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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Gaborik, Ryan among fantasy bounce-back candidates

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

The bounce-back player. It's what we target in every fantasy draft. We hope to identify that player that struggled the previous season and will turn things around to be a dominant player in the year ahead. If we get lucky, we'll nab one of these bounce-back players, but determining who they are going into a fantasy draft is always the toughest part.

Going into the 2011-12 season, Alex Ovechkin was riding high off a dominant 2010-11 season and was viewed as one of the top fantasy players. He finished that year as the 36th ranked player in Yahoo! leagues in what many considered a disappointing 38-goal, 65-point season. Heading into the shortened 2012-13 season, Ovechkin could've been tabbed as a bounce-back candidate, and he did just that -- bounce back. He finished as the No. 1 overall fantasy player in Yahoo! leagues and put his name back in the discussion as one of the best fantasy hockey performers.

Matt Duchene is another example of a bounce back player from last season. In 2011-12 he struggled with just 14 goals, 14 assists and a minus-11 rating -- he finished as the 387th ranked player in Yahoo!. This forced many owners to hesitate drafting him. The Colorado Avalanche forward bounced back in a big way, ranking as the 87th best player last season with 17 goals and 26 assists in 47 games.

Whether it's a player at Ovechkin or Duchene's level, or someone on a lesser scale, having at least one solid bounce-back player on your roster is one of the major factors to a championship team. Here are 10 players I believe will bounce back from a disappointing 2012-13 season and pay big dividends for fantasy owners in 2013-14 (in order of who I think will finish the highest ranked this season):


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Rangers' Lundqvist ranked top fantasy goalie

NHL.com's Justin Goldman ranks top 30 netminders

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


In this season's top 30 fantasy goalie rankings, we have crowned Henrik Lundqvist over Antti Niemi as the king of the crease.

But, don't worry if they slip through your grasp in a draft, because you really can't go wrong with the rest of the top 10. Tuukka Rask is playing behind a team that is just as strong as last season, Jonathan Quick is just as valuable as Lundqvist and Niemi in terms of workload and Corey Crawford is poised for a steady season after signing a new six-year contract extension.

The tougher selections come in the 15-to-25 range, mainly due to the high number of tandems in the League. Drafting the more valuable goalie in Toronto, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and New Jersey is no easy task; James Reimer and Corey Schneider could easily be top 15 goalies, but since performance will dictate playing time, the same could also be said for Jonathan Bernier and Martin Brodeur.

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Goalie: Lundqvist vs. Niemi

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries the most fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

Earlier this week our NHL.com fantasy writers debated the forward and defense positions. Now we move on to the goaltenders, where Justin Goldman weighs in on who he believes should be selected first, Henrik Lundqvist or Antti Niemi.


Between a few tactful trades, a handful of free-agent signings, division realignment and a tricky case of trimmed thigh rises, the winds of change ripped through Goalie Nation this summer.

Combine all of that with the rising parity around the league, and this year's crop of top-30 fantasy goalies was tougher to rank than ever before. Because the talent just keeps getting better, statistically speaking, the difference between a top-ranked and a lower-ranked fantasy goalie could literally be a few saves per game, and as little as four or five wins.

But now that the dust has settled, we feel that Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers has the edge on Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks as the top goalie to own in a Yahoo! Fantasy league. Both play very different styles, but they have proven to be two of the most durable and reliable goalies over the past few years.

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Canadiens' Subban ranked No. 1 fantasy defenseman

NHL.com's Brian Metzer ranks top 60 blueliners

Thursday, 09.05.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


There are many different weapons you can wield when heading into a fantasy hockey battle; the defenseman is just one of them. Sure, the forward is the most formidable, but the defenseman is the wild card, the factor that can make the difference between coming in second and hoisting the fantasy crown!

Here is our creed.

These are our fantasy defensemen rankings. They can be your best friend, as fantasy championships aren't won without blueliners. You must draft defensemen before "he" drafts defensemen, and you must do so with faith that these selections will ring true as assets that will separate you from those who shun the defensemen.

As years go by, defensemen get more valuable. Gone are the days of one guy rising above the group and everyone else just sort of stepping in line. We're in an era that features a number of dynamic options, and this year any of P.K. Subban, Erik Karlsson or Kris Letang could have claimed the top spot. Each player has the ability to score at a point-per-game pace or to at least come close to it, as they put up .90, .82 and 1.09 points per game respectively last season.

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Defense: Subban vs. Karlsson

Thursday, 09.05.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries the most fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

Earlier this week our NHL.com fantasy writers debated the forward positions. Now we move on to the blue line, where Brian Metzer weighs in on who he believes should be selected first among defensemen, P.K. Subban or Erik Karlsson.


When you enter the market to make a purchase or acquisition of any kind, there are always options.

Looking for a luxury car? You can go towards Cadillac or Lincoln.

Maybe it's a guitar you are hoping to acquire? Some folks will point you towards the Fender Stratocaster, while others will say you have to go with a Les Paul.

It even happens in the realm of decadent food. Some want Lobster; others go with filet mignon. For the indecisive there is the ever popular Surf and Turf platter which gives you both.

At the end of the day it all comes down to preference and that is where we sit this year in terms of the top fantasy defenseman.

