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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.

Fantasy Hockey Headlines - Offseason Week 1

by chewy 28. June 2013 06:45

With the 2013 season wrapping up just as the fuse on those Independence Day fireworks were being lit, there won't be much of an "off-season" this time around. Nonetheless, it's easy to overlook the transactions that fall on page 9 of the sports section through the heat of the summer.  In an attempt to keep your mind where it belongs (fantasy hockey), each week, I will bring a play by play of the offseason headlines, and what effect they may have for the 2013-14 fantasy hockey campaign. 

 

 

Friday, June 21

  • Alain Vigneault Hired by Rangers

From a fantasy perspective, things can only get better for the Rangers.  Torts did little to encourage offensive creativity.  Look for the likes of Nash, Stepan and Brassard to boost production next season.

 

  • Lindy Ruff Hired by Dallas

Dallas has little to get a excited about for fantasy owners coming into next season.  Most of the scoring from last season is gone, leaving just Benn and Eriksson to carry the mail.  Perhaps new blood behind the bench will spark some new blood to rise.

 

Sunday, June 23

  • Leafs acquire Bernier from Kings for Frattin and Scrivens

 

Monday, June 24

  • Blackhawks win the Cup.

 

Tuesday, June 25

  • Canucks Hire Tortorella

If your league awards points for blocked shots, this is great news for Canuck owners.  There's not much excitement to be had with this news.  Some people never learn.

 

  • Flyers buyout Bryzgalov

Bryzgalov may have a hard time finding a home on this side of the pond.  Expect him to land in the KHL.  Meanwhile, the Flyers resume their 20 year search for a #1 option in net.  Sergei Bobrovsky looks really good right now.

 

  • Kiprusoff (CGY) Plans to Retire

Kipper had faded from glory over the past few seasons.  The Flames are left with Joey MacDonald to carry the torch.  Expect a very high draft pick in 2014 for Calgary.

 

Wednesday, June 26

  • Horton (BOS) to Have Shoulder Surgery

Should be back in time to start the season.

 

  • Nabokov (NYI) likely won't Return to Isle

Nabokov probably won't land another starting gig, thus losing the fantasy hockey relevance he enjoyed last season.  Unless the Flyers take a chance…

 

Thursday, June 27

  • Tampa buys out Lecavalier

Cold move by the Bolts to unceremoniously release the soul of the franchise.  Vinny will land on his feet somewhere and remain a decent depth forward for fantasy purposes.

 

  • Alex Tanguay traded from Calgary to Colorado for David Jones

Tanguay has been a depth option in fantasy circles for several years and should remain that on a rebuilding Colorado squad.

Jones has flirted with fantasy relevancy, socring 27 goals in 2010-11.  He should be a top-six forward with the Flames, but barely worth considering for your fantasy lineup.

NHL 2013 Preseason Predictions

by chewy 21. January 2013 10:24

Making preseason predictions is foolish enough in a normal year, so trying to make sense out of what may take place over the next few months in the NHL is completely uncharted foolishness.  So let's get started.

 

TEAMS ON THE MOVE

No point in dwelling on the obvious ends of the spectrum.  Yes, the Penguins, Rangers, Blues, etc. will be the teams to beat again this year, while the Jackets, Flames, Jets, etc. struggle to stay relevant.  What's truly interesting is the teams that could make some serious movement (for better or worse) in the upcoming shortened season.  For whatever reason,  as I look up and down the lineups of each team in the standings from last season, a few squads jump out as teams to watch.

 

GOING UP:

 

Buffalo Sabres - After reshuffling the deck in the summer of 2011, the Sabres had a hard time coming together in the early months of last season.  By mid season, they were a formidable squad that made a near historic run, before just missing the playoffs.  It's been a long spell since, so it's tough to assume that they'll just keep it rolling, but if there's one non-playoff team heading in the right direction, it's the Sabres.  If Miller stays solid, this team could challenge for tops in the East and should win their division.

 

Carolina Hurricanes- The Canes tried to remake their image last July with the addition of Jordan Staal and Alex Semin.  The key to this team will be Cam Ward and the defense.  It's a tough bunch to predict, but the Canes could easily emerge first from a horribly weak division.

