The NHL season is near, so get ready for fantasy hockey!
Yahoo’s fantasy hockey registration opened today. As a kick-start to the NHL fantasy season, NHL.com’s fantasy guru’s Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, and Matt Sitkoff weighed in to rank the top 50 fantasy hockey players.
Three Kings made an appearance in the top 50:
Drew Doughty was ranked at 49th overall. He was the fifth defensemen on the list behind P.K. Subban (16th), Erik Karlsson (19th), Shea Weber (30th), and Duncan Keith (39TH).
In the 2013-2014 regular season Doughty finished 30th amongst all defensemen in points with 37 (10 goals, 27 assists). The other four defensemen in the top 50 finished in the top 5. Karlsson was first (74 points, 20 goals), Keith second (61 points, 55 assists), Weber third (56
points, 23 goals), and Subban tied for fifth (53 points, 43 assists). So it’s fair to say, all eyes are on Dewey to have a breakout year.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick ranked 18th.,the third highest goaltender. Tukka Rask (9th) and Henrik Lundqvist (11th) were voted higher. Rask had a great season last year that included a Vezina trophy, and the Bruins are by far the best team in the Eastern conference. Tukka will benefit again, and likely pile up on wins. It doesn’t hurt that he has a great defense in front of him.
Lundvquist’s higher rank is dubious. The Rangers made the Finals last year on the back of King Henrik. An effort that could have burned him out. He’s already been quoted saying he can’t wait to get back to the playoffs, hopefully he isn’t overlooking the regular season. Lundquist ranked 8th in Goals Against Average for the ’13-’14 regular season, of goalies that played more than 40 games. Rask and Quick ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Centermen Anze Kopitar (17th) is the third King on the list. Kopitar is known for his defensive prowess, so he doesn’t command the fantasy rank like other centermen superstars. Sidney Crosby (1st), Steven Stamkos (2nd), Evgeni Malkin (4th), and Ryan Getzlaf (5th) are four of the top five players. Kopitar could be undervalued now that he has Marian Gaborik on his line.
Justin Williams, has shown his worth in the regular season and the playoffs. With the Addition of Marian Gaborik Williams will likely play on the 2nd or 3rd Kings line this year, which could drop his point production out of the fantasy realm of the top 50.
Gaborik was the leading goal scorer in the Kings 2014 playoff-Cup run. He has great chemistry with Kopitar. But his age and history of injury plagued regular seasons are a concern for fantasy owners that could have dropped Gabby out of the top 50.
Look for these two to have an impact on the Kings season, but they might not produce results consistent with fantasy owner’s expectations after such a productive playoff run.
Jake Muzzin played some of the best hockey of his budding career. He will most likely be paired with Doughty. He will see time on the power-
play, and has a cannon from the point. Muzzin could be a good pick up in later fantasy rounds, or in post-draft free agency.
Tyler Toffoli had 29 points in 62 games in what was considered his rookie season. Toffoli will play on “that 70′s line” alongside Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson; a line that was dominant during the Cup run. The kid’s a got a rifle, and could be an undervalued sniper.
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Kings put three players in the top fifty. Other teams that dominated the rankings include:
Chicago Blackhawsk- 5 in top 50
San Jose Sharks - 4 in the top 50
Pittsburgh Penguins- 3 in top 50 including 2 in top 4
The past few years the Kings have been known to underachieve during the regular season and turn it up in the playoffs. Sports can be about getting hot at the right time. It’s worked out for Darryl Sutter. He doesn’t have to play fantasy hockey. He doesn’t need players that are stat-studs. If they play the right way, at the end of the day they get their win and rings and remain top of the league Kings. That’s what it’s all about.