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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

Free Agent Frenzy Fantasy Impact (Offseason Update for Week 3)

by chewy 12. July 2013 06:30

This past Friday was one of the busiest days in NHL history in terms of significant transactions, rivaling the best trade deadline days in recent memory.  It started at the noon buzzer and ran straight through the evening.  Many of the deals will have little to no fantasy impact (see Anaheim signing Nolan Yonkman for more); however, many of the deals will play into your draft prep later this summer.  Here are the moves this week (mostly from July 5) that you need to be aware of before heading to the draft table, ranked roughly in terms of fantasy impact.

(Note: Players re-signing with their current teams are not included here)

 

 

BIG DEALS

 

Bobby Ryan Traded to Ottawa

Though technically not a free agent signing, this move was the biggest of the day.  This deal will have fantasy implications for years to come, particularly on the Anaheim side.  But in the near term, this deal is all about Bobby Ryan landing in Ottawa.  He will automatically slide in as the #1 LW for the Sens, reserving a spot with Spezza (when healthy) or Turris (when not).  Mr. Ryan has to this point left us wanting more from a fantasy perspective.  The highlight reels would suggest that his point totals should be higher.  Perhaps the change in scenery will give him the boost to return to 30 goal scorer status.  He's declined over the last 2 seasons, so this may be the jump he needs.

 

Ray Emery (PHI)

On the surface, seeing the Flyers bring the goalie of the year into town, particularly one who has followed such a rocky road throughout his career, doesn't seem like much.  But don't be fooled.  This may ultimately be the most significant move of the off-season.  Yes, I just typed that.  Consider this:  had the Flyers received above-average goaltending over the past two seasons, the could have written a significantly different history.  This is a good team with bad goaltending.  Emery has proven over the past few seasons that he is a good soldier, and a very good goaltender.  What he needs is opportunity and good health.  The Flyers gave him the first piece.  If he can keep the doctor away, we may have a serious value pick with Emery.

 

Nathan Horton (COB)

Another headline move, Horton brings his tremendous talent (and history of injuries)  to the rising Jackets.  Question his motives if you like, but this feels like a nice fit.  The Jackets (and you, if you draft him) will have to wait a few months for his services, but once he arrives, he should bolster a team that may be fantasy relevant for the first time ever.

 

Jarome Iginla (BOS)

If you're a Bruins fan, this move happened just a couple months too late.  Iginla was never proper utilized in Pittsburgh, being forced into the off wing.  His time (and results) with the Pens could have been so much more.  Too many cooks, or something like that.  He's coming into a situation in Boston with a sudden need for a first or second line Right Winger to play with top notch talent at center and LW.  This should be a perfect fit and the opportunity Iginla needed to revive his fantasy status.  Look for a bump in numbers.

 

 

 

MID-RANGE DEALS

 

Valtteri Filppula (TB)

Apparently Stevie Yzerman saw enough of Filppula during their brief overlap in Detroit to convince him to pay the money Detroit wasn't willing to dish out.  With Lecavalier sliding out, Filppula defaults into the #2 center role.  A slight increase in playing time may be a bonus for a player who has been a marginal fanstasy factor throughout his career.

 

Mike Ribeiro (PHO)

Ribeiro benefitted from his surroundings in Washington, more than he will in Phoenix.  Expect a  "dive" in his points.  (Sorry, I will always see this punk as the league's top diver).

 

Pierre-Marc Bouchard (NYI)

This was another under-the-radar move that may ultimately play out into a major factor in the upcoming season.  Bouchard has occasionally shown flashes of really-goodness during his time with the Wild.  He joins a crew of fast, gifted skaters who are given the freedom to be creative, which suits his game better than the Minnesota system.  Look for Bouchard's stock to rise in fantasy circles next season.

 

David Clarkson (TOR)

Clarkson was a big signing for the Leafs, but like most analysts, I tend to think he was overpaid in dollars and term.  This will ultimately haunt Toronto in a few years.  As for next season, Clarkson should benefit from the move to Toronto.  The top 6 talent in Toronto is fairly stronger than the group he left in Jersey.

