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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Cammalleri biggest steal

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

There have been so many fantasy steals among forwards to this point in the season: From the Chicago Blackhawks' Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov riding the coattails of leading-scorer Patrick Kane, to standout rookie Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings, to Evgeny Kuznetsov carrying over his breakout postseason (whether or not he's been on Alex Ovechkin's line). Mike Hoffman of the Ottawa Senators is another one, already doubling his power-play point production from his rookie season while producing even-strength points at an even greater pace alongside Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan.

But the trend with those players is they are young and/or sticking with proven linemates. The same cannot be said about New Jersey Devils forward Mike Cammalleri, who has been hands-down the biggest steal among fantasy forwards as we approach the one-third mark of the 2015-16 season.

Drafted on average with the 166th pick in Yahoo leagues, let's face it: Cammalleri was expected to be the Devils' only shot at fantasy relevance outside of their efficient, workhorse goaltender Cory Schneider. Cammalleri started the season with Adam Henrique, an inconsistent young center who has always shot a high percentage (15.1 through 296 games) but has never topped 51 points, and Lee Stempniak, a journeyman wing who has played for eight teams in his NHL career, including five in the past three seasons.

But to think that each of those three players is currently on pace for 60-plus points is as big of a surprise as you'll find. No one in their right minds expected this type of offense and road success (8-4-0) from New Jersey, whose young defense and hodgepodge of serviceable forwards looked like a roster in shambles on paper. Give a ton credit to Cammalleri for getting his career back on track and maximizing each piece to the puzzle for what has been one of the most consistent top lines in the NHL so far.

Cammalleri continues to be the high-volume shooter we have always known him to be (73 shots on goal in 27 games), but he's also sixth in the League in points (30) and channeling his younger days as an 80-point man for the Los Angeles Kings (2006-07) and Calgary Flames (2008-09). It seems like ages ago that Cammalleri, who had two stints with the Flames, 170 games with the Montreal Canadiens spanning two-plus seasons in between and plenty of injuries along the way, was producing at an elite level.

He's officially back.

The 33-year-old wing is scoring goals at a high rate (11 in 27 games), but has been more of a distributor (19 assists, T-6th in NHL) early on. He has nine multipoint games, only trailing Kane (12), Jamie Benn (11) and Tyler Seguin (10), and has a plus-12 rating (T-8th in NHL).

Can the veteran keep this up? He has a strong shooting percentage (15.1) but not one that's abnormally high based on his career average (12.6) or based on other players around the League for that matter (outside top 50 in S% among forwards with 20-plus games played). As long as this unselfish play continues, he'll be keeping Henrique and Stempniak on their game while still being the Devils' goal-scoring anchor in the clutch (five of his 11 goals have come in the third period).

There's no question Cammalleri is a sell-high candidate for the right price because of the nature of breakout seasons for players on the outskirts of their prime. But as long as the Devils' trio stays healthy and together with Schneider allowing two goals or fewer more times than not, New Jersey should continue to hang around in a crowded Eastern Conference picture for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Personally, I would roll the dice and stick with Cammalleri the rest of the way.

TOP 100 FANTASY FORWARDS

These rankings are based on expectations for this season. Value is quantified by line combinations, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal).

1. Patrick Kane, C/RW, CHI (SAME)

2. Tyler Seguin, C/RW, DAL (SAME)

3. Alex Ovechkin, LW/RW, WSH (SAME)

4. Jamie Benn, LW, DAL (SAME)

5. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (SAME)

6. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (SAME)

7. Evgeni Malkin, C/RW, PIT (+1)

8. Joe Pavelski, C/LW/RW, SJS (-1)

9. Claude Giroux, C/RW, PHI (+1)

10. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT (+1)

11. John Tavares, C, NYI (-2)

12. Taylor Hall, C/LW, EDM (SAME)

13. Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN (+4)

14. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH (+1)

15. Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS (+1)

16. Steven Stamkos, C, TBL (-3)

17. Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL (-3)

18. Zach Parise, LW, MIN (SAME)

19. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG (+1)

