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Top 10 Fantasy Goalie Rankings for 2013-14

by Chewbacca 4. September 2013 19:01

The goalie position continues to be the hardest by far to predict with certainty.   I can only recommend two names to be sure winners worthy of a first round pick.  After that, you have a collections of very good options that are almost interchangeable parts.  Because of that, if you miss out on Lundqvist or Rask, I recommend waiting until the goalie run is over and picking the 8th or 9th goalie off the board, as there shouldn't be much drop off from the 3rd best option.

 

 

TIER 1

 

1. Henrik Lundqvist

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.

 

2. Tuukka Rask

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.

 

 

 

TIER 2

 

3. Sergei Bobrovsky

After a revelation of a season, all eyes will be on Bobrovsky to see if he can repeat the magic. The Jackets are clearly on rise and will rely on Sergei to keep them moving that way. There is no reason to doubt he will be a solid contributor once again fantasy wise, but expecting another Vezina may be overshooting. He is certainly a safe #1 option in net.

 

4. Jimmy Howard

Howard has been a reliable fantasy option for four years now. He stepped it up a notch last season, arguably carrying them into the playoffs. The Wings have committing to him for the long haul, so he won't have contract issues on his mind. Detroit's young defensive crew is coming together nicely and ought to provide enough support for Howard to make it 5 straight seasons as a solid fantasy keeper.

 

5. Jonathan Quick

Simply put, Quick tanked last season. He showed no signs of the man who dominated the position for the prior two years. That changed in the playoffs, as he returned to form and carried the team for 2 rounds. That run brings hope to fantasy owners looking for a top notch goalie that may be underrated at this year's draft. He didn't even crack the top 20 in fantasy points by the end of last season. Look for a rapid return to the top 5 this year.

 

6. Corey Crawford

If it's wins that you crave, consider holding out for Crawford as your #1 in net. The Hawks will surely deliver plenty in the W column again in 2013-14, and this time, assuming he stays healthy, Crawford won't have to share the net with Emery. Khabibulin will fill in only when Crawford needs a breather. His numbers last year were among the best in the league. He just needs more starts to rank with the elite.

 

 

7. Antti Niemi

According to my charts, Antti Niemi provided more fantasy points than any other player in the league. (I'll pause while you absorb that thought). (thought you might need more time...) Much of this came in the first 3 weeks of the season when San Jose seemingly couldn't lose a game. He finished the season strong as well, piling up 24 wins in 43 games. While I don't expect the Sharks to be as good this time around, he is the undisputed #1 in net for San Jose. He will again get his fair share of wins and will remain a viable #1 option. Just don't expect a repeat as the top fantasy man.

 

 

8. Craig Anderson

Statistically, Anderson was the best goalie in the league last season, by far. His 1.69 GAA and .941 save percentage were silly good. He just needed to stay healthy a little longer. He didn't show a sign of weakness all season until the 2nd round of the playoffs, where the Pens made him look human. A full season in good health will show whether or not he is for real as a #1 option.

 


9. Pekka Rinne

Rinne, along with the entire Nashville team, took a big step backwards last season. Maybe they missed Suter that much. Despite the slip, Rinne remains the epitome of the word "workhorse". He will continue to own the pipes for 85% of the action in Nashville, which means wins should continue to pile up. Look for a bounce back in other categories, with a Preds team that just has to be better this season.

 

 

10. Marc-Andre Fleury

You'll need to focus hard, but try and forget what happened in last year's playoffs. And the playoffs the year before that. Focus. In the regular season (which is what we care about in fantasy town), Fleury has been a very good option. The Pens (for some unknown reason) insist on standing behind him as their #1, despite having a far more stable option in Vokoun at the ready. As long as that vote of confidence remains from the man behind the bench, Fleury will carry significant fantasy value. The Pens promise to rack up the wins again this year, and the Flower is the default option to gather those Ws. Because of his post-season struggles, you will probably see Fleury slide deep come draft time, making him a potential sleeper win.

 

 

 

To see the rest of my top 50 goalie rankings, visit:  http://www.landsharkhockey.com/LS/tools/DraftRankings.aspx.  You can also customize your own list there.

