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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

The Front Line: Oshie headlines Olympic beneficiaries

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

NHL action officially resumes Tuesday (Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, SPSO, MSG-B, BELL TV) and fantasy owners should be prepared for their stretch run after a two-week hiatus due to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

It was a fantastic tournament, but now it's time to get back to work. I've provided updated top-100 forward rankings for the remainder of this season. Unfortunately, we've lost another elite forward in New York Islanders captain John Tavares, but hopefully fantasy owners will see Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos returning to their rosters in the very near future. This week should also see some other top fantasy forwards back in action as Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks, Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets, Marian Gaborik of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings are all expected to play.

But before we officially hop back on the saddle, let's find out which forwards have seen their value increase thanks to their performances in Sochi.

Jeff Carter
Center - LAK
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 17 | PTS: 37
PIMs: 22 | SOG: 189 | +/-: 6
Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings -- Available in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues

While owned in nearly all Yahoo leagues, Carter makes for a great player to try and acquire via trade. He's coming off an impressive Olympic performance with three goals, two assists, 24 shots on goal and a plus-6 rating in six games. He bounced around the lineup all tournament, but looked dominant at times. Carter struggled before the Olympic break with no goals in eight games for the Kings, but expect him to finish the season strong.

Fantasy All-Access: Break for Olympics is over

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The NHL is back after the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It was a great tournament, which that saw the St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie become a United States hero, the Russians come short of their goal of winning the gold on home soil and Canada win the gold medal.

Phil Kessel and Erik Karlsson led the tournament with eight points; they weren't the only players to make an impression and become fantasy-worthy for the rest of the season.

Finland won the bronze medal with help from two Anaheim Ducks players, one old (43-year-old Teemu Selanne) and one young (22-year-old defenseman Sami Vatanen). Vatanen had a team-leading five assists while averaging a team-high 18:34 of ice time per game. Although he has spent time in the American Hockey League this season and has been a healthy scratch by the Ducks, his six goals are tied for the Ducks lead among defensemen and he should see a bump in playing time from his great Olympic tournament.

In the Cage: Finland's trifecta has best fantasy value

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 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.

A total of 19 NHL goalies are heading to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including all three goalies for the United States, Canada, Finland, and Sweden. Two NHL goalies are found on Slovakia's, Russia's and Switzerland's rosters, and one more is found on the Czech Republic. As a result, there will be plenty of pristine puck-stopping talent on display over the next few weeks.

Many countries already have a clear-cut projected starter, but interestingly enough, up to four "powerhouses" may have to wait a few games before their starter is revealed.

On the 'D'-fence: Blue line value during Olympics

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Fantasy hockey may not yet be as popular as fantasy football, but it is growing by leaps and bounds every year. That growth has taken it to the international level, and many fantasy leagues started Olympic hockey pools during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

With that in mind, it seemed like a perfect time to take a look at some of the key blueliners you should target if your league is taking it international during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

There are a variety of players who could make a fantasy impact for your team, but there are only two participating that made an impact in terms of points in 2010.

Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, who will skate for Canada, put up two goals, four assists and registered a plus-2 in seven games en route to the gold medal. It is safe to assume he will log significant minutes and probably skate on the power play in Sochi; he'd be on our team.

Marek Zidlicky of the New Jersey Devils, who will dress for the Czech team, put up five assists in five games in 2010. He is having a bounce-back offensive season in New Jersey and will also benefit from playing with Devils teammates Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias.

The Front Line: MacKinnon leads valuable rookie crop

Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Last season, Nail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers) and Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers) led all rookie forwards with 31 points in 48 games, or .65 points per game. Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens) averaged .64 and Cory Conacher (Tampa Bay Lightning/Ottawa Senators) averaged .62. Four rookies exceeded the .60 points-per-game mark.

At this point in 2013-14, just like last season, four rookies currently average at least .60 points per game.

Nathan MacKinnon
Center - COL
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 41
SOG: 160 | +/-: 12
Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche) leads the group at .75 points per game with 41 points in 55 games. Tomas Hertl (San Jose Sharks) averages .71, but he has appeared in just 35 games and his future for this season is in jeopardy due to knee surgery. Tyler Johnson (Lightning) has 35 points while appearing in all 55 games, good for .64 points per game. Lastly is Chris Kreider (New York Rangers), who has 30 points in 49 games, or .61 points per game.

