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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

In the Cage: Injury replacements thriving in fantasy

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 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.

After a 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens has now compiled a 4-0-0 record, 1.00 goals-against average, .963 save percentage, and two shutouts since Jonathan Quick suffered his Grade 2 groin strain.

Scrivens' shutout streak finally ended at 191:19 minutes, nearly eclipsing Quick's franchise-record 202:11 streak. With some simple, yet effective style refinements that include a narrower stance and a more traditional glove hand positioning, Scrivens' impressive play has also revealed a key fantasy trend through the first quarter of the season: The injury replacements are thriving.

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On the 'D'-fence: Bouwmeester boon for owners

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Heading into the 2002 NHL Draft scouts were drooling over a 6-foot-4, 204-pound defenseman named Jay Bouwmeester who had notched an impressive 114 points (25 goals) over his final 122 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League.

Bouwmeester was selected by the Florida Panthers with the third selection in the draft and debuted with the team the next season, playing in all 82 of their games and notching 16 points along the way.

That production wasn't on par with what Bouwmeester had done at the WHL level and it would actually take him a few years to get going offensively in the NHL, but over a four-year span between the 2005-06 and 2008-09 seasons he would notch 167 points (47 goals) in 328 games. He also averaged 2.22 shots on goal and .19 power-play points per game over that span.

He managed to score 12 or more goals in three of those seasons, earning him a lucrative free-agent contract with the Calgary Flames in 2009.

Bouwmeester's production dropped from .51 points per game over that four-year span in Florida to.35 points per game in Calgary. He saw his shots per game drop to 1.48 and his power-play points to .16. Some began to wonder if the production we saw from him in Florida was a fluke.

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The Front Line: Benn, Seguin form League's best duo

Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Only two players this season have recorded five or more points in a single game, and both of those performances came on the same night.

On Nov. 14, teammates Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin combined for 11 points in the Dallas Stars' 7-3 victory against the Calgary Flames. Benn finished the evening with an NHL-best six points (one goal, five assists), while Seguin posted four goals and an assist (Tomas Hertl is the only other player to have scored four goals in a game this season).

It didn't take them long, but Benn and Seguin have quickly become one of, if not the best duo in the NHL. If you were fortunate enough to land either player on your fantasy roster, it has paid immense dividends through the first quarter of the season.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
Player
Avg. Pick
Avg. Round
Current Rank
Jamie Benn 52.4 5.3 19
Tyler Seguin 46.7 4.7 32
* based on Yahoo fantasy leagues

As you can see in the table to the right, both players currently have exceeded everyone's draft-day expectations. However, I was always extremely high on Benn -- prior to this season, I predicted he'd finish as a top-15 overall fantasy player, and I still believe he will.

Benn is the prototypical fantasy player -- he can contribute in every category. Seguin, no stranger to fantasy dominance, lacks the penalty minute presence Benn offers, which is why I rank Benn one spot higher than Seguin (21 and 22 respectively).

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Fantasy All-Access: Quarter-mark bold predictions

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The NHL has season has reached the first-quarter mark and that is a perfect time to make some bold fantasy predictions for what will we see for the rest of the fantasy season:

Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall will be a top-20 fantasy player. The first pick of the 2010 NHL Draft missed seven games due to a knee injury but is back and producing even with the struggling offense around him. The Oilers have 14 of their next 19 games at home so you can expect Hall and the Oilers to break out of their offensive slump and Hall to move up the rankings.

The San Jose Sharks' Antti Niemi will be the first goalie to start 75-plus games in a season since Martin Brodeur in 2009-10. The Finnish netminder has started 18 of the Sharks' first 21 games, and with only eight back-to-backs on the schedule for the rest of the season, look for Niemi to get into the net and carry Fantasy teams for the entire season.

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In the Cage: Miller, Bryzgalov solid buy-low options

Thursday, 11.14.2013 / 12:30 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.

The theme of our NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Google Hangout on Thursday is focused on identifying solid buy-low and sell-high candidates. With so many options, the panel will surely dish out some solid strategies to help you locate viable forwards and defensemen in both categories.

When it comes to finding good buy-low goalies, with fewer assets to work with, you’re basically looking for one of two things: a backup that has the potential to become a starter, or a good goalie on a bad team that would benefit from a turnaround. Workload will always be the driving force behind a goalie’s fantasy value, but you can’t buy them low or sell them high if they’re not going to play.

