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 Los Angeles Kings.
The Elite Suite – The reigning Stanley Cup champions are greater than the sum of their parts, with depth up and down their lineup. The top of the heap is Slovenian Anze Kopitar who anchors the top line, shuts down the opposition, and chips in timely offense as evidenced by 9 game winners last season. With the Kings returning essentially the same team, look for Kopitar to contribute another 25 goal, 70 point season with loads of shots and a stellar +/-.
Dependable Joe – Jeff Carter took his all around game to another level last year as he had his strongest season with the Kings in 2013-14, registering 27 goals and 50 points. The young kid wingers will continue to flank Carter, so watch for him to continue flying up and down the ice and firing a boat load of pucks at the net. Drew Doughty’s real life game has always exceeded his fantasy game, as he is certainly an elite player, but not quite in the fantasy game. Not since his sophomore campaign in 2009-10 has Doughty topped 50 points, but he has become a glue D man who gives you double digit goals, 40 points, hits, and a strong +/-. Another player whose strength is stepping up when it matters most in the playoffs, Justin Williams is a fair option in deep leagues if you’re looking for 20 goal, 45 point production. As the youngsters start taking on a bigger role and with Gaborik in town for a full year, Williams may see his offense continue to decline in a third line role so don’t invest too heavily.
Risky Plays – One game, win or go home, everything on the line, give me Jonathan Quick as my top pick to tend the net. Unfortunately, the numbers have not been consistent for fantasy poolsters who own Quick over the course of the regular season. As the Kings continue to play well into the playoffs, backup Martin Jones will give Quick a rest more and more to keep him fresh, so be wary of 35 win expectations.
Sleeper Seeker – Depending on the year, Marian Gaborik is a risky play or a sleeper, it all depends on if his stock has recently risen or fallen. Coming off a season in which he only scored 11 goals, Gaborik is a potential 40 goal man who will come at a discount. With an elite playmaking center in Kopitar to play with, Gaborik proved in last year’s playoffs that he can still produce at a very high level. Not often have the Kings developed goal scoring wingers over the past decade, but Tyler Toffoli looks to be the best one to come around in a while. Toffoli tore up the AHL and then acclimated himself well upon getting called up. In the playoffs, Toffoli showed how much of a gamer he is, as he registered the Stanley Cup winning assist. After tearing up the pre-season, there is no doubt Toffoli is here to stay and is ready to make a name for himself. Dustin Brown’s offensive upside is limited by the Kings’ depth, but he is an extremely valuable fantasy player in leagues that record hits, as he has 20 goal potential and hits everything in sight.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Tanner Pearson cracked the NHL roster at the end of last season and playoffs, because he worked as a perfect compliment to Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli on the second line. Pearson produced decently in the regular season, then upped his game in the playoffs. That performance has all but assured him a spot on the second line, and a chance to surprise Calder trophy voters.
Keep Eyes Peeled – The days of 70-80 point seasons are behind Mike Richards, and his role on the current Kings doesn’t even give him hope to reach those heights. With that said, he is extremely durable and is better than the 41 points he put up last year. We know he has it in his game to pile up goals, hits, and shots, but want to see it before jumping on board in deep leagues. The Kings have three young defenseman who can put pucks in the net and could be a key contributor on the powerplay. Watch out for Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin, and Alec Martinez as one of them could turn out to be a sneaky add in deep leagues.
For Hockeyland Canada,