Posts tagged hockey

2013-2014 NHL Fantasy Hockey Rankings

Do you believe this “youngster” now has two Cup titles? Believe it.

With only hours until the first puck drops on opening night of the 2013-2014 NHL season, I am proud to present my initial fantasy hockey rankings. This is the first season that our friends over at FantasyPros.com have hosted NHL rankings so please make sure to give these a read. Much like our fantasy baseball rankings, these fantasy hockey rankings will be updated weekly. The goal there will be to provide “rest of the season” rankings so that you can analyze trade offers and otherwise determine who to play on any given night (typically Thursdays, Fridays and the weekends) when you have an abundance of players available.
 
If you are ever curious as to how I go who to start on any given night, please reach out to me on Twitter @TheTonyM.  For now, enjoy and good luck this fantasy hockey season!
 


Fantasy Hockey Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 
A 24-year fantasy sports veteran and a California and New York licensed corporate attorney by day, I am the managing editor/senior writer/general counsel of FantasyTrade411.com. I am also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and am also contributor to RotoGrinders.com, FantasyPros.com, TheFakeHockey.com and FantasyFeud.com. Please feel free to contact me at any time on twitter @TheTonyM with your fantasy sports questions. Be sure to listen to my podcast “Sports Counseling with the Doc and Slim” with my radio partner, Michael Clifford (aka @SlimCliffy) on the Fantasy Trade 411 Radio Network.

NHL FanDuel Lineup for March 9, 2013 (LATE Lock)

My torrid point scoring pace is for you!

It was not a particular pretty night once again, but each of the lineups that I played last night finished in the money even if two of them tied with about 12 of you for both 23rd and 24th place. I will chalk that up as a win as we did earn a profit. In a few other upper-dollar 50/50s, I finished higher in the standings with a solid 32.4 FanDuel points anchored by a shutout by Viktor Fasth. The shutout put the lineup into the money. It is certainly better to be lucky than good. Today’s EARLY lock lineup is still playing so I will not know if we cashed until the last game finishes
 
If you have been following my lineups, we have now cashed in every lineup since last Friday for a total of ten total wins in a row, so I hope to keep it up. This lineup at FanDuel locks at 7pm East / 4pm West. It will only include the six later games.
 
What is Daily Gaming?
 
In case you had not noticed, “daily gaming” has made giant strides in the fantasy sports world over the past two years. Daily games in fantasy hockey allow you the opportunity to pick a new team of your favorite players each night. Depending on the type of game you play, you could earn thousands of dollars in any given contest. The best part about this is that, in the majority of U.S. states, it is all legal so you do not have to go around talking about how you risked “jelly beans”.
 
Once you have registered for an account at FanDuel and have deposited $10 using PayPal (and I know that you have spent $10 on worse habits such as buying a case, yes, a case of Schlitz), all you need to do is choose a $1, $2 or $535 matchup in the draft lobby, pick your roster while staying under the $55,000 salary cap, and then sit back and enjoy watching your stats compile all night! I promise that it is a great and fun way to enjoy the NHL action on any given night and a simple way to win some quick cash if you know what you are doing (or if you follow my advice).
 
My 3/9/2013 NHL Lineup (LATE Lock)
 
Now that we have covered the basics, below is the lineup that I will use tonight in a $109 game and a handful of 50/50 games to ensure some payout, which has been my strategy over the past two and a half weeks. More often than not, I have finished inside the top 25 in these 50/50 games and while the payout is small, it somewhat hedges your cash in your head-to-head matchup if you happen to face a shark in any given day. Just to be clear, I play in 50 player 50/50 games as it is much easier, in my opinion, to finish in the top 25 than it is to finish in the top 50% of a smaller 50/50 game. That said, I do roll out the cash for the larger payout 50/50s if I feel great about my squad.
 
