Greetings readers, welcome to Fantasy Hockey, What’s the Point Man? Honestly, what is the point man? The point man is the player who plays the point on the powerplay, near the blueline. They in many ways run the power play by acting as an outlet for forwards on the half walls, by setting up for seeing eye shots, and by being the last line of defense should the penalty kill counter. The point man could also be considered the player with the most goals and assists. Soldiers, politicians, and even entrepreneurs could play the part of a point man as well. But, What is the Point Man? The point is to dominate your foes at fantasy hockey to win cash and pain inflicting bragging rights. Here is where you can find the scoop to help you get to the top.
As part of Hockeyland Canada’s season preview, each division will be examined to identify players to pick and players to avoid. The Atlantic Division will be covered with a mix of North East and South East teams. A few Canadian teams to go along with some Cup contenders, and you have a new look division.
The Elite Suite – Tuukka Rask proves that patience pays off. After biding his time behind the now resurrected Tim Thomas, Tuukka is fresh off an elite shortened season and extended playoff run. With arguably a better team in front of him, Tuukka will finally eclipse the 30 win mark, maybe 40, and is in contention for the Vezina trophy.
Dependable Joe – Blessed with fantastic depth, the Bruins cupboard is stocked full with Dependable Joes. It starts with the captain, Zdeno Chara, who is a lock for 10 goals, 40 points, +20, 80 PIMs, and dragon wrestling year after year. Milan Lucic is the biggest, meanest, strongest power forward in the game who is an intriguing candidate for the Canadian Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team. Given the added motivation, Lucic should register a 30 goal, 60 point season. If the regular season could get David Krejci’s juices flowing like the playoffs do, then we may have a point-a-game player on our hands. Loui Eriksson’s slides in on the top line with his 70 point ways, and expect him to raise his linemate’s game as he is simply a better player than Nathan Horton. Brad Marchand is the most skilled pest in the game today, 30 goals seem right within reach for this young man. In a land where centers grow in cribs, Patrice Bergeron wouldn’t strike you as a strong candidate for Team Canada based on points. Expect a modest 50 – 60 points in the regular season, and then see the heart of a lion tear through Sochi, you’ll understand why he is a lock for the best team in the world.
Risky Plays – Torey Krug may have caught your eye in the playoffs, and while his AHL numbers are strong, the hype may exceed reality. He is stuck behind Chara and Hamilton for power play duties, and a player of his size may have a hard time staying in the big leagues.
Sleeper Seeker – Jarome Iginla is a notoriously slow starter, and never had to adjust to a new team until last year. You can see how the cards were stacked against him in his final year with Calgary. Lets not forget that this guy put up 30 or more goals from 2000 to 2011, Iggy is the same great hockey player and will be a bargain on draft day. Dougie Hamilton comes from a long line of great Canadian defenseman, one day he will show that he can hang with the Subbans, Pietrangelos, and Doughtys of the world. With the complete package and playoff experience under his belt, Dougie will give the Bruins faithful another reason to chant “Thank You Kessel”.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Technically too old to be considered a rookie, Carl Soderberg brings 31 goals from Linkopings HC to his first season in the NHL. He may give sneaky good value from the third line on this balanced and productive team.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Joe Morrow is a highly thought of top prospect, how else would he get traded so many times in just several months, think about it.
The Elite Suite – Outside of Ryan Miller’s 2009-10 season, the Sabres elite suite has been empty ever since Dominik Hasek was rolling around in it. Everyone’s a long shot to achieve elite status on this team, but one of their young players may bust in the next few years.
Dependable Joe – Thomas Vanek will be under constant trade speculation in Buffalo, but the motivation of a new contract may bring out the best in the Austrian born marksmen. Many may expect an 80 point season from Vanek without considering his lack of consistency and supporting cast. You’ll get 35 goals and 70 points from Vanek, with his centerman Cody Hodgson having a breakout year with 60 plus points. Second line C duties fall to Tyler Ennis who is consistent enough to register 55 points. Another former Vancouver Canuck, Christian Ehrhoff gets $4 million in exchange for 40 points every year for 10 years in Buffalo.
Risky Plays – Point production trending down for a young player like Tyler Myers is not inspiring faith among poolies. Grab him in pools this year and master the art of holding your breath waiting for this guy to turn it around. Another Sabre who turned one good season and a trigger happy owner into a terrible contract, Ville Leino should not be counted on for those with visions of a championship. Drew Stafford’s game took a hit last year, and when you’re starting with a player whose ceiling is 50 points, then there isn’t much to get excited about.