 

Derek Roy (STL)

This signing came a day or two late and was largely ignored.  But don't count Roy out just yet.  He's capable of a point a game production, and St. Louis is in need of a playmaker like him at the center position.  While he's been around seemingly for ever, he just turned 30 in May.  There is still plenty of offensive tread on these tires and should surprise many with a solid fantasy season for the Blues this year.

 

Stephen Weiss (DET)

The other new face in Detroit, (see below), may finally emerge as a legit fantasy option.  Fans who followed hockey in Miami know that Weiss is a talented player who had very little talent to help boost his production.  A few powerplay minutes a game with Datsyuk may be enough to re-introduce this first round draft pick to the hockey community.  Expect career numbers for Weiss with his new squad.

 

 

 

SMALL POTATOES

 

Daniel Alfredsson (DET)

Yes, it was big news in terms of legacy and hurt feelings.  If you're drafting a roster based on such emotions, you're on the wrong website.  Alfredsson's experiment in Detroit will be fun to watch, but it will barely register in fantasy hockey circles.

 

Viktor Stalberg (NAS)

Stalberg was somewhat trapped on the depth chart in Chicago, having to play behind Kane and Hossa on the right side.  The move to Nashville at least opens to door to more minutes and more opportunity.  He's one of the fastest skaters in the league and should see his stock rise this season.

 

Michael Ryder (NJ)

Ryder is donning his fourth different jersey in four seasons.  And all he's done at each stop is score goals.  He will be counted on to fill the void left by Clarkson.  At 33 years old, he probably has one or two solid chances at 30 goals seasons left in the tank.

 

Anton Khudobin (CAR)

The relevance of this moves is dependent upon the health of Mr. Cam Ward.  Ward is the undisputed man in net for the Canes.  Should he return fully healed of his knee ailments, he will dominate the crease minutes, leaving Khudobin in the same situation he left in Boston.  However, if the injury woes persist for Ward, Khudobin is a fine plan B that Carolina has traditionally lacked.  If the cards fall his way, Khudobin could be a sweet sleeper option.

 

 

 

NOTABLY MENTIONS

 

Ilya Kovalchuk Flees to KHL

Talk about screwing the Devils.  They signed this guy to a monster deal and so couldn't afford Parise or Clarkson.  He leaves after free agency, leaving New Jersey with nothing.  This move effectively makes New Jersey a fantasy hockey graveyard.  I can't see a single Devil being drafted in fantasy hockey next season.

 

Alexander Burmistrov (WPG) off to KHL

So much talent that never seemed to click in the NHL.  Burmistrov provided some top notch highlights, but just not enough of them.  If you're preparing for your KHL fantasy hockey draft, take note.  Otherwise, get your pen out and cross him off your cheatsheet now.

 

 

What's To Come

 

While most of the news has already been written, there are a few names of fantasy note still sitting without a contract for next season.  Here are the most intriguing to watch over the coming weeks:

 

  • Jaromir Jagr -- while the goals refused to come, he showed he is still a top playmaker at age 41
  • Mikhail Grabovski -- despite the potty-mouth and insubordination, he can score points.
  • Ryan Whitney -- maybe someday that potential will be realized. 
  • Tim Thomas -- this guy has to come back.  Somebody please sign Tim Thomas.
  • Ilya Bryzgalov -- this story is not over yet.

Fantasy Hockey Headlines - Offseason Week 2

by chewy 5. July 2013 06:54

Busy week, with the draft and teams scrambling to get their houses in order leading up to Free Agent Frenzy this weekend.  Two major trades dominated the headlines this week, while a few others may impact your draft preparations.

 

 

Friday, June 28

  • Alfredsson Will Return Next Season:

At age 40, the Captain shouldn't be considered a huge fantasy factor at this point; however, he finds ways to keep himself relevant.  He will remain an option on offense for deeper leagues as long as he refuses to retire.  The possible is out there that Ottawa may not be his home...

 

  • Brad Richards Will NOT Be Bought Out

Another Sather move that boggles the mind.  Richards will return next season.  Maybe a new coach will revive his career.  Consider him a borderline fantasy center next year.

