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 Ottawa Senators.
The Elite Suite – The sublime skating Erik Karlsson is fully healed from that unnecessary achilles injury and is the cream of the fantasy D men crop. Another 70 point season is on tap for Karlsson who will look to take on more of a leadership role this season with Jason Spezza jettisoned out of town. In fact, Karlsson was named as the ninth captain of the Ottawa Senators just this morning. We get so much from Karlsson and are grateful, but can’t help but openly wonder if he can achieve yet another offensive level.
Dependable Joe – A breakout campaign last season and keys to the first line center role make Kyle Turris a player who has finally arrived after being a highly touted prospect. Chemistry with Bobby Ryan only helps his cause as we’re sure to see him eclipse the 60 point mark this season. The man with two first names, Bobby Ryan, is eager to impress after signing a 7-year, $50.75 million contract. He wants to be the man but didn’t take a step forward like we expected after coming out from under Getzlaf and Perry’s shadow. Another 30 goal season would go a long way to appeasing the high expectations created by his shiny new contract. The past few seasons, Clarke MacArthur has flown under the radar yet recorded three 20 goal years with around last season’s 55 points. He can be a valuable addition for deep leaguers.
Risky Plays – Once a dependable joe, David Legwand is on the wrong side of father time and won’t return on his name value. He could score a top 6 role though, unless Mika Zibanejad steps up and takes the reigns as management hopes. Craig Anderson was awarded a three year extension, keeping him locked up until 2017-18. We’re worried for Sens fans, and simply don’t know what we’ll get from him in fantasy hockey as he can be up and down. With young netminder Robin Lehner breathing down his neck, Anderson’s risk exceeds the reward this season. Considered the key piece in the Dany Heatley trade, its turned out that Milan Michalek has produced the most out of anyone involved in that deal. He will still play a big role, but his numbers have been on the decline and long time assist man Jason Spezza is no longer his linemate.
Sleeper Seeker – The highest Senators draft pick since Jason Spezza, Mika Zibanejad, is expected to fill a bigger role. A move back to his native center position should help, and Zibanejad has the skating ability and heavy shot to contribute much more offensively. If he wins the second line center role in camp, this could be a breakout year for Zibanejad. A key piece coming back from Dallas, sophomore Alex Chiasson had a streaky rookie year. He showed flashes of ability as a goal scoring sniper and will be given chances to produce. Hometown hero Cody Ceci made his NHL debut for the Senators last year, and has offensive pedigree from the back end. A spot across from Karlsson on the powerplay could make Ceci a rising fantasy asset.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Curtis Lazar played a huge role in the Edmonton Oil Kings Memorial Cup winning season as he recorded 51 goals over the course of the year. He brings a mature game and doesn’t stand to benefit much from another year in junior, so odds are that he makes the Senators out of camp. A monster offensive producer in junior, Mark Stone eclipsed the PPG mark in the AHL last season. Its only a matter of time until Stone makes it in the NHL and contributes on the fantasy scoresheet.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Robin Lehner may have to play backup for a couple years behind Craig Anderson, but has loads of attitude and panache to take over the top role. If Anderson struggles with inconsistency or injuries like he has at times the past few years, then be sure to pounce on the talented Lehner. Another former first rounder looking for a roster spot, Matt Puempel scored 30 goals in the AHL last season, displaying what he can do if given a shot. Even better was Mike Hoffman who recorded 67 points in 51 AHL games, showing his readiness for the major leagues. Pay attention to which one sticks in camp, as they are worth a flyer in deep leagues.
For Hockeyland Canada,