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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Subban, Karlsson lead fantasy defensemen rankings

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 10:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo eligibility, projected lineups, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinion, 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.


By nature, defensemen are designed to prevent teams from scoring goals, but a subsect of the gene pool has seen their DNA evolve. This group is just as adept at rolling up offense as it is in preventing it.

One of the evolved, Alec Martinez, scored the Stanley Cup winning goal for the Los Angeles Kings less than three months ago. The good news is that it's time to regroup and reload for another trip up the mountain towards fantasy glory. That trip gets a lot easier when properly utilizing a defenseman and this should help you gain a better understanding of who you should target.

In putting together these pre-season rankings, we looked back at goals, assists, points, power-play points, plus-minus and shots on goal over a three-season span to better assess who is on the rise and who is on the decline.

The results were interesting in that no defenseman finished in the top 10 in all six standard scoring categories; however four of them, Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators), Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets), P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens), and Keith Yandle (Arizona Coyotes) finished in the top 10 of five of them.

Of those four, Subban and Karlsson slot one and two in our rankings and should be among the first defensemen selected in your league. Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators ranked in only four of the categories, but his team improved offensively, which helped him edge Byfuglien for the No. 3 spot. But do not forget that the latter will qualify as both a defenseman and a right wing in Yahoo Standard leagues.

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Perry, Ovechkin, Kane top fantasy right wing rankings

NHL.com's Pete Jensen ranks top 50 players at RW position

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo eligibility, projected lineups, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinion, 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.


Expecting the unexpected comes with the territory in fantasy hockey. That is, unless you draft Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry.

Perry, who leads the fantasy right wing ranking for the third time in the past four seasons, is third in NHL.com's top 275 rankings for three reasons: his linemate, category coverage and durability.

The 29-year-old formed the best point pair League-wide last season with Ryan Getzlaf and finished among the League's top seven in goals, points, shots on goal and plus/minus. Perry also is no stranger to the penalty box, with his 50-goal, 104-penalty minute season in 2010-11 being a prime example of his production in that category. He has played in more than 96 percent of his team's games since 2006-07 and should be the first player on your list after Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos.

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Oilers' Hall back atop fantasy left wing rankings

NHL.com's Matt Sitkoff ranks top 40 players at LW position

Thursday, 09.04.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo position eligibility, projected lineups, 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.


Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers tops the preseason left wing rankings for the second consecutive season. The No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft had a career high 80 points last season and finished in the top 10 in scoring for the second straight season. Hall's 1.08 points per game has paced all left wings the past two seasons and his 0.91 career points per game ranks him fourth among players at the position.

The top 10 is a mix of consistent performers and players coming off career years. Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars was named to the NHL's First All-Star team. Expect his chemistry with center Tyler Seguin to continue. Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens has the most goals from the left side in the past three seasons (87) and hitting the 40-goal mark is not out of the question.

Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin, 19, is the only player among the top five picks in the 2013 NHL Draft to not to see action last season in the League, but the extra development time will pay huge dividends for the talented left wing and leading candidate for the Calder Trophy. Youth is represented throughout the top 40 with Calder Trophy winners Gabriel Landeskog (21) and Jonathan Huberdeau (21), as well as precocious talents like Tomas Hertl (20) and Alex Galchenyuk (20).

Some good bounce-back candidates within the rankings include Joffrey Lupul, Alex Tanguay, Huberdeau and Jiri Tlusty. Each had injury issues last season, but owners can expect them to be back producing at their normal paces in a full, 82-game season.

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Crosby, Stamkos top deep fantasy center rankings

NHL.com's Matt Cubeta ranks top 50 players at C position

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo position eligibility, projected lineups, 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.


Depth, depth and more depth. That's the story year after year when breaking down the center position for fantasy hockey. And as always, this year remains the same.

From the first round of your draft to the final round, there's always a good time to draft a center. But that first round is sure to see plenty fly off the board. Among my top-10 overall fantasy players, eight qualify as centers in Yahoo leagues. From Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby at the No. 1 spot to Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews at 10th, there seem to be more elite players at the center position than ever, and this doesn't even include superstars Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars) or Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings).

