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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

The Real Spiel: Preds' defense a force to acknowledge

Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 5:55 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Sergei J. Feldman - Staff Writer

Given the complex, never-steady landscape of fantasy hockey, each week, 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.

The Pred Scare: The Real Spiel on Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne

Ryan Suter
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 29
SOG: 92 | +/-: 8
Nashville Predators blueliner Ryan Suter was in the middle of an unintended controversy recently, when he discussed his future with the club and whether or not he plans on signing with the Preds prior to the trade deadline. The dust has settled on the issue and Suter has been able to just do what Suter has done for the better part of his career. Currently, Suter ranks in tied for 10th in the NHL in points among defenseman. Helping him get there has been his play of late, as the rugged defender has amassed points in three of his past four games. Playing alongside elite defenseman Shea Weber has certainly complemented Suter’s game. Suter isn’t likely available in many fantasy leagues, but as your teams evolve into either contenders or pretenders, the Pred could be someone to aim for.

The man behind the blueline has been as much a part of the Predators’ success as anyone else, as netminder Pekka Rinne is having himself a season to remember in 2011-12. Through 46 games, the Finnish product ranks second in the League in wins (29). In fact, Rinne has wins in each of his last 10 starts.  In that span, Rinne has given up more than two goals just once. Given the emphasis on strong defensive play in Nashville, Rinne’s numbers figure to remain the same for the duration of the season. When all is said and done, he could reign supreme among fantasy goalies.


Gagner's great night a 'lesson to never set limits'

Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey and ... Sam Gagner? Yes, that's the type of company Gagner is keeping these days.

Well, at least he did for one night. Gagner lit up the Chicago Blackhawks with four goals and four assists Thursday night, authoring the 15th eight-point game in NHL history (Darryl Sittler's 10-point bonanza is technically the 16th).

"I wouldn't be in the same breath as Gretzky or Coffey, if it was anything but this," Gagner told reporters after the game. "It is a great lesson to never set limits. The great players that have played here before never did that, and I was never thinking about that tonight. I was just looking at continuing to play and we just kept scoring. It was crazy."

Turn Left Here: Couture, Heatley starting to heat up

Thursday, 02.02.2012 / 1:46 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, 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.

You'll notice there isn't any movement from our top four spots, and if it wasn't for the return of Patrick Sharp in our rankings (he came off IR on Jan. 31), Kovalchuk would have remained in the No. 5 spot. Daniel Sedin, Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Ovechkin and James Neal all hold down the top four spots. In fact, we believe that only Ovechin is in jeopardy of being knocked out of the top five as of now, but we're still holding on and looking for him to go on a surge that carries the Capitals to the playoffs.

However, outside our usual suspects at the top of the charts, you'll see some definite shake-ups throughout the rest of our top-40 rankings of the left wing position. Let's get right into it:

Center Stage: Tavares is taking over fantasy world

Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 2:38 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Staff Writer

Every Wednesday during the season, 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.

With the All-Star festivities behind us and fantasy hockey playoffs inching nearer for those of you in head-to-head leagues, it's time to get back into the swing of things with our weekly "Center Stage" feature that covers everything related to fantasy hockey centers.

And who better to lead with than Islanders center John Tavares, who was just announced earlier today as the No. 1 star for January. In fact, Tavares has been so unbelievably good lately that he is the only player we're going to talk about as our "Trending Upward" player. Usually we discuss three guys, but Tavares has been good enough to equal three players in January.

Tavares was drafted in Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues with an average pick of 55.5 coming into the season. He is currently rated as the 12th most valuable fantasy player, with Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux and Steven Stamkos being the only other centers rated higher. On the season his stat line looks like this: 22 G, 53 points (4th in NHL), plus-4, 14 PIMs, 16 PPP and 184 SOG (4th in NHL). His January was quite remarkable.

On the 'D'-fence: Rookie rearguards who rank

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

The 2012 NHL All-Star Game is in the books and as always it was an exciting event that showcased the skills of some of the best and brightest the league has to offer. Though there were 42 vets selected to participate in the game itself, the League's selection committee also chose 12 rookies to take part in the weekend's activities.

That is what we are going to do here today.

