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Fantasy Spin: Denmark's talent suddenly on the map

by Pete Jensen

It's no surprise when countries like Canada, the United States, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia produce NHL players that pay dividends in fantasy hockey leagues.

But the first month of the 2013-14 season has seen Denmark emerge as a new source of fantasy assets.

Coming into this season, no goalie from Denmark had ever played in an NHL game. The country's career points leader is New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen, who is only 29 years old.

Mikkel Boedker, Frederik Andersen, Frans Nielsen and Lars Eller have used the first month of the season to put Denmark on the fantasy hockey map. (Photo: Getty Images, Jamie Sabau/NHLI, Mike Stobe/NHLI)

Despite Denmark not having much of a history producing NHL talent, that trend is changing quickly for the Scandinavian country. Of the six Danish-born players who have suited up for an NHL team this regular season (Nielsen, Frederik Andersen, Mikkel Boedker, Lars Eller, Jannik Hansen, Peter Regin), four are owned in at least 10 percent of Yahoo Fantasy leagues.

Here's the lowdown on those four fantasy-relevant players and why owners should take them seriously moving forward.

Frans Nielsen (C, New York Islanders)

Current Yahoo ownership: 66 percent

Nielsen, the Islanders' second-line center, is off to the most productive start of his career. Through 12 games, he's tied for seventh in the NHL in points (15) and already has three three-point outings. He's had at least one shot on goal in every game this season and has even outperformed John Tavares to this point. He's a must-own player in all league formats and is gaining the respect of fans around the League with consistent point-production.

Lars Eller (C, Montreal Canadiens)

Current Yahoo ownership: 58 percent

Eller, who finished October with five goals, four assists, 12 PIMs, 28 hits and 31 shots on goal, has shown flashes of brilliance alongside Montreal Canadiens youngsters Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. The 24-year-old was projected to be the team's third-line center heading into the season, but is seeing by far the most power-play ice time of his career (2:14 per game) while logging the second-most ice time (233:28) among Habs forwards this season.

Mikkel Boedker (LW, Phoenix Coyotes)

Current Yahoo ownership: 18 percent

Frederik Andersen
Goalie - ANA
RECORD: 3-0-0
GAA: 1.50 | SVP: 0.944
Boedker had 26 points in 48 games last season and is building off that success in 2013-14 for the underrated Coyotes (9-3-2). Boedker has secured a top-six role with the team and has been impressive whether centered by Martin Hanzal or Mike Ribeiro. He only has 6 PIMs and 14 shots on goal in 14 games, but covers points (nine) and hits (26) categories well. Only 23 years old, Boedker has come a long way since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 NHL Draft and has a high ceiling in keeper leagues.

Frederik Andersen (G, Anaheim Ducks)

Current Yahoo ownership: 10 percent

Not only did Andersen pick up the first win by a Danish goalie in NHL history, he's off to a near-perfect start (3-0-0, 1.50 goals-against average, .944 save percentage). Playing for the Ducks, an organization with incredible goalie depth, Andersen should see occasional starts as Jonas Hiller's backup, at least until Viktor Fasth returns from injury. As our fantasy goalie expert Justin Goldman noted, Anderson could benefit largely if Anaheim trades one of its netminders.


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