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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Center Stage: Carter among C's to eye on deadline day

Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 11:14 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy centers in our weekly segment: "Center Stage." From updated center rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy center expert all season long.

With the actual NHL trade deadline less than a week away, fantasy owners are probably trying to prepare themselves for an active day on Monday. We'll all be sitting at our computers waiting for a trade to happen that immediately increases a player's fantasy value -- then we'll quickly attempt to add that player to our roster before anyone else does. That's the goal, right?

Over the next three days, we're going to try to provide you a list of forwards to keep your eye on with the trade deadline nearing. These are the players we believe have the potential to be traded and could end up seeing a change in fantasy value. There aren't a ton of big names linked to any rumors right now (other than Rick Nash and Jeff Carter), but these players could still help in most fantasy leagues. Some of them may be long shots to get dealt and might not even end up being moved, but here are our thoughts (today we'll cover the center position):

Jeff Carter
Center - CBJ
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 25
SOG: 130 | +/-: -11
Jeff Carter (owned in 83 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- Like his teammate Rick Nash, Carter has been mentioned among trade discussions quite often over the last few weeks. He obviously has that big contract, which makes trading him a bit more difficult for Columbus, but Carter could still find himself on a new team by Monday. This would likely benefit Carter's fantasy value more than any other player on the market. Despite a hat trick against the Sharks on Tuesday, Carter has had an extremely rough first season with the Blue Jackets (between injuries and his underachieving stats -- 15 G, 10 A in 39 games) and a trade to a potential contender could motivate him to play the way we're used to -- he averaged 38.33 goals over the last three season with the Flyers.
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On the 'D'-fence: Possible deals with fantasy implications

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Tuesday 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 expert all season long.

The National Hockey League trade deadline now is just six days away, which means the deadline in your fantasy league is creeping closer, as well. Owners have but a brief window of time remaining to tinker with their line-ups for the stretch drive and the playoffs, which in most Yahoo! Standard head-to-head leagues kick off in just four weeks. 

A week ago we took a look at some of the defensemen you might be able to acquire on the cheap in your respective leagues that could push you over the top. This week we are going to look at a handful of players who have been making the rounds in the rumor mill and could see their fantasy values enhanced by a "real life" deal. We also are including the percentage of Yahoo! Standard leagues in which they are owned in parenthesis.
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In the Cage: Crawford back on track?

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Monday during the season, goalie specialist and founder of The Goalie Guild Justin Goldman 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.

No goalie was under more pressure to bounce back last week than Chicago’s Corey Crawford. He was a thorn in his team’s side at the start of their lengthy nine-game road trip, giving up 10 goals on just 55 shots in consecutive losses to Edmonton (Feb. 2) and San Jose (Feb. 10).

But he rebounded in a surprising way, starting with a 22-save effort in a 4-2 win against the Rangers on Thursday. A four-goal explosion in the first period from his teammates alleviated a lot of the pressure Crawford faced that night, and that allowed him to play in a more relaxed and confident manner.
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The Real Spiel: Datsyuk en route to offensive burst

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

Given the complex, never-steady landscape of fantasy hockey, each week, NHL.com Fantasy Insider Sergei Feldman will give you The Real Spiel on some of the quirks and trends that permeated your week of fantasy hockey by way of in-depth analysis.

DATSYUK WHO’S TALKING: The Real Spiel on Pavel Datsyuk

Pavel Datsyuk
Center - DET
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 59
SOG: 145 | +/-: 18
While the Detroit Red Wings refuse to lose a game at Joe Louis Arena—and most other venues, for that matter—star forward Pavel Datsyuk refuses to slip between the cracks of the League’s dynamic players. Arguably the most talented player in the NHL, Datsyuk is having a strong 2011-12 season. Through 59 games, the Russian has 59 points (good for 8th best in the NHL) on 16 goals and 43 assists (good for 3rd best in the NHL). Consistency has rarely been an issue with the uber-gifted playmaker, but until recently, Datsyuk did find himself in the middle of a mini-slump. He went five of six games without a point and was a minus-5 in that span, which began Jan. 21 and ended Feb. 4. Since then, the 33-year-old has collected points in five of seven games and averaged two shots per game. With the Red Wings riding high nowadays, Datsyuk’s recent play could propel him to even greater heights down the stretch. He hasn’t finished a season with less than 23 goals since 2003-04. Currently, Datsyuk sits at 16 and is on pace for 22. That pace could very well accelerate if recent performances are any indication. 


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Right of Way: Perry returning to last season's form

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Friday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy right wings in our weekly segment: "Right of Way." From updated right wing rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy right wing expert all season long.

Slowly but surely, Corey Perry is starting to show that last season's 50-goal outbreak was no fluke. If anyone has watched the way he's been playing lately, they'd quickly realize how talented and how worthy he is to be mentioned among the game's most valuable players.