All four rookies have been valuable fantasy assets this season and a couple could continue to have success for the remainder of the season.

Fantasy All-Access: Gearing up for Olympic break

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The NHL takes a break starting this weekend to allow some of your fantasy players to compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Some big-time point producers will be staying home but have been helping fantasy teams since not being named to their country's respective Olympic teams.

New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo has nine goals and 18 points since being left off the U.S. roster on Jan. 1. Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux has five goals and 14 points since being left off Canada's roster on Jan. 7, while Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis has eight goals and 15 points. His teammate, defenseman Victor Hedman, has 11 assists and 14 points since not being named to Sweden's roster and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson has nine points since being left off the U.S. team. New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider has allowed more than two goals once in 10 starts since not being named as the third U.S. goalie.

In the Cage: Wild's Kuemper commanding attention

Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

After a 4-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper has emerged as a solid fantasy acquisition for the remainder of the season.

Kuemper has shattered the previous club record for consecutive starts by a rookie (four) with eight in a row, going 5-2-1 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .935 save percentage during this stretch. For rookies that have played at least 10 games this season, Kuemper is currently fourth in GAA (2.26) and save percentage (.924), and tied with the Washington Capitals' Philipp Grubauer for sixth overall in wins (six).

While it's easy to look at Minnesota as a whole this season and label Kuemper as the beneficiary of strong team play, the statistics in January tell a different story.

Not only have the Wild been outshot by a considerable margin, but the team is being dominated in puck possession categories. Kuemper has faced 286 shots in nine games this month, while Minnesota only has 211 shots on goal. That means he's facing 57.5-percent of the total shots produced.

Corsi numbers also heavily favor Minnesota's opponents in January. Kuemper has faced 566 total Corsi events this month, or an average of 62.9 events per game. Minnesota has only tallied 408 Corsi events during Kuemper's time on ice, or an average of 45.3 per game. That means Kuemper has faced a hefty 58.1-percent of the Corsi events in January.

On the D-Fence: Giordano heats up for Flames

Wednesday, 01.29.2014 / 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.

The Calgary Flames entered a rebuilding mode last season when they traded core players like defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and long-time captain Jarome Iginla. They started the 2013-14 season with a youthful roster that still is developing, but they do have some carryovers from the old regime, including new captain Mark Giordano.

Giordano was knocked out of the lineup Oct. 21 when he was struck in the ankle by a shot during a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings. It was a significant blow to the team as Giordano had sparked them to a 4-2-2 record in their first eight games by picking up two goals and seven assists in that span.

The Front Line: Jagr primed to join exclusive list

Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Seven players in the history of the NHL have recorded 60 or more points during their age-40-or-older season, according to hockey-reference.com. Two of them have done it twice, so only nine times in total has it ever been achieved. Nine.

Gordie Howe posted 103 points in his age-40 season. He also had 71 points in his age-41 campaign. Teemu Selanne had 80 points in his age 40-season in 2010-11 and then had 66 points at age 41. The other five players to accomplish this feat were John Bucyk, Alex Delvecchio, Mark Messier, Nicklas Lidstrom and Mark Recchi. Howe and Selanne are the only two players to reach the 60-point mark in their age-41 seasons.

By the end of this season, an eighth member could be added to this 40-plus list and a third player to the 41-plus list.

Of course I'm referring to Jaromir Jagr, who has been a revelation for the New Jersey Devils and his fantasy owners.

Last week, NHL.com's Corey Masisak talked about Jagr joining the "40/40 club" in his Super 16, but this is about Jagr joining an even more exclusive list. Of course he hasn't done so yet, but it's certainly a realistic possibility.

Fantasy All-Access: Fire the cannons for Blue Jackets

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The Columbus Blue Jackets won a franchise-record eight straight games and are one of the hottest teams in the NHL. So what has that done for fantasy owners and what is expected for the Blue Jackets as they continue their first year in the Eastern Conference?

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Sergei Bobrovsky, fueled the streak with 10 wins in his past 11 starts. The offense has come from both the front and back line as the Blue Jackets had three or more goals in all eight games of the run.

Although the win streak ended Saturday with a loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the Blue Jackets follow up with four games this week (@CAR, OTT, WSH, FLA), so activate all of your Columbus players and stick with them while they're hot.

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