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 Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Elite Suite – We’ve all seen what Steven Stamkos can do in the NHL, and it mostly involves blasting cannons through goaltenders from all over the ice. The odds on favourite to unseat Alexander the great for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, Stamkos is a premium fantasy asset. In our greed, all we ask for is 82 games and a first ever 100 point NHL season.
Dependable Joe – Ben Bishop established himself in 2013-14 by taking the Bolts crease and running with it. After 63 games, Bishop recorded a sparkling 2.23 GAA and 0.924 save % to go along with 37 wins and 5 shutouts. A repeat performance will find all 6’7 of big Ben in the elite suite. Valtteri Filppula proved he isn’t just a product of playing with guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk in Detroit, as he potted 25 goals with 58 points in a second line center role. Painted into a corner by the sensitive Martin St. Louis, Steve Yzerman did well to haul in two first rounders and former Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, locking him up this summer. Last year was a down year, but he is a good bet to line up next to Stamkos and is a force in the hits department for leagues that track it.
Risky Plays – Victor Hedman’s PPG has been on a steady rise each of his first five seasons in the league after stepping right in once drafted 2nd overall back in 2009. Last year was a huge leap that may regress a bit, especially with Jason Garrison’s arrival and potential powerplay eating role. The 55 point performer will be good, but be careful not to pay a massive premium just yet. Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat had fine rookie seasons, but they were asked to fill an unexpectedly big role with key players coming out of the lineup. Stevie Y added to his depth throughout the lineup, so these sophomores may not get the opportunity to match last year’s totals.
Sleeper Seeker – Another gem prospect unearthed by Yzerman’s staff, Nikita Kucherov is young and has all kinds of goal scoring ability. After seeing what Johnson and Palat could do, don’t be surprised if Kucherov starts making waves. Given an outlandish contract by the Canucks after coming out of nowhere to score 16 goals as a defenseman in 2011-12, Jason Garrison is a fantasy hockey sleeper this season. He didn’t crack the 10 goal mark the last couple seasons, but may be utilized as a ying to Steven Stamkos’ yang on the powerplay, blasts away!
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – The favourite to win Calder’s trophy, Jonathan Drouin is a perfect replacement for Martin St. Louis with his sublime vision, skating, and overall offensive ability. Unfortunately he broke his thumb and has missed training camp so far, but Drouin will be a given a shot in the NHL to start and most pundits expect him to impress as his junior pal, Nathan Mackinnon, did. Another tour of duty with the Syracuse Crunch is in the offing for Vladislav Namestnikov, but just one center going down to injury will have him on the first plane to Tampa. Since this is major league sports, thats likely to happen at some point so we’ll probably see what Namestnikov can do this year.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Stevie Y shipped out Teddy Purcell over the summer, seemingly to make room for Campbell River’s Brett Connolly. A goal scorer in junior and the minors, Connolly looks poised to win a roster spot and finally make it as an NHL regular. A 6th round pick in 2008, Mark Barberio has made himself into a very productive offensive blueliner in the AHL. If given a shot, he could be a valuable fill in from the waiver wire.
For Hockeyland Canada,