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(Page 9 of 47)
Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Karlsson charges to top of ranks

Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday 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 insider all season long.

There's a legend round these parts about a young defensemen who exploded onto the scene with 78 points in 81 games at the tender age of 21. That total was good enough to put him in a 10th-place tie in the NHL's scoring race during the 2011-12 season.

They say he fired 261 shots on goal, with 19 of them finding pay dirt. He even managed to roll up an impressive plus-16 rating, 28 power-play points and five game-winning goals.

The numbers were otherworldly for a defenseman -- some would even call them godlike -- and they earned the young man the Norris Trophy, identifying him as the finest blueliner in all the land.

That kind of productivity brings with it a certain set of expectations.

Those expectations can be burdensome for a player, especially one like the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson, who now at 23 is trying to bounce back from a serious injury that cost him all but 17 games of what was supposed to be a second Norris-caliber season.

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The Front Line: It's time to cut ties with Giroux, Eberle

Tuesday, 11.05.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

As fantasy owners one of the most difficult decisions we're faced with is whether to give up on a player we had high expectations for coming into the season. Not only is it tough to determine whether you should cut ties with that player, but deciding when to do so also is a stressful task.

Last season was tough to gauge because of the 48-game schedule, but forwards like Bobby Ryan, Marian Gaborik and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all fell short of expectations. In hindsight the ideal situation would have been to sell these players early during their struggles, but that's not an easy thing to do when it's someone you planned on relying on for top-tier production.

I've always preached that anywhere from 10-15 games is a good time to judge a player's start to the season, and now we're at that point.

In an effort to help provide clarification on some of these challenging decisions, I'll take a look at several forwards who haven't lived up to their expectations (excluding injuries). I'll then decide whether I think you should cut the player, trade him -- even if it means not getting close to the value you feel you deserve based on their name -- or stick with him.

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Fantasy All-Access: Niemi headlines October awards

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

One month is down but there's six to go in the fantasy hockey season. Championships are not won or lost in October but we are here to give out our best of October Fantasy awards.

Fantasy MVP of October easily could have gone to the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, but people who drafted them should have expected this output from these superstars. This is why this award goes to San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, who was selected on average at No. 16 in Yahoo leagues. In a season where goalie play has been hard to predict, the Finnish netminder far and away has been the best of the bunch.

Category Hog Award, or the player that has exceled in many fantasy categories this season, goes to St. Louis Blues captain David Backes, who is ranked in the top 25 in points, penalty minutes and power-play goals, and has a plus-7 rating.

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In the Cage: Mason's fantasy value rising with Flyers

Thursday, 10.31.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, 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 a slew of injuries to key starters like Pekka Rinne, Cam Ward and Devan Dubnyk over the past few weeks, doors have opened wide for Cam Talbot, Justin Peters, Richard Bachman and Frederik Andersen to establish their NHL careers. In fact, eight teams have already needed to rely on a third goaltender at some point this season, a truly spooky number that could hit double-digits in the next week.

But that trend hasn't overshadowed the rising fantasy value of Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason.

In the previous four seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Mason was one of the most frustrating goalies for fantasy players to own. Known as the goalie that won the Calder Trophy primarily due to coach Ken Hitchcock’s defensive system, after his rookie season he posted goals-against averages of 3.06, 3.03, 3.39, and 2.95 (prior to being traded), respectively.

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On the 'D'-fence: OEL, Yandle 'scrubbing' opposition

Wednesday, 10.30.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

It's always fun to do something that you love. It's even better to do that thing with a good friend.

That is what made John Dorian and Christopher Turk the best set of doctors to ever grace a television screen. The pair, made famous by actors Zach Braff and Donald Faison on the show "Scrubs," nearly was inseparable after meeting during medical school at the College of William and Mary.

They would go on to get jobs at the fictitious hospital Sacred Heart, which allowed them to work together on most days and have a ton of fun while doing so.

It didn't matter if JD was being berated by the always entertaining Doctor Cox, played by John C. McGinley, or if Turk was upset about having to listen to Erasure's "A Little Respect" in the operating room; they were always there for one another.

It is hard not to envision "JD" and Turk when looking at the fantasy duo that currently is patrolling the blue line for the Phoenix Coyotes. They aren't paired together often during 5-on-5 situations, but they play on the power play together and form one of the most productive tandems in the League.

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The Front Line: Vanek rises while Moulson falls

Tuesday, 10.29.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

While it's not even close to March, we saw our first impact trade of the NHL season on Sunday. Everyone's talking about it, and those of you that own Thomas Vanek are surely excited. And for those of you that have Matt Moulson on your team, keep your head up, things could change yet again as the March 5, 2014 trade deadline approaches.

