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 San Jose Sharks.
The Elite Suite – With a changing of the guard in San Jose awkwardly taking place, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture have taken over the keys to the franchise and elite suite. Little big Joe Pavelski sniped a career high 41 goals and near PPG, with 79 points in 82 games last year. Since he regularly brings it in the playoffs, expect to see Pavelski continue to play a prominent role and produce with the Sharks, including big time PP numbers. Logan Couture dealt with some injuries last season and didn’t take the step many expected. Put those concerns to the side as Couture is ready to return to the 30 goal plateau and put up a career high 70+ point season. The sting of last season’s 3-0 series collapse will drive this dynamic forward to new heights as he takes on an even bigger role with San Jose’s Sharks.
Dependable Joe – Say what you want about Jumbo Joe Thornton, but he is an annual threat to lead the league in assists and approach the PPG territory. The 1st overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft may start a slow decline as a 35 year old, but his game has always been more cerebral rather than physical. Its this crux that hurts his playoff game, yet gives him career longevity that few enjoy. His playoff performance may leave Sharks management wanting more domination, but fantasy poolsters can’t complain with the often 30 goal man, Patrick Marleau. He brings a heaping boat load of powerplay points and shots to go with his valuable game. There may be a slow changing of the guard in San Jose, but Marleau and Thornton will continue to put up dependable joe numbers for poolies. With Dan Boyle gone to New York City, Brent Burns will move back to the blueline and assume the QB role on the powerplay. Burns is still able to bring the goals, hits, and shots you’ve grown accustomed to, but isn’t as attractive as when he was a D-eligible forward.
Risky Plays – He was brought in because of the shiny Cup ring he sported, and for the most part, Antti Niemi has been the backbone goaltender the Sharks sought. Unfortunately, Niemi’s game, with the rest of the Sharks’ team, fell off a cliff in the playoffs to eventual Cup champion LA Kings. The price tag will be for an elite, top goaltender, and he could very well deliver. Just be cautious about the risk should the team falter and go in another direction with a rebuild/re-tool.
Sleeper Seeker – Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl took the league by storm in the first month of the season in 2013-14, as the former first rounder register 7 points in his first 3 games. The overall numbers were great, until injury took him out, but he played well when he returned to the lineup at the end of the season. With a spot on the top line next to the Joes, Tomas Hertl is sure to produce and is a key fantasy sleeper this season.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – Another former first rounder, this time from the 2013 draft, Mirco Mueller has cracked the Sharks’ roster on opening night. He ate up a whopping 23:16 minutes of ice time in the final pre-season game, and with a big void left by Dan Boyle, Mueller could step up and fill major minutes. His offensive game is limited for the fantasy game, but he has the tools to grow into an impact player.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Seen by some as a third line winger, Matthew Nieto is out to prove the doubters wrong and he has a prime time opportunity to do just that. Nieto has been seen on the second line with Marleau and Couture, which could spell a big step up from his 24 points in 66 games last year, his rookie season. Keep an eye on how the first few weeks play out, and be ready to pounce if he has a breakout game. Tommy Wingels took advantage of top 6 minutes last year to establish himself in the NHL with an impressive 38 point campaign. He could one day reach the 20 goal plateau, but we want to see him get top 6 minutes again before we buy in.
For Hockeyland Canada,