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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Panthers' Jagr defying age

by Pete Jensen / NHL.com

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen provides in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen is your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.


In a fast-paced, physical sport like hockey where most superstars are in their mid-20s, you have to marvel at any player over 40 years old who can hold his ground on the same playing field.

Jaromir Jagr isn't just holding his ground though. The 43-year-old is performing at an elite level, and it's far from an early-season fluke. He's anchoring the Florida Panthers' top line and first power-play unit with seven points (four goals, three assists), two power-play points, a plus-2 and 12 shots on goal in his first five games of 2015-16. That rate of point production (1.4 per game) is greater than his career average (1.2). Jagr has 1,809 points in 1,555 NHL games, tops among active players and fourth in League history.

Per Elias Sports Bureau, no player in League history has produced 70-plus points in a season at age 43 or older. At this point, no one can put that potential achievement past Jagr, who will turn 44 on Feb. 15 and is the oldest player in the NHL by more than four years.

The best part is the Czech Republic journeyman has linemate Aleksander Barkov -- less than half his age -- along for the ride. Barkov, 20, was taken second by the Panthers in the 2013 NHL Draft and is in the early stages of a breakout season with six points (three goals, three assists), a plus-2, two PPP and 17 SOG in five games.

Jagr and Barkov have formed one of the best point pairs League-wide (six team goals with each recording a point), trailing only Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars and Kyle Turris and Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators by one goal for the NHL lead. Watching Jagr (56 percent owned in Yahoo) and Barkov (35 percent) mesh in all situations is something to treasure, whether you own them in fantasy hockey or not.

Step back and think about this for a second: Barkov was born in 1995; Jagr scored 149 points with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96.

Two decades later, Jagr visits the Penguins on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center as hockey fans around the world continue to scratch their heads at this phenomenon. To put it into perspective, Jagr enters the game with more points on the season than Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel -- combined!

Jagr is one of the most acclaimed hockey players of all-time, but he's also becoming one of the most mesmerizing stories of longevity in the history of American sports.

TRENDING UP:

David Krejci, C, Boston Bruins

The clear bright spot for the Bruins through five games has been Krejci, who is tied with teammate Torey Krug for the League lead in power-play points (five). He's also tied with the Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg and the St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko for the most points in the NHL (nine) -- quite the response to missing nearly half the season in 2014-15 (31 points in 47 games). He helps Boston's cause possession-wise and will eclipse 70 points for the first time since 2008-09 if he keeps up anything resembling his current scoring rate. His frequent linemates David Pastrnak and Matt Beleskey have been hit-or-miss, but Krejci's power-play production is carrying him thus far.

TRENDING DOWN:

Rick Nash, LW/RW, New York Rangers

Nash assisted on Mats Zuccarello's power-play goal Monday against the San Jose Sharks, but has been largely a disappointment seven games into the season. He ranks seventh in the NHL in SOG (24), but is a minus-3 with two assists and no goals after a career-best 42 in 79 games last season. The Rangers have elevated Derek Stepan to Nash's line at even strength (hurting Derick Brassard's value), but fantasy owners are still awaiting results. Nash is tied for third in the League in even-strength goals since 2012-13, so buy low if any owners are looking to unload him.

KEEP AN EYE ON:

Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, Winnipeg Jets

I touched on Ehlers' growing chemistry with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault when discussing trios with staying power last week, but Ehlers doesn't seem to be catching on the way most rookies are in year-long fantasy leagues. Only 25 percent owned in Yahoo, the dual-eligible Ehlers is seeing more than two minutes per game on the power play, usually on the second unit with Scheifele, and has four points (two PPP), a plus-5 and 20 SOG (most among rookies) in his first six NHL games. He and the Arizona Coyotes' Anthony Duclair (49 percent) enter the top 100 fantasy forwards this week, joining fellow first-year studs Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers), Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres), Artemi Panarin (Chicago Blackhawks), Dylan Larkin (Red Wings) and Max Domi (Coyotes). This could end up being the deepest rookie class in quite some time.