2013-14 NHL Power Rankings (Summer Edition)

by Chewbacca 9. August 2013 07:16

Before we dive deep into the player projections for the upcoming fantasy hockey season, it helps to get grounded in the real world.  That is, how should you expect the NHL teams to fare this year, particularly in the new division alignment.  It's a whole new world, as the focus shifts squarely on the divisions, so we'll break things down that way.  I'll spare you the analysis and jump right to the projections:

 

Metropolitan

 

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

2. New York Islanders

3. Philadelphia Flyers

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

------------------------------

5. New York Rangers

6. Washington Capitals

7. Carolina Hurricanes

8. New Jersey Devils

 

 

Atlantic

 

1. Boston Bruins

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

3. Ottawa Senators

4. Detroit Redwings

------------------------------

5. Montreal Canadiens

6. Buffalo Sabres

7. Tampa Bay Lightning

8. Florida Panthers

 

 

Central

 

1. Chicago Blackhawks

2. St. Louis Blues

3. Minnesota Wild

4. Dallas Stars

------------------------------

5. Nashville Predators

6. Winnepeg Jets

7. Colorado Avalanche

 

 

Pacific

 

1. L.A. Kings

2. Anaheim Ducks

3. San Jose Sharks

4. Edmonton Oilers

------------------------------

5. Vancouver Canucks

6. Calgary Flames

7. Phoenix Coyotes

 

 

Now for that brief analysis that I owe you.

 

Going Up

Several teams are clearly on their way up, should things play out the way I've prognosticated. 

 

Islanders -- Goal scoring continues to rise, as this team takes on the persona of it's captain.  While they'll need to lock things down a little more on defense to find success in the playoffs, they are poised for a bump in the regular season standings and should be a solid squad to target from a fantasy hockey perspective.

 

Flyers -- This team got off to a horrible start last season, and nearly recovered in time to make the playoffs.  Given a full 82-game schedule, it's a fair bet that they would have qualified.  I expect a significant recovery in 2013.

 

Stars -- Dallas had a pretty good off-season, at least on paper.  They shed some aging veterans for some speedy talent up front.  They're poised for a return to relevance.

 

Oilers -- If not this season, then when?  At some point this talent has to come together. 

 

 

Going Down

 

Canucks -- This have not gone swimmingly for the Canucks in recent memory.  Too many distractions and no good vibes.   They can no longer prey on a weak division.  The playoff streak ends this year.

 

Canadiens -- Despite winning their division, the warts started to show as the season wore on.  This team is too small and not deep enough to compete with the top tier in the Atlantic.

 

Rangers -- It's just not coming together for the Blue Shirts.  A new face behind the bench may rejuvenate this offense, but it may take more than one season to see it all come together.  Somebody has to be edged out.

 

Capitals -- All this team did was get worse since the season ended.  Despite bringing Ovechkin and Green back from the dead, Washington doesn't have enough complementary parts to qualify in their division.

 

 

Overall Power Rankings

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

2. Boston Bruins

3. Chicago Blackhawks

4. LA Kings

5. Anaheim Ducks

6. St. Louis Blues

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

8. New York Islanders

9. Philadelphia Flyers

10. Columbus Blue Jackets

11. San Jose Sharks

12. Ottawa Senators

13. Detroit Redwings

14. New York Rangers

15. Minnesota Wild

16. Edmonton Oilers

17. Washington Capitals

18. Vancouver Canucks

19. Montreal Canadiens

20. Carolina Hurricanes

21. Dallas Stars

22. Nashville Predators

23. Buffalo Sabres

24. Winnepeg Jets

25. Tampa Bay Lightning

26. Colorado Avalanche

27. Calgary Flames

28. Phoenix Coyotes

29. Florida Panthers

30. New Jersey Devils

Revisiting the 2011 Fantasy Hockey Forecast

by Chewbacca 14. August 2012 09:11

As we prepare to unleash our 2012-13 draft ranking and player notes upon the fantasy hockey universe, it's worth taking a moment and revisiting last year's predictions.  After all, advice is only good if it comes true.  More often than not, we hit the mark, or at least came close enough to put your draft on the right track.  At times, however, the NHL showed us that some things just can't be forecasted.  Here are some high (and low) excerpts from last year's pre-season package:

 

 

Rick Nash:

Quote: "You know what you're getting when you draft Nash. 30+ goals and about the same number of assists. Don't expect that story to change this time around"

Result: 30 goals, 29 assists.  Pow!