20. Jeff Carter, C/RW, LAK (+5)

21. Phil Kessel, RW, PIT (-2)

22. David Krejci, C, BOS (+1)

23. Corey Perry, RW, ANA (+5)

24. Ryan Johansen, C/RW, CBJ (-3)

25. Alexander Steen, C/LW, STL (-3)

26. Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW, DET (-2)

27. Rick Nash, LW/RW, NYR (+2)

28. Patrick Sharp, C/LW/RW, DAL (-2)

29. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI (-2)

30. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C/LW, WSH (SAME)

31. Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI (+3)

32. Mike Cammalleri, C/LW, NJD (+15)

33. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (+3)

34. Filip Forsberg, C/LW/RW, NSH (+4)

35. Kyle Turris, C, OTT (-4)

36. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA (-4)

37. Tomas Plekanec, C, MTL (-4)

38. Jason Spezza, C, DAL (+1)

39. Tyler Toffoli, C/LW/RW, LAK (-4)

40. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL (SAME)

41. Dylan Larkin, C/LW, DET (+8)

42. Matt Duchene, C/LW, COL (+8)

43. Max Domi, C/LW, ARI (-1)

44. James Neal, LW/RW, NSH (-3)

45. Andrew Ladd, LW, WPG (SAME)

46. Jaromir Jagr, RW, FLA (-3)

47. Pavel Datsyuk, C/LW, DET (-1)

48. Henrik Sedin, C, VAN (SAME)

49. Ryan O'Reilly, C/LW/RW, BUF (+3)

50. Logan Couture, C/LW, SJS (NR - INJ.)

51. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (+2)

52. Mike Hoffman, C/LW, OTT (+17)

53. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ (-16)

54. Bobby Ryan, LW/RW, OTT (+4)

55. T.J. Oshie, C/RW, WSH (SAME)

56. Jakub Voracek, RW, PHI (-12)

57. Mats Zuccarello, LW/RW, NYR (-6)

58. Gustav Nyquist, C/LW/RW, DET (+5)

59. David Backes, C/RW, STL (SAME)

60. Wayne Simmonds, LW/RW, PHI (+2)

61. Tyler Johnson, C, TBL (-7)

62. Kyle Palmieri, LW/RW, NJD (+2)

63. Tomas Tatar, LW/RW, DET (+2)

64. Marian Hossa, RW, CHI (-7)

65. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (-5)

66. Milan Lucic, LW, LAK (SAME)

67. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (SAME)

68. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS (+3)

69. Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI (-13)

70. Loui Eriksson, LW/RW, BOS (+3)

71. Evander Kane, LW, BUF (+9)

72. Derick Brassard, C, NYR (+6)

73. Joe Thornton, C, SJS (-12)

74. Eric Staal, C/LW, CAR (-6)

75. Bryan Little, C/RW, WPG (-5)

76. Jack Eichel, C, BUF (-4)

77. Radim Vrbata, RW, VAN (+2)

78. Leon Draisaitl, C/RW, EDM (-4)

79. Adam Henrique, C/LW, NJD (+6)

80. Mark Stone, RW, OTT (-5)

81. Scott Hartnell, LW, CBJ (-5)

82. Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (+1)

83. Jarome Iginla, RW, COL (-6)

84. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (-3)

85. Paul Stastny, C, STL (+4)

86. Martin Hanzal, C, ARI (-3)

87. Patrick Marleau, C/LW, SJS (SAME)

88. Artem Anisimov, C/LW, CHI (SAME)

89. Lee Stempniak, LW/RW, NJD (+8)

90. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (+2)

91. Alex Galchenyuk, C/LW, MTL (-1)

92. Boone Jenner, C/RW, CBJ (-8)

93. Kevin Hayes, RW, NYR (-7)

94. Justin Williams, RW, WSH (SAME)

95. Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT (NEW)

96. Jonathan Huberdeau, C/LW, FLA (+4)

97. Justin Abdelkader, LW/RW, DET (NEW)

98. Mikkel Boedker, LW, ARI (-3)

99. Mikael Granlund, C, MIN (NEW)

100. Valeri Nichushkin, RW, DAL (NEW)

Pete Jensen
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