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 St. Louis Blues.
The Elite Suite – A minute crunching D man who is a master tactician from the blue line, Alex Pietrangelo is a top level fantasy defender. Pietrangelo brings a consistent, durable game and contributes in ancillary stats as well like blocked shots, plus minus, and powerplay points. In this just his 5th season in the bigs, look for Pietrangelo to take another step forward into Norris trophy contention. The Blues’ captain, David Backes, is the total package when it comes to fantasy hockey. A wonderful blend of power forward imposing goals, PIMs, and hits. On a balanced roster, the upside of these two is limited but can be counted on for top end production.
Dependable Joe – A stud fantasy producer when it comes to the powerplay, offensive D man, Kevin Shattenkirk is a safe 45 point play from the back end. The full time addition of Jay Bouwmeester has eaten into Shattenkirk’s elite upside, but the talent is there. Highly touted out of Colorado College, Jaden Schwartz displayed big time goal scoring ability with 25 goals in just his second season. After agreeing to a sensible bridge contract, Schwartz will want to keep building to cash in on a long term deal. A pair of back to back 30 goal seasons will go a long way to making that dream a reality for this Saskatchewan native. In shootout fantasy leagues, Oshie would be the first pick off the board after the nasty paws he displayed at the Olympics. Alas, those one on one moves don’t translate to huge offensive numbers as Oshie’s career high in goals is just 21. His trajectory is still on the rise though, and is a fair bet for 55 points. Like coach Ken Hitchcock, we wish Oshie would throw his beefy body around some more to help those hits totals as well.
Risky Plays – Good as a depth option, don’t count on Jay Bouwmeester to match his totals from last season when he registered 37 points. The offensive opportunities on this team go primarily to Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk, while Bouwmeester focuses on doing what he does best, backing up Pietrangelo and shutting down the opposition. Alexander Steen surprised some last year with a career high 33 goals in just 68 games, and is getting due credit from the hockey community. Keep in mind though, Steen was abnormally on fire to start the season with 17 goals in his first 18 games, and hasn’t played all 82 since 2006-07, so the price tag is as steep as its going to get. An astute get from Blues’ management, Paul Stastny has been a productive player in fantasy hockey. With St. Louis being a deeper team, Stastny may not get as much time to shine as in Colorado so don’t expect him to top 60 points again.
Sleeper Seeker – Its just preseason, but Vladimir Tarasenko has shown up to camp ready to live up to his considerable offensive talent. For the 22 year old Tarasenko, its merely a matter of time before he elevates his game and takes over as the top offensive point getter on the Blues. A 30 goal campaign is in the cards for this Russian sniper. Being the 291st pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, you know Brian Elliott has had to beat the odds every step of the way on his NHL journey. Finally given clear cut number one status, Elliott has put up sparkling numbers in front of this same top St. Louis team the past few seasons, so look for a healthy return on your Elliott investment.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – The Blues’ goalie of the future, Jake Allen is ready to provide upper echelon backup goaltending that every top team needs. He took a big step last year with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, and is ready for NHL competition. The former Moncton Wildcat, Dimitrij Jaskin is another in a long line of sharp shooting wingers in the Blues’ system. If you miss out on Schwartz or Tarasenko, look for Jaskin as your young gun.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Ty Rattie started slow in his first professional season last year, but ended up with an impressive 31 goals on the year. His junior production for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL was prolific, so while he’ll get some extra seasoning in the AHL, go grab him if injuries call him into duty.
For Hockeyland Canada,