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(Page 4 of 49)
Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Martinez matters in fantasy playoffs

Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

If you were to take a look at the stat line for the Los Angeles Kings' Alec Martinez you wouldn't be blown away. You wouldn't be scrambling to add him to your fantasy roster for your playoff run and he'd likely only garner interest in the deepest of leagues, but take the time to scrutinize his game log and you see a player who quickly is becoming a must-own commodity.

He is in the middle of one of those special runs that players sometimes have. You know the kind we are talking about; think John Druce scoring 14 goals during the 1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Washington Capitals or Lee Stempniak putting up 18 points in 18 games for the Phoenix Coyotes after arriving in a deadline deal during the 2009-10 season.

It's the kind of unexpected production that seemingly comes out of nowhere, the fantasy hockey version of a golden ticket in a Willy Wonka chocolate bar.

One minute Martinez, is putting up four goals, three assists and 48 shots on goal in 40 games, and the next he is being added in close to 800 Yahoo standard leagues per day.

What happened? How did he make himself one of the most coveted fantasy defensemen in the league?

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The Front Line: Nyquist's domination turning heads

Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Before you read this story, go check out this goal scored by Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist on Sunday. Impressive, right?

These are the kind of highlights Nyquist has been creating for the past 20-plus games; basically since the Olympic break. Over the past 30 days in Yahoo leagues, Nyquist is the No. 4 player, behind Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. To put it in layman's terms, Nyquist has been an elite player for more than a month now.

With several superstars suffering injuries during the most critical time of the season for fantasy owners (Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Matt Duchene, Bobby Ryan), Nyquist has elevated his game and has become a major difference-maker.

In 50 games this season, the 24-year-old has 27 goals, 18 assists, a plus-14, eight penalty minutes, eight power-play points and 138 shots on goal. He currently ranks as the 176th player in Yahoo leagues. But most importantly he has 17 goals, 10 assists and a plus-11 rating in his past 21 games.

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Fantasy All-Access: 'March Madness' comes to an end

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Tuesday marks the start of the last month of the NHL regular season and the start of fantasy championships. Before we look forward let's focus on some players that have gone into March like a lion and left that way.

It took Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux 15 games to score a goal this season, but in March he had a League-leading 21 points in the 14 games. The Boston Bruins' Jarome Iginla led the League with 13 goals in the month with one day to go. The Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano is leading all defenseman in scoring with 16 points in 16 games. And the Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil has a league-high 50 penalty minutes with one game to go in the most crucial month in fantasy hockey.

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In the Cage: Lack proving worth down the stretch

Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

On Wednesday night, while New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was busy earning his 30th win of the season for the eighth time in his legendary career, a rookie Swedish goalie was also making some big saves in a key conference matchup for his team.

Eddie Lack stopped 29 shots in a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Wild, which placed his Vancouver Canucks just four points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the final wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. The win also pushed Lack to 4-1-0 in his past five games with only 11 goals against on 138 shots, a .920 save percentage.

With eight games remaining in the regular season, Lack is currently 15-14-4 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. His four shutouts are eighth overall in the NHL, while his GAA is 11th overall.

Things did not go well for Lack leading up to and directly following Roberto Luongo's surprising trade to the Florida Panthers. In fact, prior to this recent five-game surge, Lack was just 2-5-0 in March with 22 goals against on 181 shots, a meager .878 save percentage. But now, with all of the chaos and controversy behind him, Lack's play could become the driving force behind a late-season push for one of two wild-card spots.

But does he have what it takes to get the job done in such a pressure-filled market?

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On the 'D'-fence: All hail King Karlsson

Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Entering this season, we penned a fantasy faceoff breaking down the merits of owning the Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban against those of owning the Senators' Erik Karlsson. While we explained it was more about preference when determining which of those two defensemen to draft, we pointed you in the direction of Subban based on the fact Karlsson didn't quite look like himself at the end of the last season upon returning from injury.

In fact, on Sept. 5, 2013, we said "though Karlsson made it back late in the season and still managed to post .82 points-per-game, he just didn't look comfortable. Speed and agility are such an important part of his game and it just wasn't there as he seemed to be dealing with the lingering effects of the severed Achilles."

Well, today, we admit that was a load of hogwash and shout from the rooftop of our secret fantasy headquarters, "All Hail King Karlsson!"

Sure owning Subban, who has 50 points in 73 games, isn't hurting your team, but it isn't helping as much as if you had drafted the leading scorer at the position, Karlsson.

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The Front Line: Giroux closest to Crosby-like value?

Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

I'll be the first to admit I was wrong about Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. Back on Nov. 5, I said you should trade Giroux and I didn't believe there was "much of a resurgence coming." Here we are 141 days later and Giroux is currently the No. 8 overall player in Yahoo fantasy leagues. Clearly, Giroux has proven me wrong.

Prior to that story on Nov. 5, Giroux had no goals and six assists in his first 13 games of the season. He wasn't coming close to living up to his average draft selection (16th overall). In fact, he didn't score his first goal of the season until his 16th game. But from that 16th game onward, Giroux has pretty much been his usual self; that of an elite fantasy forward.

