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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

New teams alter fantasy outlook for these 10 players

Wednesday, 07.02.2014 / 5:30 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

Free agency means addresses are changing for players around the NHL, and it's never too early for fantasy owners to wonder how signings and trades will impact the landscape in 2014-15.

Here's an early look at how you can expect these players to stack up with their new teams in 2014-15 -- for better or worse:

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2013-14 NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Awards

Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

With the 2013-14 regular season now in our rearview mirror, it's time for our team of NHL.com Fantasy Hockey insiders to reflect on the players that have defined the fantasy landscape -- for better or worse.

Our fantasy experts -- Matt Cubeta, Pete JensenMatt Sitkoff, Brian Metzer and Justin Goldman -- have cast their votes, outlining the best fantasy players at each position based on eligibility in Yahoo! leagues.

The list of year-end awards is also complete with the biggest underachievers and most notable fantasy rookies, as well as sleeper and bounceback candidates to keep an eye on for next season.

So, as we officially say goodbye to another compelling fantasy hockey season, here are the 2013-14 NHL.com Fantasy Hockey awards.

NOTE: If a player is listed at multiple positions in Yahoo! Leagues, then it is the writer's choice to nominate that player for any eligible positional fantasy award.

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In the Cage: Final goalie ranks and a look ahead

Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

This fantasy hockey season was truly the Year of the Goalie.

When the Winnipeg Jets' Michael Hutchinson and the Anaheim Ducks' John Gibson made their NHL debuts Monday night, they became the 91st and 92nd goalies to appear in a game this season. On Thursday night, John Curry will become the fifth goalie to suit up for the Wild this season, extending the total to 93. That's an impressive number, because only once since the 1999-2000 campaign has there been more than 92 goalies to appear in a season (94 in the 2003-04 season).

With so many unknown fantasy goalie assets weaving their way in and out of starting lineups this season, the only thing more impressive than the number 92 would be the play of the class of 22 rookies. After Gibson's 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night, rookies have a combined 103-81-25 record. Their 2.52 goals-against average and .912 save percentage (5,658 saves on 6,206 shots) also includes 15 shutouts.

It's hard to believe we're wrapping up the third year of "In the Cage" articles, but in doing so, let's look back at some of the best fantasy goalies from the regular season.

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On the 'D'-fence: Final rankings and a look ahead

Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Jim Morrison, front man of the classic band The Doors, once penned these haunting words:

"This is the end

Beautiful friend

This is the end

My only friend, the end"

They are very fitting for where we are today -- the end of the fantasy hockey season. While most leagues have already wrapped, others are going through their championship rounds and will end this weekend.

It seems as if it were just yesterday that we posted our preseason defensemen rankings, and now we are about to cross the finish line on another season. While some have won and some have lost, here's hoping these rankings helped you on a weekly basis as you encountered tough decisions on who to acquire, who to drop and who to ride for the duration of each scoring period.

It has been an exciting ride as we saw the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson reclaim the throne atop of the defensive heap, the Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien put up career numbers while earning eligibility on the right wing in most formats and Victor Hedman far surpassed expectations in helping the Tampa Bay Lightning weather the loss of Steven Stamkos.

Nine of our preseason top 15 have managed to rank in the top 13 scorers at the position as of April 8, but there were also plenty of surprises at the position that will change the face of our rankings well into the future. While the structure of many blue lines around the NHL is sure to change over the summer, below is where we feel the position stands as the season concludes.

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The Front Line: Final forward ranks and a look ahead

Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

We are nearly at the finish line, and yet again it's been an incredible fantasy hockey season. Although NHL teams still are fighting to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs or battling for position, we fantasy owners are at the end of the road. Standard head-to-head leagues are now complete and though some rotisserie leagues might come down to the final game, most of those are likely locked up as well.

Hopefully our NHL.com fantasy hockey staff has helped you earn some bragging rights this season. Sadly, my advice to you comes to a close today. Now it's time to reflect and start looking ahead.

From Sidney Crosby staying healthy all season long to Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Evgeni Malkin missing lengthy periods of time, we've seen plenty of surprises from the forward position. Patrick Sharp currently is the No. 3 forward in Yahoo leagues; who saw that coming? Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin are all top 10 overall players in Yahoo leagues, while both Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin are outside the top 100. Jaromir Jagr found the fountain of youth and has been a top-40 forward pretty much all season long, while 18-year-old Nathan MacKinnon has had one of the most prolific rookie seasons in recent memory.

It has been a season that overflowed with storylines, excitement and heroics, and while many things may change between now and the first fantasy hockey draft for the 2014-15 season, below is where I believe the forward position stands at this very moment.

A LOOK AT THE TOP

Who gets the honor of holding down the No. 1 ranking throughout the offseason? How about who's second and third? Let's have a look ...

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Fantasy All-Access: Keeper candidates to retain

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

We have hit the final week of the NHL regular season and some of our readers are preparing for their fantasy league's championship. For the others, don't worry, we will look at some top young players' keeper value going into next season, because how someone finishes can help you decide if they are worth building your team around.

For those fighting for bragging rights with your friends all summer and that engraving of your name on the league trophy, here are some schedule facts you need to know when setting your lineup this week. Twenty of the 30 NHL teams have four games scheduled, so you will have plenty of good players to choose from.

The Colorado Avalanche play all four games on the road while the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins play all three of their games at home. Pay attention to those teams' home and road splits when deciding on lineup decisions.

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In the Cage: Bryzgalov's late-season surprise value

Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

In a season loaded with stretches of stellar goaltending from surprising fantasy assets, nobody will ever forget the inspirational play of Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding.

Not only has Harding earned 18 wins in just 29 games (18-7-3), but he also still holds the NHL's best goals-against average (1.65) and save percentage (.933). Unfortunately, he hasn't played since Dec. 31, 2013 due to complications with multiple sclerosis, a situation that opened the door for Darcy Kuemper to produce a breakout rookie season.

But now there is another pleasant surprise in the Wild goalie carousel: the recent play of Ilya Bryzgalov.

Since joining the Wild at the NHL Trade Deadline, Bryzgalov has gone 4-0-2 with a 2.16 GAA and .909 save percentage, including a 36-save shutout against the New York Islanders on March 18. Those stats aren't startling, but the wins have helped Minnesota cling to a wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.

After being bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers at the end of last season, Bryzgalov faced an uncertain NHL future. Instead of settling for a gig in the Kontinental Hockey League, the 33-year-old spent part of his summer training with elite Swedish goalie coach Erik Granqvist. That led to an opportunity with the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers in October, where he would continue to train, this time with Wranglers goalie coach Michael Lawrence.

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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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NHL.COM FANTASY HOCKEY COVERAGE
New teams alter outlook for these 10
Spin: Anaheim's depth will benefit Kesler
Elliott-Allen duo | Halak's value with Isles
2013-14 fantasy awards | Biggest steals
Cubeta's season-ending Top 100 forwards
Metzer's season-ending Top 60 D-men

TOP 100 FANTASY FORWARDS

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

CUBETA'S COMPLETE TOP 100 FORWARD RANKS