Just to reiterate, I think Left Wing is the most shallow of all positions in fantasy hockey. Right Wingers are 2nd but it isn’t particularly close, so many of these lefties could determine your fantasy fate for the upcoming season. Good luck and remember – I’m just the messenger…
On an administrative note, I’ll be putting together some cheat sheets so you guys have something easy to look at while you’re drafting. I’m gonna keep it the same as I’ve been doing (Top 30 overall, then the next Top 20 at each position). I’m thinking I’ll do it in a single post so ya’ll can just go to that page and hit “Print”. Oh and BTW (Big-Titted-Whore????? No, By-The-Way you pervert) this is all on the fly, so your suggestions on how to structure this are welcome….. Now onto the El-Dubs:
11) Thomas Vanek – LW (Buf): Doesn’t that just sound like a Goal scorer’s name? In fact I think Vanek in Austrian means “abuser of Goalies”. He really knows how and when to shoot judging by his career .155 Shooting %. That’s crazy good, and if Derek Roy can stay healthy that gives him somebody more than capable of feeding him the puck. And at just 27 years old, another 40 Goal season is not out of the question.
12) Brenden Morrow – LW (Dal): Here’s another rare PIM/PPP tough guy who I previewed here. I’m worried his 75+PIM days are behind him because of his new spot on the top line, but his potential alone is enough to rank him here. 35 Goals, 220 Shots and 20PPP’s is the upside, and you’ll take that at LW2 all day and once on Sunday.
13) Ryan Clowe – LW (SJ): As you can tell, I’m a sucker for these guys. I don’t think Clowe will get a ton of Power Play time which is why I have him below Morrow, but Clowe is (supposedly) going to be playing on the #2 line with Couture and Pavelski. That’s better than what Morrow will be working with by a wide margin.
14) Scott Hartnell – LW (Phi): I heart Hartnell but not as much as I used to. I previewed him in my useful tough guys post (click either of the links directly above – pretty sure linking to the same page 3 times in 1 post would puncture a hole in the space-time continuum). Oh, and who doesn’t love those curly red locks? Grow them back!!!
15) Mike Cammalleri – LW (Mon): Here is another guy in the same vein as Parise – he’s tiny and proned to the injury. He’s gritty and extremely talented but I just don’t trust him to play even 70 games, let alone 80. He’s had a couple point-per-game seasons in the past, but not since 2008-2009 which is why you should just expect the average of the last 2: 66 Games, 23G, 26A, 18PPP’s and right around 200 Shots. In other words – meh…
16) Taylor Hall – LW (Edm): Mr. Upside. That is all…
17) Alex Tanguay – LW (Cgy): So was Alex’s dad a homophobe who changed his last name from Tangay to Tanguay? What else would the purpose of the U be? Is it just another one of those odd french-canadian names? What I do know about A-Tan is that he’s on the only franchise he’s ever had success with. He and Iginla go together like peas & carrots, peanut butter & jelly, GHB and party balloons… Okay I made my point (and if you got that last one you should probably be locked up). He won’t shoot or score much, but the assists and PPP’s will be plentiful.
18) Simon Gagne – LW (LA): See-moan Gone-yay is so cool he doesn’t even need the weird lines/dots above the o and e. What isn’t cool is Gagne’s ability to stay healthy. He’s not a huge guy (6’0 195lbs) but he’s not tiny like Parise or Cammalleri so I have hope he can still put together a 75 game season. I also think getting out of Philly will do him some good (His demeanor will fit perfectly in LA). Plus Gagne will be on the same line as either Kopitar or Richards (or both). gone-YAY!
19) Jamie Benn – LW (Dal): Speaking of ceilings, Benn is only 22 years old and he put up 56 Points last season in just 69 games. Rumor has it he’s gonna get moved to Center, which long term is a good thing but for this season it’s not. I’d much rather see him at LW on the top line with Ribeiro, but alas I’m not the Coach. HOWEVA, his Power Play role will increase with the loss of Richards meaning the upside is a stud LW2.
20) Alex Burrows – LW (Van): I overlooked Burrows in my useful tough guys post, but I probably should have included him. He was on his best behavior last season (76PIM’s), but the 3 years prior he averaged 150 on the dot. The Power Play Points are non existent but plenty of even strength minutes with Ryan Kesler will produce a crazy good plus/minus and 25-30 Goals.
21) James Neal – LW (Pit): In a perfect world Sidney Crosby would be 100% healthy and I’d be drawing little hearts around this guy’s name. Unfortunately nobody knows what to expect from Crosby and I’m left pulling my hair out trying to determine Neal’s fantasy value. Will he end up on the Malkin line? Will he get Power Play minutes? Why did he do nothing in 20 games after the Pen’s traded for him last year? And in my book too many questions means avoid altogether.
22) Patrik Elias – LW (NJ): I could’ve sworn this guy was at least 40. But apparantly he’s “only” 35. The word out of Jersey Shore is that Elias will be moved back to Center, meaning he’ll have either Kovalchuk or Parise on his wing. Sounds good in theory, but Elias is one of those guys you only draft if you have to. Last year’s totals of 21G, 41A, 20PPP’s, and 200 Shots is his absolute ceiling.
23) Max Pacioretty – LW (Mon): Putting Max-Pac in my Top 25 Left Wingers is probably a reach, but I just have a feeling about this guy. He’ll only be 23 in November and he was a 1st round pick by Montreal in 2007 so the pedigree is legit. He just needs the opportunity and I think he’ll get it on the offensively-challenged Canadians.
24) Ville Leino – LW (Buf): Sure he’ll be 28 soon and he’s played in just 149 NHL games in his career, but he is a product of the Detroit Red Wings and he might end up on the top line in Buffalo with Roy and/or Vanek. Don’t go crazy here, but as a late round sleeper/bench player you could do worse.
25) Tyler Ennis – LW (Buf): Do you like pEnnis? Okay don’t answer that. The real question is how dumb am I going to look at the end of the year for ranking Ennis behind Leino? Probably real dumb (Wink-Wink)…
26) Nikolai Kulemin – LW (Tor): This ranking is a little harsh, but I hate Toronto players in general. His ADP will be inflated because he plays for the Leafs. Yes he’s only 25 and yes he scored 30 Goals last year, but I just don’t see any upside beyond that. Kulemin is a 3rd liner posing as a 2nd liner on a bad team.
27) Jussi Jokinen – LW (CAR): Jussi “steak” Jokinen was an afterthought when I first put together these rankings, but it’s hard to ignore 117 Points in 151 games over the last 2 seasons. And nothing has changed this year so if I were projecting, just add his stats from the last 2 seasons and divide by 2.
28) R.J. Umberger – LW (CBJ): Ray Jay is similar to Jokinen - projecting what he will do this year isn’t tough. Just take the last 3 years and average it out, meaning I see something like 24G, 30A, 15PPP’s and 200 Shots. Now that’s what I call a bench player!
Honorable Mentions: David Perron – LW (Stl), Nikita Filatov – LW (Ott), Tomas Fleischmann – LW (Fla)…. And if you think I forgot someone in any of my rankings fear not, he’ll more than likely end up in one of my upcoming sleeper posts. Now go enjoy the rest of your day will you?