Really, how can you pick between P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson? Heck, some will even say that our third-ranked player, Kris Letang, should be the guy that goes first in your league and he very well may. But we're here to discuss the merits of Subban over Karlsson, since that is how we ranked them.

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Ovechkin tops fantasy right wing rankings

NHL.com's Pete Jensen ranks top 40 players at RW position

Wednesday, 09.04.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


Corey Perry had a two-year reign atop NHL.com's preseason fantasy right wing rankings, but the resurgence of two dynamic forwards alters the landscape at the position entering 2013-14.

Alex Ovechkin, who led the NHL in goals, power-play goals and shots on goal during the shortened 2012-13 season, is a no-brainer for the top fantasy right wing spot. His smooth transition from the left side to the right together with his category coverage immediately gives the position representation among the top-five overall assets.

Ovechkin put up his best season in years, but Patrick Kane still isn't far behind at No. 2 among right wings. The 24-year-old reeled off points on the second-most consistent basis in the League among players with 47-plus games played (at least one point in 35 games), and touched on five of the six standard-league fantasy categories. He was the team's anchor in the offensive zone, and his explosiveness in the playoffs spoke for itself.

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Right wing: Ovechkin vs. Kane

Wednesday, 09.04.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries more fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

Earlier this week, NHL.com fantasy expert Matt Cubeta debated the center position and NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff tackled left wing. Now we move on to right wing, where fantasy insider Pete Jensen weighs in on who he believes should be selected first, Alex Ovechkin or Patrick Kane.


Last season, the average fantasy owner with a top-four pick did not select Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

Then, after a slow start and a position change under new coach Adam Oates, Ovechkin went on a multi-category outburst – making owners who passed on him regret their move. At the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, Ovechkin finished as the top-ranked Yahoo! Fantasy player.

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Oilers' Hall tops fantasy left wing rankings

NHL.com's Matt Sitkoff ranks top 40 players at LW position

Tuesday, 09.03.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


When Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates moved Alex Ovechkin to right wing last season, the top fantasy left wing spot went up for grabs.

So with Ovechkin now deemed a fantasy right wing by NHL.com, Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers sits atop the left wing rankings entering 2013-14.

The No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft finally stayed healthy and finished ninth overall in scoring with 50 points, and with the ongoing development of the young Oilers expect big things from the 21-year-old on the left side. Hall has been a force on the power play (25 career power-play goals) since entering the League, has proven to be a clutch player (25 career game-winning goals) and most recently posted a career-best 34 assists last season. If you're in a league that accounts for shots, Hall has 547 in 171 career games.

The top 10 has familiar faces, as consistent performers should continue to produce. Only four players have more points over the last three seasons than Daniel Sedin (211 points in 201 games), which is why he ranks right behind Hall. Joffrey Lupul always raises injury concerns, but had 18 points in 11 games last season and has a career 0.64 points per game. If he stays healthy, he won't end up the 333rd ranked player like he was last season by Yahoo!

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Left wing: Hall vs. Daniel Sedin

Tuesday, 09.03.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries the most fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

Monday, NHL.com fantasy expert Matt Cubeta debated the center position. Now we move on to the left wing position, where fantasy insider Matt Sitkoff weighs in on who he believes should be selected first, Taylor Hall or Daniel Sedin.


When drafting in fantasy hockey, the debate of potential versus performance rages on -- never more than in deciding which left wing should be the first taken off the board. In our NHL.com rankings of the top 40 left wings, we go with the No. 1 pick from the 2010 NHL Draft, Taylor Hall, as our top-ranked player. But close behind him is a former Art Ross Trophy winner, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.

Hall, a 21-year-old budding superstar, is filled with potential and has produced 0.85 points-per-game and 0.38 goals-per-game over his three NHL seasons.

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Crosby tops deep group of fantasy center rankings

NHL.com's Matt Cubeta ranks top 40 players at C position

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


Every year, every draft, everyone knows it: Center is the deepest position in fantasy hockey. It's not a debate. It has become a fact. Fittingly, this year is no different.

Within NHL.com's consensus top 200 overall rankings, 47 centers made the cut, with 17 in the top 50 and 28 among the top 100 players. Nearly 25 percent of the players in our overall rankings were centers. What's most notable are the 17 centers within the top 50 ranks, proving there is great strength at the position among the top-tier players. Comparatively, only 11 left wings, eight right wings, five defensemen and nine goalies made the top 50.

What does all this mean for you come draft day?

It means that if you miss out on grabbing one of the elite centers early on (first or second round), you'll still be able to draft a No.1-caliber center for your roster in rounds three through five because of this immense amount of depth.

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NHL.COM FANTASY HOCKEY COVERAGE
Cubeta's breakout players | Rookie crop
Analysis of NHL.com's fantasy mock draft
Video: NHL stars make picks | Draft prep
Top 275 rankings | Top 50 breakdown
Positional rankings: C | LW | RW | D | G
Multicategory assets | Top specialists
Bounce-back candidates | Injury rebounds

NHL.COM FANTASY PLAYER RANKINGS

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

COMPLETE RANKINGS | MOCK DRAFT ANALYSIS