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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Fantasy take on the 2013-14 NHL schedule

Saturday, 08.24.2013 / 9:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Studying the NHL schedule is very important to any fantasy hockey owner. Fortunately, NHL.com will provide a weekly look at certain players who are entering a favorable stretch in their schedule. This NHL Fantasy All-Access column will spotlight the players who should be picked up or played for that week.

Knowing the schedule for your draft is more important this season, as the NHL has realigned its divisions and will feature a balanced schedule that ensures that all 30 NHL teams will play in all 30 arenas at least once.

Here are some fun facts about the 2013-14 NHL schedule that will help you on fantasy draft day.

* The New Jersey Devils have a League-high 22 back-to-backs, followed by the Carolina Hurricanes, who have 20.

Devils legend Martin Brodeur was 0-1-2 with a 2.93 goals-against average and .885 save percentage last season in the second game of back-to-backs. Cory Schneider was acquired on Draft Day by the Devils and last season won his only appearance in the second half of a back-to-back, giving up two goals and stopping 26 of 28 shots.


Young players to target in fantasy drafts

Saturday, 08.17.2013 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Keeper/dynasty leagues all run different and every season they are getting more creative in who and how long you can keep them. If you have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin on your team, and rules allow you to, of course you are going to keep them, as they again will be near the top of fantasy rankings every season. With that in mind, let's examine some players currently in the NHL who will be 22 years old or younger at the start of the season and have at least two seasons of service in the League that you should target that can help you this season and beyond.

Taylor Hall, F, Edmonton Oilers

The first pick of the 2010 NHL Draft had a breakout season in 2012-13, finishing ninth in scoring with 50 points but more importantly played in 45 of the 48 games (he missed two because of a League suspension). That level of durability for the 21-year-old is far better than his two previous seasons, when he missed 17 as a rookie and 21 in 2011-12.

He's been a clutch player for Edmonton with 15 game-winning goals in his career, which is tied for 18th in the last three seasons and tops on his team in that time frame. Another fantasy category he has become a go-to player is power-play points, as he has 25 power-play goals and 46 power-play points in three seasons. With the offensive talent that surrounds him in Edmonton, expect those numbers to continue to rise.


Players whose fantasy stock rose in playoffs

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

A player's postseason numbers may not count in fantasy leagues, but the positive impression an individual makes on potential owners always plays into draft strategy the following season.

Owners often can anticipate productivity in the playoffs from elite-level players who have achieved prior success either in recent postseasons (Jonathan Quick, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, David Krejci, etc.) or the preceding regular season (Tuukka Rask, Antti Niemi, James Neal, etc.). But there always are those eye-opening playoff contributions from less likely sources that stay fresh in our minds all summer long.

Let's take a look at 10 underrated playoff performers from the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs that warrant more fantasy consideration than ever entering 2013-14.


2013 draftees can make immediate fantasy splashes

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Rookies can make a huge impact on fantasy teams and can lead to long-term success in dynasty/keeper leagues. Last season we had eight players from the 2012 NHL Draft class play in either a regular season or playoff game. That group was made up of Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, Filip Forsberg, Mikhail Grigorenko, Scott Laughton, Stefan Matteau, Tom Wilson and Tanner Pearson, although the latter two only played only in the postseason.

But the Calder Trophy finalists were all members of either the 2010 NHL Draft (Brendan Gallagher) or 2011 NHL Draft (Jonathan Huberdeau and Brandon Saad), showing that rookie production doesn't just come from freshly-drafted players. But if previous seasons are any indication, some members of the 2013 Draft class should play a big role in fantasy.

Here are some of the 2013 draftees most likely to make their presence felt:


Moves can help new teammates' fantasy value

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The trading, signing and drafting frenzy has brought some top-tier fantasy players to new homes, but how it affects their new teammates can't be lost on fantasy owners. Here are some of the beneficiaries of some of the biggest moves made in the offseason:

Jason Spezza - Ottawa Senators:

The Senators lost captain Daniel Alfredsson left, but gained Bobby Ryan in a multi-player deal with the Anaheim Ducks. The person that stands to benefit the most from those moves is Spezza, Ottawa's top-line center. The 30-year-old already was on the radar as a perfect candidate for a bounce-back season after back surgery limited him to five regular-season games, but he did return for three Stanley Cup Playoff games. And put a healthy Spezza on a line with four-time 30-goal scorer Ryan and Spezza rises to serious contention to be the sixth-best center option for fantasy players. Spezza has 30-plus assists in eight of his 10 NHL seasons, with four of them being 50-plus assist campaigns. Look for him to reach those numbers easily if paired with Ryan.


Recent signings could see mixed fantasy results

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

The 2013 NHL offseason has been nothing short of spectacular so far. Since free agency opened on July 5, we've seen 87 players sign NHL contracts and eight NHL trades take place. This excludes the Tyler Seguin-Loui Eriksson swap that took place on July 4.

Nearly every team has experienced change in the early parts of this summer and that means fantasy owners will need to adjust accordingly heading into the 2013-14 season.