 

Edmonton Oilers - The streak of drafting first overall has certainly come to end.  The same should be said for the playoff drought. Expect the youngsters to put up goals in droves and even win some games in the process this time around.

 

 

GOING DOWN:

 

Detroit Redwings - After two decades of NHL dominance, the Motor City reign of terror is has come to an end.  Lidstrom is gone and it's finally time to start over for the Wings.  They've toyed with missing the postseason the last two years.  They won't bother teasing this time around.  Crash and burn.

 

New Jersey Devils - Ironically, the two teams that met in the finals the last time we went down this 48 game road are my picks for biggest losers coming out of this one.  With Parise gone, Kovalchuk not wanting to come back, ownership troubles, and a one-two punch in net that's older than your mom, it's tough to find encouraging signs for the Devils.  No chance this team makes the playoffs.

 

 

 

FINAL STANDINGS (by points)

 

Starting in the East:

 

1. Pittsburgh *

2. New York Rangers

3. Buffalo Sabres *

4. Boston Bruins

5. Carolina Hurricanes *

6. Philadelphia Flyers

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

8. Tampa Bay Lightning

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

9. Washington Capitals

10. Florida Panthers

11. Ottawa Senators

12. Montreal Canadiens

13. New York Islanders

14. Winnepeg Jets

15. New Jersey Devils

 

Yes, once again, it looks like the "winner" from the Southeast Division will unjustly claim 3rd seed, while the 2nd best team in the East gets bumped down to fourth.  This time, the Rangers will get the shaft, instead of the Penguins.  The Leafs will end their playoff absence, while the Caps will be on the outside this time around. 

 

 

Now, on to the West:

 

1. St. Louis Blues *

2. LA Kings *

3. Nashville Predators

4. Edmonton Oilers *

5. Vancouver Canucks

6. Chicago Blackhawks

7. Phoenix Coyotes

8. San Jose Sharks

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

9. Dallas Stars

10. Detroit Redwings

11. Minnesota Wild

12. Colorado Avalanche

13. Anaheim Ducks

14. Calgary Flames

15. Columbus Blue Jackets

 

A few notes from the West.  Yes, it will be tight as always, but it's not because the West is so much better than the East.  It's because there are so many mediocre teams that you can pull them out of a hat once you get past 5th place.  The Ducks always start slow, so they'll run out of time before the annual playoff push this year.  I'm not drinking the Wild koolaid based on one big day of UFA signings.  Ultimately, it's going to come down to goaltending to decide the winners and losers here.

 

 

THE HARDWARE

 

MVP / Art Ross

Crosby.  End. Of. Discussion.

 

Rocket Richard

Despite a handful of worthy competitors, Stamkos will be holding on to this one for a few years.

 

Norris

Shea Weber will claim his first of many this year.  Expect some votes for Letang and Karlsson.

 

Vezina

The committee always seems to be a year behind in naming the winner here.  Jonathan Quick gets his due in 2013.

 

Presidents Trophy

The Blues will be so good defensively, they'll win this with a week to go in the season.

 

Stanley Cup

Last year, I predicted a California / Pennsylvania matchup in this space.  I was right on one end. 

My vague, cloudy crystal ball shows me the winner this time will emerge from either PA or NY state and will take on a team from the Central Division.  {pause while I crumble up papers.  Place them in the hat…}… and the gutsy prediction is:

 

The Buffalo Sabres will claim their first Cup over the St. Louis Blues.

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Playoff Rundown - 4/19/10

by chewy 19. April 2010 08:35
 

4 Stars

#1 - Craig Anderson (G - COL) - Anderson stopped a whopping 51 shots en route to a huge overtime shutout victory.

 

#2 - Anti Niemi (G - CHI) - The Hawks went back to the rookie in net after a poor showing in game 1.  He rewarded them with a 23 save shutout to tie up the series with Nashville.

 

#3 - Daniel Carcillo (F - PHI) - Carcillo scored the biggest goal of his career last night, putting one behind Brodeur in overtime.  He had a 2-point night, as he contributed with an assist earlier in the game.

 

#4 - Sidney Crosby (F - PIT) - Crosby once again showed why he may be the best hockey player in the world.  He muscled his way across the goal, through half the Senators lineup, in route to his 2nd goal of the playoffs.  He leads the league with 7 points this postseason.

