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Welcome to Razzball, the hockey edition!  My name is Dan and I’m one of the rarest of rare human beings on the planet – A hardcore hockey fan who was born, raised, and currently living in Southern California.  For those of you not familiar with hockey it actually doesn’t involve a ball at all.  Apparently they use a psychopathic, gay-bashing cast member from the original “Real World”.  Seriously though, I love hockey.  It has the physicality of football, the nonstop back and forth action of basketball, and as a fantasy game its very similar to baseball (in that there are 2 separate categories altogether – Pitching & offense compared to Goaltending & offense).  In general, offensive scoring has some combination of these statistics: Goals (G), Assists (A), Power Play Points (PPP), +/- , Shots on Goal (SOG), Penalty Minutes (PIM), Hits (H) and Blocked Shots (BS).  Goalie stats: Wins (W), Saves (S), Save % (SV%), Goals-Against-Average (GAA) and Shutouts (SO).  Personally I don’t play in leagues that count Hits and Blocked Shots, and my rankings reflect that. It opens up the player pool to a bunch of guys that don’t matter IMO (so does Penalty Minutes but whatever I like fighting).  For those of you that do use those stats, well, then you probably know more than I do anyway so what are you using my rankings for?  I’m going to start with my Top 30 overall (countdown style), which will be rolled out over the next few days.  After that it’ll be a Top 20 at each position for the remaining players. And of course some sleepers, busts, prospects, and other general stuff mixed in between.  So without further ado, here are numbers 30-21 of my rankings for the 2011-2012 fantasy hockey season.

30.      Kris Letang – D (Pit):  Letang’s fantasy value is contingent upon the health of Sidney Crosby (much like every other Penguin).  Last year with Crosby, in exactly half a season (41 games), Pooty-tang had 6 goals, 30 assists and was a +23.  The other half of the year?  2 Goals, 12 assists and a -8.  Meaning when Crosby plays, Letang is Nicklas Lidstrom circa 2005. When he doesn’t, he’s Rory Fitzpatrick.

29.      Alexander Semin – RW (Wsh):  Huh huh huh, semin…  This little swimmer is one of the more talented goal scorers in the game. His career shooting percentage (goals/shots) is 14.6% (for reference, his teammate Ovechkin’s career shooting % is under 12).  BUT, he is one of those perennial nagging injury guys and has averaged 14 games missed per season during his career.  Throw in the fact that his coach “Flabby Gabby” Boudreau all of a sudden loves him some defense (which will be a recurring theme with Washington Capital players) it could be another down year for Mr. Semin.

28.      Claude Giroux – RW (Phi):  One of the reasons the Flyers felt they could trade Carter and Richards was because of the emergence of this guy (and of course because they’re obsessed with finally obtaining that “franchise goalie”).  Giroux broke out last season with 76 points and a +20 while spending much of the season outside of a Top 6 forward spot.  Detractors will say that the loss of Carter and Richards will hurt his value this year, but I call BS on that. If anything it will open up a spot for him on the top Power Play unit, meaning more scoring.

27.      Ilya Kovalchuk – LW (NJD):  THE Russian Sniper.  It’s been a bumpy road for Ilya since landing in New Jersey. He was loved, then hated, then hated some more and now most Jersey fans will tell you they are somewhere in between.  It all hinges on what he does this year.  Prior to 2010-2011, Kovy had put up at least 41 goals in 6 straight seasons.  Last year? 31. In fact, across the board it was the worst season of his career.  The positive? He had 21 Goals in the last 40 games and is still just 28 years old.

26.      Bobby Ryan – LW (Ana):  You want a guy who could pull a Corey Perry this year?  Look no further.  Bobby Ryan is infamous for being the first guy drafted after Sidney Crosby back in 2005, meaning most years he would have gone #1 overall – and with good reason.  He’s been improving steadily and now at 24 heading into his 4th full season, he (like Kovy) is one of the few legitimate snipers in the NHL.  The only thing holding him from 40+ goals are his linemates.  Peanut head Carlyle has a fetish for splitting up the absolutely dominating Getzlaf-Perry-Ryan line in order to “spread the scoring around”.   What a jerk.

25.      Rick Nash – LW (CBJ):  I’ve always felt like Nash is the Randy Moss of hockey. He’s got all the talent in the world but seems to shut it down when he’s not interested.  HOWEVA – The trade for Jeff Carter gives him a legitimate playmaker on his line for the first time in his career.  I expect an uptick in +/- and assists with the usual 30+ goals and 250+ shots.

24.      Carey Price – G (Mon):  I’ve been hearing about this guy’s greatness ever since he was drafted 5th overall in 2005.  He is the prototype for the new NHL goalie: 6’3”, 220lbs with great quickness and lateral movement.  Last year he finally broke out with 38 Wins (70 Starts), 8 Shutouts, 2.35GAA and a .923SV%.  I could easily see him atop the Goalie rankings at season’s end, he’s that good (so lay off him you crazy Montreal Canadian fan – he’s one of the best in the world!)

23.      Keith Yandle – D (Phx):  Kinda going out on a limb with this one, but I’m a believer.  Yandle broke out last year:  11G/48A/+12/26PPP’s/198S — and I think he can get better.  This will be his 4th full season and he’s only 25.  Throw in the fact that he’s the Quarterback of the Phoenix power play and I see a stud #1 Defenseman in the making.

22.      Pekka Rinne – G (Nsh): This guy was awesome last year (33Wins, 6SO, 2.12GAA, .930SV%). Detractors will say he’s already 28 and only started more than 60 games once in his career, but the bottom line is this guy has skills to pay the bills, great defensive Defenseman in front of him (Suter-Weber), and the ultimate defensive minded coach (The *Trotz).

21.      Nicklas Backstrom – C (Wsh): Another victim of flabby Gabby’s defense first approach, this pure-faced Swede (aren’t they all?) took a step back offensively last year (just 65 points in 77 games).  But in 2009-10 Nickel Back put up a ridiculous 101 point season as a 22 year old.  Very few players in the history of the game can claim that.   For this year I’d imagine something in between the last 2, as in 80+ points and a great +/-. 

From Around The Web

  1. What do you expect from Carlyle? Sciosciapathicity originated across the freeway and apparently the disease transends sports.

  2. DC

    DC says:
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    LOL, they both kind of have a peanut shaped head too..

  3. Mallow says:
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    People think Letang will only produce if Crosby plays, yet seem to forget the Malkin is an All-World Center himself.

  4. darkdragon88 says:
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    Thanks for the rankings! I’m a razzball baseball and football follower as well, but hockey is my number 1 game.

    Can’t wait to check this site out more and more.

  5. Mindicohn says:
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    So F***N glad to have Razzball Hockey…

  6. DC

    DC says:
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    @Mallow: True, but he’s no Sidney Crosby plus Malkin-Letang-Crosby > Malkin-Letang-Staal? Kunitz?

    @darkdragon88: Awesome! Tell your buds about us too lets grow this thing!

  7. Howard says:
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    @DC Welcome dude! Looking forward to a great season. It’s been a long summer after watching the hated B’s win the cup!

  8. HldOnMgnolia says:
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    Razzball Hockey… F*ck. Yes.

  9. DC

    DC says:
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    @Howard: I bet

    @HldOnMgnolia: Thanks.. When it comes to whitty & hilarious commentary I hope I can fill at least 1 of Grey’s shoes…

  10. theearly90s says:
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    good to see some hockey on here, my true love. I have to disagree with ranking Kovalchuk 27th overall considering he’s had 40 goals five out of his six seasons. I understand he’s not a one man show in NJ like Atlanta but I feel good about a bounce back year.

  11. T-Bone says:
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    Aww yeah, Razzball Hockey! Lets get those commenter leagues up and running! Loved having Yandle on my team last year but might not want to pay the price this year.

  12. DC

    DC says:
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    @theearly90s: I wanted to rank Kovalchuk higher, but I just couldn’t get the 1st half of last year out of my mind. He was AWFUL.

    @T-Bone: I hear you with Yandle… And I need to talk to Grey about RCL Leagues I want it to be on the Yahoo platform – ESPN sucks donkey balls

  13. knighttown says:
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    Nice job DC although as an Oiler fan I can’t say I support the Lanny McDonald avatar. I’ve been a Razzball guy for the last few years and as a Canadian and hardcore hockey fan, always thought about getting a hockey version of Razzball going. if you ever need any assistance let me know.

    Tough year to handicap the first overall pick. Rumblings out of Halifax and Pittsburgh that The Kid still isn’t right. Ovie had a tough time and as you say, suffers a little from Boudreau’s Jacques Lemaire imitation. Corey Perry if PIMS count in your league? The twins? Timmy Thomas? Pretty wide open at this point.

