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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Coyotes' Smith rebounding

Thursday, 10.15.2015 / 12:05 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey staff writer David Satriano provides in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Satriano is your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

A week into the season, we've already seen some surprises. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings are among the winless teams; the Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks have yet to lose in regulation.

There's been good, bad and just plain ugly. But one player who has been better than good is Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.

Three games may be a small sample size, but Smith allowed one goal in each of his first two starts, making 40 saves against the Los Angeles Kings and 27 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on back-to-back nights last week. He followed that up with a 37-save shutout against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. It was his first shutout since March 2014.

Fantasy top 60 defensemen: Zidlicky leads Islanders

Wednesday, 10.14.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey contributor Brian Metzer provides in-depth defenseman analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer is your go-to guy for fantasy D-men advice all season long.

Marek Zidlicky had options for this season, but the 12-year-veteran didn't take the first or even the second offer that came along during unrestricted free agency.

That patience could have been detrimental, but it finally paid off when Garth Snow and the New York Islanders offered a one-year contract and another chance to chase a Stanley Cup.

"I'm happy I can play one more year and we'll see after that what happens," Zidlicky told NorthJersey.com upon signing his contract late in September. "I said right away after the season it could be possible I will retire or we will see. You never know. It's tough for everybody. It doesn't matter if you are 38 or 28. That's the business right now."

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Lines with staying power

Tuesday, 10.13.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen provides in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen is your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.

Line combinations are the most important factor when determining the value of a fantasy forward at any point during a particular season. Many teams shuffle lines and power-play units all season long before finding the perfect recipe, while others find trios that click early and often.

There have been plenty of large-scale line developments for teams two or three games into their respective seasons. The St. Louis Blues (Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen with Paul Stastny), San Jose Sharks (Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski with Joonas Donskoi), Vancouver Canucks (Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin with Brandon Sutter) and Dallas Stars (Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin with Cody Eakin or Patrick Eaves) are some of the many teams pairing dynamic fantasy duos with sparsely-owned forwards -- sparking the latter's fantasy upside. Though these third wheels are rounding out explosive lines in the short term, their teams have second or third-line options (i.e. Jori Lehtera, Tomas Hertl, Radim Vrbata, Patrick Sharp) more than capable of playing elevated roles if and when slumps occur.

Fantasy owners should study up on each team's line situation in the season's infant stages, but always need to prioritize attainable first or second-line trios with staying power. Last season, underrated trios for the Tampa Bay Lightning (Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov) and Calgary Flames (Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler) came out of nowhere to sustain elite-level production. Here are three newly formed trios who are flying under the radar and could follow in their footsteps:

Fantasy All-Access: Sutter among early wire targets

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Monday, NHL.com staff writer Sean McCullen identifies potential waiver-wire pickups, and points out lineup moves and schedule impacts for fantasy hockey.

The 2015-16 NHL season is 31 games old. There are 1,199 to go. Don't make any rash decisions if your fantasy team didn't light it up through the first five days; there's plenty of time for it to become the juggernaut you envisioned as you were leaving your draft.

Just as you shouldn't drop Tuukka Rask because he gave up eight goals in the Boston Bruins' two season-opening losses, you shouldn't add Mike Smith because he made saves on 67 of 69 shots to help the Arizona Coyotes to a 2-0-0 start.

Fantasy Friday: Rookies making noise early on

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Two days are in the books for the NHL and fantasy hockey owners. Despite the small sample size, we've seen plenty of exciting action so far.

Here are the most notable takeaways from a fantasy standpoint.


Joe Pavelski, Zach Parise and Daniel Sedin are the top fantasy skaters to this point. Pavelski and Sedin each had one goal, two assists, a plus-3 rating and seven shots on goal in their first games on Wednesday. Parise had the seasons first hat trick, scoring three goals on six shots in the Minnesota Wild's opener against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. There's no doubting Pavelski's abilities after what he did last season (37 goals, 70 points), but it's good to see Sedin get off to a good start. As for Parise, he was the 22nd best fantasy player in Yahoo leagues last season and could be primed for another big season.

Preseason standouts worth targeting in fantasy

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Last season was a prime example of why monitoring preseason roster activity can pay huge dividends in fantasy hockey.

I identified five under-the-radar preseason standouts last October based on factors including line combinations, elevated roles and production. Three of them proved to be top-100 fantasy players.

Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning latched on with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat and went on to post 65 points, a plus-38 (T-1st in NHL) and 191 shots on goal. He finished 21st among all fantasy assets. Not far behind was Filip Forsberg, 35th in Yahoo leagues, with only the third rookie season of 60-plus points, a plus-15 or better and 230-plus shots on goal (SOG) in the expansion era. Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings finished 93rd, catapulted by a hot start alongside Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson.

Daily fantasy advice for DraftKings NHL contests

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

From television and Internet advertisements to social media trends and even subway billboards, daily fantasy sports surrounds us every day. It's the wave of the future.

Every day is a new season in #DFS (the popular hashtag used to distinguish this fantasy format), so it doesn't warrant the level of commitment of traditional season-long leagues. Daily contests involve far greater attention to injuries, starting goalie updates and line combinations leading up to games, because it all comes down to performance on the night of the contest you join. Once the puck drops, you're glued to your smartphone or laptop for scoring plays involving your players.

Fantasy forward bargains based on draft position

Wednesday, 09.30.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Perception impacts where players are drafted in fantasy, usually to the point where proven commodities remain on the board much later than they should.

Whether it's because of age, single-position eligibility, lineup instability or recent production, it's always worth referencing Yahoo average draft position to pinpoint how late you could land a proven player. If you compare ADP to rankings, you'll see discrepancies to capitalize on.

Forwards being drafted outside the top 75 on average and 15-30 spots lower than they are in my rankings offer serious value on draft day. Jumping on players going much later than they deserve sets your team up for success if they exceed expectations.

Cu-bet on it: Team-by-team bold fantasy predictions

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Each season, NHL.com fantasy insider Matt Cubeta makes his bold fantasy hockey predictions. They are wild, outrageous and possibly even ridiculous, but that's the point. He's not here to tell you Sidney Crosby will lead the NHL in points or Alex Ovechkin will lead the League in goals. This story is here to deliver the unexpected.

Of course these predictions might not actually end up coming to fruition, but Cubeta believes there is a chance they could, even if that chance is slim. The point of this story is so you the fantasy player can discover which players Cubeta might be high on going into the season, and those he thinks you should avoid come draft day.

You'll disagree with plenty of them (maybe even all of them), but in years past, Cubeta has nailed some. Of course he'll get more wrong than right, but again, these are supposed to be over-the-top predictions to emphasize how strongly he feels about specific players.

Five backup goalies to handcuff in fantasy

Eric Goodman - NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

When considering goaltenders in head-to-head fantasy leagues, owners can hardly go wrong with drafting top-tier talent like the Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price or Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne in the early rounds and a solid starter like Vancouver Canucks veteran Ryan Miller in the middle of their respective drafts.

But after settling on a dependable tandem, grabbing a third goalie who is projected to be a backup on his respective NHL team can give owners the edge in taking their fantasy matchup on any given week.

In addition to the bonus statistics, handcuffing a team's backup goalie to the superstar that you drafted early provides much-needed insurance in the case that a starting goaltender sustains a long-term injury.

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Fantasy Black Friday: Biggest bargain deals
Darling will share with Crawford | Top 30 ranks
Thanksgiving feast on blue line | Top 60 ranks
Buy-low forward trade targets | Top 100 ranks
All-Access: Be thankful for Klingberg, Panarin
Projected goalie starters | Fantasy Spin blog
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