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 Chicago Blackhawks.
The Elite Suite – World beaters Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews once again signed identical, 8 year, $84 million contract extensions to keep this superhero tag team together for a very long time. Outside of their pockets getting fat, the other thing you can count on is elite level fantasy production year after year. Patrick Kane’s got the stuff of scoring champions, so the addition of a good offensive centerman in Brad Richards could help him fulfill those heights. Jonathan Toews doesn’t need to score 100 points to be considered the best player on the planet, as his game translates into the most important stat there is, wins. When the cards fall right one year, we know Toews will eclipse the 80 point mark and put the hush on any more debate as to who is the top player in all the hockey land. We thought Patrick Sharp had peaked, but then he took his game to another level last season with a career high 78 points. Those numbers may regress a bit but Sharp is big time when it comes to PP and shots production for fantasy poolies.
Dependable Joe – Pegged to be a defensive defenseman, Brent Seabrook has developed a robust fantasy game with ~8 goals, 150 hits, 150 blocked shots, and a strong plus minus every year. We don’t expect 50 point upside, but he’s proven us wrong before, and is a boss, game in game out, having only missed 10 games in the past 8 seasons. The starting goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks is a strong fantasy asset, we don’t care who the guy is, and that guy, Corey Crawford, continues to refine his game. With a Stanley Cup to his name and an elite team in front of him, Crawford is going to get his 30 wins, but its the improved GAA and save % that we’re particularly impressed with. Lets see a few more shutouts and 35+ wins, and he may enter the Elite Suite this season.
Risky Plays – Possibly sacrilegious for the Norris trophy winner and beacon of inspiration for many Canadians to be considered a risky play in the fantasy game, but we’re forced to warn poolsters of Duncan Keith’s risk. We’re afraid you’ll draft for 60 points, but only get 40 points which has been customary over his career, since he’s never had back to back 60 point campaigns. Be wary of your expectations and the price you’re willing to pay. It pains us to label Marian Hossa a risky play, but he’s on the wrong side of 35 and has battled injuries the past few years. With the Hawks cap space continuing to become crunched, youngsters like Brandon Saad may start eating into his role. Don’t get us wrong, Hossa has still got game, but don’t expect, rather hope for elite production.
Sleeper Seeker – Homegrown youngster Brandon Saad has come out of the Blackhawks prospect ranks to belong in the top 6 for one of the most offensive teams in hockey. He’s been through the gauntlet with Toewser and the gang, so he’ll continue to grow into a 60 point producer this season. We don’t blame you for being skeptical, because Brad Richards disappointed in New York, never reaching the PPG heights he was paid for. Freed from that burden, Richards gets a chunk of change and a chance to lineup between Kane and Sharp, we’re certainly not shedding any tears. If your fantasy competitor grabs him late instead of you, then you’ll be the one lacrimating.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Finnish body double to Patrick Kane, Teuvo Teravainen could line up next to his American mentor sometime this season. His moves can only be described as those of a slickster, and once he goes ape on the AHL, coach Q will be forced to call up the toolsy Teuvo and unleash him on the NHL.
Keep Eyes Peeled – The breaking trade of Nick Leddy to the Islanders frees up a roster spot on the back end. The contenders are David Rundblad and Adam Clendening, as both bring an offensive game that replaces what was lost. After riding the pine for most of the last season, GM Stan Bowman’s 2014 trade deadline acquisition, Rundblad, is the smart bet to win the spot. With elite level offensive ability, Rundblad could make a serious splash this season, especially if he lines up on the top powerplay.
For Hockeyland Canada,