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Midseason Top-50 Fantasy Hockey Rankings

by Matt Cubeta
With the midway point of the 2010-11 NHL season officially behind us, it's time to provide fantasy hockey fans with our second modification of the top-50 overall fantasy rankings. Our original rankings came during the preseason, and then we gave an updated set at the quarter-point of the season. In both of our previous rankings, Alex Ovechkin was ranked as the top fantasy player. Obviously a lot has changed in the past 20 games, and to no surprise, so have our rankings.

This deep into the season, we clearly are aware of players that have proven legit (Tim Thomas, Dustin Byfuglien, Brandon Dubinsky) and players that are just in line for a down season (sorry Ilya Kovalchuk owners, but 25 goals seems like the ceiling for the underachieving forward). Obviously we still have a full half-season of action ahead of us and things can change, but for now this is how we see the top-50 fantasy players.

These modified rankings are based on expectations of the season going forward (including injuries). The plus or minus for each player signifies the increase or decrease from our quarter-season rankings (NR indicates not ranked in previous rankings).

1 Sidney Crosby, C
Low-down: Despite his recent concussion (there is no current timetable for his return, but he is progressing), Sid the Kid entered Thursday's games leading the League in goals (32) and points (66).

2 Alex Ovechkin, LW
Low-down: I know I'll take some grief for putting Ovechkin higher than Stamkos, but "Great 8" is a left wing and is still as lethal as any player in the game.

3 Steven Stamkos, C (same)
Low-down: Stamkos has just 1 assist and no goals in his last six games, but he still has 31 goals and 57 points to go along with a plus-9 and a solid 34 penalty minutes.

4 Tim Thomas, G
Low-down: Ranked behind only Sidney Crosby in Yahoo! Leagues, Thomas continues to prove he is the best goalie in the League -- don't slow down, Timmy!

5 Daniel Sedin, LW
Low-down: Daniel has been red-hot lately during his five-game point-scoring streak and is on pace for nearly 50 goals and 100-plus points.

6 Corey Perry, RW (+1)
Low-down: Perry is in a league of his own because of his ability to record tons of penalty minutes (80), not to mention he has 47 points in 46 games.

7 Martin St. Louis, RW (+8)
Low-down: St. Louis is second only to Henrik Sedin in assists with 35 this season, but he has 9 more goals than Sedin -- he also has a whopping 23 power-play points and 148 shots on goal.

8 Henrik Sedin, C
Low-down: Henrik might not match his MVP-like numbers from last season, but he's still on pace for an absurd 107 points.

9 Dustin Byfuglien, D
Low-down: A few weeks ago Byfuglien dethroned Mike Green as the top fantasy blueliner, and now he cracks the top-10 overall. He deserves it -- he leads all League defensemen in goals and shots.

10 Henrik Zetterberg, C, LW
Low-down: Zetterberg is playing just as well without Pavel Datsyuk and is on pace to match his career-high of 92 points set in 2007-08.

11 Henrik Lundqvist, G
Low-down: King Henrik continues to prove he is an elite netminder -- he has not allowed more than two goals in any of his last six starts for the Rangers.

12 Brad Richards, C
Low-down: Despite trade rumors, Richards keeps shining for the Stars -- 2 goals and 7 assists in his last seven games and 50 points in 44 games this season.

13 Nicklas Backstrom, C
Low-down: The slick center hasn't scored a goal since Dec. 1, but he still has 39 points in 44 games, and the Caps' offense is destined to catch fire soon enough.

14 Evgeni Malkin, C
Low-down: Malkin remains in the top 15 because of his history -- last season he had 77 points in 67 games, and 113 in 82 games in 2008-09; this season he's got 35 in 40.

15 Jonathan Quick, G
Low-down: Quick plays on an elite defensive team and has made it known throughout the League that he is a natural winner -- plus he's got a 2.18 GAA and four shutouts.

16 Dany Heatley, LW, RW
Low-down: With the exception of his minus-1 rating (which is actually good in comparison to many of his teammates), Heatley is having a typical Heatley season.

17 Alexander Semin, RW
Low-down: Like Backstrom, Semin has slumped lately (no goals since Nov. 28), but as stated previously, the Caps will heat up at some point. Ovi, Backstrom and Semin are just too talented.

18 Pavel Datsyuk, C
Low-down: Datsyuk will still be sidelined for the next couple of weeks, but prior to his injury the Red Wings center had 39 points in 33 games.

19 Carey Price, G (+28)
Low-down: If it wasn't for the re-emergence of Thomas, Price would be the talk of the town in the goalie department -- 21 wins, 2.38 GAA, .919 save percentage and four shutouts.

20 Kris Letang, D
Low-down: Letang is the only defenseman that provides anything close to the complete value of Byfuglien on the blue line -- 7 goals, 33 assists, plus-20, 54 penalty minutes, 17 power-play points and 135 shots on goal.

21 Anze Kopitar, C
Low-down: Kopitar is on pace to top his career-high of 81 points from last season and will help you in every category except penalty minutes.

22 Eric Staal, C (-2)
Low-down: The Hurricanes captain has recorded a point in six straight games and has 42 points on the season despite a weak supporting cast.

23 Patrick Kane, RW
Low-down: Kane missed some time with an injury and only has 34 points in 36 games, but has come on strong lately with six points in his last five games.

24 Marc-Andre Fleury, G
Low-down: Fleury arguably was the biggest reason for the Pens' 12-game win streak earlier this season. He's rebounded nicely from his slow start -- 19 wins, 2.30 GAA, .919 save percentage and one shutout.