 

 

Claude Giroux:

Quote: "may challenge the big dogs for the scoring title when all is said and done in 2012."

Result: finished 3rd in scoring

 

 

Joffrey Lupul:

Quote: "he could emerge as a top scoring threat for Toronto."

Result: clearly emerged as a top scoring threat...

 

 

Eric Staal:

Quote: "sleep easy drafting Staal, knowing you're guaranteed about 30 goals and 70 points"

Result: 70 points on the money. 

 

 

Logan Couture:

Quote: "he sits 3rd on the depth chart at center...which will somewhat cap how high his stats can go this season.  Another 30 goal season would be a good goal."

Result: 31 goals scored.

 

 

Patrick Sharp:

Quote: "Another 30 goals should come easily to Sharp"

Result: 33 goals.

 

 

Ilya Kovalchuk:

Quote: "he'll get plenty of playing time and opportunity to return to superstar status.  Plan for a return to 40 goals"

Result:  37 goals / 83 points.  Superstar status re-instated.

 

 

Brad Richards:

Quote: "Richards has shown throughout his career that he's incredibly talented, but very inconsistent… Expect another dip in the numbers this season.  And expect someone else in your draft to pick him up too early. "

Result: drafted too early by many last season.  Points dipped from 77 to 66, as expected.

 

 

Mike Ribeiro:

Quote: "Ribeiro has reached the top of his mountain and is slowly sliding down the other side… Don't look for more than 20 goals out of him, but he will dish up plenty of assists."

Result: 18 goals, 45 assists.

 

 

Patrick Marleau:

Quote: "his goal scoring has been pretty dependable….at the end of the season, you'll be happy with another 30 goal effort"

Result: 30 goals on the money

 

 

Lubomir Visnovsky:

Quote: "A whopping 18 goals and 68 points will be hard to repeat. ... to assume he'll be the #1 guy again this season is too much for me to risk.  Let someone else overpay in the first couple of rounds."

Result: Huge nosedive down to 27 points.  Hope you didn't draft him early.

 

 

Alex Pietrangelo:

Quote: "you can expect a healthy bump in his numbers, making him a prime breakout candidate."

Result: 12 goals, 51 points.  4th best fantasy defenseman.  Breakout indeed.

 

 

Henrik Lundqvist:

Quote:  "It's that consistency that makes him your safest option for a #1 goalie this year."

Result: Vezina.  Nailed it.

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand…

 

 

Alex Ovechkin:

Quote: "#8 is the best bet out there to dominate fantasy hockey in 2011-12. Look for him to get back to 50 goal form."

Result: suffered through his worst season to date

 

 

Scott Hartnell:

Quote: n/a -- didn't see him on the radar at all

Result: 4th best overall fantasy value for forwards.  Raise your hand if you saw that one coming…  (liar).

 

 

Chris Stewart:

Quote: "Look for him to crack the 30 goal mark, if he can stay in uniform."

Result: Cracked the 30 point mark.  But just 15 goals.

 

 

Drew Doughty:

Quote: "There's little doubt that he'll rebound and put up another 50+ points this time around"

Result: 36 points.  Contract hangover was worse than expected.

 

 

Alex Goligoski:

Quote: "Expect another bump in the point totals this season, putting him into the 15 goals / 50 point territory.  He could easily finish as a top 10 defenseman this year."

Result: 9 goals, 30 points.  Off by a mile.

 

 

 

Don't forget to drop by next week as we begin to unveil our picks for the 2012 NHL Fantasy Hockey season.

Top 10 Fantasy Hockey Defense Rankings for 2011-12

by Chewbacca 26. August 2011 15:21
 

What to do about defense?  The importance of this position, much more so than any other, varies dramatically from league to league.  In some formats, defense can win you a championship.  In others, it's completely an afterthought.  So before worrying about who to rank where, find out how much you should care.