Sleeper Seeker – Can two goalies on the same team be considered sleepers? The answer is yes when you consider Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth. A key to this is a mid-season trade of the once franchise player. If Miller ends up under say Patrick Roy’s wing in Colorado, then he could be on a team with the most offense ever in his career and a chance for more wins. Jhonas will take over Buffalo’s crease, it’s just a matter of when.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Registered under one of the coolest names in hockey, Zemgus Girgensons is a hulking Latvian centre who has AHL experience and has put up points in the preseason. His size and skill will be hard to keep out of the top 6 on a rebuilding team.
Keep Eyes Peeled – After a largely unsuccessful first season, Mikhail Grigorenko may regain the scoring touch he had in junior and you’re going to want to know about it when he does.
Detroit Red Wings
The Elite Suite – Pavel Datsyuk is a nasty man who waves his stick in magical ways. The best all around Russian hockey player on planet Earth, if this guy isn’t elite then we must be on Mars. Now preying on the Eastern Conference, the Datsyukian one will victimize defenseman and goalies alike. Henrik Zetterberg is a silent leader, who consistently puts up near point-a-game numbers. With the arrival of Stephen Weiss, these two will be reunited on the top line and tend to go laser blaster on the opposition when that happens. A top 10 finish in scoring is plausible when these guys are together.
Dependable Joe – Like many Wings goalies before him, Jimmy Howard is often under appreciated. A look at the numbers may blind you for all the bling, but an inability to take the Wings to the promised land will always hang over his head. He should be safe for now, so you are going to get great numbers and 35 or more wins. Niklas Kronwall sometimes gets mistaken for Nicklas with a C, but he has only ever shown himself to be a 40 point man, and not the fantasy royalty that is Nicklas Lidstrom. Daniel Alfredsson is going to show everyone in Ottawa that he is still a top end player in this league, and that they should have showered him with the appreciation of dollar bills.
Risky Plays – The man they call the mule is a breed of towering strength and deadly shooting rarely seen in one man. The playoffs are where Johan Franzen brings it, and with increasing age, an injury history, and less potential time with the big boys, he will have a hard time putting up career high type numbers this year.
Sleeper Seeker – Stephen Weiss has done what he can in Florida, and with Detroit being on the opposite end of the spectrum, a modest boost to a career high of 70 points wouldn’t be surprising. A hockey program that has elite talent and a professional standard, Weiss is in the best environment of his career.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar are on the slowest prospect assembly line in the league. These two could burn up the NHL this year, or be stuck in the minors on a 2 year sentence, only Wings management knows.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Further down the pipeline, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm are on the verge of breaking out of their 3rd-4th line 5 year sentence just like Valtteri Filppula before them.
The Elite Suite – A man named Pavel once scored 58 and 59 goals in back to back seasons. If you’re looking for elite players in Miami, you got the wrong sport.
Dependable Joe – Brian Campbell is alone on an island of consistent point production. GM Dale Tallon’s designated power play point man will be in the middle of puck movement all over the ice. He’ll get 50 points and threaten to top 20 power play assists for the fourth time in his career.
Risky Plays – Jacob Markstrom is an intimidating presence in the net as his massive frame covers the bulk of the net. Although he is a blue chipper, he only has 31 career games under his belt and with Tim Thomas looming, this may not be the year he delivers on all that potential. Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg are mid level players with a 55 point ceiling and a big hulking sack of injury concerns. Always intended to be a bridge to the future, the kids are starting to cross into the big leagues.
Sleeper Seeker – The first hope of an elite hockey player since the Russian Rocket, Jonathan Huberdeau’s mind thinks goals. Sublime hands and a willingness to get into the scoring areas will lead to a 30 goal, 60 point season. Tim Thomas has found peace and serenity in his life, and is ready to continue his improbable career. A return to Vezina form and leading the Panthers back to the playoffs, could Thomas do it? As a late round pick, its a lottery ticket that could turn into winning numbers.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Aleksander Barkov is a rare 18 year old who registered 48 points in 53 games for Tappara Tampere in Finland. Teenagers don’t get the big minutes needed to put up points in these European Men’s leagues unless they are special players. Slated to man the top line for a decade to come, Sasha will make Panthers faithful (if they exist) forget that they passed up on Seth Jones. Nick Bjugstad is a sizable 6 foot 6 inches high, and delivers lethal wrist shots learned from his Uncle’s hockey school. A two time 20 goal scorer in College, he figures to be a big piece in the top 6.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Vincent Trocheck is starting out in the AHL, but his OHL leading 109 points last season suggest he could make the jump at some point. Shawn Matthias is looking to carry a hot finish last year into the new season with first line duties up for grabs. Erik Gudbranson has never been known for his offense, but don’t ignore his preseason production. If it continues, the former 3rd overall pick with a booming shot could develop into a point producer.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Elite Suite – Steven Stamkos is a perennial threat to score 50 goals and continues to add new elements to his game. The addition of Jonathan Drouin will be enough to put him over the top as he one-times his way to the 100 point club. Martin St. Louis should be honored not only as an all time NHL great, but also as an all time fantasy great. Every year he plays a full year and records between point per game and scoring title, what more can you ask for?
