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 Central Division. Plenty of stud players for fantasy poolsters to familiarize themselves with, so lets keep it going with the Minnesota Wild.
The Elite Suite – Zach Parise works for everything he gets as he’s constantly digging out pucks and tossing them at the net with 245 shots which led to 29 goals last year. The addition of Thomas Vanek up front, and continued growth of a bevy of young players will help Parise return to the 70+ point range. Surely the Wild offense can improve on its 23rd place showing last season, and that will help Parise get back to those PPG ways of his peak.
Dependable Joe – Injuries have befuddled Mikko Koivu over the past few years, but he gives you 60 point pace when he is in the lineup. For leagues that track faceoffs, this guy is one of the league’s aces as he was 55% last season. To complete the top line, Jason Pominville made sure the population of Pominville was well fed in his first year in Minnesota with 30 goals and 60 points. Look for Pominville to continue to play the same consistent, steady game, now that he’s starting his new 5 year, $28 million deal. Without question an elite defender in the NHL, Ryan Suter’s offensive numbers don’t pop out of the page enough for such a status in the fantasy game. Nonetheless, Suter will get you your 40 points, powerplay points, and healthy plus minus.
Risky Plays – Thomas Vanek has exceptional offensive talent but the production sometimes waxes and wanes, leaving fantasy owners befuddled as to what to do with him. The days of 40 goals are behind him so bank on 25 goals and be pleasantly surprised if he exceeds it. Nicklas Backstrom started his career with a series of stellar seasons, but a history of injuries and 36 years of life on earth have his fantasy game on the decline. Toss in an upstart young backup in Darcy Kuemper, and you’d be wise to avoid Backstrom in fantasy drafts but for the cheapest of prices.
Sleeper Seeker – The 22 year old Mikael Granlund is mature beyond his years, already a top notch faceoff man, and sublime set up artist, Granlund is ready to take it to the next level. The trajectory is pointed upwards as look for Granlund to clock 60 points next to new addition Thomas Vanek. A key piece in the Brent Burns trade, Charlie Coyle is on the cusp of returning serious dividends for the Wild management. Coyle is an up and coming power forward who will get you the goals and hits needed from the wing. Jonas Brodin was a key minute munching D man for the Wild last year, yet didn’t produce strong point totals. A look further reveals 8 goals as a second year player, which suggest Brodin’s production could rise if his coaches give him the green light a little bit more.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Sometimes looking lost when given a 13 game trial in 2013-14, Matt Dumba has another year of experience under his belt and looks to stick in the NHL this time around. His bone crunching, goal scoring style in the WHL should translate well to the fantasy game should he get the minutes.
Keep Eyes Peeled – The aforementioned Darcy Kuemper has produced at the AHL and NHL level the past few seasons, and could run with a chance if Backstrom goes down. The save % has been above 0.915 and the GAA below 2.50, and as the goalie of the future for an ever improving team, Kuemper is key material in dynasty leagues. Nino Niederreiter’s rookie season was so abysmal, many were quick to write him off as a bust, but as it is with many young players, Niederreiter took time to find his game. He may have been bumped out of the top 6, so don’t count on him to produce, but 20 goal potential is there.
For Hockeyland Canada,