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 Buffalo Sabres.
The Elite Suite – As hard as we try, no one is worthy of the elite suite in Buffalo by any metric. Stock-piling young assets like Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons, and Rasmus Ristolainen help their chances of filling this space. Going so young will also help the Sabres slide to the bottom of the NHL basement suite, and maybe, possibly a shot at drafting one of Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, or Noah Hanifin. Heck, they hold the Islanders’ lottery unprotected 1st rounder as well next year, so maybe their Elite Suite could have two of those players one day.
Dependable Joe – Making the Tomas Vanek deal even better, the Sabres re-signed three time 30 goal scorer Matt Moulson who felt welcome in Buffalo. Remember, John Tavares isn’t lining up beside Moulson anymore so temper expectations for a 25 goal, 50 point campaign. Already on his third team, Chris Stewart hasn’t yet turned into an elite goal scoring, PIMing machine, like fantasy owners have hoped for. With a healthy role in front of him, this could be the year that Stewart puts it all together. Draft as a flyer late or in deep leagues and hope his body holds up against his bone crunching game. Former top prospect, Cody Hodgson has upped his production since being freed of life in Vancouver. Granted, his team was terrible in Buffolo last year, but we want to see Hodgson take another step and clean up on that awful plus minus. Draft for 45 point and powerplay production, with hopes for more on a young team.
Risky Plays – A classic case of a small man oozing with offensive instincts, Tyler Ennis has settled in as a 45 point scorer in a prominent role with Buffalo. As the tea leaves begin to flip over and the youngsters start taking over, Ennis’ role is sure to diminish so be cautious of what you expect from him. We saw big things from Tyler Myers his first couple seasons, and were ready to proclaim him a one day Norris trophy contender. Unfortunately, Myers’ game has gone sideways the past few years so we’re just hoping for a step forward at this stage. He may even begin to fall down the depth chart with Rasmus and Nikita Zadorov coming on strong.
Sleeper Seeker – His frame his hard to contain for opposing defenders, Zemgus Girgensons showed flashes of his potential in his rookie year. If the Sabres are ever to turn it around, it’ll be guys like Zemgus who take on more and more of a starring role. Buffer a to be expected weak plus minus, and you can reap the breakout rewards of this Latvian dynamo. Jhonas Enroth patiently waited behind Ryan Miller, playing backup for the past four seasons. Sure the Sabres brought in competition in the form of former Capital, Michael Neuvirth, but we like Enroth to win the job. On a bad team, his wins totals and GAA could slag, so use him strictly as a backup option for fantasy rosters.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Sam Reinhart can beat you up with his brain, as his ice IQ is so high, you’d think he earned a hockey doctorate from growing up as son of Paul, and brother of Max and Griffin. The youngest of the brothers is an all around player who figures to be the Sabres’ top line center one day. Sam has what it takes to stick now, but ultimately, what’s best for his development will take precedent for the Sabres.
Keep Eyes Peeled – When Rasmus Ristolainen went beast mode on the competition at last year’s World Junior Championships, the hockey world took notice. An impressive stint in the AHL and cup of coffee with the Sabres last season has Rasmus poised for full time duty. Similarily, Nikita Zadorov revealed his huge body and massive bomb from the point to hockey fans last year. The two young, talented rear guards are expected to be prominent players for the Sabres for a long time to come. The biggest roadblock to Reinhart’s NHL path this season is another former 1st rounder in Mikhail Grigorenko, who looks ready after back to back years of playing in three leagues. The offensive upside is there so be sure to snatch him up if he gets top 6 minutes.
For Hockeyland Canada,