On with the lineup:
 
LW: Max Pacioretty ($8,500)
LW: Colin Wilson ($4,700)
RW: Brendan Gallagher ($5,100)
RW: Pascal Dupuis ($5,800)
C: Steven Stamkos ($9,100)
C: Nazem Kadri ($6,600)
D: Roman Josi ($4,100)
D: Jacob Muzzin ($4,000)
G: Jon Quick ($7,100)
 
Salary remaining: $00.
 
I am setting this lineup fairly early in the day and as of this writing, Jon Quick has yet to be confirmed. The good thing is that I have an extra $400 to spare and if Quick isn’t confirmed prior to the lineup lock, I have room to make the swap. This evening, I swapped out Sidney Crosby for Steven Stamkos. Yes, the Lightning will get scored on, but I like Stamkos to do some scoring of his own. I also like Kadri and his third line to score, but not get scored on in the Penguins game. UPDATE: Made a LW adn D change.
 
As I set this lineup well before the games are played in any given night, please make sure you check my Twitter timeline close to the first puck drop to see if I have made any swaps. As always, the one item that I have not yet nailed down as of this posting is which netminder I want in my lineup.
 
Access to FanDuel
 
With our new partnership with FanDuel, you get to reap some of the rewards as a loyal reader of FantasyTrade411.com. If you click-through here and sign up for a new account with FanDuel, you will receive free money on your deposit when you put in the promo code “FT411″.  Thus, when you enter the promo code, you will receive an extra $5 for a $10 deposit; a $10 bonus for a $25 deposit; a $20 bonus for a $100 deposit; and a $30 bonus for a $200 deposit.
 
No matter how well you are doing in this shortened 2012-2013 fantasy hockey season thus far, it is never too late to head over to FanDuel, draft a new team for tonight’s NHL action and enjoy watching the games!
 
A 23-year fantasy sports veteran and a California and New York licensed corporate attorney by day, I am the managing editor/senior writer/general counsel of FantasyTrade411.com. I am also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Please feel free to contact me at any time on twitter @TheTonyM with your fantasy sports questions. Be sure to listen to my podcast “Sports Counseling with the Doc and Slim” with my radio partner, Michael Clifford (aka @SlimCliffy) on the Fantasy Trade 411 Radio Network.

NHL FanDuel Lineup for March 9, 2013 (EARLY Lock)

I will carry your lineup tonight. Don’t worry about it.

It was not a particular pretty night once again, but each of the lineups that I played last night finished in the money even if two of them tied with about 12 of you for both 23rd and 24th place. I will chalk that up as a win as we did earn a profit. In a few other upper-dollar 50/50s, I finished higher in the standings with a solid 32.4 FanDuel points anchored by a shutout by Viktor Fasth. The shutout put the lineup into the money. It is certainly better to be lucky than good.
 
If you have been following my lineups, we have now cashed in every lineup since last Friday for a total of ten total wins in a row, so I hope to keep it up. This lineup at FanDuel locks at 12pm East / 9am West. This lineup is for all games today, but it just locks early.
 
What is Daily Gaming?
 
In case you had not noticed, “daily gaming” has made giant strides in the fantasy sports world over the past two years. Daily games in fantasy hockey allow you the opportunity to pick a new team of your favorite players each night. Depending on the type of game you play, you could earn thousands of dollars in any given contest. The best part about this is that, in the majority of U.S. states, it is all legal so you do not have to go around talking about how you risked “jelly beans”.
 
Once you have registered for an account at FanDuel and have deposited $10 using PayPal (and I know that you have spent $10 on worse habits such as buying a case, yes, a case of Schlitz), all you need to do is choose a $1, $2 or $535 matchup in the draft lobby, pick your roster while staying under the $55,000 salary cap, and then sit back and enjoy watching your stats compile all night! I promise that it is a great and fun way to enjoy the NHL action on any given night and a simple way to win some quick cash if you know what you are doing (or if you follow my advice).
 
