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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

In the Cage: Six key goalie trade deadline topics

Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 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.

With less than one week until the NHL Trade Deadline (Wednesday, March 5 at 3 p.m.), the window of opportunity to upgrade your goaltending before the fantasy playoff push is quickly closing.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics was a nice break from the grueling NHL schedule, but it also gave us a rare glimpse of some key fantasy goalies playing behind different defensive systems.

But now, with a few other goalies rumored to be on the move next week, we're focused in on six key goaltending storylines leading up to next Wednesday and the trade deadline.

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Miller, Vanek among top fantasy trade candidates

Fantasy Hockey Trade Deadline Decisions - Part 1

Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

The NHL Trade Deadline is at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 5. The standard fantasy hockey league trade deadline is the very next day.

In order to have you fully prepared, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with a three-part "Fantasy Hockey Trade Deadline Decisions" series. Each part will feature a different list of players. Part 1: A list of players who could be traded before the NHL Trade Deadline and how it would affect their fantasy value. Part 2: A list of players Cubeta believes you should be trying to acquire before your deadline -- also known as buy-low candidates. Part 3: A list of players you should be trying to trade away before your deadline -- also known as sell-high candidates.

Remember, when you're trying to make a trade, don't be afraid to start your negotiation off a little higher than what you're hoping to eventually land. You can always lower your asking price, but you won't be able to raise it if the other person you're trading with already accepts the deal.

Players who could be traded before the NHL Trade Deadline and how it would affect their fantasy value

Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres -- 39 games: 14-22-3, 2.74 GAA, .923 SV%, 0 SO

Miller currently ranks 313th among all players in Yahoo fantasy leagues. Not exactly what his drafters were hoping for. However, the American goalie has a .923 save percentage, which is good for seventh best in the NHL among goalies that have made at least 30 starts. The Sabres have allowed the third-most shots on goal per game (34.2) and are dead last in goals per game by an enormous margin (1.82 for Buffalo, 2.25 for the Los Angeles Kings). Assuming Miller gets dealt to a playoff-contending team, you can expect his wins and goals-against average to improve significantly, making Miller a potential top-10 fantasy goalie for the rest of the season.


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On the 'D'-fence: Defensemen left mark in Sochi

Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 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.


It seems as if it were yesterday that we were releasing our preseason rankings, but the NHL season has already entertained us for close to five months. If that is hard to believe, it is even more so that the 2014 Sochi Olympics have already come and gone.

Four years of speculation, debate and analysis of each competing country has culminated in another gold medal for Canada, and while this tournament might not have been as high-scoring as the one that took place in Vancouver in 2010, defensemen played a huge role in the outcome.

Our top-ranked defenseman, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, tied for the tournament lead in scoring with eight points, leading Sweden to a silver medal. His four goals tied for second and he looked a lot like the player who won the Norris Trophy back in 2012.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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