Fantasy: All crossed up over wingers
JOEL COLOMBY, QMI Agency
|Kings' Jeff Carter looks poised to return to the 60-70 points level. (REUTERS)
One thing we noticed when doing the left wingers last week and right wingers this week is that, depending on which website you have on your screen at any moment, a specific player might be listed at either position, both or perhaps even centre, as well. This, of course, can confuse the fantasy rankings process if you happen to be in a pool that lists left and right wingers as separate positions.
Fact is, most NHL forwards will be deployed at two, sometimes three, positions over the course of a season. And most online hockey pools, wisely looking to avoid headaches, simply lump the two wing positions together. So, if you happen to notice someone in the lists below you feel should be on the other side of the faceoff dot, you may be correct. But don’t let it affect where you rank them. In the end, fantasy points are fantasy points regardless where they are slotted.
So, on to the right wingers, who stands to make a big jump in fantasy value and who could drop:
— Jeff Carter LA: Those well-intentioned Columbus months were a failed experiment that killed his fantasy value last season. However, his reunion with Mike Richards in Hollywood, helped along by that long and fruitful playoff run, should see him back at the 60-70 points level.
— Dany Heatley MIN: Expect to see a reasonable across-the-board rise in his fantasy stats with Zack Parise and Gary Suter around.
— Nathan Horton BOS: He, Milan Lucic and David Krejci were one of the NHL’s most feared forward lines until a concussion limited him to 46 games and 32 points.
— Nikolai Kulemin TOR: Had him on my team two years ago and watched him closely when whatever line he played on was the Leafs’ most productive. He’s far better than last year’s shockingly dismal output suggests and I suspect he will show so this season.
— Kyle Okposo NYI: Though he settled in on a solid second line last year, many felt — and still feel — he’d be a nice complement for John Tavares and Matt Moulson, which could happen now that P.A. Parenteau is in Colorado.
— Peter Mueller FLA: A former top-10 pick who racked up 54 points as a rookie but hasn’t matched it since, he is back in a top-six role with a new team after three injury-plagued seasons. Has 16-20-36 totals in 47 games this past two years. Not bad.
— Ales Hemsky EDM: Injuries and all of that high-profile younger talent around him have made 29-year-old a sought-after NHL trade target and under-the-radar fantasy piece. Could work his way up to the second line if Nail Yakupov isn’t quite ready.
— Jakub Voracek PHIL: He slides into the top-line slot vacated by Jaromir Jagr. Doesn’t compare to the future Hall of Famer in his prime, but with his size and hands, he could put up numbers similar to what Jagr did last year.
— Drew Stafford BUF: Could be looking at a career year after piling up 17 points in his final 14 games last year on one of those instant chemistry lines with Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.
— Wojtek Wolski WAS: Can’t be any worse, fantasy-wise, than he was last year, but will now get top-six ice time and could even wind up playing with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.
Also: Alexander Semin CAR, Corey Perry, ANA, Viktor Stalberg CHI, Michael Grabner NYI, Guillaume Latendresse OTT, Chris Stewart STL, Patrick Kane CHI, Martin Havlat SJ
— Radim Vrbata PHX: He had a real chemistry going with Ray Whitney the past couple of seasons but will have to start from scratch with Steve Sullivan, or whoever winds up on his left wing.
— Marian Gaborik NYR: The much-ballyhooed arrival of Rick Nash could force him to a second line and away from setup ace Brad Richards. All three on a loaded first line would be intriguing, but it likely won’t happen, except maybe on the power-play.
— Teemu Selanne ANA: Dropped from 80 points to 66 last year despite playing nine more games. At, 42 years old, and with fading Saku Koivu still as his centre, expect the trend to continue.
— P.A. Parenteau COL: Coming off a breakout 49-assist, 67-point season with the Isles, we don’t like his chances of repeating — this season, at least — without Tavares and Moulson.
— Michael Ryder DAL: The trading of Mike Ribeiro in the off-season will likely affect him more than any other Star.
Also: Cal Clutterbuck MIN, Erik Cole MON, Dainius Zubrus NJ
TEN KIDS WHO COULD
Young right wingers that may be worth stashing on your reserve list:
Jordan Caron BOS
Zack Kassian VAN
Jakob Silfverberg OTT
Nino Niederreiter NYI
Andrew Shaw CHI
Gustav Nyqvist DET
Cam Atkinson CLB
Vladimir Tarasenko STL
Emerson Etem ANA
Mark Stone OTT