Dependable Joe – Teddy Purcell is an underrated player because no one notices him behind Stamkos and St. Louis. He will get you 20 points and 55 points easily and does it consistently, not in bursts.
Risky Plays – Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback will be battling for starter’s duties in Tampa. With neither likely to drastically outplay the other, expect a timeshare on a team with a weak defence. Valtteri Filppula is an exciting player but has only ever had one very good year, and is in the first year of a juicy new contract.
Sleeper Seeker – Ryan Malone struggles to play a full 82 games every year, but being one of the veteran wingers on the roster may deliver him quality ice time. When its quality ice time with Stammer and Marty, he is bound to rack up points playing a rough game. Brett Connolly, drafted 6th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, paid his dues with a 31 goal season in the AHL last season. Steve Yzerman’s first ever draft pick will get a chance to live up to his boss’ lofty standards. At 22 years young, Victor Hedman is already his team’s best defenseman and has improved his PPG every season.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – The 3rd overall selection in this year’s NHL entry draft, Jonathan Drouin burst onto the hockey scene at the 2012-2013 World Juniors. In an unlikely offensive role with Team Canada, Drouin showed supreme skating, puck-handling, and play making. If he develops chemistry with Stamkos, then its essentially game over for the competition.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Detroit Red Wings style, GM Steve Yzerman has stashed a bevy of productive AHL players with the Syracuse Crunch. The trouble is figuring out which of Mark Barberio, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Richard Panik, or Vlad Namestnikov will be given a chance.
The Elite Suite – PK Subban’s agility and accurate slap shot are super elite talents that make him the most dynamic defenseman in the NHL. Still looking for a long term contract, the Habs are literally going to pay for not locking up the reigning Norris trophy winner. A first ever 20 goal, 70 point campaign for the Subbanator will solidify his place at the top.
Dependable Joe – Carey Price can be erratic at times, but seems ready for a bounce back season in front of an improved club. Being a clearcut number one will make him a 35 win man and above average GAA and save %. Tomas Plekanec is on average a 55 point player but can be hard to predict as he has more ups and downs than a yo-yo, one year its 70 the next its 40. Max Pacioretty has developed the right way into a productive power forward who is just beginning his 30 goal ways. Andrei Markov creates offense every time he sets foot onto the ice and is always a key part of a strong Habs powerplay. He is overshadowed by PK these days, but Markov is a 50 point defenseman.
Risky Plays – Erratic production and not enough assists, Rene Bourque will leave you wanting more. Now more the inspirational leader of the team, Brian Gionta could be overtaken by one of the youngsters, leading to diminishing returns for poolies. David Desharnais has been decently productive as a top line center the past couple years, but has too much talent behind him to stay there.
Sleeper Seeker – Alex Galchenyuk is a stud who is ready to take the NHL by storm. Check out NEXT LEVEL SHIFT for more on the Top 10 Breakout Players like Galchenyuk.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Jarred Tinordi has made the big club but is a defensive defenseman who won’t be expected to register on the stat sheet. Bournival will open the season on the fourth line, and will be given limited opportunity to make an impact. Check out Hockeyland Canada’s article “Opportunity Earned” for more on Habs camp.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Brendan Gallagher burst onto the scene with 15 goals in 44 games, which suggests he could hit 30 goals one day. Lars Eller made leaps in his game offensively last season and is sure to continue his upward trend since entering the NHL. You probably won’t have your eyes peeled for too long before you snatch these two up.
The Elite Suite – Erik Karlsson feels like a dream. He came, dominated the play all over the ice and treated NHLers like preschool pylons, and then the mythical achilles heel injury took him out of action. Karlsson is back, and is destined to put up some of the biggest numbers of our generation with 20 goals and 70 assists possible. Jason Spezza is eager to develop chemistry with new sniper Bobby Ryan, the most pure goal scorer he has played with since a young Dany Heatley. After the Senators had a successful season largely without him, the new captain hopes to take Ottawa over the top with an 80 point year.