My 3/9/2013 NHL Lineup (EARLY Lock)
 
Now that we have covered the basics, below is the lineup that I will use tonight in a $109 game and a handful of 50/50 games to ensure some payout, which has been my strategy over the past two and a half weeks. More often than not, I have finished inside the top 25 in these 50/50 games and while the payout is small, it somewhat hedges your cash in your head-to-head matchup if you happen to face a shark in any given day. Just to be clear, I play in 50 player 50/50 games as it is much easier, in my opinion, to finish in the top 25 than it is to finish in the top 50% of a smaller 50/50 game. That said, I do roll out the cash for the larger payout 50/50s if I feel great about my squad.
 
On with the lineup:
 
LW: Max Pacioretty ($8,500)
LW: Dustin Penner ($4,500)
RW: Brendan Gallagher ($5,100)
RW: James Neal ($8,500)
C: Sidney Crosby ($9,900)
C: Nicklas Backstrom ($6,500)
D: Dougie Hamilton ($4,500)
D: Roman Josi ($4,100)
G: Jake Allen ($3,300)
 
Salary remaining: $100.
 
Anchoring my lineup is the St. Louis Blues’ netminder. The Fredricton, New Brunswick native, who called up from AHL Peoria prior to the March 8 game against the Phoenix Coyotes. In winning the game to take his record to 4-1 on the season, Allen will start today’s game of the back-to-back weekend games for the Blues. At $3,300, I have plenty of extra cash to spend on my skaters. I’m going to continue to roll out two forwards on the Montreal first line as the Gallagher to Pacioretty combo has been deadly. Two nights ago I stated that I would continue to roll out Jakub Voracek until I thought that his price would exceed his value. I think that at $7,700 this morning agains the Bruins is too much. The Bruins do not give up many goals and I think their stout D shuts down the Flyers. I have studied the matchups for the better part of the evening and morning and I am having a tough time getting a read on who will win. I can tell you that I wanted to start Sid Crosby and James Neal against a pourous defense. UPDATE: I am actually going to hedge my bets with this early lineup and swap out Backstrom and Neal for Dupuis and Stamkos in another lineup. So, I’ll be playing two different early lineups. It’s your choice as to which one you roll. UPDATE.
 
As I set this lineup well before the games are played in any given night, please make sure you check my Twitter timeline close to the first puck drop to see if I have made any swaps. As always, the one item that I have not yet nailed down as of this posting is which netminder I want in my lineup.
 
Access to FanDuel
 
With our new partnership with FanDuel, you get to reap some of the rewards as a loyal reader of FantasyTrade411.com. If you click-through here and sign up for a new account with FanDuel, you will receive free money on your deposit when you put in the promo code “FT411″.  Thus, when you enter the promo code, you will receive an extra $5 for a $10 deposit; a $10 bonus for a $25 deposit; a $20 bonus for a $100 deposit; and a $30 bonus for a $200 deposit.
 
No matter how well you are doing in this shortened 2012-2013 fantasy hockey season thus far, it is never too late to head over to FanDuel, draft a new team for tonight’s NHL action and enjoy watching the games!
 
A 23-year fantasy sports veteran and a California and New York licensed corporate attorney by day, I am the managing editor/senior writer/general counsel of FantasyTrade411.com. I am also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Please feel free to contact me at any time on twitter @TheTonyM with your fantasy sports questions. Be sure to listen to my podcast “Sports Counseling with the Doc and Slim” with my radio partner, Michael Clifford (aka @SlimCliffy) on the Fantasy Trade 411 Radio Network.

NHL FanDuel Lineup for February 10, 2013 (Early Games)

SeguinWith just six games on the NHL docket today, I had a little more of a difficult time filling out a roster over at FanDuel than I did for yesterday’s full slate of games. If you are reading this prior to 12:30pm East on Sunday, then you will be able to roll out my lineup. If not, tweet at me for a late NHL lineup and I will fill one out.
 
What is Daily Gaming? 
 
No matter your situation, and in case you had not noticed, “daily gaming” has made giant strides in the fantasy sports world over the past two years. Daily games in fantasy hockey allow you the opportunity to pick a new team of your favorite players each night. Depending on the type of game you play, you could earn thousands of dollars in any given contest. The best part about this is that, in the majority of U.S. states, it is all legal so you do not have to go around talking about how you risked those confection, Valentine’s hearts.
 