The initial fantasy response to this trade is obvious: Vanek is going to get a giant boost going to the New York Islanders while Moulson's value will take a major hit on the Buffalo Sabres. And for now, that's the way my updated top-100 forward rankings portray it. However, like I mentioned, I'm betting the Sabres end up flipping Moulson again sometime in the future. In all likelihood he'll land on a contending team, and that will definitely get his value back up to what we've come to expect from him.

As for Vanek, the future is bright -- for this season anyway. The Austrian native is a two-time 40-goal scorer and had 20 goals and 41 points in 38 games during last year's lockout-shortened season (the equivalent of 43 goals and 88 points over an 82-game season). He has a lethal shot and he's not afraid to use it (he's had 200-plus shots on goal in every season where he's appeared in more than 73 games) and that has helped result in 106 career power-play goals in 598 games.

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In the Cage: West goalies racking up stats vs. East

Thursday, 10.24.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, 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.

When Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 34 saves in a 1-0 shutout over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, it revealed a noteworthy early-season fantasy trend. Giguere, who has been voted the "First Star" in all three of his appearances (two shutouts), earned all of his wins against Eastern Conference foes.

But beyond Giguere's stellar play against East teams is the play of Western Conference goalies as a whole. Heading into Thursday's action, they are a combined 42-16-7 against the East this season, a remarkable .700 points percentage.

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On the 'D'-fence: Garrison thriving in Vancouver

Wednesday, 10.23.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday 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 insider all season long.


Vancouver Canucks defenseman Jason Garrison was never a huge scorer, picking up just 26 points (seven goals) over his first 113 NHL games. That changed during the 2011-12 season with the Panthers when he put up 33 points in 77 games, including 16 goals, which was second to only Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber.

Garrison hit the free agent market following that breakout season and signed a monster deal with the Canucks that paid him $26.7 million dollars over six years. That kind of contract carries a certain amount of pressure.

The White Rock, British Columbia native saw his goals per game drop from .21 during that final season in Florida to .17 in his first season in Vancouver. He saw his points per game drop from .43 to .34. That kind of drop off in production had many fans and hockey pundits around North America scrutinizing the deal and calling it a bad one for the Canucks.

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The Front Line: Crosby channeling 1988-89 production

Tuesday, 10.22.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

There hasn't been much talk about Sidney Crosby in fantasy leagues despite the fact that he's easily the No. 1 player to this point. Is it simply because we've come to expect this out of him when he's healthy? Is it because people are waiting for him to get hurt? Is it because we don't think he can keep up this absurd pace? No matter the answer, Crosby is looking as good as ever and it made me wonder, "Could Crosby be doing something we haven't seen in a long time?"

Through nine games Crosby has seven goals, 10 assists, a plus-3, four penalty minutes, six power-play points and 37 shots on goal. He started the season with at least one point in his first eight games and also leads the League with five multi-point games. There has been no flaw to his game and any fantasy owner that didn't take Crosby with the first pick in their draft surely is kicking themself right now.

If you extrapolate his current point production across a full 82-game season, Crosby would finish the season with 64 goals and 155 points. That sounds unrealistic in this day and age, but is it that far-fetched to think Crosby won't be able to post something close to that if he can stay healthy all season? After all, he is the best player in the world.

In 1988-89 there was another superstar that was turning heads with his production -- Wayne Gretzky.

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Fantasy All-Access: Okposo, Mason worth a grab

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The top of the fantasy world is alright as Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has started the season with a career-best eight-game point streak to start the season. He'll square off against fellow Cole Harbour native and No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2). MacKinnon has seven points in his first eight NHL games played. To compare that to Crosby, in his draft year of 2005 he had 11 points in his first eight NHL games, showing it is good to be at the top, where we hope your fantasy team is right now.

Kyle Okposo
Right Wing - NYI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 8
SOG: 17 | +/-: 2
WAIVER WIRE WATCH

Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders (owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- The fantasy world has seen what John Tavares can do for others' fantasy value; see Matt Moulson, Brad Boyes and PA Parenteau. The most recent success story is the seventh pick of the 2006 draft, as Okposo has started the season with three goals and five assists while playing on the wing with Tavares. The 6-foot right wing showed his potential to be a dominant player during the Stanley Cup Playoffs with four points in a six-game series against the Penguins. The Islanders play three games this week (VAN, @PIT, PHI), with a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday, and we expect big things for the Minnesota native.

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OFFSEASON FANTASY RANKINGS

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

CUBETA & JENSEN'S COMPLETE RANKINGS