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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

The Front Line: The return of Ryan Kesler

Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 12:33 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

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 expert all season long.


What would you say if you could pick up a 28-year-old forward that had a 41-goal campaign two seasons ago, has two 70-plus point seasons under his belt and has consistently been known to be a major asset in the PIMs department? You'd have to be interested, right?

Of course we're talking about Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler, who is miraculously available in 41 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues. If you spent a draft pick on Kesler back in January and have had him stashed either on your injured reserve or your bench, you're finally being rewarded about a month later.

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Fantasy All-Access: Buy low on some fantasy stars

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Every Monday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey contributor Matt Sitkoff will provide you with fantasy hockey advice in his weekly piece: "Fantasy All-Access." From the waiver wire watch to roster trends and prospect rumblings, Sitkoff is here to help you all season long.

Some of the top fantasy players have continued to struggle past the quarter mark, but that just means you can target them and buy low on a superstar that could lead you to a fantasy championship.

Claude Giroux
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 10
SOG: 38 | +/-: -6
Claude Giroux has not scored a goal in seven straight games, his longest streak since he went without a goal in 12 straight from Jan. 5 to Feb. 2 last season. There's no doubt Giroux, whose average draft position in Yahoo! Leagues was fifth overall, has struggled without his linemates from last season, but a key to buying low on him is that one of his wingers, Scott Hartnell, has been skating and could return soon.

Another top-line center struggling to find the back of the net is Henrik Sedin. Sedin, whose average draft position was 16.7 in Yahoo! Leagues, scored his first goal of the season Sunday and has only 24 shots on goal, infuriating his owners. One thing to consider, however, is typically the most productive month of his career is March, when he's scored 34 goals and 142 points in 159 career games.

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The Stock Exchange: Love-hate relationships

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

The grind of a fantasy hockey season is just that: A grind. When you consider all the details, big and small, all the nuances and all the possibilities, you're still left with roster setting and juggling, trade offers and rejections and day-to-day focus and attention. But ain't it great?

To get fantasy hockey owners to where they want to be, NHL.com fantasy insider Sergei Feldman brings you his weekly piece highlighting various players who have increased or decreased their value after each week and suggesting which players to buy or sell moving forward. In the end, you'll have a clearer picture of the marketplace and be in perfect position to enhance your fantasy hockey portfolios.

When it comes to fantasy hockey, the relationship between owners and the players appearing in the starting lineup is special.

An untimely injury to a star asset is like an injury to you. A slump by someone you rely on could have you on the brink of dropping or trading the player, the fantasy hockey equivalent of a divorce or separation. On the other hand, a stint of impressive performances is like watching a first-born take their first steps.

Maybe not quite like that. The point is, it's a love-hate relationship. And what better time to explore that? Yesterday was Valentine's Day and love was in the air. Today, it's on the ice.

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In the Cage: Consider Lehtonen elite fantasy goalie

Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 1:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, the Director of Goalie Scouting for McKeen's 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.

Poolies everywhere are raving about the surprising value of Roberto Luongo and Craig Anderson, and for good reason. They're running away with the key statistical categories, and they're arguably playing the best hockey of their entire careers.

Kari Lehtonen
Goalie - DAL
RECORD: 7-2-1
GAA: 2.17 | SVP: 0.933
But when it comes to discussing goalies entering the truly "elite" category, nobody deserves to be included in that conversation more than Kari Lehtonen.

So far this season, Lehtonen has been the Dallas Stars' backbone and MVP. He went 2-2-1 in his first five games, posting a .926 save percentage and allowing just 13 goals on 176 shots. This month he's on fire, going a perfect 5-0-0 with a .940 SV%, allowing just nine goals on 151 shots.

Even in his three losses, Lehtonen is still posting a respectable .906 SV% and giving Dallas a chance to win. Of the 22 goals he has allowed, only one has come while trailing by one goal, and only once this season has he allowed more than three goals in a game (4).

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Fantasy experts set for Valentine's Day Hangout

Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 10:48 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

What players do you absolutely love in fantasy hockey?

This will be today's theme when NHL.com and Rotoworld fantasy hockey experts get together today for a Valentine's Day special Google+ hangout at 2:30 p.m. ET.

NHL.com fantasy hockey experts Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Chris Foster will team up with NHL.com fantasy hockey contributor Brian Metzer and NBC Rotoworld fantasy analyst Michael Finewax in hopes of helping you with your very own personal fantasy hockey questions.

They'll let you know which players they love, too, but they'll take as many fans questions as possible via Twitter (using the hashtag #NHLhangout) and through the Google+ comments section.

Until then, check out NHL.com/fantasy to stay up-to-date on the latest rankings and stories.

