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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Seguin, Nash fit the bill

by Pete Jensen / NHL.com

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

UPDATED TOP 100 FORWARD RANKINGS

There hasn't been much changing of the guard atop the NHL's goal-scoring list in recent seasons.

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has led the League in that category in four of the past seven seasons. Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning finished tied for first in 2009-10 and won the title outright in 2011-12. Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks led the way in 2010-11 and finished second behind Ovechkin in 2013-14. The lone players to reach 60 goals in a single season since 2005-06 are Ovechkin (65 in 2007-08) and Stamkos (60 in 2011-12).

FANTASY HOCKEY ANALYSIS

The 2014-15 NHL season is in full swing, so NHL.com has you covered with weekly fantasy hockey positional rankings, real-time spin updates and waiver wire advice.

Those were the three clear Maurice Richard Trophy (most regular-season goals) favorites entering 2014-15, but things aren't playing out that way.

Entering Tuesday, Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (23) and New York Rangers wing Rick Nash (18) are atop this season's NHL goals leaderboard, and each has built his foundation with strong even-strength performance in that category dating back to 2012-13. According to war-on-ice.com, Nash (1.6) and Seguin (1.3) rank first and tied for third, respectively, in 5-on-5 even-strength goals scored per 60 minutes over those three seasons (minimum 150 minutes played).

This season, Seguin leads the League with 17 even-strength goals, followed by Nash and St. Louis Blues wing Vladimir Tarasenko (14 apiece). Fantasy owners love their power-play goals (e.g. Ovechkin) because they count in two categories (goals, power-play points), but it's important to remember that power-play goals don't count positively toward a player's plus-minus, while even-strength goals do. This helps Seguin and Nash stack up with the value of any forward League-wide – especially given their consistency in other areas.

In addition to goals, Seguin ranks first in points (38), first in multipoint games (13), and third in shots on goal (118). He jumped to No. 2 among forwards this week, passing Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Stamkos. Each of those three are 1A options behind top-ranked Sidney Crosby, but Seguin's eye-opening numbers make him deserving of No. 2. It wasn't long ago that Seguin was shipped out of Boston via trade, but he responded with 84 points in 80 games in his first season with the Stars and continues to prove he belongs among the fantasy elite.

Tyler Seguin
STATS PRIOR TO DEC. 16 GAMES
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 38
SOG: 118 | +/-: 6
Once Crosby (mumps) is back healthy, it will be fair game for Seguin to challenge him for the top spot. Crosby is the best in the game and ran away with the scoring title last season (17-point gap), so it's only fair to let performance determine his future standing.

Nash, whose Stanley Cup Playoff struggles have been well documented, is taking his regular-season production to new heights. He has at least one point in 23 of his 28 games this season, tied for the third-most such games this season behind only Malkin (25) and Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames (24). He also has a plus-12 rating and is tied for 20th in SOG (96). He's in the midst of a career-long 10-game point streak and is closing in on the top 10 fantasy forwards.

It remains to be seen whether Seguin (19.5) and Nash (18.8) can sustain their high shooting percentages, but their fantasy value as goal-scorers should no longer be questioned. They haven't relied on the power play to catch up to the League's forward giants, which speaks volumes about their development and maturity as superstars in their own right.


Steve Downie
STATS PRIOR TO DEC. 16 GAMES
PTS: 15 | PIMs: 116
SOG: 41 | +/-: 6
TRENDING UP

Steve Downie, LW/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins

I listed Downie as an honorable mention on my list of preseason sleeper candidates given his track record of covering points and penalty minutes and the Penguins' recent injury history (led NHL in man-games lost to injury in 2013-14). Pittsburgh's forwards have missed games for a variety of reasons again this season, but Downie (35 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) has stepped up with 15 points in 30 games. He's seen some top-six action in recent weeks and posted his second multipoint effort in four games Monday against the Lightning. He's dual eligible, sees occasional power-play usage, and leads the NHL in PIMs (116).

TRENDING DOWN

Nick Bonino, C, Vancouver Canucks

After 19 points in 23 games to start the season, Bonino was a minus-6 with one goal and no assists over his next seven games. He doesn't have a power-play point through 30 games despite 1:52 of ice time per game in those situations, and has fallen out of the top 100 forwards this week. Bonino (32 percent owned) looked poised to build off a career year with the Anaheim Ducks in 2013-14, but will be worth dropping for a trending commodity with added eligibility on the waiver wire if this dry spell continues.

Mike Santorelli
STATS PRIOR TO DEC. 16 GAMES
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 22
SOG: 51 | +/-: 17
KEEP AN EYE ON

Mike Santorelli, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

Santorelli, who joined the Maple Leafs on a one-year deal over the summer, has provided efficient production to strengthen Toronto's top-six forward group. The 29-year-old has been playing well of late on the right wing of Nazem Kadri and has 22 points and a plus-17 (T-2nd in NHL) in 30 games this season. Despite a modest career-high in points (41 in 2010-11) and a minimal power-play role, Santorelli (17 percent owned) is a category specialist worth monitoring in the coming days in light of an impressive week (two goals, two assists, plus-4, seven SOG in four games).