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On the 'D'-fence: Rangers' McDonagh getting it done

Wednesday, 11.13.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The New York Rangers came into the season ready for a fresh start. They were led by new coach Alain Vigneault, who was implementing a system that would allow their offensive players to open the game up a bit more than they were able to under John Tortorella.

That was great news for a defenseman like Ryan McDonagh. Unfortunately things didn't go as anticipated, at least in the early going. McDonagh stumbled out of the gates, collecting just three points over his first 10 games, and the team found itself sitting at 3-7-0.

That all started to change on Oct. 29 as the Rangers pulled off a come-from-behind victory over the New York Islanders. McDonagh scored the game-tying-goal and he and the team went on a 6-2-0 run over their next eight games.

Though there have been a lot of variables in the Rangers' turnaround, McDonagh has been a big part of it and is building upon the success of his first three seasons in the NHL.

The Minnesota native has taken steps toward becoming a very effective fantasy defenseman over the past two seasons, and even after starting slowly this season is currently producing .58 points per night, which continues his trend upward from .39 in 2011-12 and .40 in 2012-13.

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The Front Line: Rangers forwards rise in fantasy ranks

Tuesday, 11.12.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Going into the season, five New York Rangers cracked my top 100 forward rankings: Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan, Derick Brassard and Brad Richards. This probably doesn't surprise anyone, as all five players carried decent value coming into the season.

However, the Rangers struggled out of the gate, losing seven of their first 10 games, and all five players either disappointed when on the ice or found themselves on the sidelines due to injury.

But in late October, the Rangers started to make some changes to their lineup, specifically to their top two forward lines. They also got a key player back: Carl Hagelin. Since Oct. 29 (when Hagelin returned to the lineup), the Rangers have gone 6-1-0 and have looked like a completely different team. And it's no surprise Hagelin has been at the center of this resurgence.

Last season, when the speedy forward recorded a point, the Rangers went 14-2-1, when he scored a goal they were 8-1-1 and when he tallied at least two points, they were 5-0-1. Hagelin is a difference maker for the Rangers, and he could be one on your fantasy roster as well.

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Fantasy All-Access: Bryzgalov worth owning

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Veterans Day is a time to salute those who have served in the armed forces, and here at All-Access we salute the veterans of the NHL who are still producing for fantasy teams.

Forty-one-year-olds are still showing their fantasy relevance this season as the New Jersey Devils' Jaromir Jagr and the Detroit Red Wings' Daniel Alfredsson have already reached double digits in points, while the Dallas Stars' Ray Whitney is still making wizardly passes and Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is still making saves and winning games. Finally, 43-year-old Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks, though missing some action due to injury, has shown he can still produce with seven points, two coming on the power play.

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In the Cage: Ducks goalie depth is overflowing

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 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.

From top to bottom, the Anaheim Ducks have an embarrassment of riches in goal.

Overflowing with size and long-term potential, the depth chart of Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth, Frederik Andersen, John Gibson, and Igor Bobkov is arguably the best in the National Hockey League.

To highlight their individual value, look no further than their international experience. Hiller will once again be the backbone of Switzerland's Olympic team, Fasth carried Sweden in the 2011 and 2012 World Championships, Andersen led Denmark to two gold medals during his junior career, Gibson dominated for Team USA in the 2013 World Juniors, and Bobkov won gold with Russia in the 2011 World Juniors.

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On the 'D'-fence: Karlsson charges to top of ranks

Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 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.

There's a legend round these parts about a young defensemen who exploded onto the scene with 78 points in 81 games at the tender age of 21. That total was good enough to put him in a 10th-place tie in the NHL's scoring race during the 2011-12 season.

They say he fired 261 shots on goal, with 19 of them finding pay dirt. He even managed to roll up an impressive plus-16 rating, 28 power-play points and five game-winning goals.

The numbers were otherworldly for a defenseman -- some would even call them godlike -- and they earned the young man the Norris Trophy, identifying him as the finest blueliner in all the land.

That kind of productivity brings with it a certain set of expectations.

Those expectations can be burdensome for a player, especially one like the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson, who now at 23 is trying to bounce back from a serious injury that cost him all but 17 games of what was supposed to be a second Norris-caliber season.

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