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(Page 35 of 50)
Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Markov's fantasy value rising

Tuesday, 11.29.2011 / 12:47 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.

As fantasy comebacks go, they don't get any bigger than that of Sidney Crosby, who has burst back on the scene with 9-points (2G-7A) in four games after missing more than ten months of action due to a concussion. Situations like Crosby's are a rarity, but there could be a similar one shaping up on the blue line of the Montreal Canadiens as Andrei Markov is drawing ever closer to making his long-awaited return.

Markov has been out of the Canadiens' line up for over a year after re-injuring his surgically repaired right knee in a collision with Eric Staal on November 13, 2010. A second procedure on the knee was needed and Markov was left on the shelf until he kicked off an intense rehabilitation program in Florida under the watchful eye of Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. James Andrews in October. The program yielded huge dividends and Markov was back on the ice on Nov. 1. 
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In the Cage: A string of starts makes a difference

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.
 
To truly gain an edge on your competition, procure darkhorse goalies that could earn a string of starts.
 
Getting a string of starts can be career-altering for "1-B" goalies and backups. It allows them to get into a rhythm, while instilling confidence in themselves, their teammates, and coaches. The more games they play in a row, the more they realize they're capable of carrying a larger role with the club, and the better they're likely to play. Roles change, momentum is gained, and their perceived fantasy value rises.
 
Right now, a number of lesser-owned goalies are improving their fantasy value due to getting a string of starts. This list includes Jonas Gustavsson (13 percent owned in Yahoo! Fantasy leagues), Sergei Bobrovsky (14 percent), Al Montoya (20 percent), Curtis Sanford (20 percent), Cory Schneider (44 percent), and Brian Elliott (66 percent).
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Fantasy Mailbag: Sid's return will impact Staal's value

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 2:00 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.



BENEDICT FROM OTTAWA
is concerned about how the return of Sidney Crosby will affect the value of Jordan Staal. He is considering shopping Staal for a player like Evander Kane.

The return of “Sid the Kid” means Staal (LW/C eligible) is now slotted as the Penguins’ third-line center behind the likes of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Considering it’s the same role he occupied when the team took home the Stanley’s Cup in 2008-09, Staal and the Penguins should be just fine. This depth chart adjustment instantly gives Pittsburgh one of the more potent third lines (Matt Cooke-Staal-Tyler Kennedy) in the League. Also, with all three of the team’s centers now healthy, coach Dan Bylsma can mix and match lines involving Staal. In the 6-3 win Friday against Ottawa, Staal tallied a goal and a plus-two rating, while getting some reps on a line with Chris Kunitz at LW and Malkin at RW. A potential trio of that caliber is a good reason to be patient in this situation. ...

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Holiday Special: Giving thanks in fantasy hockey

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 10:54 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

While people will be enjoying their Thanksgiving Day feast and watching some football, hockey fans will anxiously be awaiting the first-ever 2011 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown between the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins on Friday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.

Who needs football when we can sit back, digest all that food from the night before and watch a great hockey game between Original Six rivals? And while you're sitting there watching some great hockey, why not give thanks to the players that have helped your fantasy team to this point?

From the players that are performing as we hoped and expected to the guys that have surprised us all, let's take a look at what fantasy owners can be thankful of at the quarter-pole of the NHL season.
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On the 'D'-fence: Byfuglien rounding into 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.

During his 7-year NHL career, Dustin Byfuglien has pretty much done it all. He has played all over the ice, skating as both a forward and a defenseman, and those skills helped the Chicago Blackhawks hoist a Stanley Cup back in 2010. After that championship, Byfuglien was shipped to the Atlanta Thrashers, now the Winnipeg Jets, who made him primarily a defenseman. "Big Buff" thrived in that role and went on to post 53-points (20G-33A), 347 shots on goal and a very manageable minus-2.

The career year set expectations high for the Minnesota native, but he had some trouble meeting them in October. Byfuglien was maligned by some who questioned his conditioning. The thinking was that he had bulked up a little too much during the off-season and it was hurting his ability to play end-to-end. He seemed to be struggling when it came to getting back to the defensive zone after a rush and it resulted in the coaching staff shortening his shifts for a period of time, which in turn limited his scoring opportunities.

Whatever the reason for his early-season struggles, it hurt the Jets and it hurt fantasy owners who spent an early round pick on the player that we had 8th overall in our pre-season rankings. Byfuglien went on to register a minus-5 and just 4 points (1G-3A) in 11 October games, a decent total for your fourth or fifth defenseman, but not for the guy who was likely your number one.
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In the Cage: Shifting roles in Colorado

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 Jean-Sebastian Giguere starting three straight games for the Avalanche over the last week, the roles in goal are changing. To help you decipher how that impacts the fantasy value for both he and the struggling Semyon Varlamov (0-5-1 with a .831 save percentage in November), we explain three major shifts taking place between the two puck-stoppers.

