Draft Guru - Notes

Landshark Hockey breaks down your Fantasy Hockey Draft. Select the category for insight on NHL players to help plan your draft list.


Money

These boys are money. Promote them to the top of your list and draft with confidence.

Offense

Sidney Crosby     PIT Same story every season. Crosby sits in a league by himself. When healthy. Last season, he was running away with the scoring title, and still deserved MVP honors, despite having his season cut short by a puck to the face. Even playing 3/4 of a season, he's arguably the best option on the table.
Claude Giroux     PHI Giroux kept his production at a point a game last season, despite the problems around him in Philly. He suffered a freak golfing accident (who hasn't?) this summer, but reports have him on pace to be ready for the start of the regular season. He still holds a spot among the top options on offense.
Phil Kessel     TOR If you're a big fan of 30-goal scorers, Phil Kessel is your man. He's hit that mark for 5 straight seasons (if you pro-rate last year's numbers, that is). Despite bouncing around with various centers over the past two seasons, he has been extremely productive. He may challenge his career high 82 points this time around.
Evgeni Malkin     PIT It's been four years now since Malkin put in anything close to a full season of games for the Penguins. That puts him in fine company with his teammate Crosby as the best injury-prone player in the world. He was recovered in time for the playoffs and should be primed for another strong season. Just don't bank on more than 60 games.
Alex Ovechkin     WAS Ovechkin was absent through the first few weeks of the season, switched positions, and dominated the rest of the way. For his efforts, he was awarded a nice Trophy. Given the depth at RW compared to Center, a strong case could be made for drafting him first overall.
Steven Stamkos     TAM You just can't go wrong with Stamkos. Since his rookie season, he has missed zero games and just keeps delivering points and goals on a daily basis. All around best use of a #1 draft pick this fall.
John Tavares     NYI Following a steady progression over his first four NHL seasons, Tavares has finally arrived as a superstar in fantasy hockey. Given a full season, he would certainly have cracked the 40 goal barrier last season. That should be a given in 2013-14. He will likely press for 50.
Jonathan Toews     CHI Toews had a stellar regular season before disappearing in the playoffs. Don't let that postseason trauma affect your judgment. He's still one of the best fantasy options on the table. Given a full season of good health, you can anticipate his 3rd 30 goal season in 2013-14.

Defense

Dustin Byfuglien     WIN Byfuglien continues to score goals at the rate of a 2nd line winger, making him a valuable commodity in fantasy circles. He may have extra motivation as he tries to get the attention of U.S.A. Hockey heading into the Olympic selection process. He piles up huge minutes for the Jets and can be counted on for another solid fantasy effort in 2013-14. Start your expectations around 15 goals.
Zdeno Chara     BOS Same story year after year. Few hockey players have been as consistent in fantasy production as Big Z. Goals. Assists. +/-. Penalties. All Star slap shot records. He does it all. Through 12 NHL seasons, the most games he's missed in a year is 11. Can't go wrong here.
Mike Green     WAS The arrival of Adam Oates as coach did wonders for Green's stock. Towards the end of Boudreau's tenure, Green was shackled (and often injured), plummeting his fantasy value. Given the right to freewheel once again, he has reemerged as a top notch fantasy threat. Look for a return to double-digit goals this season.
Erik Karlsson     OTT A wayward skate disrupted Karlsson's inevitable 2nd Norris Trophy bid. Following his early comeback entering the playoffs, there's no reason to doubt he will re-emerge as the top NHL fantasy defenseman. Look for a return to the 15-20 goal range and 70+ point mark.
Kris Letang     PIT A late season injury most likely cost Letang his first Norris Trophy last season. He led defensemen in scoring up until the end of the season. His goal production was down a notch, but he continues to run the machine from the back end for the powerful Pens. Expect another solid fantasy season for Letang. Should he stay healthy (which has always been problematic due to his style of play), he could be the best value on defense.
P.K. Subban     MON Last season started with nothing but question marks and frustration for Subban, as he held out for a time. It ended with a Norris Trophy. Subban could challenge Karlsson for top honors at this position, but you can't go wrong by drafting him early.
Shea Weber     NAS Considering how poor his start was last season (just 1 point through 13 games), Weber ultimately finished in fine form, compiling 9 goals and 18 assists in 35 games. Perhaps it took him a while to adjust to life without Suter. He will potentially have a new rising star to partner with in Seth Jones this season. No matter who he ultimately gets paired with, Weber should be a solid #1 fantasy defenseman again this season.
Keith Yandle     PHO Yandle re-established himself among the top of the heap with bit of a comeback performance. Despite the shortened season, he managed to record his fourth straight double-digit goal total. He finished 2nd overall among defensemen in total fantasy points. Rumors of potential trades continue to float out there. Should he be moved to a better offensive situation, it could only help. Even in the desert, Yandle remains a solid #1 defensive pick.

Goalies

Henrik Lundqvist     NYR While he fell just shy of another Vezina nod last season, you simply cannot get more in terms of reliability than Hank. I suspect that the coaching change will have an overall positive effect on his fantasy numbers. He should see significantly more shots this season, which means more saves. And the shots that Torts dictated be blocked out front tended to be the easier saves for a goalie. Logically, you should see a higher save percentage, more saves, and overall total domination for Lundqvist as this year's top goalie pick.
Tuukka Rask     BOS If anyone can challenge Lundqvist for the top spot on the goalie list, it's Rask. He had to wait patiently for his opportunity as Boston's #1, but has proven to be worth the wait. His dominance in the regular season even carried through the playoffs. With Boston promising to be one of the most dominant teams this season, he is assured of large helping of Wins. Expect 40, perhaps even 50. Can't go wrong with Rask.