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 continue with the Atlantic Division. Plenty of stud players for fantasy poolsters to familiarize themselves with, so lets keep it going with the Montreal Canadiens.
The Elite Suite – Canada’s gold medal winning goaltender Carey Price has reached his prime years with a fair deal of experience under his belt. At age 27, expect to see continued backstopping dominance from this Anahim Lake, BC product. Carey will have to bounce back from the wreckage caused by behemoth Chris Kreider, ice hockey player turned downhill skier into Price’s knees. With a Vezina trophy seemingly on the horizon, elite numbers are the norm for Canada’s #1 netminder. Proclaimed Habs lifer, PK Subban, is now locked up long term to a sizable 8 year, $72 million deal after some intense negotiating at the bargaining table with the debonair Marc Bergevin. With an absolute monster for a slap shot, fantasy owners envision a 20 goal, 70 point campaign somewhere during that deal. We know PK has eaten his summertime cow and will be back even stronger after another summer of pumping weights, so maybe it’ll be this year.
Dependable Joe – Goal scoring power forward Max Pacioretty is Montreal’s Canadiens’ best forward and is just now establishing himself as a bonafide star. A mere one goal shy of the 40 goal mark, Pacioretty will be back for more and could vault himself into the Elite Suite with a monster year. His linemate David Desharnais may be miscast as a first line center, but the numbers don’t lie as he put up a serviceable 52 points last season. If Desharnais changed his stripes and shot the puck a little more than ~100 per season, then his and his linemate’s numbers would rise. Speculated by some as a prime candidate for the captaincy, Tomas Plekanec keeps putting in work by showing up to the rink nightly and taking care of business all over the 200 foot sheet of ice. Fantasy poolsters should draft for 50 points, but hope its one of those 70 point years that he’s been known to put up from time to time.
Risky Plays – Andrei Markov has been remarkably consistent in his production when playing, but after a stretch of injuries between 2010 to 2012 and his increasing age, we are treading lightly. Depending where he is drafted, he could be a real value pick so consider the risk when targeting him. We see flashes of Rene Bourque imposing his power forward frame, like his hat trick against the Rangers in the Conference Final. Unfortunately, inconsistency makes this player a no go for fantasy hockey other than as a flyer in the deepest of leagues. Former 9th round pick, yes 9th round pick, PA Parenteau has defied the odds and become an offensive weapon in the NHL when paired with the right linemates. Moving back to his home province of Quebec after a season of knee injuries, Parenteau may not be able to reach 60 point heights unless he squeezes his way onto a crowded powerplay.
Sleeper Seeker – In a year when many of his fellow 2012-13 rookie class compatriots suffered a sophomore slump, Alex Galchenyuk was no different. Regardless, we remain undeterred in our support of Galchenyuk as its only a matter of time before head coach Michel Therrien dreams at night about Galchenyuk centering Pacioretty, and finally gets the telepathic messages we’ve been sending. From there, the sky is the limit for the slickster Galchenyuk. Habs devotey Josh Gorges was shipped out of town to make room for smooth skating youngster, Nathan Beaulieu. We know defenseman take time, and Beaulieu will likely play some in the AHL, but this is the heir apparent to Markov’s dish serving role to PK on the PP. Keep doubting Brendan Gallagher for his size, but this guy doesn’t give a damn because he just keeps getting better. With former captain Brian Gionta gone, the pinball role is entirely Gallagher’s to bounce around with so watch out for a first ever 20 goal year.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – A defenseman more in the mold of a shut down role, Jarred Tinordi is on the cusp of NHL regularity, although not much of a fantasy hockey asset. The 22 year old Kladno born Jiri Sekac has created a Habs hype train with 2 goals in preseason. It looks like a third line spot is Sekac’s to run with and he could surprise the casual observer with a mature game.
Keep Eyes Peeled – You’ll see stretches from Lars Eller like last year’s playoffs, but we don’t get the total package night after night. If you see an Eller wave, get on it and hope it lasts longer than a few weeks. After witnessing a valiant backstopping performance in last year’s Conference Finals, Dustin Tokarski has convinced us that if given 60 games, he could put up starting netminder numbers. At this stage though, thats not going to happen unless Price gets injured or Tokarski gets traded, so purely Price handcuff material for now.
For Hockeyland Canada,