 

 

Saturday, June 29

  • Horton Will Leave the Bruins

Horton had a decent run with Boston from a fantasy perspective.  His health will always be a factor, but he should bring goal-scoring to his next destination.

 

 

Sunday, June 30

  • NHL Draft
  • Vancouver Trades Schneider to New Jersey

This year's trade floor shocker was a dandy.  Lou isn't content to roll with a pair of senior citizens again at the Rock, so he dealt for the Vancouver goalie that wasn't supposed to be on the block.  Schneider won't be the clear-cut in New Jersey (a situation he's vaguely familiar with), but has a better shot at fantasy relevance this year, and especially two years from now.  This move certainly boosts Luongo back into the top 10, while dropping Brodeur way down to backup fantasy duty.

 

  • Hurricanes Trade McBain to Buffalo

McBain should see a small boost in his fantasy value.  He has potential to be a decent starting defenseman, and Buffalo boasts a little more offensive gusto than the Canes.  This move cements Justin Faulk as the top dog in Carolina.

 

  • Chicago Trades Bolland and Frolik

While these guys have garnered headlines in recent weeks, once there are 30 teams playing hockey in October, you'll likely forget where they landed.  Which, incidentally, was Toronto and Winnepeg, respectively.

 

  • Islanders Trade Nino Niederreiter to Wild for Cal Clutterbuck

Forget the fantasy factor, It's a rare treat to have a deal that involves two of the best names in hockey.  Nino goes from irrelevance to potential top-6 talent in Minnesota.  Clutterbuck will mostly be drafted in leagues that value PIMs with an occasional goal or two.

 

 

Monday, July 1

  • Tim Thomas Ready to Revive Career

Few players can bring out such diverse, strong emotions as the Vezina/Conn Smythe/Obama snubber.  Personally, I'm a fan, so I hope to see him land somewhere special.  Don't expect his fantasy value to be very high regardless of destination.  Unless, that is, he becomes the next Flyers experiment in net.

 

 

Tuesday, July 2

  • Isles Buy Out DiPietro

With Nabokov likely flying back to Russia, Thomas looking for a new home, and now DiPietro hitting the road, the Islanders go into this weekend on the hunt for a #1 goalie.

 

  • Pens Re-sign Letang and Dupuis

It was looking questionable at times, but the Pens now have their full complement of offensive weapons locked up.  This means another few seasons of fantasy dominance by the Penguins.

 

  • Flyers Sign Lecavalier

After cutting ties with Briere, the Flyers added Lecavalier to the set of offensive weapons at their disposal.  As for the fantasy impact, I wouldn't plan on any significant change to his production in the new home.  He should continue to exist as a depth option on offense for the next few seasons.

 

Wednesday, July 3

  • Toronto Puts Grabovski on Waivers

Just a couple months after signing him to a 5 year deal, the Leafs have apparently changed their minds.  Depending on where he lands, Grabovski should remain a border-line offensive option in the fantasy world.

 

 

Thursday, July 4

  • Dallas / Boston Swing 7-Man Deal

While this deal with have fantasy implication for years to come (with the likes of Joe Morrow some day being a potential fantasy star, now in Boston), a couple of significant fantasy players will have new homes and new roles. 

Tyler Seguin leaves what was becoming an awkward situation for him in Boston, to become the undisputed #1 center and star for the Stars.  While he will see a drop off in surrounding talent, he should see time with Jamie Benn, which ought to help both of their numbers.

Loui Eriksson had faded in recent seasons, but the presence of quality centers in Boston may help him return to the top tier right winger status.

Rich Peverley should remain a viable depth option with occasion goal scoring spurts.

 

  • Danny Briere Signs with Montreal

Briere has become a non-factor in regular season fantasy circles.  He seems to save all his scoring for the post-season.  Don't expect anything earth shaking from this deal.  He may see a short term bump as he tries to proves himself in the homeland early in the season.  Worth a late-round look.

 

 

Look for a flurry of fantasy-relevant deals over the weekend, as Free Agent season opens at noon...

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.

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