Once you have registered for an account at FanDuel and have deposited $10 using PayPal (and I know that you have spent $10 on worse habits such as buying vegetables or those “green drinks”), all you need to do is choose a $2 or $5 matchup in the draft lobby, pick your roster while staying under the $55,000 salary cap, and then sit back and enjoy watching your stats compile all night! I promise…it is a great and fun way to enjoy the NHL action on any given night and a simple way to win some quick cash if you know what you are doing (or if you follow my advice).
 
My 2/10/2013 (Includes Early Games) NHL Lineup
 
Now that we have covered the basics, below is the lineup that I will use tonight in a $10 game.
 
LW: Patrick Sharp ($7,700)
LW: Taylor Pyatt ($4,300)
RW: Pascal Dupuis ($6,600)
RW: Tyler Seguin ($7,200)
C: Cody Hodgson ($5,300)
C: Jonathan Toews ($8,000)
D: Andy Greene ($4,000)
D: Paul Martin ($4,300)
G: Jimmy Howard ($7,400)
 
Salary remaining: $200.
 
As you can tell, I am riding the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins with a little bit of Bruins and Sabres sprinkled in. Each of my players is on the first power play unit of their respective team, they log plenty of ice time to justify their price and they all shoot the puck a ton. I went with Howard in net against the defending Stanley Cup championships as the Kings still have not found their spark in this 2012-2013 NHL campaign. I went with Taylor Pyatt as I needed a lower-priced RW and as the team’s first line winger playing with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, I expect Pyatt to have a handful of SOGs, maybe an assist or two and a +2 rating.
 
Access to FanDuel
 
With our new partnership with FanDuel, you get to reap some of the rewards as a loyal reader of FantasyTrade411.com. If you click-through here and sign up for a new account with FanDuel, you will receive free money on your deposit when you put in the promo code “FT411″.  Thus, when you enter the promo code, you will receive an extra $5 for a $10 deposit; a $10 bonus for a $25 deposit; a $20 bonus for a $100 deposit; and a $30 bonus for a $200 deposit.
 
No matter how well you are doing in this shortened 2012-2013 fantasy hockey season thus far, it is never too late to head over to FanDuel, draft a new team for tonight’s NHL action and enjoy watching the games!
 
A 23-year fantasy sports veteran and a California and New York licensed corporate attorney by day, I am the managing editor/senior writer/general counsel of FantasyTrade411.com. I am also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Please feel free to contact me at any time on twitter @TheTonyM with your fantasy sports questions. Be sure to listen to my podcast “Sports Counseling with the Doc and Slim” with my radio partner, Michael Clifford (aka @SlimCliffy) on the Fantasy Trade 411 Radio Network.

 

 

Fantasy Hockey: The Curious Case of Alex Ovechkin

DO THIS MORE. (Ovechkin, LW/RW-WSH)

DO THIS MORE. (Ovechkin, LW/RW-WSH)

 

It seems like for a few years now, people have been asking themselves “what’s wrong with Alex Ovechkin?”

 

This is a guy who scored 45+ goals for five straight seasons and 50+ goals in four of those five. He has now scored under 40 for two straight years and is goalless through the first three games of this season.

 

There have been numerous positions on this subject from everyone across the hockey spectrum. These posits range from teams have him “figured out” to the coaches aren’t “using him right” and so on and so on…

 

After looking into it a bit (this conversation came up on Twitter and curiosity finally got the best of me), there are two things I found can readily explain his “decline” over the last couple of years:

  1. He has to shoot the puck. He is not a passer, he was his most effective when he was scoring more goals than he was assisting on. I’ll demonstrate why this is the case
  2. His team has been drawing less penalties, taking him out of his bread-and-butter zone, the power-play.

