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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Right of Way: Breaking down the value of PIMs

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.

While we'll still provide you with updated right-wing rankings, today we'll start by taking a look at the value of penalty minutes in fantasy leagues.

People always question why getting penalty minutes are a good thing in fantasy hockey, and the only answer that can be given is that it allows every NHL player to potentially have value in fantasy hockey -- the enforcers are able to contribute to a fantasy team, just as they do in real life.

In reality, it may hurt to put your team shorthanded with a penalty, but those same sin-bin minutes help you in standard fantasy leagues.

Going into fantasy drafts, people always seem to keep an eye on guys that can record points and penalty minutes -- Corey Perry, Milan Lucic, David Backes and many others. It's extremely difficult to find a player that can score goals and have a knack for taking minor penalties or dropping the gloves, so we tend to value those that can achieve that a bit more -- the fact that Perry dominated in every category made him invaluable last season.
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Center Stage: The elite point-per-game players

Wednesday, 12.14.2011 / 3:14 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.

Posting at least one point per game over the course of a season is not an easy task. Of players that appeared in more than two games last season, only 15 averaged point-per-game numbers -- Daniel Sedin (104 in 82 games), Martin St. Louis (99 in 82), Corey Perry (98 in 82), Henrik Sedin (94 in 82), Steven Stamkos (91 in 82), Jarome Iginla (86 in 82), Alex Ovechkin (85 in 79),Teemu Selanne (80 in 73), Henrik Zetterberg (80 in 80), Brad Richards (77 in 72), Ryan Getzlaf (76 in 67), Patrick Kane, (73 in 73), Sidney Crosby (66 in 41), Pavel Datsyuk (59 in 56) and Derek Roy (35 in 35).

That number seems to have been a bit lower in comparison to this year and previous seasons. In fact, in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, exactly 22 players averaged at least a point-per-game. Now here's the kicker: So far this season, 22 players are also averaging at least a point-per-game – weird, right?
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On the 'D'-Fence: Can Visnovsky return to form?

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 has certainly been an odd season for the National Hockey League, as many of its star players have been in and out of their respective lineups. This has spilled over into the fantasy realm, and specifically the fantasy blue line as Kris Letang, Chris Pronger, Mike Green, Marc Staal, Tobias Enstrom, Alex Goligoski and last season's leading scorer, Lubomir Visnovsky, have all missed significant time. Paying attention to these injuries, especially when players are set to return, can make a huge impact on your team -- which brings us back to the aforementioned Visnovsky.

Visnovsky has missed 13 games with a broken finger and his team has struggled mightily without him, winning only two of those contests. Fantasy teams have also been feeling the sting of losing a defenseman that posted monster totals of 18 goals and 68 points last season. You would think that getting that kind of talent back into the lineup would have owners clamoring for the 35-year-old Czech, but it doesn't seem to be the case. 
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In the Cage: Ray Emery rising

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.
 
As many poolies know, Chicago's backup goaltender position has carried tremendous hidden value in the past. It first happened with Antti Niemi two seasons ago, and then history repeated itself again last season with Corey Crawford. Now it's starting to happen again, this time with veteran Ray Emery.
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Fantasy Mailbag: Toews holds more value than Ovi

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 11:34 AM / 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.




ELI FROM TORONTO was offered a trade where he would receive Alex Ovechkin in exchange for Jonathan Toews.

Ovechkin may have sported the second-highest average draft position in Yahoo! fantasy drafts this year, but – expectations aside – it's quite clear that Toews has inspired more confidence in his fantasy owners as we approach the 30-game point in the season. Toews (17 G, 15 A, plus-11, 12 PIM, 8 PPP, 97 SOG, 11 hits) has the NHL's third-best goal total and is tied for fifth in points. While both players are at the same level in power-play production, shots on goal and PIMs, Toews' rating is superb while Ovi's is sub-par. Ovechkin (9 G, 12 A, minus-8, 14 PIM, 8 PPP, 104 SOG, 78 hits) offers a key element in leagues that categorize hits, but there's not much else for his owners to be proud of in this comparison of elite forwards.
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Right of Way: Late picks providing all-around value

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.

