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(Page 13 of 52)
Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Rangers' McDonagh getting it done

Wednesday, 11.13.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The New York Rangers came into the season ready for a fresh start. They were led by new coach Alain Vigneault, who was implementing a system that would allow their offensive players to open the game up a bit more than they were able to under John Tortorella.

That was great news for a defenseman like Ryan McDonagh. Unfortunately things didn't go as anticipated, at least in the early going. McDonagh stumbled out of the gates, collecting just three points over his first 10 games, and the team found itself sitting at 3-7-0.

That all started to change on Oct. 29 as the Rangers pulled off a come-from-behind victory over the New York Islanders. McDonagh scored the game-tying-goal and he and the team went on a 6-2-0 run over their next eight games.

Though there have been a lot of variables in the Rangers' turnaround, McDonagh has been a big part of it and is building upon the success of his first three seasons in the NHL.

The Minnesota native has taken steps toward becoming a very effective fantasy defenseman over the past two seasons, and even after starting slowly this season is currently producing .58 points per night, which continues his trend upward from .39 in 2011-12 and .40 in 2012-13.

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The Front Line: Rangers forwards rise in fantasy ranks

Tuesday, 11.12.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Going into the season, five New York Rangers cracked my top 100 forward rankings: Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan, Derick Brassard and Brad Richards. This probably doesn't surprise anyone, as all five players carried decent value coming into the season.

However, the Rangers struggled out of the gate, losing seven of their first 10 games, and all five players either disappointed when on the ice or found themselves on the sidelines due to injury.

But in late October, the Rangers started to make some changes to their lineup, specifically to their top two forward lines. They also got a key player back: Carl Hagelin. Since Oct. 29 (when Hagelin returned to the lineup), the Rangers have gone 6-1-0 and have looked like a completely different team. And it's no surprise Hagelin has been at the center of this resurgence.

Last season, when the speedy forward recorded a point, the Rangers went 14-2-1, when he scored a goal they were 8-1-1 and when he tallied at least two points, they were 5-0-1. Hagelin is a difference maker for the Rangers, and he could be one on your fantasy roster as well.

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Fantasy All-Access: Bryzgalov worth owning

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Veterans Day is a time to salute those who have served in the armed forces, and here at All-Access we salute the veterans of the NHL who are still producing for fantasy teams.

Forty-one-year-olds are still showing their fantasy relevance this season as the New Jersey Devils' Jaromir Jagr and the Detroit Red Wings' Daniel Alfredsson have already reached double digits in points, while the Dallas Stars' Ray Whitney is still making wizardly passes and Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is still making saves and winning games. Finally, 43-year-old Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks, though missing some action due to injury, has shown he can still produce with seven points, two coming on the power play.

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In the Cage: Ducks goalie depth is overflowing

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 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.

From top to bottom, the Anaheim Ducks have an embarrassment of riches in goal.

Overflowing with size and long-term potential, the depth chart of Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth, Frederik Andersen, John Gibson, and Igor Bobkov is arguably the best in the National Hockey League.

To highlight their individual value, look no further than their international experience. Hiller will once again be the backbone of Switzerland's Olympic team, Fasth carried Sweden in the 2011 and 2012 World Championships, Andersen led Denmark to two gold medals during his junior career, Gibson dominated for Team USA in the 2013 World Juniors, and Bobkov won gold with Russia in the 2011 World Juniors.

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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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