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 Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Elite Suite – Starting a fresh new $64 million, 8 year contract is sure to carry a weight of expectations for Phil Kessel in hockey mad Toronto. Sure he can be a streaky scorer, but this guy is remarkably durable while being a perennial top goal getter. Lock in at least 30 goals and 70 points for another year of elite level production from Kessel.
Dependable Joe – The man taken right after Patrick Kane in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, James Van Riemsdyk recorded his first ever 30 goal campaign with a full non-lockout season in Toronto. He may have reached his ceiling, but has already made the trade with Philly for Luke Schenn a fleecing. The buds faithful may hope for a stronger top line pivot than undrafted Tyler Bozak, yet his per game bang for buck production is strong. Being best buds with Kessel helps Bozak put up numbers, so be cautious if he ever finds himself off the top line. Dion Phaneuf stepped onto the fantasy hockey scene in a big way over his first three seasons with a combined 54 goals in Calgary. Being paid the big bucks with another big $49 million, 7 year contract, Phaneuf has now settled into 30 point production and glue numbers for those seeking PIMs, hits, and blocked shots.
Risky Plays – No one in and around the team will admit Jonathan Bernier is the unquestioned number one goalie, so while we all think he is, it falls short of being a sure thing. He sure faced a ton of rubber and handled himself admirably last season winning 26 games with a 0.923 save %. We love this guy’s game, just be careful what price you pay as James Reimer is still breathing down his neck. Having struggled to establish his top end offensive game, Joffrey Lupul found his way under the bright Canadian lights of Toronto. Lupul can be very productive when healthy as evidenced by his PPG ways from 2011-2013. Therein lies the problem as you have to go back to 2008-09 to find the last season in which he almost played all 82 games.
Sleeper Seeker – Some Leafs fans are asking David Clarkson to refine his game to be more offensive and deliver the 30 goal pace expected of his big hometown contract, rather than the mucking it up, fighting style that characterizes his game. Ultimately, he’ll have to bring the total package as now is a good buy low moment on a guy who can deliver goals, PIMs, and hits when he’s at his best. Nazem Kadri has been under intense scrutiny ever since being drafted 7th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, and he’s shown the offensive flare to justify that draft slot. With an ever maturing defensive game, Kadri is poised to put it all together and eclipse the 60 point mark for a breakout year this season. Puck moving D men, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner, will be key to the Leafs’ blueline taking a much needed step forward. They’ve both shown well for young, developing defenseman, but a 40 point campaign is expected for each of them. For dynasty makers, Rielly has an absurd upside and may go down as the best in his draft class as former GM Brian Burke exclaimed the day he was drafted.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – With strong family bloodlines, Michael’s boy William Nylander has a chance to stick in the big leagues straight after being drafted 8th overall in this year’s 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Having many options to play, including against men in the AHL or SEL, may cause the Leafs brass to take the patient, slow development approach. On a team hungry for scoring depth, the slick wristing Nylander will be called into NHL duty before long.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Leo Komarov has returned to Toronto after a stint with Moscow Dynamo of the KHL, and looks to get third line minutes at least to start. Strictly a deep league option, Komarov is known to throw his body around with regularity despite his smallish frame, so utilize him for his hits and hope for some offense.
For Hockeyland Canada,