 

The good news when it comes to this position, is that it's much easier to predict than the other positions.  While goalie leaders fluctuate wildly from year to year, the top defensemen are typically consistent and predictable.  If you're playing on CBS, or another site that actually values the role of defensive scoring, be sure to grab 2 of the top 10 here.

 

Now that you have that settled, let's take a look at who you should be focusing on this season.

 

1. Shea Weber (NAS)

Weber was rewarded this summer with a huge contract, and he's about to show the NHL that he deserved it (and the next big money deal coming next summer). He's my pick for Norris and fantasy MVP on the blueline this season. The last three seasons, he's put up goal totals of 23, 16 and 16. And he's just now entering his prime years.

 

 

2. Keith Yandle (PHO)

Yandle finally cracked the title of "best defenseman that nobody talks about" last season. He was at or near the top of the defensive scorers all season long. A quick look at his stats by season shows he's heading in the right direction, with dramatic increases in points in each of his 5 seasons with Phoenix. You'll have to spring early to snag this superstar defenseman this time around.

 

 

3. Dustin Byfuglien (WIN)

Byfuglien was pure gold for the first half of the season, putting him on pace for insane goal and point totals. He cooled off significantly mid-winter, but still finished with an impressive 20 goal, 53 point performance in his first season back on defense with the Thrashers. He'll be the face of the Jets this season and will likely given free reign to roam and do his thing. Expect another solid return on your early investment with him this time around.

 

 

4. Drew Doughty (LA)

Doughty was a bit of disappointment with "just" 11 goals and 40 points in his third season. That's mostly due to the insane totals he posted as a sophomore. There's little doubt that he'll rebound and put up another 50+ points this time around as the Kings continue to strengthen their ability to score goals all around. Now if he would just sign that contract and get on with it...

 

 

5. Mike Green (WAS)

It's hard to know what category to put Green in, and what to expect from him this time around. Should we write off last season as an injury-laden fluke? Even in the 49 games he did play, he posted a meager 24 points. Was that playing hurt, or was it an adjustment to the new Capitals defensive system? No doubt, he's a powerful offensive force, but will be able to get back to that incredible 70+ point territory. I'm betting he gets close.

 

 

6. Zdeno Chara (BOS)

Chara has been a model of consistency for fantasy defensemen over the past 8 seasons, sticking around the 40 point territory, contribuing with about 10 or so goals, and piling up the PIMs. You can't ask for much more, and you know what you'll get. Draft him with confidence.

 

 

7. Kris Letang (PIT)

Letang finally registered that break out season that Penguin fans had been waiting for. His 50 points and 101 PIMs contributed to the 3rd best overall fantasy value at this position last year. With Goligoski gone, Letang is the undisputed puck-moving leader for Pittsburgh and will get all the playing time (even strength and power play) that he can handle. Expect another great season for Letang.

 

 

8. P.K. Subban (MON)

Subban did not disappoint in his rookie season. He put up 14 goals, 38 points and 124 penalty minutes. It's surprising he didn't merit much Calder consideration with those numbers. And if that's the starting point, the sky is the limit for this young pup. Anything less than 45 points would be a disappointment in his sophomore season.

 

 

9. Lubomir Visnovsky (ANA)

Visnovsky surged like crazy in the second half of last season, finishing with more fantasy points than any other defenseman. A whopping 18 goals and 68 points will be hard to repeat. No doubt he's a solid pick, but to assume he'll be the #1 guy again this season is too much for me to risk. Let someone else overpay in the first couple of rounds.

 

 

10. Niklas Lidstrom (DET)

Perhaps the biggest surprise of last season shouldn't have come as a surprise at all. This guy just doesn't age. And for that reason (and many others), I can't bring myself to rank him outside the top 10. Expect another 10 goals and 50 points from the best defenseman of our generation.

 

To see the rest of my top 60+ defense rankings, visit:  http://www.landsharkhockey.com/LS/tools/DraftRankings.aspx.  You can also customize your own list there.

Finishing Strong - Players who ended last season on a tear

by Chewbacca 28. July 2009 17:14
 

As we start to turn the corner on summer, it's just about time to start gearing our minds towards next season's draft.  To kick things off, let's take a look back to see which players had the strongest finish to the 2008-09 season.  We'll ignore the obvious players who were strong from start to finish, and focus on players that turned it on in the last quarter.   It's not always a perfect indication of things to come, but it's worth noting who ended the season on a high note.

