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 Vancouver Canucks.
The Elite Suite – The telepathic Sedin twins from Sweden are ready to re-establish themselves as elite hockey players. Last season was a lost year as former coach John Tortorella’s suffocating style stifled the Sedin’s creativity. Thankfully, new management knows to utilize the Sedins in more offensive situations. Look for Henrik to reclaim top dime dropping status with 60+ assists, and for Daniel to rediscover his sniping ability with 30+ goals. These two never stopped being PPG players, and will now be unleashed again by new head coach Willie Desjardins.
Dependable Joe – Sure he struggled for the St Louis Blues in the playoffs after getting traded at the deadline, but Ryan Miller continues to be a sturdy starting goaltender in the NHL. With many of the key veteran pieces from the contending days still in place, the Canucks will be better than the pundits think and a 30 win season is reasonable for Miller. In fact, the current Canucks are much better defensively than the Sabres teams Miller has played on recently so a save % north of 0.915 is a safe bet, with a GAA close to 2.50.
Risky Plays – Traded for and slated to replace Ryan Kesler, Nick Bonino slides into the second line center role with Alexandre Burrows and Christopher Higgins flanking his wings. We’ve heard how much Canucks management like this guy, but we’re wary that his price tag is high and that he’s reached his peak. Bonino isn’t sourrounded with as much offensive talent as in Anaheim, so we’d avoid him but for the deepest of leagues at the cheapest of prices.
Sleeper Seeker – Another victim of a season gone wrong, Alexandre Burrows has fallen quite far from his 25 goal, 50 point days. For a guy who worked for everything he’s gotten, we expect Burrows to come back as strong as ever. Remember, he can be a good combination of goals and PIMs when he is on his game. After seemingly only being able to produce with one franchise, the Coyotes, Radim Vrbata joins the Canucks for the very specific role of flanking the Sedin’s wing. He’s got that complementary right shot, and innate goal scoring ability that will go perfectly with the Sedin’s playmaking game. Look for Vrbata to bring 20 goals and 50 points with upside, and a chance to rack up PP points also. Alexander Edler peaked with 49 points in 2011-12, but has seen his production and stock fall drastically. This is a classic snatch late in drafts or on the wire, and hope he can rekindle the offensive flare we thought he had. Certainly, the role and opportunity will be there for Edler to get back to at least the 40 point plateau.
Rookies Ready to Break the Ice – While Corey Schneider finally owns an NHL crease in New Jersey, Bo Horvat will get a chance to debut in the NHL. It’ll still be sometime before Canucks fans feel like they got good value back in that trade, but Horvat will show glimpses of his strong, high flying, opportunistic game as a rookie. Trapped behind a deep roster, Linden Vey never got a good shot with the defending champion LA Kings. Now in Vancouver, rookie Linden Vey will anchor the third line and see powerplay duty as well. With junior numbers that reached prolific heights, and very good minor league numbers, Vey has a recipe for consistent NHL production.
Keep Eyes Peeled – Zach Kassian brought the promise of a goal scoring power forward back to the Canucks, when they traded Cody Hodgson to Buffalo. He’s played decently at times, but has struggled with terrible inconsistency. The Canucks and fantasy owners will keep their eyes on Kassian to see if he fulfills his power forward potential. Eddie Lack won the crease from veteran Roberto Luongo, so who’s to say he can’t do it again with Ryan Miller. He’s shown that he may not be ready to run away with the starter’s spot, but could win a few more starts and/or peel off a hot streak from time to time.
For Hockeyland Canada,