Every October rings in a fresh NHL season and fantasy fanatics are busy coming together to test their knowledge of player’s statistics, as well as their ability to predict the “sleepers” that they hope may give them an advantage.
Here is what you need to know for a successful season of fantasy hockey, broken down position-by-position, along with some overlooked players:
Centre of the Action:
1. Steven Stamkos (TB): Leads the league with 96 goals over the last two seasons and while he continues to get bigger and stronger, he was also able to put up 74 minutes in penalties last season. With a brand new five-year contract extension under his belt, Stamkos is likely to put up numbers that make him impossible not to pick up as a top fantasy centre this year.
Projections: 50 G, 49 A, +2, 56 PIM
2. Henrik Sedin (VAN): Has put up 75 points in six-straight seasons, proving that he is both consistent and reliable. He has also had a plus/minus rating that has been in double digits for six of his last seven seasons. Playing alongside brother Daniel, Henrik is always a threat to be a yearly fantasy stud.
Projections: 19 G, 71 A, +23, 44 PIM
3. Pavel Datsyuk (DET): Another consistent and reliable player for five of the past six seasons, Datsyuk has been a point-per-game player and also had double-digit plus/minus ratings in each of those seasons.
Projections: 30 G, 57 A, +17, 18 PIM
4. Evgeni Malkin (PIT): After suffering a knee injury last season, Malkin is now ready to go, and with Crosby currently on the IR, the two-time 100-point getter will be looked on to provide offence to a hurting Penguins squad.
Projections: 39 G, 41 A, +2, 62 PIM
5. Nicklas Backstrom (WSH): While his responsibility continues to grow on an incredibly offensive Capitals team, his numbers are sure to increase into what may be a fantasy winner.
Projections: 20 G, 48 A, +23, 40 PIM
1. Alexander Ovechkin (WSH): Although he is coming off a slow year, you can’t go wrong picking Ovi first overall as he is simply too dangerous and too skilled.
Projections: 46 G, 54 A, +27, 65 PIM
2. Daniel Sedin (VAN): The Art Ross Trophy winner of a year ago for the most points in the league is a sure fire first-round pick. Daniel plays on the wing with his twin brother and the duo is always a dangerous combination. He has now proved to be a perennial point getter.
Projections: 42 G, 63 A, +35, 35 PIM
3. Zach Parise (NJD): While he was sidelined for the majority of last season by injury, Parise is on a team that pulled itself together for a final playoff push and will be looking to pick up where it left off with the young superstar at the forefront.
Projections: 34 G, 35 A, +15, 33 PIM
4. Martin St. Louis (TB): He has missed just two games in the past eight seasons, is a constant competitor and has put up consistent numbers throughout his career. St. Louis has proved he can lead young players such as Stamkos, and when the two are together they make for a dynamic fantasy duo that matches any in the league.
Projections: 29 G, 65 A, +2, 14 PIM
5. Bobby Ryan (ANA): Scoring 30 goals in each of his last three seasons, Ryan is an up-and-comer that is sure to put up solid numbers on any fantasy squad.
Projections: 35 G, 36 A, +12, 77 PIM
1. Corey Perry (ANA): Last year was a career year for Perry and while he will likely not duplicate it, he has put up 70 points and 100 penalty minutes in three-straight seasons. He should likely be picked up very early in the first round.
Projections: 44 G, 45 A, +10, 105 PIM
2. Jerome Iginla (CGY): Putting up 86 points last season and not missing a single game in four years, Iginla is always a safe bet despite being 36. He still has the potential to put up good fantasy numbers.
Projections: 35 G, 38 A, -1, 46 PIM
3. Patrick Kane (CHI): While he is coming off an off-season wrist injury, Kane will be ready to produce on an offensive team. He has put up 70 points in all four of his seasons thus far and has proved that he can score big goals under pressure.
Projections: 25 G, 45 A, +5, 33 PIM
4. Jeff Skinner (CAR): The young sophomore is coming off a 63-point rookie season and the Hurricanes are hoping to have more of the same performance this season.
Projections: 33 G, 35 A, +5, 43 PIM
5. Joe Pavelski (SJ): After putting up career numbers last year and excelling in the playoffs, Pavelski will likely be playing along side Joe Thornton and/or Patrick Marleau – a line that is sure to produce steady points.
Projections: 25 G, 45 A, +9, 35 PIM
1. Zdeno Chara (BOS): Probably not the most offensive defenceman out there, but his penalty minutes and plus/minus make him the No. 1 fantasy D-man this year.
Projections: 15 G, 33 A, +30, 90 PIM
2. Mike Green (WSH): With all his offensive upside, assuming Green can stay healthy all season, he is a solid pick up for anyone who likes watching an exciting style of defence.
Projections: 13 G, 16 A, +9, 50 PIM
3. Keith Yandle (PHX): He has increased his point total with each year of experience in the league. With his offensive abilities shining through last year, his value has sky rocketed and will likely a late-pick steal.
Projections: 12 G, 49 A, +2, 60 PIM
4. Drew Doughty (LAK): Despite holding out for a short period of time, Doughty’s requests were answered as he received a hefty new contract that he will have to live up to. His point total and penalty minutes make him a must have in this year’s draft.
Projections: 13 G, 30 A, +13, 70 PIM
5. Shea Weber (NSH): An annual high pick in the world of fantasy, Weber also has a new contract with the team and will look to make his own value rise with the potential to lead all D-men in overall points.
Projections: 20 G, 30 A, +9, 60 PIM
The Puck Stops Here
1. Ryan Miller (BUF): While he didn’t have the finish he wanted, Miller is a fantasy stud as he will likely get more starts than any other goaltender in the league.
Projections: 37 wins, 2.41 GAA, .918 SV%
2. Tim Thomas (BOS): He didn’t have a starting job when the season started last year, but quickly won the job, ending as the most valuable fantasy player.
Projections: 35 wins, 2.21 GAA, .928 SV%
3. Carey Price (MTL): Being a goalie that has never got quite the output he wanted, Price is still young and proven to be a solid pick each year. He will put up consistent numbers as a starter.
Projections: 36 wins, 2. 47 GAA, .918 SV%
4. Jaroslav Halak (STL): Playing behind an up and coming Blues team and coming off a so-so first season with the club, Halak is a solid pick that many people may look past in this year’s draft.
Projections: 32 wins, 2.53 GAA, .915SV%
5. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR): He is quite simply a fantasy freak and will most likely be picked up in the top of three of most drafts. Winning 36 games for the Rangers last year while posting a 2.28 GAA, he is sure to put up more of the same numbers this year.
Projections: 35 wins, 2.28 GAA, .923 SV%
Late-Round Sleepers (All Positions)
- Travis Hamonic (NYI)-Defence: 6 G, 27 A, +6, 119 PIM
- Max Pacioretty (MTL)- LW: 24 G, 19 A, -2, 47 PIM
- Peter Mueller (COL)- LW: 20 G, 31 A, -5, 22 PIM
- Kyle Okposo (NYI)- RW: 14 G, 29 A, -4, 38 PIM
- David Bolland (CHI)- C: 16 G, 25 A, +10, 40 PIM