Dependable Joe – Finally a premier setup man he can form a pass shoot relationship with, Bobby Ryan may still think Ryan Getzlaf is the better center, but he will be gaga for Spezza. A big big leap, as in 50 goals, is on the horizon for 1st overall behind Sidney Crosby in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Check out NEXT LEVEL SHIFT for more on Bobby Ryan. Milan Michalek ended up being a great return for the aforementioned Heatley, as he is now the better, more consistent player. A part of the fireworks on the top line, 60 points should be a fair bet for Milan.
Risky Plays – Everyone’s favourite pick this season, is it just me that thinks taking Craig Anderson as the 6th best goalie is a risk? He hasn’t often played 60 games in a season, and has a stellar young backup behind him ready to pounce. Don’t get me wrong, he is capable of having a great season but its a risky play. Kyle Turris has a fairly firm spot as the second line center, but lets remember his career high is just 29 points. The Persian Prince, Mika Zibanejad, could charge his way ahead of him mid season.
Sleeper Seeker – Considered by some as a franchise goaltender, Robin Lehner’s numbers the last two years have been the stuff of legends. With a reported bad ass attitude to go with his 0.935 save %, he could get a hold of the starter’s job and never let it go.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Jean-Gabriel Pageau provided a spark to the Sens in the playoffs with 6 points in 10 games, and could make a splash into the big leagues.
Keep Eyes Peeled – DJ Z-BAD drops beats in Ottawa clubs when he isn’t dropping opposing defenseman with crushing checks. Mika Zibanejad has a heavy shot and game-breaking ability that should be watched closely. Clark MacArthur had 60 points a few years back in his first season with an Ontario team, could it happen again?
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Elite Suite – Due a significant raise, Phil Kessel can earn himself a lot of money with a huge year. A 40 goal season has to happen somewhere along here doesn’t it? Cozying up with the Toronto media a bit more these days, Phil is surrounded by as strong a supporting cast as he’s had with the Leafs.
Dependable Joe – Nazem Kadri had a mini-breakout last season, but has more to prove before the Leafs commit to him long term. Naz should put up 65 points this season as his pace may slow slightly with the slumps of a long season. Taken 2nd after Patrick Kane in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, James van Riemsdyk has flashed some offensive flare especially in a couple postseason performances. JVR will leap to 30 goals and 60 points over the full 82 game schedule this season. Sadly, his best days are behind him, but Dion Phaneuf can still threaten for 10 goals as a D man with 30 assists. Tyler Bozak benefits from playing with locker room pal Phil Kessel, as he essentially gets 30 assists and 45 points just by dishing the puck.
Risky Plays – James Reimer crushed the hearts of teammates, coaches, and fans alike with an epic collapse against the rival Bruins. Young stud, Jonathan Bernier will keep Reimer glued to the bench so don’t take the risk on him. As soon as he threw on a Buds jersey, Joffrey Lupul took a big step up to point per game status and opened the eyes of those who wrote him off. Too bad he has only played 110 games in three seasons, and continues to remain an injury risk at a steep price tag.
Sleeper Seeker – Jake Gardiner has the potential to provide the best value for a defenseman in drafts. After 30 points two years ago, Gardiner has been extra seasoning in the AHL and is ready to chip in 40 points for the Buds. Jonathan Bernier has been a top goalie prospect for several years now and is ready to seize the crease. Check out NEXT LEVEL SHIFT for more on Bernier. David Clarkson may slip in drafts due to a silly 10 game suspension, but you can bet he will play some inspired hockey full of goals and hits when he returns.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – The West Vancouver, BC native, Morgan Rielly may have a hard time sticking with the big club but his ability to control the game with skating and poise screams NHL ready.
Keep Eyes Peeled – A former 30 goal scorer, Nikolai Kulemin will probably be stuck in a third line role but has the potential to produce if his role changes. Uber motivated after betting on himself with a 1 year deal, Cody Franson has reached heights in the WHL and AHL, and took a step up offensively in the NHL last season.
Please check out the METRO http://www.hockeylandcanada.com/2013/09/26/fantasy-hockey-whats-the-point-man-metro-division-preview-2013-2014-nhl-regular-season/ , PACIFIC http://www.hockeylandcanada.com/2013/10/03/fantasy-hockey-whats-the-point-man-pacific-division-preview-2013-2014-nhl-regular-season/ , and CENTRAL http://www.hockeylandcanada.com/2013/10/02/fantasy-hockey-whats-the-point-man-central-division-preview-2013-2014-nhl-regular-season/ division previews as well.
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