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 Alex Ovechkin, LW/RW, WSH (SAME) 51 Gustav Nyquist, C/LW/RW, DET (+1)
2 John Tavares, C, NYI (SAME) 52 Tomas Plekanec, C, MTL (+11)
3 Tyler Seguin, C/RW, DAL (+1) 53 Jiri Hudler, LW/RW, CGY (-4)
4 Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (+4) 54 Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI (+14)
5 Patrick Kane, C/RW, CHI (SAME) 55 Jeff Carter, C/RW, LAK (-4)
6 Steven Stamkos, C, TBL (SAME) 56 Evander Kane, LW, BUF (-11)
7 Jamie Benn, LW, DAL (SAME) 57 Jaden Schwartz, LW, STL (+1)
8 Sidney Crosby, C, PIT (-5) 58 Eric Staal, C, CAR (+2)
9 Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (+3) 59 Henrik Sedin, C, VAN (-9)
10 Claude Giroux, C/RW, PHI (-1) 60 Tomas Tatar, LW/RW, DET (-5)
11 Zach Parise, LW, MIN (+3) 61 Jack Eichel, C, BUF (-4)
12 Joe Pavelski, C/LW, SJS (-1) 62 Ryan Strome, C/RW, NYI (+17)
13 Evgeni Malkin, C/RW, PIT (-3) 63 Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI (+31)
14 Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH (NR - INJ.) 64 Dylan Larkin, C, DET (+16)
15 Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW, DET (+8) 65 Derek Stepan, C, NYR (-1)
16 Ryan Johansen, C/RW, CBJ (-1) 66 Brendan Gallagher, RW, MTL (+10)
17 Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG (+4) 67 Ondrej Palat, LW, TBL (-11)
18 Alexander Steen, C/LW, STL (+10) 68 Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (-9)
19 Phil Kessel, RW, PIT (-6) 69 Radim Vrbata, RW, VAN (-21)
20 Taylor Hall, C/LW, EDM (+9) 70 Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (-16)
21 Corey Perry, RW, ANA (-6) 71 Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (NEW)
22 Jakub Voracek, RW, PHI (-2) 72 Jonathan Drouin, LW, TBL (+10)
23 Tyler Johnson, C, TBL (-5) 73 Bryan Little, C/RW, WPG (+10)
24 Jonathan Toews, C, CHI (-5) 74 Jarome Iginla, RW, COL (-13)
25 Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA (-7) 75 Justin Abdelkader, LW/RW, DET (-9)
26 Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN (SAME) 76 Max Domi, C, ARI (+24)
27 Filip Forsberg, C/LW/RW, NSH (SAME) 77 Evgeny Kuznetsov, C/LW, WSH (-10)
28 Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL (-5) 78 Matt Duchene, C/LW, COL (-8)
29 Connor McDavid, C, EDM (+4) 79 Bobby Ryan, LW/RW, OTT (-7)
30 Rick Nash, LW/RW, NYR (-8) 80 Scott Hartnell, LW, CBJ (-9)
31 Kyle Turris, C, OTT (+15) 81 Ryan Kesler, C/RW, ANA (-12)
32 Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (-7) 82 James Neal, LW/RW, NSH (+8)
33 Andrew Ladd, LW, WPG (-1) 83 Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (-6)
34 Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL (SAME) 84 Jason Pominville, RW, MIN (-6)
35 Marian Hossa, RW, CHI (+1) 85 Patrick Marleau, C/LW, SJS (-10)
36 Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS (+7) 86 Craig Smith, C/RW, NSH (-5)
37 T.J. Oshie, C/RW, WSH (+7) 87 Mike Hoffman, C/LW, OTT (+12)
38 Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (-7) 88 Ryan O'Reilly, C/LW/RW, BUF (-4)
39 David Backes, C/RW, STL (-4) 89 Mats Zuccarello, LW/RW, NYR (+3)
40 Patrick Sharp, C/LW, DAL (-2) 90 Tyler Toffoli, LW/RW, LAK (+1)
41 Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ (-1) 91 Jonathan Huberdeau, C/LW, FLA (-6)
42 Wayne Simmonds, LW/RW, PHI (-3) 92 Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, WPG (NEW)
43 Jason Spezza, C, DAL (+10) 93 Anthony Duclair, LW/RW, ARI (NEW)
44 Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (-7) 94 Milan Lucic, LW, LAK (-20)
45 Nick Foligno, C/LW, CBJ (-3) 95 Anders Lee, C, NYI (NEW)
46 Joe Thornton, C, SJS (+1) 96 Nick Bjugstad, C, FLA (SAME)
47 Sean Monahan, C, CGY (-6) 97 Alex Galchenyuk, C/LW, MTL (-10)
48 Mark Stone, RW, OTT (+14) 98 Ryan Callahan, RW, TBL (-12)
49 Jaromir Jagr, RW, FLA (+16) 99 Marian Gaborik, RW, LAK (-10)
50 David Krejci, C, BOS (+23) 100 Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT (-7)

Just Missed: Martin Hanzal (C, ARI), Troy Brouwer (RW, STL), Brad Marchand (LW, BOS), Jori Lehtera (C, STL), Loui Eriksson (LW/RW, BOS), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C, EDM), Tyler Ennis (C/LW, BUF), Brayden Schenn (C/LW, PHI), Mikael Granlund (C, MIN), Kevin Hayes (RW, NYR), David Pastrnak (LW/RW, BOS), Thomas Vanek (LW/RW, MIN), James van Riemsdyk (LW, TOR), Derick Brassard (C, NYR), Teuvo Teravainen (LW, CHI)

Dropped out: Nugent-Hopkins, Vanek, van Riemsdyk, Brassard

Key injuries: Logan Couture (C/LW, SJS), Paul Stastny (C, STL), Pavel Datsyuk (C/LW, DET), Jordan Eberle (RW, EDM)

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