 

I had long thought the relation between his shot and goal rates was fairly linear, and it is:

 

Shots

 

Goals

 

We see similar trends in many of the years, notably: 2005-2006, 2006-2007 and 2009-2010. The variance in the other years can be explained with his shooting percentage rates:

 

Shooting %
05/06 – 12.2
06/07 – 11.7
07/08 – 14.6
08/09 – 10.6
09/10 – 13.6
10/11 – 8.7
11/12 – 12.5

 

You see how a high shooting percentage like in ’07-’08 can greatly alter your final goal total (he had 65) and a low shooting percentage can decimate it; He had 33 less goals in ’10-’11 comapred to that ’07-’08 despite taking just 80 less shots.

 

So that is a nuts and bolts explanation of my first conclusion. When it comes down to it, Ovechkin just isn’t shooting enough. If Ovechkin were to shoot his career average (5.11 shots/game) and shoot at his career shooting percentage of 11.9%, he would score 29 goals this year or push for 50 goals in a normal season. That is the Ovechkin we have come to know. If he wants to mitigate at least some of the variance in his shooting percentage – and if he shot 5.11 shots/game last year he could have had 50 goals, instead of the 38 he ended up with – he needs to shoot a whole lot more than he is. As of right now, he’s averaging 3.67 shots/game in this shortened season, what would be a career-worst.

 

This brings me to conclusion number two: his team has not been drawing enough penalties.

 

Washington PP Opportunities League Average
2007-2008 346 351
2008-2009 337 341
2009-2010 313 304
2010-2011 263 291
2011-2012 245 271

Ovechkin’s power-play time has been consistently declining for 6 years now (I’ll concede it’s still too early to really reach any conclusion about this year). This is directly a result of his team not drawing as many penalties. The league average for power-play opportunities declined four straight years from 2007-2011, so that is a part of it.

 

However, in any season from 2007-2010, the Capitals never drew any less than 5 total penalties less than the league average. In 2010-2011? They drew 28 less penalties than the league average. For a player that has over 100 power-play goals since the 2004-2005 lockout, that was a death-knell. It shouldn’t be any surprise then that Ovechkin scored a career-worst seven PP goals in 2010-2011 after scoring no less than 13 in any season previous to that and getting over 20 PP goals twice. Also, it should be noted, Ovechkin had his worst power-play shooting percentage of the last three years that season as well.

 

How did they do last year? They were fourth-worst in drawing penalties. If Ovechkin hadn’t shot his 12.6% on power-plays like he did last year (and he shot more often), he likely wouldn’t have cracked the double-digit goal mark on the power-play.

 

Time On Ice/Game Power-Play Time On Ice/Game
2007-2008 23:06 5:20
2008-2009 23:00 5:06
2009-2010 21:48 4:45
2010-2011 21:22 4:08
2011-2012 19:48 3:30
2012-2013 23:20 3:29

 

Obviously, this is a bit more nuanced than straight-forward shooting and drawing penalties. The game has changed over the last six or seven years to a more East-West game (cross-crease passes and passes through lanes) and a premium has been placed on shot-blocking.

 

But, like I showed, he needs to shoot more and his team needs to draw more penalties. He has gone from averaging over 6.5 shots/game in 2008-2009 to less than 3.75 shots/game now. Also, his team can’t go from drawing 3% more penalties than the league average as they did 2009-2010, to drawing 10% less penalties than the league average last year. It will spell disaster for a player who was once the most electrifying hockey player on the planet.

 

*all numbers courtesy of www.hockey-reference.com and www.behindthenet.ca

Fantasy Hockey Injuries? Explained!

Jonas Hiller has had his share of injuries though he is healthy now, one never knows.(Hiller, G-ANA)

Jonas Hiller has had his share of injuries though he is healthy now, one never knows.(Hiller, G-ANA)

Greetings and welcome to the mind of a neurotic, old fantasy hockey player. In the coming weeks and months, we will be delivering the fantasy knowledge from angles you may have never thought to explore. There is no more frustrating feeling than having a stacked fantasy team only to watch injury after injury whittle your team to a shell of its former self. No one says that a sprint like this is easy. As a matter of fact, the next 13 plus weeks will be something that tests every ounce of your resolve. If anyone remembers the 1995 season at all, it will at least serve as a help. However, today’s players are bigger, faster, and stronger than ever. Injuries are just so much more inevitable.

