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 Pacific Division. Plenty of stud players for fantasy poolsters to familiarize themselves with, so lets keep it going with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Elite Suite – Bulldog winger Corey Perry is one of the most valuable fantasy assets yearly, as he brings the best combination of goals, hits, +/- and PIMs that you can find. Regardless of the fantasy format, Perry will be an elite stud as a PPG player who is a threat to win another Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy. In the prime of his career, feel comfortable with Perry as a cornerstone of your roster. Pal Ryan Getzlaf finally reclaimed 80+ point status again, as he finished runner up to many time Team Canada teammate, Sidney Crosby, for the Art Ross trophy. The Ducks have a slew of young offensive wingers to keep the playmaking Getzlaf happy with a bevy of weapons. Getzlaf is going to anchor your fantasy roster, especially in the assist, +/-, and powerplay point departments.
Dependable Joe – Ryan Kesler got his way out of Vancouver, and landed in a primetime chance to repeat career high totals on a loaded Anaheim team. As mentioned, there are many options for Kesler to develop chemistry with and should get back to his 2010-11 ways, when he recorded 41 goals and 73 points. At his peak, Kesler was a critical option in fantasy as he contributes in multiple categories like shorthanded points, hits, shots, faceoffs, powerplay points, and goals, so basically every category. He dropped in his draft year, then made the jump straight to the NHL as an 18 year old rookie, but Cam Fowler has yet to top the 40 point mark like in his inaugural season. Now that he has shored up his defensive game and improved his +/-, Fowler is a safe bet to take a step offensively and return to 40 point heights.
Risky Plays – Andrew Cogliano had his best season last year since the early young guns days with the Edmonton Oilers. After rejecting early comparisons to Todd Marchant, Cogliano has settled in to be just that, a double digit goal scoring third liner who specializes on the penalty kill. With young players like Rickard Rakell entering the fray and eating into his role, deep leaguers shouldn’t expect a repeat 20 goal campaign from Cogliano. A revelation as a rookie goaltender, Frederik Andersen had a sparkling 20-5 record, with strong ratios. Playing in a platoon limited his games played and upside last year, and it will be much the same as elite prospect John Gibson has taken the step up to the NHL. He could even end up as a backup, since Gibson has the stuff of legend based on his pedigree.
Sleeper Seeker – The Ducks have enough offense to feed more than one offensive defenseman, i.e. Cam Fowler, and there are two young up and coming rearguards ready to take a step. Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm played significant minutes last year, and were right behind Fowler in offensive categories. As the 6th pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft loaded with top end defenseman, Lindholm is our bet to take on more responsibility and be the more reliable fantasy asset. With that said, Vatanen looks to have the inside track on important powerplay one duties so he could be a big X factor. A key piece in the Bobby Ryan trade, Jakob Silfverberg didn’t take off as hoped, partly due to injuries early on. He has the tools to be a goal scoring winger, and is lining up on the second line next to Ryan Kesler in preseason.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – The aforementioned, John Gibson, was a standout for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and the US World Junior team, before stonewalling the AHL last year in his first professional season. By the end of the year, Gibson had taken over the crease in Anaheim for the playoffs and showed he was ready to win games in the NHL. One of the few goaltenders this season who will be a contender for the Calder trophy.
Keep Eyes Peeled – California grown, Emerson Etem, has blazing wheels and goal scoring ability for days. He’s produced in junior and in the minors, while acclimating himself well in limited time with the Ducks the past couple seasons. Its only a matter of time before Etem makes the top 6 and becomes a top scoring winger for many years to come. Patrick Maroon is a big power forward with a workmanlike game who can play third line minutes or score goals with the big boys up front. He’s paid his dues in the AHL and often gets looks with Perry and Getzlaf, making him an under the radar power forward option.
For Hockeyland Canada,