 

Injury Update:

  • Jordan Leopold is still day-to-day after the pounding he took from Andy Sutton
  • Shane Doan left Sunday's game with an upper body injury after running into Jimmy Howard and did not return.  It's hard to imagine the Coyotes going anywhere this post-season with their captain on the sidelines.
  • Patric Hornqvist missed the game for the Preds with an upper-body injury
  • Milan Hejduk left the game after colliding with teammate Paul Stastny
  • Robert Lang returned to the Phoenix lineup last night after missing the past month

 

Player Notes:

  • Evgeni Malkin has scored a goal in all three games for the Pens
  • Ilya Bryzgalov made 29 saves for the big win over Detroit
  • Wojtek Wolski has scored in all three games for Phoenix
  • Brian Rolston scored twice in a losing effort for the Devils
  • Dan Boyle had the play of the postseason so far, as he put the puck in his own net in overtime.  Nabokov had pitched a shutout into overtime, but wasn't prepared for the shot from his own defenseman.
  • Dany Heatley was benched by Sharks for Game 3, with no explanation
  • The Caps still haven't announced their plan for a starting goalie in Game 3.

Free Agent Carnival

by Chewbacca 2. July 2009 06:21

That was certainly the most memorable 1st day of free agency ever in terms of stories.  Unbelievable all the deals that went down, and the one that didn't.  Here's a breakdown of the best, worst and indifferent:

 

Most surprising deal:

  • Hossa to Chicago - not just the destination, but the term.  If this deal had been done a month ago, there might have been a different team in the finals.  Chicago should be the Western Conference favorites going into next season, largely due to this signing.  Too bad they couldn't reunite him with Havlat.

 

Deal that filled the biggest need:

  • Ohlund to Tampa - The Lightning have had one failure after another, but this signing made wonderful sense.  They get a solid 2-way defenseman, and a perfect mentor for Hedman.  The term may be a little long, but they won't regret this transaction

 

Most laughable signing:

  • Gaborik to NYR - As with every year since Sather arrived in NY, the Rangers get the prize for the head-scratcher.  Yes, they need every bit of scoring that the talented Gaborik can bring, but 7.5 million for 5 years?  So easy to forget Redden, Gomez, Holik, Lindros, etc…  They'll be begging some team to take him off their hands in two years after Gaborik averages 30 games a season.

 


Who cares?

  • Rupp to Penguins - 90% of hockey fans don't even know who Rupp is.  He might contribute on the fourth line, or he might not even make the lineup next season.

 

Staying where he belongs:

  • Cole in Carolina - Cole just make sense in Raleigh.  It was great to see him sticking around at a fair salary.  Great signing for the Canes.
  • Sullivan in Nashville - Good to see this happen for both sides.  Nashville was loyal to Sullivan during 2 trying years, and Sullivan rewarded their patience with a strong comeback.

 

Is that the Best you can do?

  • Anderson to Colorado - Going on 4 seasons now that the Avalanche have settled for an average solution in goal.  Anderson may be the answer, or he may be like the others who came before and disappointed.

 

Addition by Subtraction

  • Kubina leaving Toronto - Shedding some salary and losing an overrated defenseman.  Gives Burke the flexibility to do what he wants going forward
  • Gill leaving Pittsburgh - Gill was a liability for the Pens.  He will fit in nicely on a team of misfits that is being assembled in Montreal.

 

GM that should be fired tomorrow

  • Gainey in Montreal - Are you kidding?  This is the best you can do?  Signing 3 midget forwards, offset by a slow, lugging giant defenseman, while losing your entire top line and your top defenseman in the process on a team that was already bad and getting worse?  The wrong guy was fired in March.

 

Saving face

  • Havlat in Minnesota - Wild fans should rejoice that the franchise might actually be thinking about offense for the first time.  Sure, they offset the loss of one injury-prone star scorer for another, but imagine if they hadn't signed Havlat.

 

Moron

  • Couldn't get through the day without calling Heatley a moron for obvious reasons.  The NHL should consider a rule change based on his behavior.  If you request a trade, you nullify a no-trade clause.  Moron.

 

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