First and foremost, let’s take a look at the injury report from TSN. A special thanks has to go out to Scott Cullen, who puts together this list and updates it. Truthfully, his information is among the best as far as injuries along with beat writers of teams naturally. Again, the report as of this week indicates a pretty significant spike as far as injuries.

Overall, there are 66 injuries and/or illnesses from the NHL ranks. One thing that is similar from 1995 is the unusual number of undisclosed maladies. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Undisclosed: 8
  • Concussion: 8
  • Upper Body: 4
  • Lower Body: 4
  • Groin: 8
  • Wrist: 4
  • Back: 5
  • Hip: 5
  • Finger: 4
  • Knee: 6
  • Foot: 1
  • Leg: 2
  • Shoulder: 3
  • Eye: 1
  • Illness: 3

There is your injury breakdown. The outrageous numbers that have been seen in previous years are not quite there yet. However, keep in mind that this is very early in the process. For example, Todd Bertuzzi was upgraded from having mono to just the flu. There are always stories within the injuries. Then of course, there is the curious case of Chris Kreider. The last we saw of him went a little something like this.

 

 

Always keep your head up when going across the middle! It is a mantra heard in football and hockey almost as often as anyone can remember from the days of their youth. Honestly, Kreider had the potential to be at least an outside Calder candidate but one of two things are going to happen here. He will be afraid to go over the middle or this will not affect him in the least. Hopefully the time Chris Kreider is out is not very long because hits in the last few seconds of a decided game can be so damaging.

It was seen earlier last night with Andy McDonald and though it looked much worse, thankfully he should be okay. Anyone can tell you that those are the type of injuries that can just sink a fantasy team. These injuries are something a fantasy GM must pay attention to in great detail. After all, roster decisions (trades, transactions, etc.) are prevalent on knowing the right information. If you do not know how long something is out for, you might as well be stuck with them.

Again, like we said, the coming weeks will feature subjects and topics most fantasy experts will not touch. By all means, we encourage many questions. If one wants and injury prognosis, we will try our absolute best to give you that needed edge. This is a season unlike any other. People want information that is  a godsend when one really needs that data.

This is not a 26 week marathon but a 14 week sprint. In head to head leagues, there are in some cases only a ten week regular season with as much as a four week playoff. Time is of the essence, injury data is more important than ever before, and that knowledge (used right) is power. It is time to say goodbye for now but remember that the most important thing in any fantasy league is winning. There are many ways to go about it. Hopefully, we can help you with this column. Good luck!

Fantasy Hockey Draft Strategy and What to Look For Late

Yes, the apparently age-less Teemu Selanne is still in the league!

Yes, the apparently age-less Teemu Selanne is still in the league!

While a lockout is a very unfortunate process which angered likely all who follow hockey; there are some positives.  The previous lockout revealed players of the likes of Tim Thomas and Henrik Lundqvist who may have never had NHL careers.  When the NHL shuts down the rest of the leagues flourish and hidden gems are uncovered.  It also allows players to refine their skills by playing on larger ice surfaces in a much more open game.  As an avid fantasy hockey player I can say that this drafting season has been one of the most entertaining I’ve experienced.  In this article I will discuss sleeper potentials and draft suggestions.

 

My picks are based on standard format 12-man Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues.  Categories including:
 
Skaters: Goals (G), Assists (A), Plus/Minus (+/-), Penalty Minutes (PIM), Powerplay Points (PPP), Shots on Goal (SOG).
 
Goalies: Wins (W), Goals Against Average (GAA), Save Percentage (SV%), Shutouts (SHO)
 
My feelings towards goalies are similar to that of pitchers in baseball.  There is still plenty of juice to squeeze late in the draft.  No reason to waste low round picks(Rounds 1-4) unless you’re seeing real value.  The same goes for defensemen.  The elite tier of defensemen consists of a handful of players who you will likely overpay for based on their limited availability.
 