Considering that we had a short week in the fantasy realm due in large part to those All-Star festivities, we figured that we would point out a handful of rookies that are starting to slide into bigger roles for their teams. These players may not be a benefit to all of you, but they could offer some nice depth scoring and should definitely be on the radars of those in keeper or dynasty leagues. 

In the Cage: Two so-called backups

Justin Goldman - Correspondent

Every Monday during the season, Justin Goldman, goalie specialist and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in'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 get an edge on the competition, poolies must realize that a goaltender's stats are merely the end result of a unique situation. The position is 90 percent mental, so confidence, rhythm, focus, and opportunity are key ingredients in making what we call a "sleeper" or a "hidden gem" fantasy talent.
For two so-called backups, Devan Dubnyk and Sergei Bobrovsky, a few impressive performances before the All-Star break have led us to believe they're currently surrounded by very promising situations. Furthermore, both goalies could see their fantasy value rise due to the struggles of their counterparts.

Under-the-radar fantasy players to keep an eye on

Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 2:25 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Staff Writer

Note: With the 2012 NHL All-Star festivities beginning on Thursday, Matt Cubeta's regular Center Stage, Turn Left Here and Right of Way fantasy stories will return next week.

Last season James Reimer came out of practically nowhere to take the NHL and fantasy leagues by surprise. After making just seven starts prior to last season's All-Star Game, Reimer went on to make 28 starts for Toronto after the break. He finished with a 16-7-5 record to go along with a 2.69 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and three shutouts while powering the Maple Leafs to a second-half surge that would give them hope heading into the 2011-12 season.

Reimer is the ultimate example for a player fantasy owners hope to snag up around the midway point of the season. We're all in search of that unknown guy that gets called up and produces at a high level when his team is willing to give young players a chance -- this is the time for coaches to see what kind of talent they have in their minor league systems.

Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic was a similar story last season, emerging as a major fantasy difference-maker on the blue line. Hamonic was called up early last season (Nov. 24), but turned out to be extremely valuable in the latter part of the season, finishing with 5 goals, 18 points, a plus-11 and an amazing 78 penalty minutes in 33 contests after the All-Star break.

On the 'D'-fence: PP points can power you to victory

Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 12:08 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

Every Tuesday during the season, 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.

Power-play points may not be included in all scoring formats that you are participating in, but they have earned a spot alongside goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, and shots on goal in Yahoo! standard leagues. Some leagues even break it down further giving you credit for each power-play goal or assist your players earn. This makes it a pretty valuable stat, and it can tilt many a tightly-contested scoring period in your direction if you have the right players on your roster.

We are all familiar with the likes of Erik Karlsson, Zdeno Chara, Kris Letang and Shea Weber, as they provide the most bang for your fantasy buck across almost every scoring category. However, you may be surprised to find out that these aren't exactly the names that are going to win the power-play points category for you on a weekly basis.

In the Cage: The veteran presence

Justin Goldman - Correspondent

Evgeni Nabokov
Goalie - NYI
RECORD: 10-11-0
GAA: 2.35 | SVP: 0.919
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'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.

The NHL's All-Star Weekend is just over the horizon, and with each passing day, teams are gearing up for the post-season push. For goalies, that means every save is more important than the last, and one weak effort could mean the difference between making and missing the playoffs. Since timely stops are so crucial right now, it's often the presence of an experienced veteran that can key a young team's success.

Fantasy Mailbag: Lecavalier's consistency defines value

Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen answers your weekly fantasy hockey questions

Pete Jensen - Staff Writer 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 Fantasy Mailbag by contacting

RICHARD FROM VICTORIA, B.C. has a trade offer on the table where he would give up Vincent Lecavalier and get Joffrey Lupul.

Lecavalier (18 G, 20 A, plus-1, 44 PIM, 9 PPP, 141 SOG) is on a tear as of late -- despite the fact that his team is still near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Bolts have won three straight, and their captain is largely accountable with a five-game point streak (2 G, 6 A). With seven goals and nine assists in his last 14 games, the 31-year-old is showing no signs of a dip in production as a second-line center and a power-play anchor for Tampa Bay. Since Lecavalier is performing admirably in the face of his team's struggles, a Lightning playoff push could do even more wonders for his fantasy owners.
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