Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
(Page 47 of 62)
Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Turn Left Here: Lupul joins group of elite fantasy LWs

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 3:36 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.

Welcome to December. We're into our third month of the NHL season and some surprising early-season hot starts have carried their way all the way into December. Players like Jamie Benn, Kris Versteeg, Tyler Seguin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sheldon Souray, Brian Campbell, Brian Elliott and Nikolai Khabibulin have all exceeded fantasy expectations and have provided great value for their fantasy owners to this point. Even at a higher level, players have done more than we could have hoped for -- guys like Phil Kessel, Erik Karlsson and Kari Lehtonen.

But when we discuss true surprises this season, we're specifically looking at you, Joffrey Lupul. No one has been more valuable or more productive in all of fantasy hockey than Lupul. He might not continue at this 39-goal, 98-point pace all season long, but it's time to give the Toronto forward his due.

Lupul was given a fresh opportunity in Toronto to play on the left wing of the Leafs' top line with Phil Kessel on the right side. His season started quite nicely, as we all know, with 4 goals and 3 assists in his first five contests. Kessel got off to an even hotter start, making fantasy owners believe that Lupul could ride the wave and be a fantasy asset going forward. His Yahoo! ownership increased quickly.
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Center Stage: Crosby jumps to No. 1 center rank

Wednesday, 11.30.2011 / 1:37 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.

We knew he was good, but to immediately prove he's the best player in the world so quickly after missing over 10 months of action -- how does he do it? We're not sure anyone saw this coming so soon. In just five games since his return, Sidney Crosby has 11 points and immediately jumps up to the No. 1 center ranking -- and the No. 1 overall fantasy rank as well. Our rankings are based on expectations for the rest of the season, and we believe no one will be more valuable than Crosby.

Drafted on average with the 26th pick in standard Yahoo! Leagues, Crosby's fantasy owners can finally celebrate now that the superstar can be inserted into their lineup. Congratulations if you were able to stay close to the top of your league standings without Crosby -- now you have the most lethal weapon and can sit back and watch as Sid carries you to the top.  
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On the 'D'-fence: Markov's fantasy value rising

Tuesday, 11.29.2011 / 12:47 PM / 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.

As fantasy comebacks go, they don't get any bigger than that of Sidney Crosby, who has burst back on the scene with 9-points (2G-7A) in four games after missing more than ten months of action due to a concussion. Situations like Crosby's are a rarity, but there could be a similar one shaping up on the blue line of the Montreal Canadiens as Andrei Markov is drawing ever closer to making his long-awaited return.

Markov has been out of the Canadiens' line up for over a year after re-injuring his surgically repaired right knee in a collision with Eric Staal on November 13, 2010. A second procedure on the knee was needed and Markov was left on the shelf until he kicked off an intense rehabilitation program in Florida under the watchful eye of Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. James Andrews in October. The program yielded huge dividends and Markov was back on the ice on Nov. 1. 
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In the Cage: A string of starts makes a difference

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.
 
To truly gain an edge on your competition, procure darkhorse goalies that could earn a string of starts.
 
Getting a string of starts can be career-altering for "1-B" goalies and backups. It allows them to get into a rhythm, while instilling confidence in themselves, their teammates, and coaches. The more games they play in a row, the more they realize they're capable of carrying a larger role with the club, and the better they're likely to play. Roles change, momentum is gained, and their perceived fantasy value rises.
 
Right now, a number of lesser-owned goalies are improving their fantasy value due to getting a string of starts. This list includes Jonas Gustavsson (13 percent owned in Yahoo! Fantasy leagues), Sergei Bobrovsky (14 percent), Al Montoya (20 percent), Curtis Sanford (20 percent), Cory Schneider (44 percent), and Brian Elliott (66 percent).
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Fantasy Mailbag: Sid's return will impact Staal's value

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 2:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com fantasy insider Pete Jensen has you covered all season long with the weekly Fantasy Hockey Mailbag. 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.



BENEDICT FROM OTTAWA
is concerned about how the return of Sidney Crosby will affect the value of Jordan Staal. He is considering shopping Staal for a player like Evander Kane.

The return of “Sid the Kid” means Staal (LW/C eligible) is now slotted as the Penguins’ third-line center behind the likes of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Considering it’s the same role he occupied when the team took home the Stanley’s Cup in 2008-09, Staal and the Penguins should be just fine. This depth chart adjustment instantly gives Pittsburgh one of the more potent third lines (Matt Cooke-Staal-Tyler Kennedy) in the League. Also, with all three of the team’s centers now healthy, coach Dan Bylsma can mix and match lines involving Staal. In the 6-3 win Friday against Ottawa, Staal tallied a goal and a plus-two rating, while getting some reps on a line with Chris Kunitz at LW and Malkin at RW. A potential trio of that caliber is a good reason to be patient in this situation. ...

