Fantasy Hockey Report: Alex Ovechkin and the 10 Best Left Wingers
Now it's only July, but as soon as you know it, the fantasy hockey season will be upon us. Fantasy hockey is a bit of guessing, a bit of luck and a fair amount of research. Depending on your league it may encompass a plethora of different stats and tons of analysis to determine who will give your team the edge.
Sometimes it's nice to go for the guy with the most points, but in some cases it's the other things that don't quite get noticed that could be the difference maker.
The purpose of these articles are to give you a bit of insight on who's available at each position, to save you a bit of trouble.
This list will go over the top 10 left wingers for your fantasy hockey team.
10. Taylor Hall
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Now before people go crazy over this pick hear me out.
Taylor Hall was an 18-year-old rookie last year, and posted some impressive numbers, putting up 22 goals and 20 assists in just 65 games—translating to roughly 28 goals and 53 points for a full season.
Now those numbers aren't going to win you any championships, but watch out for Taylor. The kid is a winner, will step out of his shell this year and find himself amongst the leaders in scoring.
Taylor Hall will eventually play like the franchise player he is pegged to be and next season will be his start on that path.
9. Alex Burrows
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Now Burrows may not be a top-10 scorer amongst lefties, but it's the other statistics that launch him into the top 10 fantasy hockey left wingers.
Aside from the ability to score 30-plus goals a season, he is also a rough and tumble sort. He will get you 70-plus penalty minutes a season, which is a critical stat in more in-depth fantasy leagues.
What also sets him aside from a lot of left wingers is his plus/minus stat. Sitting at plus-26 last year, Burrows ranks amongst the top of the board in that category.
It's rare to have a player that can score, pick up a ton of penalty minutes, and yet have an excellent plus/minus. Burrows could very well be that guy that brings any fantasy roster over the top.
8. Thomas Vanek
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Thomas Vanek is a goal scorer, plain and simple. Vanek recorded 32 goals and 41 assists last year with the Sabres, in what could be considered a bit of a bounceback season.
While his stats in other categories (plus/minus, PIM's) are low, what he could do this season, has him No. 8 on this list.
Terry Pegula has let got of the handcuffs on the Sabres GM Darcy Regier, and the Sabres are looking better then ever now.
Thus with a team that could do great things this year, subsequently means Vanek could also do great things. Barring an unforeseen injury look for Vanek to improve in nearly every fantasy hockey stat.
7. Patrick Marleau
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Patrick Marleau is the second highest goal scorer to place on this list. Marleau recorded 37 goals last year, and 36 assists, which puts him in at No. 4 for points scored.
So with these great offensive statistics why does he fall short?
The simple answer is consistency, Marleau can have an excellent season, and then follow it up, with a very flat effort. You never know what you're going to get with Patrick, and that has me a little concerned. Add to the fact that Marleau doesn't get much in the way of penalty minutes and his plus/minus, and you end up with a solid player, but maybe not a difference maker for your team.
Regardless he is still a very gifted winger, and if he's on, he's on.
6. Ryan Clowe
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Ryan Clowe has done well in San Jose, he is finding an offensive touch, but can also play a gritty game, and is solid in his own end.
This leads to solid point totals (62 points in 75 games last year), 100 minutes in penalties, and a solid plus/minus (plus-13).
Clowe can provide any fantasy hockey roster with good balance, and solid contributions in many of the major offensive categories.
Look for Clowe to continue improving his game,and break the top 10 in point production (amongst left wingers), and possibly break the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career.
5. Alex Semin
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Now last year wasn't one of Alex Semin's best seasons, and he could even be the odd man out, on a Caps team that is above the cap floor, but regardless of all of that he is still one of the best left wingers in the game today.
In a shortened season Semin managed 28 goals and 54 points, and while that isn't all that spectacular, it's the rest of his game, that makes him a quality winger for any fantasy team.
Semin was a plus-22 last year, he is a pest on the ice and recorded more then a minute a game in penalty minutes, and he likes to direct the puck on net, having a higher then average shots on net per game.
Despite his shortcomings offensively last year, I would expect a better season out of him this year, as he is fighting for a new contract.
Alex Semin would be a great addition to any fantasy hockey team.
4. Henrik Zetterberg
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Henrik Zetterberg ranked third amongst left wingers in scoring last season recording 24 goals and 56 assists for 80 points in 80 games played.
One of few point per game left wingers, Zetterberg is a gem in the offensive end. Although some of his stats were down last year, it is unlikely to happen again, as Detroit remains one of the top threats in the National Hockey League.
You can expect Zetterberg to put up solid point totals, and hammer plenty of shots on net next season. His plus/minus stats should be up, and although he is not a pest, he is also no Lady Byng.
Zetterberg will be gone rather fast, so draft him when you can.
3. Milan Lucic
Milan Lucic is an absolute force on the ice. He has a very well rounded game, and will provide any fantasy team with great numbers in numerous categories.
First off he was a 30-goal scorer this season, and recorded another 32 assists in 79 games played.
Secondly he was the second best amongst left wingers, and 12th in the NHL in plus/minus with a very respectable 28.
What separates him from other top end left wingers is his penalty minutes. Lucic recorded 120 penalty minutes this season and has recorded nearly 400 minutes in under four seasons with the Bruins.
Lucic may not be as high up in points as some of the other wingers on this list, but he certainly makes up for it in different ways.
2. Alex Ovechkin
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The Great "8", had a bit of a down year last year, but a down year for him is still 30-plus goals and 80-plus points. And of those 32 goals he scored last year, over a third of them were game winners.
Simply put Alex Ovechkin is an astounding player, and will find his offensive touch again. Look for OV to come closer to his 50-goal seasons, and light the world on fire once again.
Along with solid point totals, Ovechkin always has a solid plus/minus, takes more then his fair share of shots on net and is also a bit of an agitator.
Despite falling just shy of the top spot, Ovechkin is still one of the, if not the best player in the game today, and will go very quickly in any fantasy hockey pool.
1. Daniel Sedin
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Does the picture say enough?
Daniel Sedin had an outstanding season with the Canucks this year. Putting up a career high 41 goals, and a career high 63 assists for 104 points this year. The only NHLer to break the century mark this season.
Sedin was the recipient of the Ted Lindsay award (MVP as voted by the players), and the Art Ross Trophy (Most points).
Along with these point totals came one of the league's top plus/minus at plus-30, and solid offensive marks across the board.
Daniel Sedin has shown no signs of slowing down, and has in fact increased his point totals every year over the past four seasons, which leaves the simple question of: What will Daniel Sedin do for an encore?