And follow the experts on Twitter: Matt Cubeta (@NHLQubes), Pete Jensen (@NHLJensen), Chris Foster (@NHLFoster), Brian Metzer (@Brian_Metzer) and Michael Finewax (@mfinewaxhockey).

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On the 'D'-fence: Visnovsky worth owning

Wednesday, 02.13.2013 / 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 expert all season long.


New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow has gone about his business a little differently than some of his peers, but his approach is starting to right the ship on Long Island. He has acquired some valuable assets such as Evgeni Nabokov and Brian Strait via the waiver wire, as well as made timely trades to bring in additional talent like high-scoring defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.

Visnovsky, who was acquired on day one of the 2012 NHL Draft, wasn't exactly eager to report to the Islanders, but he finally arrived this past weekend and seems primed for a productive season.

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The Front Line: Zetterberg more than just a captain

Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

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 expert all season long.

Henrik Zetterberg
Left Wing - DET
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 18
SOG: 45 | +/-: 6
Three players are tied for the NHL lead with 13 assists. Evgeni Malkin and Martin St. Louis are two of them -- not a huge surprise. The other is Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg is a household name, and while he was known in the past as a premier goal-scorer, he has clearly shown in the last three years that it's his playmaking abilities that have defined him.

After posting 43 goals in 2007-08, many fantasy owners began to expect Zetterberg to continue to score goals at that kind of rate -- especially given the fact that he often found himself on the same line as Pavel Datsyuk. However, since that 43-goal breakthrough, it's been a steady decline in the goals category -- he averaged 25 goals over the next four seasons.

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Fantasy All-Access: A look into the quarter mark

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Every Monday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey contributor Matt Sitkoff will provide you with fantasy hockey advice in his weekly piece: "Fantasy All-Access." From the waiver wire watch to roster trends and prospect rumblings, Sitkoff is here to help you all season long.

After action is finished on Monday, 19 of the NHL teams will have played a quarter of their games this season. With that in mind, here at All-Access we would like to hand out some quarter-mark Fantasy Awards.

Fantasy MVP goes to the Buffalo Sabres' Thomas Vanek. This was an easy one, as he has points in 10 of the 12 games he has played in and already has two five-point games. He has factored in 23 of the 38 goals scored by the Sabres -- what a dominant first quarter.

Category Hog Award, or the player that has excelled in many fantasy categories this season, goes to the New Jersey Devils' David Clarkson. The sixth-year pro has nine goals, 15 points, 19 PIMs, seven power-play points, 50 shots and two game-winning goals already this season.

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The Stock Exchange: Those overshadowed by stars

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

The grind of a fantasy hockey season is just that: A grind. When you consider all the details, big and small, all the nuances and all the possibilities, you're still left with roster setting and juggling, trade offers and rejections and day-to-day focus and attention. But ain't it great?

To get fantasy hockey owners to where they want to be, NHL.com fantasy insider Sergei Feldman brings you his weekly piece highlighting various players who have increased or decreased their value after each week and suggesting which players to buy or sell moving forward. In the end, you'll have a clearer picture of the marketplace and be in perfect position to enhance your fantasy hockey portfolios.

The guy. Each team has one. Some have two. Few have more.

Regardless, everyone knows who those players are. It's impossible for any of them to sneak under the radar and so, ultimately, after a round or two at most they're off the board and ready to go on many a roster.

But how about the other guy? How about the diamond in the not-so-rough? With the fantasy hockey season settling in, let's look at some players who play in the shadows of bona fide superstars, but also are the ones inevitably making the difference between victories and defeats for your squads.

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In the Cage: Fasth, Vokoun emerging fantasy assets

Thursday, 02.07.2013 / 1:38 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, the Director of Goalie Scouting for McKeen's 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.

Fasth is 4-0-0 on the young season and is fresh off his first career NHL shutout on Wednesday against the Avalanche. (Photo: Getty Images)
Over the last week, two goalies that are likely available in your fantasy league are quickly emerging as potential steals. With their experience and early success stabilizing their team's play, they are posting valuable fantasy stats and improving their likelihood to play in more games than anyone projected.

Viktor Fasth has now started three of Anaheim's last four games, and he's the first goalie in Ducks history to win his first four NHL games. After last night's 31-save shutout win over Colorado, he now carries a league-best 0.98 goals-against average and .962 save percentage.

Not only has Fasth stopped 101 of the 105 total shots he's faced, but he has stopped all 15 power-play shots faced. He also has the only shutout in the NHL so far this week, which is a juicy point for owners.

Back on Monday, he was owned in just three percent of Yahoo! leagues. As of this morning, he was owned by 32-percent of poolies ... and that number will keep rising.

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