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The Real Spiel: Preds' defense a force to acknowledge

by Sergei J. Feldman /
Given the complex, never-steady landscape of fantasy hockey, each week, Fantasy Insider Sergei Feldman will give you The Real Spiel on some of the quirks and trends that permeated your week of fantasy hockey by way of in-depth analysis.

The Pred Scare: The Real Spiel on Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne

Ryan Suter
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 29
SOG: 92 | +/-: 8
Nashville Predators blueliner Ryan Suter was in the middle of an unintended controversy recently, when he discussed his future with the club and whether or not he plans on signing with the Preds prior to the trade deadline. The dust has settled on the issue and Suter has been able to just do what Suter has done for the better part of his career. Currently, Suter ranks in tied for 10th in the NHL in points among defenseman. Helping him get there has been his play of late, as the rugged defender has amassed points in three of his past four games. Playing alongside elite defenseman Shea Weber has certainly complemented Suter’s game. Suter isn’t likely available in many fantasy leagues, but as your teams evolve into either contenders or pretenders, the Pred could be someone to aim for.

The man behind the blueline has been as much a part of the Predators’ success as anyone else, as netminder Pekka Rinne is having himself a season to remember in 2011-12. Through 46 games, the Finnish product ranks second in the League in wins (29). In fact, Rinne has wins in each of his last 10 starts.  In that span, Rinne has given up more than two goals just once. Given the emphasis on strong defensive play in Nashville, Rinne’s numbers figure to remain the same for the duration of the season. When all is said and done, he could reign supreme among fantasy goalies.

Three’s Company: The Real Spiel on the Islanders’ trio

PA Parenteau
Right Wing - NYI
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 36 | PTS: 47
SOG: 108 | +/-: -2
The New York Islanders’ strive toward relevancy is closely linked to the play of their young nucleus of forwards. The 2011-12 edition of that strive has had its ups and downs, but recent performances by John Tavares, Matt Moulson and P.A. Parenteau have made opponents and fantasy owners alike take notice. Tavares’ exploits have been well documented of late. That’ll happen when you recently rode a 12-game point streak. To a lesser extent, Moulson has also been a steady contributor. Through 50 games, the left wing has 23 goals – good for 8th best in the NHL. But the quietest performer of the bunch has been Parenteau, who has 47 points in 50 games, including 36 helpers, which is 5th most in the League. The three together have given the Isles a formidable offensive attack and, in turn, fantasy owners have benefited. Parenteau is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and could be dangled as the trade deadline nears. Whether or not he stays an Isle or visits a contender down the stretch, his totals figure to stay the same, if not increase. As your fantasy teams gear up for the playoffs, pay attention to Long Island, for they Isles have much to offer.

(Edmon) Ton Of Talent: The Real Spiel on the Oilers’ youth

Sam Gagner
Center - EDM
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 30
SOG: 86 | +/-: 2
Things aren’t too far off in Edmonton, though the club’s chances of making a playoff push are slim. The fact that the Oilers’ future rests on the development of some of their young talents is undeniable. Speaking of undeniable, Sam Gagner took the hockey world by storm with an eight-point night against Chicago, in which he collected four goals, four assists, six shots and a plus-6 rating. That was part of a stretch of play in which the youngster collected points in three of four outings. He’s not the only Oiler to dazzle of late, as Jordan Eberle has found his name on the scoresheet more often than not. The 21-year-old has points in four of his past five games, including a four-point night and goals in two of his last three games.  And how about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?  Remember him? After spending time among the injured, Nugent-Hopkins is poised to return to action and chase down a potential Calder Trophy bid by year’s end. To date, the first-overall selection of the 2011 NHL Draft has 13 goals and 35 points in 38 games. All three figure to have an impact on the fantasy hockey landscape as the season rolls along. 

Author: Sergei J. Feldman | Staff Writer

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