After breaking down and comparing Craig Smith and Alexander Steen to some of the League's most prominent players Wednesday and Thursday, today we'll wrap up this fun little game with the right wings. We will present you with the stat lines for the three players without telling you who they are -- and then we'll reveal the players and explain the comparison.

Player X: 28 games -- 10 G, 8 A, plus-6, 28 PIMs, 3 PPP, 78 SOG
Player Y: 25 games -- 11 G, 8 A, plus-2, 29 PIMs, 5 PPP, 82 SOG
Player Z: 25 games -- 12 G, 9 A, plus-7, 8 PIMs, 5 PPP, 80 SOG

Clearly all three players have produced similar fantasy value -- in fact they are separated by just four ranking spots in Yahoo! Leagues. The biggest difference is Player Z has just eight penalty minutes, but Player Z also sports the best plus-minus rating and has the most goals of the three guys.
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Turn Left Here: Who's been more valuable than Ovi?

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 2:10 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.

Like we did in yesterday's Center Stage, we're going to break down and compare a left wing that you might not realize is having such a good season with two players that are far more well-known and usually produce at a high level.  We will present you with the stat lines for the three players without telling you who they are -- and then we'll reveal the players and explain the comparison. Today we assess the left wings and tomorrow we'll finish up with a right wing comparison.

Player X: 24 games -- 10 G, 9 A, plus-6, 6 PIMs, 6 PPP, 72 SOG
Player Y: 27 games -- 9 G, 11 A, minus-7, 14 PIMs, 7 PPP, 96 SOG
Player Z: 27 games -- 9 G, 10 A, plus-12, 18 PIMs, 3 PPP, 85 SOG

Only one point separates the three players, but there are some definite differences in there surrounding stats. Player X doesn't get a ton of penalty minutes, but has decent power play totals and an average shot total. Player Y has a bad plus/minus rating, but does produce on the power play and shoots a ton. Player Z has sound numbers across the board except with the man advantage. So which player would you want without knowing who they are? Probably Player Z, right?
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Center Stage: Gauging the value of unknown talent

Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 2:26 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.

We all know about the big-time surprise players this season -- the Joffrey Lupuls and Brian Elliotts of the NHL -- but what about some of the lesser-known shockers from the first two-plus months of the season?

In today's Center Stage we're going to take a look and compare a player that you might not realize is having such a good season with players that are far more well-known and usually produce at a high level. We will present you with the stat lines for the three players without telling you who they are -- and then we'll reveal the players and explain the comparison. We'll start with centers today and then move on to left wings and right wings on Thursday and Friday.

Player X: 29 games -- 11 G, 12 A, minus-7, 18 PIMs, 5 PPP, 96 SOG
Player Y: 27 games -- 8 G, 14 A, even, 20 PIMs, 9 PPP, 74 SOG
Player Z: 23 games -- 7 G, 13 A, plus-2, 30 PIMs, 9 PPP, 59 SOG
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On the 'D'-fence: Boyle's production slowing down?

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 12:10 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.

Dan Boyle has been one of the premiere offensive defensemen in the National Hockey League for a while now, and that offensive prowess again made him one of the first defensemen to go in fantasy drafts this season. We here at NHL.com thought so highly of Boyle that he was ranked fifth in our preseason rankings and has managed to stay in the top 10 through last week based largely on that potential and reputation.

Boyle forged that reputation by posting 306 points (77 goals, 229 assists) in 427 games over the previous six seasons. He has had only one season of less than 50 points since the League's work stoppage, and that largely was due to his missing all but 37 games in 2007-08, yet he still managed to put up 25 points. His 0.72 points per game over that span is an average most forwards would relish and it is reason enough to be patient with the early struggles for the 35-year-old. However, there are plenty of red flags that should have his owners feeling a bit antsy. 
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In the Cage: Head Cases -- Miller, Hiller and Reimer

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.
 
Two starters that suffered head injuries earlier this season -- Ryan Miller and James Reimer -- are back between the pipes. A third starter, Jonas Hiller, recovered from his head issues (vertigo) over the summer, but went just 2-6-3 with a 3.54 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage in November. 
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