NHL.com fantasy insider Pete Jensen broke down this summer's two biggest trades -- Bobby Ryan heading to the Ottawa Senators and the Boston Bruins-Dallas Stars blockbuster -- but I'm here to discuss the biggest player signings and how their fantasy value may change with their new team.

Jarome Iginla - Boston Bruins

While Iginla's production seems to be on a steady decline (43 goals and 86 points in 2010-11; 32 goals and 67 points in 2011-12; 14 goals and 33 points in 44 games -- projected to be 26 goals and 62 points for an 82-game season), the 36-year-old veteran could actually see a boost in value with the Bruins. I expect him to play on the team's second line with playmaker Patrice Bergeron and sparkplug Brad Marchand. If that's the case, there's reason to believe Iginla can eclipse the 60-point plateau for the 13th time in his career.

Let's also not forget that Iginla posted five goals and 11 points in 13 games playing for an elite Pittsburgh Penguins squad after being dealt at the Trade Deadline. The fact that he's not in Calgary anymore should help his plus/minus rating; he was a minus-7 with the Flames and a plus-2 with the Penguins. Add in his willingness to put the puck on goal and his penalty minute production, and you're starring at a third- or fourth-round draft pick in fantasy pools this coming season.

2013-14 projections: 29 G, 39 A, plus-7, 42 PIMs, 21 PPP, 249 SOG.


2012-13 NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Awards

Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 9:30 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

With the 2012-13 regular season now in our rearview mirror, it's time for our team of NHL.com Fantasy Hockey insiders to reflect on the players that have defined the fantasy landscape -- for better or worse -- during this 48-game campaign.

Our fantasy experts -- Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Chris Foster, Matt Sitkoff, Sergei Feldman, Brian Metzer and Justin Goldman -- have cast their votes, outlining the best fantasy players at each position based on eligibility in Yahoo! leagues.

The list of year-end awards is also complete with the biggest underachievers and most notable fantasy rookies, as well as sleeper and bounceback candidates to keep an eye on for next season.


In the Cage: A look back at the top fantasy goalies

Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:10 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

No matter how many games get played in a season, there's never a shortage of drama in the crease. This season was certainly no different, as a plague of injuries shut the door for some goaltenders, but opened the door for many others.

Viktor Fasth
Goalie - ANA
RECORD: 15-5-2
GAA: 2.10 | SVP: 0.924
With so many variables to consider -- a condensed schedule, numerous back-to-backs and a total of 18 teams using at least three goalies, decisions made at the draft table seemed quite futile. Whatever tandem you started with on Day 1 was most likely not who you relied upon down the stretch.

Coincidentally, the main storyline this season was the influx of first-year goalies that showcased their skills in impressive fashion. From Viktor Fasth's awesome 8-0 start for the Anaheim Ducks to Jake Allen's solid five-game winning streak in March with the St. Louis Blues, to the arrival of Jacob Markstrom with the Florida Panthers, this season's first-year class proved that the future of NHL goaltending is in great hands.


On the 'D'-fence: Remembering the season that was

Wednesday, 04.24.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Where did the time go?

It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that we were talking about the end of the lockout, training camps opening and preparing for hastily-planned fantasy drafts -- apparently what happens when you cram 48 games into a 99-day window.

The season has been a wild one in terms of defensemen.

We saw last year's Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson, suffer a horrific injury back on Feb. 13 when his Achilles tendon was severed by the skate blade of Matt Cooke. The situation might have been even more devastating to fantasy owners who invested a top draft pick in the young Swede than for the Ottawa Senators, as there wasn't a quick fix on the waiver wire to replace his otherworldly production.

P.K. Subban exploded onto the scene, taking over the top spot in our rankings with a mixture of power-play prowess, goal-scoring ability and all-round category coverage not often found in the defensive ranks.


The Front Line: Season-ending forward rankings

Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

We've made it. It's been a fast few months, but the end is finally here for fantasy hockey owners. In all likelihood, you're either already done with fantasy hockey, battling it out in the championship round of your head-to-head league or hanging on for dear life at the top of your rotisserie league. Either way, it's probably been a treacherous season, as all fantasy hockey seasons seem to be, and through good and bad decisions, tough ones and easy ones, you've made it to the end. While fantasy hockey is just about over, there's never a bad time to reflect on the year that was and start looking ahead to the future.
Patrick Kane scored the NHL season's first goal and never looked back. He completed an outstanding fantasy season with 21 G, 30 A, plus-9, 8 PIMs, 17 PPP and 128 SOG. (Photo: Getty Images)

From Patrick Kane scoring the NHL season's first goal, to Sidney Crosby proving that he's still the most dominant player in the NHL when healthy, to P.K. Subban taking the fantasy world by storm as the new top defenseman, to Alex Ovechkin rediscovering his elite form, this season has been filled with storylines galore. NHL.com's fantasy hockey staff has discussed these storylines and highlights on a daily basis and hopefully we provided you with enough good advice to help you in your leagues.

Today, the advice ends. Instead, I will send you off with a look at my season-ending top-100 fantasy forward rankings and I'll discuss some player values for next season.

Many things will change between now and September (when most fantasy hockey drafts begin to take place), but as of April 23, 2013, this is where I believe the world of fantasy hockey forwards stands.

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