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Holiday Special: Giving thanks in fantasy hockey

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 10:54 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

While people will be enjoying their Thanksgiving Day feast and watching some football, hockey fans will anxiously be awaiting the first-ever 2011 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown between the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins on Friday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.

Who needs football when we can sit back, digest all that food from the night before and watch a great hockey game between Original Six rivals? And while you're sitting there watching some great hockey, why not give thanks to the players that have helped your fantasy team to this point?

From the players that are performing as we hoped and expected to the guys that have surprised us all, let's take a look at what fantasy owners can be thankful of at the quarter-pole of the NHL season.
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On the 'D'-fence: Byfuglien rounding into form

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.

During his 7-year NHL career, Dustin Byfuglien has pretty much done it all. He has played all over the ice, skating as both a forward and a defenseman, and those skills helped the Chicago Blackhawks hoist a Stanley Cup back in 2010. After that championship, Byfuglien was shipped to the Atlanta Thrashers, now the Winnipeg Jets, who made him primarily a defenseman. "Big Buff" thrived in that role and went on to post 53-points (20G-33A), 347 shots on goal and a very manageable minus-2.

The career year set expectations high for the Minnesota native, but he had some trouble meeting them in October. Byfuglien was maligned by some who questioned his conditioning. The thinking was that he had bulked up a little too much during the off-season and it was hurting his ability to play end-to-end. He seemed to be struggling when it came to getting back to the defensive zone after a rush and it resulted in the coaching staff shortening his shifts for a period of time, which in turn limited his scoring opportunities.

Whatever the reason for his early-season struggles, it hurt the Jets and it hurt fantasy owners who spent an early round pick on the player that we had 8th overall in our pre-season rankings. Byfuglien went on to register a minus-5 and just 4 points (1G-3A) in 11 October games, a decent total for your fourth or fifth defenseman, but not for the guy who was likely your number one.
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In the Cage: Shifting roles in Colorado

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.

With Jean-Sebastian Giguere starting three straight games for the Avalanche over the last week, the roles in goal are changing. To help you decipher how that impacts the fantasy value for both he and the struggling Semyon Varlamov (0-5-1 with a .831 save percentage in November), we explain three major shifts taking place between the two puck-stoppers.

SHIFT 1 --- ROLES: The day he signed, Varlamov was handed the starting gig. But as a 23-year-old with limited NHL experience, he should've been forced to earn it. As a result, he's now being hindered by many obstacles. These include – but are not limited to – making timely saves, and lacking the support and guidance from a full-time goalie coach. None of these are roadblocks for the veteran Giguere, so earlier projections of a 60-22 split in games played for Varlamov is inching more towards a 48-34 split.
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The Real Spiel: Staal still valuable despite slow start

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

Given the complex, never-steady landscape of fantasy hockey, each week, NHL.com Fantasy Insider Sergei Feldman will give you The Real Spiel on some of the quirks and trends that permeated your week of fantasy hockey by way of in-depth analysis.


NOT ST-ALL SHE WROTE

Eric Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 8
SOG: 78 | +/-: -18
Eric Staal’s name has rarely been synonymous with struggles. After his rookie season, the Carolina Hurricanes captain has never finished a season with less than 29 goals, 35 assists, 70 points, 277 shots and 50 PIMs. As of now, he’s on pace for 16 goals, 16 assists and 32 points. If you’re a fantasy team owner and have Staal on your roster, he’s likely there because you were convinced he’d deliver more often than not and lift your team to the top. Now, you’re thinking that might not have been the best idea, right? It’s time to get rid of his subpar production and league-worst minus-18 rating, right? Wrong.

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Fantasy Mailbag: Kopitar is fantasy difference-maker

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 6:05 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com fantasy insider Pete Jensen has you covered all season long with the weekly Fantasy Hockey Mailbag. 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.



ALEX FROM CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE received an offer in his league, in which he would receive Anze Kopitar in exchange for Marian Gaborik.

This trade involves top-five players at their respective positions. Kopitar (9 G, 14 A, plus-2, 8 PPP, 58 SOG, 10 hits) has been one of the most dynamic fantasy centers in the League this season. Despite the bipolar Kings’ offense, Kopitar’s well-versed puck-moving abilities have enabled him to put up points consistently. Gaborik (9 G, 6 A, plus-7, 8 PIM, 4 PPP, 74 SOG) has been outstanding as well with four goals and three assists during the Rangers’ current seven-game win streak.
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