high off a dominant 2010-11 season and was viewed as one of the top fantasy players. He finished that year as the 36th ranked player in Yahoo! leagues in what many considered a disappointing 38-goal, 65-point season. Heading into the shortened 2012-13 season, Ovechkin could've been tabbed as a bounce-back candidate, and he did just that -- bounce back. He finished as the No. 1 overall fantasy player in Yahoo! leagues and put his name back in the discussion as one of the best fantasy hockey performers.

Matt Duchene is another example of a bounce back player from last season. In 2011-12 he struggled with just 14 goals, 14 assists and a minus-11 rating -- he finished as the 387th ranked player in Yahoo!. This forced many owners to hesitate drafting him. The Colorado Avalanche forward bounced back in a big way, ranking as the 87th best player last season with 17 goals and 26 assists in 47 games.

Whether it's a player at Ovechkin or Duchene's level, or someone on a lesser scale, having at least one solid bounce-back player on your roster is one of the major factors to a championship team. Here are 10 players I believe will bounce back from a disappointing 2012-13 season and pay big dividends for fantasy owners in 2013-14 (in order of who I think will finish the highest ranked this season):

Rangers' Lundqvist ranked top fantasy goalie

NHL.com's Justin Goldman ranks top 30 netminders

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.

In this season's top 30 fantasy goalie rankings, we have crowned Henrik Lundqvist over Antti Niemi as the king of the crease.

But, don't worry if they slip through your grasp in a draft, because you really can't go wrong with the rest of the top 10. Tuukka Rask is playing behind a team that is just as strong as last season, Jonathan Quick is just as valuable as Lundqvist and Niemi in terms of workload and Corey Crawford is poised for a steady season after signing a new six-year contract extension.

The tougher selections come in the 15-to-25 range, mainly due to the high number of tandems in the League. Drafting the more valuable goalie in Toronto, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and New Jersey is no easy task; James Reimer and Corey Schneider could easily be top 15 goalies, but since performance will dictate playing time, the same could also be said for Jonathan Bernier and Martin Brodeur.

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