But the quality doesn't stop there. Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets star Ryan Johansen could end up moving into the top tier at the center position. Another No. 1 draft pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, could finally start to pay dividends for the Edmonton Oilers and fantasy owners. Jason Spezza (Stars) and Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) should both bounce back to have big seasons.

As you move through your draft, some potential breakout candidates can also be found. Players like Brayden Schenn (Philadelphia Flyers), Derick Brassard (New York Rangers) and Mark Scheifele (Arizona Coyotes) could all end up exceeding expectations in 2014-15. Then there are the sleepers; guys like Sam Gagner (Arizona Coyotes), Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers) and Elias Lindholm (Hurricanes) are all worth selections with one of your final picks come draft day.

Regardless of what you need, whether it's goals, assists, penalty minutes, plus/minus help, power-play production or shots on goal, the center position has you covered, and you'll be able to find what you need at almost any point during your draft.

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Breaking down the top 50 fantasy hockey players

Tuesday, 09.02.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Yahoo's fantasy hockey registration is officially open. You're building your league and inviting your friends to join. You're figuring out when and where to have the draft. Then the research begins. You're debating who to take in what round and who you can grab late in the draft. Who can help you in the penalty minutes category and who will help with power-play points?

From now until the puck drops on Oct. 8, all of these decisions come into play as the NHL and fantasy hockey seasons officially begin.

The most important thing for your fantasy draft is to remember that the more you read and take in, the better prepared you'll be.

With that, hopefully you've seen NHL.com's top 275 overall fantasy hockey rankings. That's a good start in getting ready for your draft. We've also released our sets of sleeper stories (Cubeta, Jensen, Sitkoff) as well as plenty of other helpful fantasy features. Take it all in.

Now it's time to find out the reasons behind our top 50 fantasy player rankings.

Why is Evgeni Malkin ranked higher than last season's MVP nominees Ryan Getzlaf and Claude Giroux? Why is Jamie Benn the highest-ranked left wing? Why did we choose P.K. Subban ahead of Erik Karlsson among defensemen? These are just a few of the many questions you might have asked when you first viewed our consensus rankings. Now you get to understand why these select few are considered the 50 best fantasy players in the game, according to NHL.com.

The overall ranking order is based on NHL.com's composite rankings determined by fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff (average of each expert's selections).

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NHL.com's top 275 overall fantasy hockey rankings

Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Matt Sitkoff identify most valuable players

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

The 2014-15 NHL season is drawing closer by the day, so NHL.com has you covered with a full positional breakdown of all the players around the League worth owning in fantasy hockey.

NHL.com fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, and Matt Sitkoff have constructed a pool of players who they believe are the top 275 in standard Yahoo leagues. The writers then went their separate ways and individually ranked those assets based on a number of factors, including but not limited to offseason moves, position eligibility, line combinations, category coverage or lack thereof, contract situations, and statistical performance from previous seasons.

These rankings should be viewed as our experts' opinionated projections of the NHL's most valuable fantasy players based on expectations entering this season. They should be used as a basis of reference when making your educated selections on draft day.

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Intricacies of NHL schedule important in fantasy

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Studying the NHL schedule is very important to any fantasy hockey owner. Fortunately, NHL.com will provide a weekly look at certain players who are entering a favorable stretch in their schedule. This NHL Fantasy All-Access column will spotlight the players who should be picked up or played for that week.

Now that the NHL features a balanced schedule that ensures all 30 teams will play in all 30 arenas at least once, knowing the schedule for your draft is more important than ever.

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Drouin, Lehtera top Sitkoff's fantasy sleepers list

Wednesday, 08.27.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With few exceptions, the majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. Though those players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues.

Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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Hornqvist, Granlund top Jensen's fantasy sleepers list

Tuesday, 08.26.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With few exceptions, the majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. Though those players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues.

Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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Nichushkin, Horton power Cubeta's fantasy sleepers

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With few exceptions, the majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. Though those players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues.

Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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