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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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Six-time all-star defenseman Vadnais dies

Sunday, 08.31.2014 / 1:31 PM / News

Carol Vadnais, a six-time all-star who more played more than 1,000 NHL games, died Sunday. He was 68 years old.

Vadnais had 169 goals and 587 points in 1,087 games. The defenseman, who broke into the NHL in 1966-67 with his hometown Montreal Canadiens, had a career spanning 17 seasons.

He played for Montreal, the California Golden Seals, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils before retiring after the 1982-83 season. Vadnais played the most for the Rangers, from 1975-82.

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Young talent in Ducks lineup ready for breakthrough

Saturday, 08.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Anaheim Ducks had a great regular season in Bruce Boudreau’s second full year in charge, winning the Western Conference and coming within a point of the Presidents’ Trophy.

Taking the eventual Stanley Cup champions to seven games in a Western Conference Second Round series is no shameful exit, but the end (a 6-2 loss in Game 7 to the rival Los Angeles Kings in the inaugural "Freeway Series") was a painful one.

It also meant the end for Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, two of the best players in the history of their country and great ambassadors for the sport. Ducks fans will certainly miss them, but this franchise has a bushel of young forwards ready for bigger roles.

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Kesler, goaltending among Ducks' five questions

Saturday, 08.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

The search for a second-line center has been a long-term project for the Anaheim Ducks. Since trading Andy McDonald in 2007, the Ducks have largely struggled to slot someone behind captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Anaheim was able to run through the regular season with Saku Koivu and Mathieu Perreault, but their lack of size eventually hurt them against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Second Round series, won by the Kings in seven games.

General manager Bob Murray responded by trading for Ryan Kesler, giving the Ducks as good a one-two pairing at center as any team in the NHL. Kesler's contribution in a conference that only got tougher in the offseason is one of five prominent questions facing Anaheim.

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Ducks fixing issues that doomed playoff run

Saturday, 08.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

For a team that led the Western Conference with 116 points, the Anaheim Ducks had a lot of issues that came back to bite them in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their power play was unacceptable, their lack of depth at center was exposed by the rival Los Angeles Kings, and defense and goaltending that had held up most of the season finally cracked.

General manager Bob Murray, who long had tried to upgrade the center position, landed Ryan Kesler in an offseason trade with the Vancouver Canucks to give Anaheim a 1-2 punch down the middle with Kesler and captain Ryan Getzlaf. Murray was willing to part with center and 22-goal scorer Nick Bonino to get Kesler, and he declined to re-sign veterans Saku Koivu and Mathieu Perreault.

Murray also signed Nate Thompson, who likely will center the third line.

Coach Bruce Boudreau is excited at the possibilities, but also sounded caution.

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Ducks hope Heatley fills revolving door at left wing

Saturday, 08.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

The audition to find a left wing to play with captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry lasted all last season for the Anaheim Ducks.

Dustin Penner rebooted his career there before he was traded. There was Patrick Maroon. Matt Beleskey. Kyle Palmieri. Jakob Silfverberg. Devante Smith-Pelly. Coach Bruce Boudreau estimated he tried at least 10 players there.

Anaheim certainly would like Dany Heatley to end the tryout.

The Ducks signed the veteran left wing to a low-risk, one-year, $1 million contract July 9 in the hopes that Heatley can channel the sniper capability that has defined most of his 12-year career.

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Heralded Gibson highlights Ducks' top 10 prospects

Saturday, 08.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have been part of the Anaheim Ducks organization since they were first-round picks in 2003. They emerged as NHL stars during the Ducks' run to the Stanley Cup in 2006-07.

They continue to serve as examples for the Ducks; not just with how they play, but the patient path they took to reach their current level of stardom. If the slow approach worked for those two superstars, it can work for other young players.

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Brookbank to attend Flames camp on tryout: report

Friday, 08.29.2014 / 4:28 PM / News

NHL.com

Defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, who played the past two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, will attend the Calgary Flames' training camp on a tryout basis, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

Brookbank, an unrestricted free agent, told the paper he would have preferred to re-sign with the Blackhawks. However, Chicago is over the salary cap by about $2.2 million, according to CapGeek.com.

"The Hawks said that they liked me and they'd like to have me back if it worked, but obviously they're a little strapped under the cap," Brookbank told the Tribune on Friday. "It didn't quite pan out as I'd hoped. It's not to say that it's totally over and done with. You never know what could happen from now until the start of the season. As for now, I'm moving on and I'm going to Calgary and I'm going to try to make their team."

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Schultz, Oilers agree to terms on one-year contract

Friday, 08.29.2014 / 3:45 PM / News

NHL.com

The Edmonton Oilers believe that, for at least one more season, they've secured the services of a key component of their talented young core.

Restricted free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz agreed to terms with the Oilers on a one-year contract valued at $3.675 million, the team announced Friday.

"I think we are both pretty happy in getting it done, not having this drag on," Schultz told the Oilers' website. "I'm happy with the contract. I obviously have to prove myself more to get a longer term. Hopefully I have a good year this year, the team does better and we'll get it done."

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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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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley