Columnists Fantasy Hockey Rankings released

Scott Cullen
9/14/2009 1:53:26 PM
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The Russian Revolution dominates the fantasy hockey landscape as Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin rank at the top of both the list of projected scorers and the position-by-position fantasy rankings.

With the NHL season on the horizon, has released its projected Top 250 scorers as well as a fantasy cheat sheet that has the top players sorted by position, while covering more than just goals, assists and points.

On the list of the top scorers, there are no great surprises, though Washington's Ovechkin is slotted one point ahead of last year's league-leading scorer, Pittsburgh's Malkin.  Ovechkin held a slight advantage over Malkin last season in points-per-game and both players have proven to be very durable early in their careers, so Ovechkin gets the ever-so-slight edge this year.

That durability is also part of the reason that Ovechkin and Malkin rate higher than Malkin's teammate, Sidney Crosby, the only other player forecasted to surpass 100 points this season.

The weekend trade of Dany Heatley to the San Jose Sharks from the Ottawa Senators also boosted Heatley's stock, with his projected point totals getting a boost thanks to the opportunity to play alongside Joe Thornton

At the same time, Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo should also get better chances in Ottawa.  They're not among the fantasy elite, like Heatley, but both will have value in many leagues.

Among rookies, the top projected scorer is a tie between Vancouver's Cody Hodgson and Detroit's Ville Leino.  With training camps just getting underway, there will be plenty of time for first-year players to establish their credentials and indicate what kind of production they might have this season so, while all forecasts are subject to change, none moreso than the rookies.

Some players, like Phil Kessel of Boston (at least for now) and Marian Hossa of Chicago have decidedly lower projections than they might otherwise because they will start the season on the sidelines due to injury.   

Oft-injured players like Marian Gaborik, Tim Connolly and Steve Sullivan are projected to miss time as well, simply because it hardly seems accurate to suddenly pick this season as the one in which they play 80-plus games.

When it comes to the fantasy rankings, the scoring stats are supplemented by inclusion of plus-minus, power play points and penalty minutes, which provides some shifting in value as agitators like Sean Avery, Daniel Carcillo and Steve Ott hold more value and the best Red Wings and Bruins tend to fare well with the inclusion of plus-minus numbers.

The top-ranked fantasy goaltender is Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, but he's followed closely by New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov and the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist

When assessing a goaltender's fantasy value, there is also some measure of confidence required that a goaltender will hold his team's starting job for the whole year because the value of a goaltender is tied so closely to their workload.  It's why Luongo is so secure at number one...and why the Islanders goaltenders fall much lower down the list.

So, the fantasy rankings are out.  They'll be updated again shortly before the season.   Check in with my chat on Wednesday, starting at 12 noon ET, and I'll try to get to as many questions/concerns as possible.

Scott Cullen can be reached at

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