25 Roberto Luongo, G
Low-down: Luongo has been streaky but still boasts a stat line nearly identical to Fleury -- 20 wins, 2.34 GAA, .922 save percentage and two shutouts.

26 Nicklas Lidstrom, D
Low-down: With 41 points in 43 games, Lidstrom is just 8 points away from matching his total from last season. He's playing some of the best hockey of his career and is on pace for 20 goals and 78 points.

27 Ryan Getzlaf, C
Low-down: Like Datsyuk, Getzlaf will be on the sideline for a few more weeks, but he has the talent and players around him to put up numbers as good as anyone when healthy.

28 Ryan Kesler, C (NR)
Low-down: Kesler has turned heads this season with his 24 goals (fifth in the NHL), but what goes unnoticed are his plus-17, 38 penalty minutes, 16 power-play points and 137 shots on goal.

29 Mike Richards, C
Low-down: It was a tough decision between the Flyers' corps of forwards, but Richards is their leader in points and has a knack for taking penalties.

30 Patrick Sharp, C, LW (+8)
Low-down: Sharp hasn't slowed down since his goal and assist on opening night -- he has 7 goals and 3 assists in his last nine games and 44 points on the season.

31 Loui Eriksson, RW
Low-down: Like Kopitar, Eriksson will help you in every category except penalty minutes -- he's on pace for 87 points and could hit 30 goals for the second time in his career.

32 Jonas Hiller, G
Low-down: Currently the second most valuable goalie in Yahoo! Leagues, Hiller is tied for the NHL lead with 22 wins and leads the League in games, shots-against and saves.

33 Bobby Ryan, C, LW
Low-down: Ryan will go through cold streaks, but when he's skating with Perry and Getzlaf (when healthy), he can be as valuable as anyone -- he also has 6 goals and an assist in his last three games.

34 Jeff Carter, C, RW (-1)
Low-down: Carter, the Flyers' most deadly scorer, contributes consistently in all fantasy categories and is sixth in the NHL with 176 shots.

35 Jonathan Toews, C
Low-down: Despite a four-game slump, Toews still has 16 goals and 36 points to go along with a plus-9, 17 power-play points and 133 shots on goal.

36 Dan Boyle, D
Low-down: His minus-10 rating makes it feel like Boyle is back in his final season with Tampa Bay, but he remains one of the pure elite offensive defensemen and has 29 points this season -- expect a surge soon.

37 Jimmy Howard, G (-23)
Low-down: Howard has been cold recently, but he is tied for the League-lead in wins with 22 and mans the net for one of the strongest defensive teams in the NHL -- we will continue to love his upside.

38 Ryan Miller, G
Low-down: Miller won't come close to last season's numbers, but he still possesses some of the rawest talent of any goalie -- a hot streak is likely to come at some point.

39 Jarome Iginla, RW
Low-down: After a disappointing 69-point season in 2009-10, Iginla has found some life this season with 39 points in 43 games, putting him on pace for a solid 74 points.

40 Rick Nash, LW, RW
Low-down: Despite not much talent around him, Nash has found the back of the net 20 times season and he's only a minus-1. Add his 170 shots into the mix and Nash remains a potential No. 1 fantasy winger.

41 Mike Green, D
Low-down: Green might only have 21 points for the Caps, but we can't dismiss what he's done in years past -- here's hoping.

42 Marian Gaborik, RW
Low-down: Gaborik has 11 goals 23 points in 30 games, but has disappeared on the ice in some games -- if he stays healthy and gets linemate Vinny Prospal back, Gaborik still could eclipse 30 goals.

43 Danny Briere, RW
Low-down: Briere has had one of the true fantasy breakouts seasons in 2010-11 with 22 goals and 37 points, but don't bank on his penalty minutes staying so high -- 17 of his 59 penalty minutes came in one game.

44 Matt Duchene, C (NR)
Low-down: After a 55-point rookie season in 2009-10, Duchene has improved this season with point-per-game statistics -- there is no doubt this kid is going to be a superstar.

45 Joe Thornton, C
Low-down: Jumbo Joe has underachieved quite a bit this season (his 37 points in 42 games aren't great for his standards), but Thornton remains one of the most gifted playmakers in the game and can heat up at any time.

46 Chris Stewart, RW
Low-down: Stewart has been out of the lineup since Nov. 27 but is close to returning. Prior to his injury he had 11 goals and 14 assists in just 23 games -- let's hope he returns to this level of play.

47 Pekka Rinne, G (NR)
Low-down: Rinne has a sparkling 2.11 GAA and .928 save percentage (second and third in the NHL, respectively), and has won five straight games, surrendering one goal in each of those victories.

48 Marian Hossa, RW
Low-down: There hasn't been much talk about Hossa with this season (primarily because he's missed 15 games due to injuries), but he still has 10 goals and 25 points in 30 games.

49 Brandon Dubinsky, C (NR)
Low-down: Dubinsky is the most comparable fantasy player after Mike Richards, he just hasn't done it for as long. He will help you in all categories -- 17 G, 20 A, plus-1, 52 PIMs, 9 PPP and 113 SOG.

50 Zdeno Chara, D
Low-down: Chara might only have 19 points this season, but he'll help your team a ton with his plus-17 rating, 45 penalty minutes and 135 shots.

Players that dropped out from our quarter-season rankings: Patrick Marleau, Duncan Keith, Ilya Kovalchuk, Niklas Backstrom, Michael Cammalleri, Jaroslav Halak, Drew Doughty, Paul Stastny, Martin Brodeur, Jason Spezza, Derek Roy

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