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 Winnipeg Jets.
The Elite Suite – This franchise has been devoid of Elite Suite members since the days of Heatley and Kovalchuk, which was in Atlanta! Some young players in Evander Kane, Mark Scheifele, or Jacob Trouba could take the step one day, but it still seems a ways away in the Winnipeg rebuild.
Dependable Joe – His defenseman eligibility makes forward Dustin Byfuglien a rare commodity in fantasy hockey, especially because he can contribute in the power-play, shots, and hits departments at a high level. We don’t necessarily see him topping the 60 point mark just because he is a forward now, but the 20 goals are all but assured. In a breakout season that garnered him a surprise spot on the US Olympic team, Blake Wheeler put up 28 goals and 69 points in a full 82 game slate. As a former lottery pick, the pedigree is there for a repeat season and possibly a step up to the Elite Suite. Somewhat of a surprise signing at $5.65 million AAV, Bryan Little stepped up in a big way by utilizing the top line role to turn out a career high 64 points. Now that he’s established himself, we hope to see at least 20 goals and 50 points, but be wary of Scheifele taking his first line spot. Team captain for his consistent, ice tilting game, Andrew Ladd is a classic power forward winger in fantasy hockey who can deliver goals and hits. This man is capable of 20 goal, 50 point seasons for the foreseeable future.
Risky Plays – We think the Jets could surprise some people and win more games as head coach Paul Maurice continues to turn this team around, but Ondrej Pavelec is a liability in fantasy hockey. Sure, he’ll get the lion’s share of starts but his GAA is regularly hovering around 3.00 and save % near 0.900. Consider he’s never topped 30 wins despite being the go to guy, and you’ll know to avoid him in fantasy hockey. His days in the 50 point hemisphere seem behind Tobias Enstrom as his production has wallowed in the 30 point range the past few seasons. Now that he is dealing with an injury in preseason as well, we are increasingly wary as Enstrom starts stepping aside for youngster Jacob Trouba to run the powerplay.
Sleeper Seeker – The first ever draft pick for the Winnipeg Jets’ new chapter in the NHL, Mark Scheifele paid his dues by completing a stellar junior career and breaking into the league as a rookie last season. His numbers became progressively better as the season wore on, and he is slated for top line duties between Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler. A highly talented youngster with loads of opportunity is a perfect recipe for sleeper seeker success. Similarly, Jacob Trouba was able to eclipse the double digit goal mark with 10 in just 65 games in his first tour of duty in Winnipeg. With Norris trophy contender type tools, Trouba is quickly taking over a top D man role for the Jets, and for astute fantasy hockey owners across the hockey land. Ignore the noise surrounding Evander Kane, he is a top level talent who can be had on the cheap right now. His pedigree and game suggest he could top 30, maybe 40 goals one day, and with a premier playmaking center in Scheifele to get him the puck, this may be the year.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – A couple top prospects in Nikolaj Ehlers and Joshua Morrissey were vying for roster spots late into camp, but eventually didn’t make the cut. With a slow developing organizational philosophy, we won’t see any rookies make their debut outside of backup goaltender Michael Hutchinson. Hutchinson’s numbers in the AHL the past few seasons have been sterling, and with starter Pavelec on egg shells, Hutchinson may take advantage of his backup role and earn more starts. As the goalie of the future in Winnipeg, dynasty makers should consider Hutchinson as a potential option.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Rookie Adam Lowry turned heads in training camp and made the opening night roster. His big body could line up on a daunting third line with Perreault and Byfuglien, so keep him on your watch list as he’s a former 45 goal scorer in junior. Replacing the aging Olli Jokinen is Mathieu Perreault who put up an impressive 0.6 PPG on a high flying Ducks offense last season. He has been one of the better players in camp, and could be a useful option for deep leaguers.
For Hockeyland Canada,