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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Fantasy Mailbag: 10 hottest storylines of 2011-12

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

Thousands of fans from around the globe submitted questions to Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen this season for NHL.com's weekly Fantasy Mailbag. Whether fantasy owners were monitoring a player's injury status, contemplating a trade proposal or evaluating a potential addition off the waiver wire, these fan-submitted questions touched on a full range of topics.

Every twist and turn to the fantasy season ultimately defined the landscape in 2011-12. No matter if your team failed to qualify for the postseason, caught a bad break in the playoffs or brought home a league title, fantasy hockey proved to be as unpredictable as ever -- making it an enjoyable ride for all involved.

So with the NHL season in the books, it's only fitting to reflect on the most compelling storylines of the campaign in review. NHL.com and its fantasy hockey staff greatly appreciate all the fans who submitted questions for the Fantasy Mailbag this season.

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Malkin, Landeskog consensus fantasy award-winners

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

With the fantasy hockey season in the books, NHL.com's fantasy experts present their year-end fantasy hockey awards. As all of you know, it has been a roller-coaster ride of a season on so many fronts, but as the dust begins to settle, our aim is to recognize the players that have most defined the fantasy landscape in 2011-12.

Our regular fantasy contributors -- Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Sergei Feldman, Justin Goldman and Brian Metzer -- have cast their votes, outlining the best fantasy players at each position along with honorable mentions based on eligibility in Yahoo! leagues.

PLEASE NOTE: If a player is listed at two positions in Yahoo! Leagues, then it was the writer's choice to put him where he wanted among the awards.

So, without further ado, NHL.com wraps up the fantasy hockey season in style...
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Right of Way: Gaborik bounces back, earns RW MVP

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.

Welcome to the world of right wings -- the position that provided the most elite group of players for fantasy owners during the 2011-12 season. While many players possess that multiple-position eligibility in Yahoo! Leagues, there were still more right wings among the top-25 overall fantasy players than any other position.

Eleven right wings currently find themselves within the top 25 in Yahoo! Leagues, just narrowly edging the center position, which had 10 players. The left wing position had six skaters, while four goalies (Jonathan Quick, Henrik Lundqvist, Brian Elliott and Mike Smith) and two defensemen (Erik Karlsson and Zdeno Chara) appeared in the top 25.

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Turn Left Here: Neal stands alone as left wing MVP

Thursday, 04.05.2012 / 1:22 PM / 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.

The left wing position has been as unpredictable as any in fantasy hockey this season. From the fall of Alex Ovechkin to the rise of James Neal, we've seen a number of different names atop our rankings each week.

While the elite players at this position aren't quite as deep as at center or right wing, the left wings have provided stable depth throughout the 2011-12 season. With players like Scott Hartnell and Milan Lucic, fantasy owners were able to get penalty minutes in addition to solid point production. Neal, Milan Michalek, Max Pacioretty and Evander Kane all emerged for their first 30-goal seasons, and under-the-radar players like Matt Moulson and Erik Cole also scored at least 30.

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Center Stage: Malkin, Seguin among award recipients

Wednesday, 04.04.2012 / 2:29 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.

The most interesting thing about updating our forward rankings and breaking down each position throughout this season has been how to handle all of the players that possess multiple positions in fantasy hockey leagues. While it's a great benefit to fantasy owners, it's not easy determining which player is more valuable than the other.

Patrick Sharp has center, left wing and right wing eligibility in Yahoo! Fantasy leagues, which provides tons of flexibility to his owners, but does the fact that he has those three positions make him more valuable than a guy like Marian Gaborik, who has better overall stats but is only listed at right wing? That is the question that all of us have struggled to answer throughout the season. It is a great dilemma to have if you own a guy like Sharp, but in the end, the guy with the better overall stats is likely more valuable than the player with multiple position eligibility. 

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On the 'D'-fence: Reflecting on the year that was

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 12:11 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The NHL season is winding down and the Stanley Cup Playoffs are right around the corner, which means that most fantasy hockey seasons are in the books or are finishing up this week. If you were among the lucky ones to raise a fantasy championship, it is likely that defensemen played a role in securing that victory. Which proves a point we have been trying to make all season long here at "On the 'D'-Fence" -- defensemen can be just as important as any other player on your fantasy hockey team.

Of the top 50 scorers in the League over the past seven days, 12 percent of them were defensemen. Sure, that doesn't sound like a lot, but even in leagues that have just three or four starting positions for defensemen, those additional 4-7 points per player can be very beneficial, especially when you consider the number of those points that come on the power play.

In closing out the season, we wanted to point out a handful of statistics that show the importance of defensemen to your team and why they should get just as much consideration as the other players that comprise your roster.

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In the Cage: Season-ending fantasy goalie awards

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.
 
During the 2009-10 campaign, a total of 82 goaltenders appeared in an NHL regular-season game. For the 2010-11 campaign, a total of 86 goalies appeared in a regular-season game. As of today, we've already seen 87 goalies appear in a game this season, and there's still one more week to go.
 
In fact, only 10 teams have made it to this point with their two original goaltenders penciled into every game's roster sheet. The other 20 have tossed at least three goalies in the crease, while some have even used four or five, and that's not including goalies that have dressed as backups, either.
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Fantasy Mailbag: Keeper value of Fleury vs. Halak

Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 3:40 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

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.



PETE FROM MARLBORO, NEW JERSEY
is in a fantasy league that allows him to keep a maximum of four players. He is planning on retaining Ilya Kovalchuk, Shea Weber and Ryan Kesler, but is torn on whether to keep Marc-Andre Fleury or Jaroslav Halak as his final selection. His league categorizes wins, G.A.A., save percentage and shutouts for goaltenders.

It would be worth it to retain both of these goalies as keepers in most cases, but since you have a defensive juggernaut in Weber and two lethal goal-scorers already in the fold, let's dissect which of these elite netminders is the better long-term option. When you look at Halak's body of work this season through 43 appearances, it's been magnificent. He's second in the League in goals-against average behind only his teammate, Brian Elliott, and is also in the top-six in both shutouts and save percentage. The Blues' duo has tied a modern era NHL record with 15 combined shutouts this season, lifting the club from mediocrity to Presidents' Trophy territory. But my two concerns when stacking up Halak with Fleury are consistency and performance under a heavy workload.

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On the 'D'-fence: Players who deserve your attention

Tuesday, 03.27.2012 / 12:25 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.

It is hard to believe that the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers officially dropped the puck on the North American portion of the National Hockey League season 173 days ago. The night started with a banner raising, but ended with a Bruins 2-1 loss, showing us all just how quickly things can change in a few short months.

A night like that gives hope to every team in the league, as being last year's champion doesn't mean much in the here and now. It proves that a new season is upon us and what might have been the case in June might not be the case in October. Unfortunately, there is a flip side to that thinking and what may be the case in October just might not apply in March either. That brings us to today, where the entire season and its outcome rides on how you play out the next twelve days.

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In the Cage: Fantasy lessons learned for final countdown

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.

With only two weeks left in the regular season, it's the final countdown for fantasy leagues across the globe. At this point, most poolies have either been eliminated, or are up for not-so-consolation awards. For those still in the running for a trophy, ride your horses until the bitter end, and keep an eye out for a few sleepers like Marty Turco, Dwayne Roloson, or maybe even Al Montoya and Ty Conklin.
 
Regardless of where your team stands, we hope you learned some valuable lessons about fantasy goaltending this season. It's not only the most important position on the ice, but it's also the most difficult to predict and manage. As such, below are a few topics we discussed this season, all of which will help you decipher future goaltending trends, and therefore make better daily fantasy decisions.

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