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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

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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In the Cage: There's no better Price

Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 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 players you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

Last week we detailed the remarkable start of Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov. While he remains undefeated heading into the Avs' game Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings, there's another starting goalie currently benefitting from a new goalie coach - the Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price.

Labeled by many as being too robotic and too reliant on the butterfly, Price has taken a leap of faith with new goalie coach Stephane Waite and made some tweaks to his style. Not only is he being slightly more aggressive, but he's starting to utilize his natural athleticism on a more consistent basis. Already considered by many scouts as one of the most positionally sound goalies in the NHL, Price appears more creative with his save selections, all while keeping his solid technical base intact.

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On the 'D'-fence: Minnesota D-men running Wild

Wednesday, 10.16.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The Minnesota Wild aren't the first team that comes to mind when thinking of units that are offensively dominant, but that is starting to change. They have seen their goals-per-game creep up from 2.02, which ranked dead last in the NHL three seasons ago, to 2.67 this season.

That may place them just 16th overall, but it's progress.

Left wing Matt Cooke surprisingly leads the team in scoring to this point in the season, but their defensemen have been a huge catalyst for that newfound production.

Norris Trophy finalist Ryan Suter, who has collected three assists (all on the power play) over his first six games, is a big part of that increase in productivity.

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The Front Line: Steen rises from injury-plagued past

Tuesday, 10.15.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy forwards in his weekly segment: "The Front Line." From updated rankings to players you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy forwards insider all season long.

UPDATED TOP 100 FORWARD RANKINGS


Alexander Steen's best season was 2009-10, his second as a member of the Blues, when he had 24 goals (seven of them on the power play), 47 points and a plus-6 rating in 68 games.

At that time Steen was 25, and as a first-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2002 (No. 24), Blues fans were hoping this would be the emergence of a true superstar. He followed that breakthrough season with career-bests of 51 points and 218 shots on goal in 72 games, leaving many to believe this was a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately injuries took a toll on Steen the next couple of seasons and derailed his high expectations.

Now, four seasons later, we can see that Steen, still just 29, is performing at a level we hadn't seen over his 10-season career. Perhaps he's right on schedule after all; he just had a few bumps in the road.

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Fantasy All-Access: Silfverberg showing early value

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The fantasy rookies are making a huge impact as Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks goes between his legs and Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames just keeps going streaking with points to lead early fantasy surprises.

With the Flames only having two games scheduled this week, including a head-to-head matchup of these two rookies on Saturday, Calgary will have more time to decide whether to send the No. 6 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft back to juniors or keep him on the roster. The whole fantasy world awaits general manager Jay Feaster's big decision.

WAIVER WIRE WATCH

Jakob Silfverberg, Ducks (owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- The return of Bobby Ryan to Anaheim was also a chance for the guy he was traded for to show off against his former team. Although Ryan was the one that filled up the score sheet, it is the 23-year-old Silfverberg that needs to be noticed for his play this season. Looking at their head-to-head stats it's been pretty even. Each has five points, Silfverberg has four goals to Ryan's three, and Silfverberg is playing almost as many minutes as the three-time 30-goal scorer he was traded for (79:16 to 85:20 total time on ice). Playing on a line with the ageless wonder, Teemu Selanne, and on the second power-play unit makes the Swedish forward a dangerous player. The Ducks have a great fantasy schedule this week, playing on Wednesday (@CGY), Friday (PHX) and Sunday (DAL), accounting for three of the seven games scheduled those days.

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In the Cage: Varlamov a fantasy commodity

Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 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 goalies you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

Semyon Varlamov didn't win a single road game last season until April 26, just one day before the Colorado Avalanche ended their season. With a 1-14-2 record, a 3.67 goals-against average and .887 save percentage away from Pepsi Center, he was one of the worst goalies to own in any type of one-year fantasy league.

But one week into this season, Varlamov appears to be revitalized completely. Not only is he a perfect 3-0 under new coach Patrick Roy, but he has allowed just one goal in each game, stopping 88 of 91 shots (a .967 save percentage). Furthermore, he is yet to allow a power-play goal or relinquish a one-goal lead. And in his only start on the road, he stopped 27 of 28 shots.

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On the 'D'-fence: Jets defensemen taking off early

Wednesday, 10.09.2013 / 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.


The Winnipeg Jets find themselves in good standing in the Central Division after one week of games and their deep group of offensive defensemen is a big reason why. Their top four in terms of minutes played have combined for 11 points (one goal) in their first three games.

Our No. 3-ranked defenseman, Dustin Byfuglien, is leading the way with four assists and that isn't shocking when you consider his history since joining the Jets.

Byfuglien has posted .55 points per game over his career, but that number jumps to .72 per game when you look just at his games played with the Jets. His shots per game also jumped from 2.99 to 3.73, which includes a season in which he took 347 shots.

The big rearguard has picked up two of his points on the power play and is averaging 4:24 of ice time with the extra man each night. He is also contributing in some lesser fantasy categories with nine hits and eight blocked shots.

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The Front Line: Turris, Hertl among fast starters

Tuesday, 10.08.2013 / 12:20 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy forwards in his weekly segment: "The Front Line." From updated rankings to players you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy forwards insider all season long.

UPDATED TOP 100 FORWARD RANKINGS


While we're just barely approaching the one-week mark of the 2013-14 season, we've still seen plenty of fantasy headlines early on. From Alex Ovechkin continuing his dominant ways, to Marc-Andre Fleury putting his playoff woes behind him, to Claude Giroux being held pointless in his first three games, this season's storylines are slowly starting to unfold.

With that said, let's take a look at some unexpected forwards off to fast starts and whether I'm buying their hot starts, or selling them:

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Fantasy All-Access: Welcome to the 2013-14 season

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

What a wild first six days of fantasy hockey. We had some big surprises like Mikhail Grabovski, who was only drafted in nine percent of Yahoo leagues, storming out of the season with five points in his first three games with the Washington Capitals. We had some big disappointments like Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who was picked on average at 13.7 overall in Yahoo leagues and is sporting an unsightly 4.35 goals-against average and .878 save percentage.

We are here to remind you that fantasy championships are not won or lost in the first week, but the right early waiver wire pick up can set you up nicely for a winning season.

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