Educate yourself with our fantasy hockey preview for the upcoming season.
I’m going to go team-by-team and break down the players I love and hate for daily fantasy this season in my fantasy hockey preview. I’ll be pointing out the dandies and donkeys from each team along the way.
This is a team you need to keep an eye on each and every night they play. Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world and is in play every night you can fit his high salary in.
Dandies: Christian Ehrhoff is a player I am very interested in. There are rumors that he will get plenty of ice time with the explosive first power play unit. ANY defensemen playing on the power play with Crosby and Malkin is in play each and every night in my book.
Pascal Dupuis is a player that I seem to roster more than anyone else. He skates with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz at even strength and has one hell of a backhand shot. That is crucial when playing with Crosby as he create great opportunities for his line mates. I would even play CrazeyGabey at minimum price skating with those two studs.
Others I expect a big year from are Patric Hornqvist and Beau Bennet. I won’t be surprised if Thomas Greiss earns the starting goalie job by the time the year ends so he is a great option when he plays. You always a great chance for a win with these goalies, which is crucial in daily games.
New York Rangers
Dandies: Derrick Brassard will be taking over the center position on the second line thanks to the loss of Brad Richards. This is a player I have watched for years in Columbus and am very confident in his talent. Getting top-six ice time with Stempniak and St. Louis projected to be on his line is extremely interesting. That should lead to a career year.
There’s not much I can say about this team except that their scoring seems to be spread out across three lines. That’s a bad thing for daily fantasy as it is a guessing game on most nights.
Dandies: Taking a big risk on this one and may be completely wrong, but I love Michael Del Zotto this year. He has great talent and a huge shot from the point. This should provide a big spark to the top power play unit this season (I hope, Mark Streit is more likely to play there). I expect him to be on the second defense pairing with Luke Schenn and to see plenty of ice time.
Wayne Simmonds should also be in for a big year. He should slide into the top line LW position with the team’s loss of Scott Hartnell. Skating alongside Giroux and Voracek should provide great value. Simmonds is usually a safe play for cash games as he is a great source of PIM every night. Now with more scoring upside he should be in for a good amount of points.
Donkeys: Mark Streit will lose the top power play unit ice time. I think that Del Zotto will take over on the point for this team. Streit had a nice season with 44 points last year, but I expect a decline.. This is another hunch of mine to go along with the Del Zotto one. I will be staying away early in the season until the roles are defined.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dandies: The whole damn team. (maybe a little bias)
In all seriousness, I expect Nathan Horton to have a bounce back year. Multiple injuries limited him to 36 games last year where he accumulated 19 points. This is the first time in franchise history that CBJ have a respectable top line with Hartnell, Johansen, and Horton. Horton is known to be great on the power play and that is an area that Columbus has historically struggled.
Ryan Murray is the real deal. The second overall pick in the 2012 draft has shown he has great talent. He is on the second defensive pairing with James Wisniewski, so he should continue seeing plenty of ice time. He’s a great skater that has learned to join the rush more frequently, according to the newspaper in Columbus. All this kid needs is a chance.
Unfortunately I do not get to roster many of my beloved Blue Jackets in daily games. The offense is spread across three skating lines which is a nightmare for daily games. I am much more likely to play Bobrovski in net along with the Defensemen. I would keep an eye on the top line skaters early in the season as Columbus has never had a top scoring line this good. They could fly under the radar and be great tournament plays.
As much as I would like to talk about CBJ more I must move on.
Dandies: Evgeny Kuznetsov is going to shine. The projections I see have him skating with Ovechkin and Backstrom. That equals a gold mine for fantasy points on sites where +/- is not a factor. While Ovechkin lead the league in goals he had the 3rd worst +/- rating in the ENTIRE league. That is incredible considering he scored 51 goals. Most of his damage came on the power play where Kunetsov is expected to see all of the ice time with the leading goal scorer.
Not much more to say about this team. Ovechkin/Bacstrom are always in play. Niskanen should provide great production from a Defenseman spot.
New Jersey Devils
This is the first time the Devils will begin a season since 1990-1991 without Martin Brodeur on the roster. That is unfathomable. Not many teams in any sport can say that with a star player.
Dandies: Michael Cammalleri. When this man is healthy he is a great scorer. As a huge Blue Jackets fan I was disappointed he was not considered by the team. Immense talent, the only question is if he can stay healthy.
Marek Zidlicky is a solid performer night in and night out, and he was very underpriced all last year. Solid performances are what you look for in cash games, so I will recommend him a lot this season.
I have disagreed with the coaches line combinations all year long. They have a quality top six but don’t seem to utilize it. They aren’t deep enough to have the third/fourth line have the advantage any given night. I just don’t get it.
Dandies: Eric Staal had his worst season since his rookie campaign in 2003-2004. I think he bounces back to have a monster year.
Alexander Semin is a play I use frequently for cash games. He will shoot any chance he gets which means he doesn’t need to score to help your fantasy team. This leads to consistent scoring which is great for cash games.
Justin Faulk is an immense talent. I am expecting a breakout year for the young talent. For whatever reason the national media seems to ignore this kid. They will find out soon enough that he is the real deal.
New York Islanders
Dandies: From the projections I see, Josh Bailey will be skating on the top line with Tavares and Okposo. That is a recipe for success in fantasy. I’m not sure how long this will last and will be watching the training camps closely to see if he is skating with those two.
Nikolai Kulemin ihas been a talent that I have liked for years. Everytime I watch him play he impresses me more and more. Not sure why he never gets a chance in the top six on a team for an entire year. A player to keep an eye on for sure.
Donkeys: Jaroslav Halak. I still believe he was a product of the system and will have a much worse year in New York where the defense in front of him sucks. (to say it nicely)