TOP 100 FANTASY FORWARDS

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

1 Sidney Crosby, C - DTD 51 Jaden Schwartz, LW (-3)
2 Tyler Seguin, C/RW (+2) 52 Anze Kopitar, C (-14)
3 Evgeni Malkin, C/RW (SAME) 53 Brandon Saad, LW/RW (-4)
4 Steven Stamkos, C/RW (-2) 54 Jeff Carter, C/RW (-4)
5 Claude Giroux, C/RW (SAME) 55 David Backes, C/RW (-2)
6 Ryan Getzlaf, C (+1) 56 Mike Ribeiro, C (+5)
7 Patrick Kane, C/RW (+1) 57 Brock Nelson, C (-3)
8 Jakub Voracek, RW (+1) 58 Blake Wheeler, RW (-3)
9 Alex Ovechkin, LW/RW (+3) 59 Milan Lucic, LW (-2)
10 John Tavares, C (SAME) 60 Mike Cammalleri, LW/C - DTD
11 Phil Kessel, RW (SAME) 61 Nick Foligno, LW (+10)
12 Rick Nash, LW/RW (+1) 62 Tyler Toffoli, RW (SAME)
13 Joe Pavelski, LW/C/RW (+1) 63 Johnny Gaudreau, LW (SAME)
14 Vladimir Tarasenko, RW (+2) 64 Bobby Ryan, LW/RW (+5)
15 Filip Forsberg, LW/C/RW (+6) 65 Tyler Bozak, C (-1)
16 Zach Parise, LW (+1) 66 Jason Pominville, RW (+4)
17 Jamie Benn, LW/C (-2) 67 Derek Stepan, C (-2)
18 Jonathan Toews, C (+1) 68 Andrew Ladd, LW (+7)
19 Pavel Datsyuk, LW/C (-1) 69 Jarome Iginla, RW (-9)
20 Patric Hornqvist, RW (SAME) 70 Eric Staal, C (-3)
21 Logan Couture, LW/C (+2) 71 Johan Franzen, LW/RW (-3)
22 Nicklas Backstrom, C (+5) 72 Ondrej Palat, LW - DTD
23 Ryan Johansen, C/RW (-1) 73 Kris Versteeg, LW/RW (-1)
24 Tyler Johnson, C/RW (+4) 74 Alexander Steen, LW/C (+14)
25 Daniel Sedin, LW (-1) 75 Valtteri Filppula, LW/C (-2)
26 Henrik Sedin, C (-1) 76 Brandon Dubinsky, LW/C (+3)
27 Patrick Sharp, LW/C (NR - IR) 77 Marian Gaborik, LW/RW (+1)
28 Taylor Hall, LW/C (-2) 78 Brayden Schenn, LW/C (+5)
29 Wayne Simmonds, RW (+2) 79 Jaromir Jagr, RW (-2)
30 Radim Vrbata, RW (-1) 80 Tomas Tatar, LW (-6)
31 Henrik Zetterberg, LW/C (-1) 81 Derick Brassard, C - DTD
32 Kyle Okposo, RW (SAME) 82 Steve Downie, LW/RW (+11)
33 Max Pacioretty, LW (SAME) 83 Brad Marchand, LW (-2)
34 Ryan Kesler, C/RW (+2) 84 Tommy Wingels, RW (+7)
35 Martin St. Louis, C/RW (-1) 85 Evander Kane, LW (-5)
36 Joe Thornton, C (+6) 86 Brad Richards, LW/C (-2)
37 Matt Duchene, LW/C (-2) 87 Alex Galchenyuk, LW/C (-2)
38 Jason Spezza, C (+1) 88 Ryan Strome, C/RW (+1)
39 James Neal, LW/RW (+2) 89 Bryan Little, C/RW (+5)
40 James van Riemsdyk, LW (+7) 90 Carl Soderberg, LW/C (-3)
41 Patrice Bergeron, C (-1) 91 Tomas Plekanec, C (+9)
42 Jori Lehtera, C (+4) 92 Sean Monahan, C (SAME)
43 Nikita Kucherov, LW/RW (+9) 93 Nazem Kadri, C (NEW)
44 Patrick Marleau, LW/C (+1) 94 Mike Santorelli, C (NEW)
45 Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW (-8) 95 Nick Bjugstad, C (+2)
46 Marian Hossa, RW (-3) 96 Tyler Ennis, LW/C (NEW)
47 Jiri Hudler, LW/RW (+11) 97 Loui Eriksson, LW/RW (-2)
48 Ryan Callahan, RW (-4) 98 Antoine Roussel, LW (NEW)
49 Gustav Nyquist, C/RW (+10) 99 Antoine Vermette, LW/C (NEW)
50 Gabriel Landeskog, LW (+1) 100 Matt Beleskey, LW (NEW)

Just Missed: Mika Zibanejad, T.J. Oshie, Zemgus Girgensons, Adam Henrique, Justin Williams, Alex Killorn, Blake Comeau, Nick Bonino, Nino Niederreiter, Brendan Gallagher

Dropped out: Killorn, Bonino, Ryan O'Reilly, Jordan Eberle, Jeff Skinner

Key injuries: Corey Perry, Chris Kunitz, David Krejci, Pascal Dupuis, Scott Hartnell, Valeri Nichushkin

*DTD: Day-to-day; NR - IR: Not ranked last week because of injury

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