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 one team at a time to identify players to pick and players to avoid. There are six categories of players covered and it’ll begin with the Metropolitan Division. Tons of talent and intriguing players to kick things off right, lets get going with the New York Islanders.
The Elite Suite – A casualty of the epic 2014 Canadian Olympic team with an injury that ended his season, John Tavares was poised to battle Sid Crosby for the scoring title down the stretch. Alas, the Islanders unwound without him, but expect Tavares to come back stronger than ever with the C on his chest and ready to lead this team to the playoffs. A first time ever 90 point season is possible if he can play all 82.
Dependable Joe – Heralded as a potential top line power forward for years, Kyle Okposo finally put it all together last season to the tune of 27 goals and 69 points. The fact that he continued to play well after Tavares went down bodes well for this season, and a healthy Johnny T is ready to go. A consistent performer from the back end when healthy, Lubomir Visnovsky is recovered from a concussion and will be counted on to quarterback the Islanders’ powerplay. He should be good for at least 40 points with upside for 60+ like he did in Anaheim a few years back. The Denmark native, Frans Nielsen, is one of the more underrated players in the NHL but a 25 goal, 58 point campaign last season put everyone on notice.
Risky Plays – Jaroslav Halak played well the last few seasons for St. Louis, but he had a very strong team and defense in front of him, not like the current Islanders team he plays for. Also, keep in mind that he still has yet to play 60+ games and hasn’t shown he can take the starter’s gig and run with it. Your perception may be skewed from the blazing speed creating highlights on sports packages, but Michael Grabner is very inconsistent and may have been an aberration when he scored 34 goals in his rookie year. Reuniting Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin bodes well for their production and were astute signings by the New York brass. With that said, inconsistency and third line minutes curb their fantasy value so don’t expect 2010-11 numbers.
Sleeper Seeker – Taking the slow approach with 2011 NHL Entry Draft 5th overall pick, Ryan Strome, was the smart route to take. After finishing junior strong, Strome went on to put up an impressive 49 points in 37 AHL games last season. Upon getting the call to the big leagues, Strome acclimated himself well with a respectable 18 points in 37 games. With a healthy training camp, this is the season that Ryan Strome finally arrives on the Island.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – A rock on the Edmonton Oil Kings blueline in winning the Memorial Cup, Griffin Reinhart is ready to take the next step into the NHL but don’t expect huge offensive numbers. A couple rookies in Anders Lee and Michael Dal Colle are in the running to ride shotgun next to Tavares and Okposo on the top line. Both could stick this season, but whichever one wins that spot will be fantasy gold.
Keep Eyes Peeled – A brash young man who is oozing with offensive ability, Joshua Ho-Sang will make some noise in the NHL one day. Keep an eye on him in training camp and beyond, because his high ceiling could mean serious returns for fantasy GMs. Goalies take longer to develop, and Chad Johnson may be a perfect example of that after putting up very strong numbers in Boston last year. With Halak not a sure thing to carry the load, it could be Johnson that starts stealing the crease more often than not.
For Hockeyland Canada,