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Fantasy Five: Ovi, Daniel Sedin lead left wing rankings

by Matt Cubeta
A couple of days ago we took a look at our updated center rankings, including who's hot and who's not. Today we'll do the same for our left wings. Like the centers, we are clearly starting to see some trends among them. Alex Ovechkin remains the top gun to own at the position, but we're also starting to see some more consistent play out of several surprise players. Sure, Clarke MacArthur has slowed down, but 25 goals doesn't seem too unrealistic an expectation for the gritty winger.

From Patrick Sharp's continued dominant efforts to the re-emergence of Scott Hartnell and Andrei Kostitsyn, there's plenty to about in regards to our left wings. Shall we...

1. Three weeks ago today we provided you with our first re-rankings of the left wing position; today we give you a new shake-up. These modified rankings are based on expectations of the season going forward (including injuries). The plus or minus for each player is based on our most recent rankings, NOT our preseason ranks -- however, position eligibility predicated on's original preseason rankings. (NR means not ranked in previous rankings.)

Rick Nash (same)
Thomas Vanek (same)
16 Andrei Kostitsyn (+2)
Evander Kane (same)

Players who dropped out of last segment's top-25: Zach Parise, Dustin Penner, Mason Raymond, Tomas Kopecky

2. A Look at the Top

We've seen quite a mix-up among the leaders at left wing. Sure Ovechkin still remains at the top and Daniel Sedin, Heatley and Ryan are still within the top five, but there's a big name who's fallen off because of an injury. We're talking about Zach Parise, who was previously ranked fourth among our left wings.

Obviously, it's his crucial injury that has him out of the top-25. Parise went down with a knee injury on Oct. 30 against the Kings and is expected to miss approximately three months -- or about 35 games. That's a hefty number for an elite player to miss. The point in telling you all this is to warrant Parise's boot from our rankings. What would you rather have: Alexander Frolov for those additional 35 games or Parise rotting away on your bench or injured reserve? We'll take Frolov (who's No. 25 in the updated rankings).

3. Trending Upward

Michael Cammalleri -- While the Habs forward only has 5 goals and 8 assists in 17 games this season, Cammalleri is really starting to come alive lately -- he is in the middle of a five-game point-scoring streak with 2 goals and 4 helpers during that span. Cammalleri also has an outstanding plus-12 rating to go along with 57 shots on goal. In a thin group of dominant left wings, Cammalleri is still one of the few players worth hanging on to.

Milan Lucic -- With 7 G, 7 A, plus-9, 18 PIMs, 3 PPP and 30 SOG, Lucic is really proving his value with the Bruins early on in 2010. The big Boston forward has been a consistent all-around fantasy player since opening night and is basically a poor man's Scott Hartnell -- he's willing to scrap, he finds time on the power play in front of the net (2:42 per game with the man advantage) and he puts up points while playing on one the team's top lines.

Alexander Frolov -- Frolov was expected to have a big bounce-back season for the Rangers while skating on the top line with superstar Marian Gaborik. But then Gabby went down with an injury and Frolov completely faded from the fantasy radar. However, the Great Gabby is back -- and hopefully so is Frolov. He provided a ray of hope by producing 2 goals, 2 assists and a plus-5 rating in the Rangers' big 8-2 win against Edmonton on Sunday. Frolov has been completely inconsistent all season, but his fantasy owners should give him one last shot to see if things can work out with Gaborik.

4. Trending Downward

Ilya Kovalchuk -- Still owned in 99 percent of Yahoo! Leagues, Kovalchuk is clearly one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy to date. With just 4 goals and 9 points to go along with a minus-9 rating in 17 games, Kovy will continue to drop in our ranks until he proves us wrong. What's even more alarming is that his shots on goal total is down significantly as well. Last season, he had 111 SOG in 27 games for the Devils -- that's 4.11 per game; this season, he has just 47 SOG in 17 games -- 2.76 per game. In addition, the loss of Parise clearly hurts his value as a player -- team's can now put most of their defensive focus on Kovalchuk. He's as talented as they come, but something is clearly not right this season. Let's hope an offensive outburst is on its way.

Alexandre Burrows -- Burrows has yet to break out in 2010 since returning from his offseason shoulder surgery. After posting career-highs with 35 goals, 67 points, a plus-34 rating and 209 shots, Burrows has just 1 goal and 1 assist in eight games this season (both points came Saturday night at Toronto). Burrows is currently averaging 15:40 of ice time per game, with a lot of that coming on Vancouver's top line with the Sedin twins, so one would think he'd have more points, especially considering the fact that the Sedins are still cleaning up, but unfortunately things have just not clicked. If you own him, don't go dropping him, but recognize that last season may have been a bit of an overachieving season for Burrows.

Tomas Kopecky -- Kopecky does have dual position eligibility at both left wing and right wing, but after his hot start, it's probably safe to cut the Hawks forward now. Kopecky started the season with 1 goal and 7 assists in his first seven games, but since then has just 1 measly goal in 13 contests. The former Red Wing is also a minus-10 and has seen a significant drop off in playing time of late. Ditch him and don't look back.

5. Player to Look Out For

Veteran forward Ray Whitney was expected to bring his usual 60-70 points when he signed with Phoenix last summer, but unfortunately, the transition didn't start off to smoothly. We originally ranked Whitney as our No. 18 left wing, but with the slow start, he has fallen a bit. However, don't overlook the "Wizard" -- he is starting to round into form for the Coyotes after missing time early on with an injury. Whitney broke out on Nov. 13 against the Blues with 3 goals, 2 assists, a plus-2 rating, 3 power-play points and seven shots on goal. Of course he won't (and no one can) continue at this rate, but the big game increases his season numbers to a respectable 3 G, 8 A, a plus-2, 6 PIMs, 6 PPP and 28 SOG in 16 games. Whitney finished last season with 21 goals and 58 points for the Hurricanes, and those numbers seem reachable in Phoenix this season. It can take a while for a player to adjust to a new team, but when things click, it's usually noticeable -- as it was for Whitney against the Blues. He's only owned in 23 percent of Yahoo! Leagues, so if you can fit him on your roster, he's worth the flier.

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