 

Forwards

 

  • Eric Staal - Staal was the hottest player in the league in the last quarter, racking up 13 goals and 28 points.  If he can keep up this pace for a full season, he'll be challenging the big 3 for the Art Ross next year.
  • Alex Kovalev - Kovalev got the message after his shameful time off in early spring and turned in 12 goals and 22 points in the fourth quarter.  With a change to Ottawa, we could be looking at a big season from #27.
  • Alexei Ponikarovsky - Since Toronto was irrelevant in 2009, you may have missed the fact that Ponikarovsky contributed 22 points in the his last 20 games. 
  • Marc Recchi - The old man keeps plugging along, and he was the go-to guy in Boston heading into the playoffs.  Recchi finished the fourth quarter with 10 goals and 22 points.  Probably a big reason for getting a new contract.
  • Steve Sullivan - It seems that Sullivan is fully recovered from his injury woes.  He led the Preds with 22 points in the last quarter.
  • David Backes - 13 of his 31 goals were recorded in the fourth quarter.  Backes has become a huge part of the surging Blues offense. 
  • Steven Stamkos - Stamkos took the first half of the season to adjust to NHL life.  If the final 20 games of last season are any indication, he has arrived.  12 goals and 20 points was better than Lecavalier and St. Louis.
  • Rod BrindAmour - Brind'Amour had a horrendous start to the season, but seemed to right the ship down the stretch.  He recorded 20 points in his final 18 games. 
  • Marian Gaborik - Gaborik only played 11 games down the stretch, but he played out of his mind, racking up 18 points in those games.  If only he could play 82 games a year.
  • Sam Gagner - Gagner was non-existent in the first 3/4 of the season, then turned it on with 10 goals and 21 points in the last 21 games.  He seems primed for a big season in 2009.

 


 

 

Defense

 

  • Anton Babchuk - Babchuk was the hottest defenseman down the stretch, scoring 9 goals and 17 points in that period.  But don't get too excited.  He was non-existent and even scratched come playoff time.   Makes it hard to judge what to expect from him in 2009.
  • Tobias Enstrom - Enstrom had an incredible rookie year, then looked headed for the sophomore slump.  He turned it around in a big way down the stretch, firing in 17 points over 20 games.
  • Kris Letang - Almost half of Letang's points last season came in the fourth quarter.  Couple that with an impressive playoff run and you're looking at big time upward momentum for the rising star heading into 2009-10.
  • Sergei Gonchar - No surprise here that Gonchar was among the leaders down the stretch.  It's only noteworthy because he missed most of the season and was such a huge impact player when he returned.  As with Letang, his playoff performance is pointing to another big season next year.
  • Denis Grebeshkov - With the likes of Souray and Visnovsky on the Edmonton roster, Grebeshkov was barely on the radar heading into last season, and through most of the first half.  He turned it on bigtime, contributing 14 points in his final 21 games.
  • Marc-Andre Bergeron - Bergeron is an unpredictable as they come for defenseman.  He looked headed for a sub-par season in Minnesota before he turned it on late, scoring 7 goals in his final 21 games. 

 

 

Goalies

 

  • Chris Mason - Mason was a big part of the late season surge by the Blues.  He finished up with 14 wins in the final quarter.
  • Jonas Hiller - Like Mason, Hiller helped get the Ducks into the playoffs, and earn a starting job in the process, by playing big late in the season.  He recorded 9 wins in 14 games over that span.
  • Roberto Luongo - Nobody was hotter than Luongo heading into the playoffs.  After missing a good chunk of the season, he played well enough to be considered for the Vezina by some.  He piled up 14 wins and 4 shutouts in the final 20 games.
  • Brian Elliot - Elliot stepped up big time for the hurting Senators late in the season, winning 9 of his last 15 starts.  However, it may be all forgotten next season, if Leclaire is healthy.  Either way, it showed that he's ready for NHL action.

 

So make a special mark on your draft sheets this fall next to these names and remember it's what they do for you lately that counts.

 

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