The only exceptions to this rule for this season in my opinion are; Zdeno Chara on defense and Ilya Bryzgalov in net.  Both can be had in the 4th round.
 
Another thing to keep in mind while drafting is during the recent evolution of the NHL.  Young players are starting to make big impacts early in their careers.  A key component to fantasy success is cashing in on some of the young new names.  So don’t be afraid to go after a young guy with upside over a veteran whose showed signs of wear.  It’s also much more likely the younger guy has been seeing game action most of the lockout.
 
Moving along I’ll get into the sleepers ranked by position.  The center category likely provides the most depth where you can have legitimate expectations of production up until the last round. Sleepers will be guys going in the 11th round and later on average.
 
Sleepers: 

Center:

  1. Mikko Koivu – MIN 1st line/Power Play
  2. Vincent Lecavalier – TBL 2nd line/Power Play
  3. Mike Ribeiro – WSH 2nd line/Power Play
  4.   Stephen Weiss – FLA 1st line/Power Play

 
Right Wing:

  1. Kris Versteeg – FLA 1st line/Power Play LW/RW Eligibility
  2.  Teemu Selanne – ANA 2nd line/ Power Play

 
Left Wing:

  1. Alex Steen – STL  3rd line C/LW Eligibility
  2. Brandon Dubinsky – CLS 2nd line/Power Play C/LW Eligibility

 
Defensemen:

  1. Christian Ehrhoff – BUF
  2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson – PHX
  3. Alex Goligoski – DAL
  4. Matt Carle – TB
  5. Victor Hedman – TB

 
Goalies:

  1. Anders Lindback – TB
  2. Evgeni Nabokov – NYI
  3. Ondrej Pavelec – WPG

 
I’m selecting 1 forward, 1 defensemen and 1 goalie as my breakout sleeper candidates for this season.
 
Forward – Mikko Koivu – A healthy Mikko Koivu should be centering one of the best lines in the NHL this year.  With Dany Heatley and Zach Parise on his wings Mikko should see his first point per game campaign in the NHL.  He spent some time in Europe during the lockout so he shouldn’t be as rusty as most veterans.
 
Defensemen – Victor Hedman – The former Number two overall pick is starting to show signs of what drew the comparisons to fellow countrymen Nicklas Lidstrom.  Although his offensive production has been modest he should see a breakout year. He showcased his abilities in the KHL by scoring 21 points in 26 games.  He also produces a higher than average PIM total. If his offensive side translates to the NHL he will be a can’t miss fantasy player for years to come.
 
Goalie – Anders Lindback – No longer playing second fiddle to Pekka Rinne; Lindback will emerge as one of the world’s best.  The Swedish native has showed glimpses of brilliance while on the heavily defensive Predators.  He won’t have nearly the same help in front of the net but the 6’6 goalie should handle his first starting role well.  He spent time playing in Europe during the lockout unlike many of the starting goalies around the NHL.

 

Hopefully this guide will provide some insight as to what caliber of players you may see late in your draft and what traps to avoid.  Due to the limited schedule you’ll likely need to rely more so on your draft day than usual.
 
During the season I will be providing a weekly breakdown of waiver wire options and top players as well as a weekly review of the top prospects for the 2013 draft class.  I will also continue to play daily fantasy leagues and this year I will be tweeting a daily Player of the Day based on whom I think will be most productive for that night.  Thanks for reading good luck and drop the puck!

 

Dale grew up in New Jersey playing baseball and a lot of hockey.  He ended up pursuing hockey further and played in college for three years while obtaining a degree in Communication Studies. He’s been heavily involved in pools and fantasy sports since middle school and his interest and dedication has gone up dramatically in the past year since discovering daily fantasy leagues. His attention and interest in daily leagues has only further developed his ability in standard fantasy leagues in baseball, hockey and football.  Dale can be reached on Twitter at @threestardot for questions and comments.