SHIFT 1 --- ROLES: The day he signed, Varlamov was handed the starting gig. But as a 23-year-old with limited NHL experience, he should've been forced to earn it. As a result, he's now being hindered by many obstacles. These include – but are not limited to – making timely saves, and lacking the support and guidance from a full-time goalie coach. None of these are roadblocks for the veteran Giguere, so earlier projections of a 60-22 split in games played for Varlamov is inching more towards a 48-34 split.
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The Real Spiel: Staal still valuable despite slow start

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

Given the complex, never-steady landscape of fantasy hockey, each week, NHL.com Fantasy Insider Sergei Feldman will give you The Real Spiel on some of the quirks and trends that permeated your week of fantasy hockey by way of in-depth analysis.


NOT ST-ALL SHE WROTE

Eric Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 8
SOG: 78 | +/-: -18
Eric Staal’s name has rarely been synonymous with struggles. After his rookie season, the Carolina Hurricanes captain has never finished a season with less than 29 goals, 35 assists, 70 points, 277 shots and 50 PIMs. As of now, he’s on pace for 16 goals, 16 assists and 32 points. If you’re a fantasy team owner and have Staal on your roster, he’s likely there because you were convinced he’d deliver more often than not and lift your team to the top. Now, you’re thinking that might not have been the best idea, right? It’s time to get rid of his subpar production and league-worst minus-18 rating, right? Wrong.

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Fantasy Mailbag: Kopitar is fantasy difference-maker

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 6:05 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.



ALEX FROM CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE received an offer in his league, in which he would receive Anze Kopitar in exchange for Marian Gaborik.

This trade involves top-five players at their respective positions. Kopitar (9 G, 14 A, plus-2, 8 PPP, 58 SOG, 10 hits) has been one of the most dynamic fantasy centers in the League this season. Despite the bipolar Kings’ offense, Kopitar’s well-versed puck-moving abilities have enabled him to put up points consistently. Gaborik (9 G, 6 A, plus-7, 8 PIM, 4 PPP, 74 SOG) has been outstanding as well with four goals and three assists during the Rangers’ current seven-game win streak.
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Right of Way: Perry, Malkin holding on at top of ranks

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 is your fantasy right wing expert all season long.

When you're looking over our updated right wing rankings, you'll notice absolutely nothing has changed among our top six skaters.

You may question us for still having Corey Perry at the top of our list, but he's still an extremely productive player despite just 13 points in 19 games (35 penalty minutes, 9 power-play points, 67 shots on goal). Plus, at some point we tend to think that explosive top line for the Ducks will get things together.

Evgeni Malkin showed off his talent on Tuesday, scoring arguably the goal of the year against the Avalanche. He might not be at the top of the Yahoo! ratings, but Malkin has posted 14 points and is averaging 4.3 shots per game in just 12 games. As long as he can stay healthy, he'll be one of the most productive fantasy players in the game.

Patrick Kane is currently the fifth-rated overall player in Yahoo! Leagues, and deservedly so. He has posted 6 points during a current four-game point-scoring streak and is only on pace for a career-best 90 points right now.
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Turn Left Here: Ovi underachieving for fantasy owners

Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 2:27 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.

After a two-week hiatus from NHL.com's 'Turn Left Here' update, there's plenty to talk about regarding our left wings.

Daniel Sedin is still the top ranked left wing in our rankings and he's the top-rated Yahoo! left wing. Thomas Vanek has continued to score at an unworldly rate for the Sabres (11 goals and 12 assists in 18 games). Kris Versteeg and Joffrey Lupul (both LW and RW eligible) haven't slowed down a bit this season and their ownership has steadily increased -- 78 percent and 84 percent respectively. Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Bobby Ryan, Zach Parise and many other proven stars are still looking to find their game.

Alex Ovechkin
Left Wing - WSH
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 14
SOG: 54 | +/-: -3
Meanwhile, the biggest fantasy story surrounds Alex Ovechkin. Our No. 1 overall fantasy player coming into the 2011-12 season is also still struggling. The Capitals captain has 14 points in 16 games (which isn't bad for any player other than Ovechkin), but fantasy owners have simply come to expect far more from Ovi. Ovechkin failed to score for the fifth time in his last seven games on Tuesday night and his seven goals on the season are his lowest scoring total through 16 games since he entered the League in 2005-06.
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NHL.COM FANTASY HOCKEY COVERAGE
Analysis of NHL.com's fantasy mock draft
Video: NHL stars make picks | Draft prep
Top 275 rankings | Top 50 breakdown
Positional rankings: C | LW | RW | D | G
Talented crop of rookies has high upside
Multicategory assets | Top specialists
Bounce-back candidates | Injury rebounds

NHL.COM FANTASY PLAYER RANKINGS

RANK TEAM PLAYER
1. Sidney crosby
2. Steven Stamkos
3. Corey Perry
4. Evgeni Malkin
5. Ryan Getzlaf

COMPLETE RANKINGS | MOCK DRAFT ANALYSIS