  14. DC

    DC says:
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    @knighttown: Lanny fits perfectly with the razzball theme IMO so he stays… So how does the hatred work? Do Edmontonians (is that right?) hate anything and everything Calgary no matter what? Or is it the fact that he played for Calgary AND Toronto?

    And regarding 1st overall – keep reading this week and find out!

  15. Carl_Weathers says:
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    Efff yeah! I want to just say I am pumped about this, and didnt see it coming at all. Played in my first (serious) fantasy hockey league last year and did OK – but I like the odds that a Razzball hockey blog can make me a real contender. Always watched hockey and know a ton about it – but knowledge for fantasy hockey is a little different.

  16. steveb says:
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    yea I’m in for razzball hockey league.

  17. Arod Loves Frost says:
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    Big fan of the idea – nice work.

  18. Navi says:
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    love the baseball, looking forward to the hockey!! i should be pretty involved here.

  19. knighttown says:
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    @DC:

    The Flames-Oilers hatred is pretty much inbred. For Flames fans of my age (30+), the have to live with the fact that they had some terrific teams that likely would have won more than one Cup during Lanny/Al MacInnis/Gary Roberts/Joe Niewendyk eras but there just weren’t any Cups left after Gretz and Co. grabbed their five. Karma’s a bitch tho and after Pocklington sold 99 to you guys in SoCal, we’ve had a long 20 years. Flames teams recently have been mediocre but have taken great pleasure in wiping their feet on the doormats that the Oilers have been in recent years. Excluding Iginla, a true class act, the Flames have had some guys who are easy to hate. Dion Phaneuf and his odd sense of entitlement and most notably Robyn Regehr, a player who seems to make it his personal mission to reduce our one shining light, Ales Hemsky, to rubble every chance he gets. Glad to see both of them gone.

    Add in one heart crushing, Game 7, Stanley Cup final loss for each franchise and you’ve got Yankees-Red Sox with cowboy hats…and less wins. Maybe Chiefs-Raiders?

    The silver lining is that the Oilers are trending upward with Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Paajaarvi, Omark and now Ryan Nugent-Hopkins while the Flames continue to stumble along in purgatory, always fighting for that last playoff spot but never truly contending.

  20. Doog says:
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    Very excited that you’re here. I appreciate everything razzball has brought to fantasy baseball and football, and now you’re covering all three of my passions.

    I’m in a dynasty league, and it’ll be interesting to see if you address rankings for keeper and dynasty leagues instead of just year-to-year ones, but I’ll be happy either way. And our league does reward hits and blocked shots, but I can make those adjustments on my own. Looking forward to picking your brain in the years to come.

  21. Welcome! I look forward to relying on your rankings and advice and then blaming you for my shortcomings.

  22. DC

    DC says:
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    @Carl_Weathers: Right on man I hope I can help.

    @steveb: In talks w/ Grey about a RCL League – but like I said earlier I really want Yahoo rather than ESPN.

    @Arod Loves Frost: Thanks man plenty more to come…

    @Navi: Sweet the more involved the better. Tell your friends too.

    @knighttown: Haha just remember though 5 Cups puts you tied for 4th all time, irregardless of how long ago it was. And yes Phaneuf is a terd, good riddance.. I’m high on Hall and Hemsky this year.

    @Doog: I’m probably going to stick to redraft leagues but if you have dynasty questions just ask me in the comments.. and don’t pick too much alcohol has destroyed much of my brain already

  23. T-Bone says:
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    @DC: You hit the nail on the head in regards to ESPN sucking donkey balls for hockey.

  24. DC

    DC says:
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    @ChrisV82: LOL thats what I’m here for…

  25. theearly90s says:
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    I bet you a tall can Datsyuk puts up 100 points.

  26. GoPuckYourMother says:
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    RazzHockey, congrats and good work DC, cant wait for hockey look forward to kicking your ass all year long :)

  27. DC

    DC says:
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    @theearly90s: Considering a whole 1 person topped 100 points last season I’d take that bet in a heartbeat. And a new column’s up…

  28. theearly90s says:
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    he would have if he didn’t break his wrist. I was at the game he broke it and I just about dropped my Molson XXX. I’m just a big Datsyuk guy beyond fantasy and live in Detroit.

  29. BroadStreetBully says:
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    Great to see this site go live, finally the miserable trudge thru the months is almost done and back to CFB and hockey!!

  30. ilovetomc says:
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    Nice job Danny! I look forward to reading more :) Datsyuk! LOL!!

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