Forget about the fact he had 3 goals in the month of December and he's "only" on pace for 65 points this season. What matters is what he does right now, and right now, Perry is performing like he did last season. This is the most critical time for fantasy owners, and Perry is delivering for them in nearly every category.

It's been a bit of a roller coaster season for the Ducks forward with the end of November being his most consistent period of play -- Perry notched points in seven straight games (despite the Ducks losing all of those games) and had 10 points during that span. Throughout most of the rest of the season Perry has put up a goal here and there and often times found himself left off the score sheet.
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Turn Left Here: Perron back to old self after long road

Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 11:06 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy left wings in our weekly segment: "Turn Left Here." From updated left wing rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy left wing expert all season long.

It's been a long trek back into fantasy hockey relevance, but St. Louis forward David Perron has certainly started to turn some heads.

A first round draft choice back in 2007 (No. 26), Perron finished his rookie season with 13 goals, 27 points and a plus-16 rating in 62 games for the Blues. He followed that campaign up with 50 points and 50 penalty minutes in 81 games, earning him a big breakout-tag for the 2009-10 season. He fell short of expectations, posting just 47 points in a full season to go along with a diminished minus-10 rating, but hockey analysts and fantasy players everywhere still knew there was more talent in Perron's game.

Then came the 2010-11 season.

Things got off to a good start, with 5 goals, 2 assists, a plus-7 rating and 12 penalty minutes in his first 10 games and a swagger that made fans everywhere realize this kid would eventually become a household name in fantasy leagues for years to come. But in the 10th game (one in which he scored a goal), Perron took a hit from Sharks forward Joe Thornton that would put him out of the game for well over a year.
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Center Stage: Sharks quartet thriving down the stretch

Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 1:57 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy centers in our weekly segment: "Center Stage." From updated center rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy center expert all season long.

Earlier this season we discussed the possibility of Joe Pavelski entering the elite group of fantasy forwards. Recently, we've also talked about Logan Couture rising in our fantasy rankings and turning into a mainstay among some of the better forwards in the National Hockey League. Throw in the fact that the Sharks also have veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau and you're staring at four extremely useful fantasy forwards.

Pavelski, Couture and Marleau all possess dual-position eligibility in Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues, while Thornton is listed just at center. This Sharks foursome has stepped up their game recently and should be relied on heavily down the stretch for fantasy owners.
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On the 'D'-fence: Fantasy GMs prepare for deadline

Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Tuesday 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 expert all season long.

The National Hockey League's trading deadline is just 13 days away and it is universally looked at as a holiday of sorts for hockey fans. The rabid masses want to see what their respective teams will do to bolster their rosters as they make a run toward championship glory. It is also a chance for those who follow teams that may not be in contention to hope for better things down the line in the form of prospects, picks and a chance to make a run next year.

The same holds true in the fantasy hockey world where many leagues share the NHL's trading deadline or see theirs fall shortly thereafter. This is your chance as a team manager to tweak your roster for that same run toward glory or to start your rebuild for next season, and there are a handful of very effective defensemen that you just might be able to get on the cheap if you are the wheeling and dealing type.
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Fantasy Mailbag: Michalek turning corner just in time

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com fantasy insider Pete Jensen has you covered all season long with the weekly Fantasy Hockey Mailbag. The most compelling questions posed each week will be answered in an effort to provide you with the best chance to succeed in your particular league.

Submit your best questions for the NHL.com Fantasy Mailbag by contacting
PJensen@NHL.com.



ADAM FROM CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA is concerned about Milan Michalek's recent point-production, along with his rating and inability to produce PIMs and hits. He's considering dropping Michalek for an available player, such as Martin Erat or David Clarkson.

It's no secret that Michalek (LW/RW) was mired in a 12-game goalless drought before his tally in the Ottawa Senators' overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. But over Michalek's last two games, he has been active with 12 SOG and two assists to go along with that goal -- an indication that he may finally be turning a corner after missing five games due to a concussion in December. Michalek has been back in the lineup for well over a month, but has only produced five goals and six assists in 22 games since returning from injury.
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In the Cage: Coming off the shelf

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Monday during the season, goalie specialist and founder of The Goalie Guild Justin Goldman 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.

If a goalie is coming off the shelf -- whether due to injury, sickness, or a stretch of being benched -- they face higher levels of pressure to snap back into rhythm without missing a beat. This isn't an easy process at all, but that doesn't mean they're granted any leeway. Produce wins or take a seat on the bench -- that's the life of an NHL goaltender. 

Poolies should understand that confidence is the fuel that fires the pistons of a goalie's engine. If they make one or two big saves, everything changes -- time slows down and they're more likely to find that rhythm. But if they give up one or two big goals at the wrong time, it's like putting sugar in their tank.

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