In his next 55 games, the 26-year-old forward has gone on to score 24 goals and 43 assists, a rate of 1.22 points per game. The only player to average more than that this season is Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby at 1.32 points per game. Of course, Crosby has done that for all 71 games he's played in, but the point is if you wipe away Giroux's first 16 games of the season, he's been the second-best point producer in the NHL behind only Crosby. He's also had 21 of his 22 multi-point games during this 55-game stretch. Only Crosby and the Toronto Maple Leafs' Phil Kessel have had more multi-point efforts all season (28 and 23 respectively).

Of players that have appeared in at least 25 games this season, 14 have averaged at least a point per game (Giroux being one of them despite the sluggish start). Last season there were 20 players that averaged at least a point per game (excludes the Maple Leafs' Joffrey Lupul, who averaged 1.12 but only played 16 of 48 games), which makes Giroux's inclusion on this season's list even more impressive.

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Fantasy All-Access: Streaking Bruins have value

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The Boston Bruins are two wins shy of their franchise record for consecutive wins, 14 set in 1929-30; let’s look at the streak from a fantasy aspect.

Veteran Jarome Iginla has paced the team with 11 goals and 14 points during the win streak. Rookie Carl Soderberg has raised his fantasy stock with 10 points in the past 13 games. Both Bruins goalies have contributed to the win streak; Tuukka Rask has won seven straight while giving up only 11 goals. Chad Johnson has won five straight while stopping 125 of 131 shots.

The Bruins have four games this week (MTL, CHI, @WSH, @PHI); expect their red-hot players to keep pacing your fantasy teams.

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In the Cage: A deeper look at this year's rookie class

Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

As of Thursday, a total of 88 goaltenders have made at least one NHL appearance this season.

To put that number in perspective, it's the highest total since the 2011-12, 2008-09, and 2007-08 seasons, when 89 goalies appeared in an NHL game. But that doesn't trump the 2005-06 season, when a whopping total of 91 goalies were used.

Of this season's 88 goalies, 19 of them comprise the rookie class. Eddie Lack's shutout in a 2-0 win over Nashville on Wednesday pushed their record to 88-62-23, a solid .575 point percentage. The rookie class also has a cumulative .914 save percentage, stopping 4,690 of 5,133 total shots on goal.

Last season, the rookie class of 14 goalies went 32-32-7 with a .906 cumulative save percentage. In the 2011-12 season, 20 rookies combined for a 63-72-16 record with a .913 save percentage.

With so much emerging goalie talent being used so often this season, we wanted to provide you with a top-10 keeper league ranking. This will not only help you pinpoint some of the best long-term goalies to own in a keeper league, but it will show you just how deep the talent pool has become.

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On the 'D'-fence: Tough pill powers Coyotes' Yandle

Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The United States Olympic team was announced on New Year's Day following the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. While those named to the roster were celebrating their selections, Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle was left to wonder what he could have done differently upon being left behind.

Yandle thought he gave himself a great chance to be selected to the roster with his first-half performance, calling his omission from the team "a tough pill to swallow."

The good news for the Coyotes and fantasy owners of Yandle is that rather than sulk, he used the experience as motivation and has been one of the most productive defensemen in the League since the Olympic break.

Make no mistake, his first half numbers were impressive. He picked up seven goals and 31 points over his first 58 games this season, good for .66 points per game. That would tie him for 11th in the League in points per game among defensemen, had he continued along at that pace.

He was firing 2.78 shots on goal per game and had contributed 22 power-play points.

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The Front Line: March Madness has arrived in fantasy

Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

March Madness is something we all associate with NCAA basketball, and understandably so. It's a time that captures so many people with its excitement, upsets and heroics.

But what many people don't realize is that March also signifies the end is near in fantasy hockey. If you're in head-to-head leagues your playoffs have just begun. If you're in points leagues or the traditional rotisserie league, you're likely holding on for dear life or fighting to climb in the standings despite time running out. In a way, the month of March is fantasy hockey's own March Madness.

In lieu of the NCAA tournament, let's have a college basketball-themed look at some key fantasy hockey forward storylines:

The No. 1 seed -- Florida = Sidney Crosby

The Gators earned the top overall seed in the tournament, and in fantasy hockey Crosby has been far and away the best player in the game. He consistently has contributed in all categories and he's the only player currently on pace for more than 100 points (108).

The unbeaten -- Wichita St. = Alex Ovechkin

The Shockers are 34-0 heading into the tournament and will look to see if they can stay unbeaten through March. Ovechkin looks like he's a runaway to be unbeaten for the second straight season in the goal-scoring category. With 45 goals in 65 games (nine more than Corey Perry's 36, who ranks second), Ovechkin continues to shine as the NHL's best pure goal-scorer.

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NHL.COM FANTASY HOCKEY COVERAGE
Analysis of NHL.com's fantasy mock draft
Watch: Cubeta's fantasy draft strategy
Top 275 rankings | Top 50 breakdown
Positional rankings: C | LW | RW | D | G
Multicategory assets | Top specialists
Bounce-back candidates | Injury rebounds
Summer moves affect value of teammates

TOP 275 OVERALL FANTASY RANKS

RANK TEAM PLAYER
1. Sidney crosby
2. Steven Stamkos
3. Corey Perry
4. Evgeni Malkin
5. Ryan Getzlaf

COMPLETE RANKINGS BY CUBETA, JENSEN & SITKOFF