Part III: Left Wingers
Lets just say for arguments sake the owners and players quit their whining and come up with a new CBA agreement around December, therefore giving us at least half a season. Although this may or may not be the case, lets just make pretend for a moment.
Besides the excitement of going to games, wearing your favorite players jersey, and screaming your heads off, we all look forward to something else come NHL season. Something that is a little more in our control yet can drive a man mad (or girl).
Yes. I’m talking about Fantasy Hockey.
Whether you’re in a paid league, unpaid league, Yahoo Fantasy, CBS Fantasy, or you’re just in it for the money or love and statistical side of the game, the bottom line is, if you’re a hockey fan, odds are, you’re a Fantasy Hockey fan too.
Unfortunately for us, without a hockey season, there will be no Fantasy Hockey, which means no gaining or losing money, no pulling out your hair when you find out your best player is ruled-out with a concussion, and no draft parties. Total buzz kill.
But just in case the NHL and NHLPA decide to grow up and come to an agreement, here is my list of the top 25 best and OBVIOUS players by position IF and WHEN there is a 2012-2013 season. Yesterday I posted an article giving you my top five best Right Wingers in fantasy. Today I will give you my top five best Left Wingers.
Top 5 Best Left Wingers
1. Daniel Sedin- With both the Sedin twins returning to Vancouver this season, expect another monster year out of both of them. As I mentioned in my previous article, “Part I: Centers” Daniel has one thing that Henrik lacks, which is a goal scoring ability. While Henrik can put the puck on anyone’s stick, Daniel has no trouble finding the back of the net. Although last year was considered a poor season for Daniel only recording 67 points, according to ESPN fantasy projections, he is predicted to score 40 goals and tally 89 points this upcoming season. In fantasy leagues where goal scoring is heavily weighted, Daniel Sedin is the best for this position.
2. James Neal- James Neal has had a continuous progression over the years starting with his rookie year when he earned himself 37 points, up until last season tallying a remarkable 81 points. While playing alongside Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz, he nearly doubled in shots on goal (329), while averaging a point-per-game. Don’t expect James Neal to slow down anytime soon. He is only 25-years-old and is presumed to play along-side Malkin again this season. Expect to see him finish amongst the top 10 best fantasy forwards, yet again.
Remember this nasty goal? Malkin or not, the guy can fly.
3. Rick Nash- Over the summer, The Rangers traded Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixson, Brandon Dubinsky, and a first round pick for Rick Nash, Steven Delisle, and some conditional 3rd round pick that doesn’t even matter from the Columbus Blue Jackets. So tell me. Who got the better end of this deal? Probably Columbus in the long run, but for now, we’ll just say the Rangers. Rick Nash is a five time All-Star who was wasting his talents on a team that is in a permanent rebuilding process. Unfortunately, Rick Nash has never had an elite playmaker on his team except David Vyborny, 5 seasons ago, but never played regularly on a line together. Luckily for him, the Rangers have a plethora of play making talent just waiting to make this left winger look even better. Nash is a typical 30 goals a season kind of guy. This season, expect to see him score 40+ goals if Brad Richards is his line mate.
4. Patrick Sharp- Coming off his best fantasy season yet, this Blackhawks winger just gets better and better with age. 30-year-old Patrick Sharp is becoming the most dependable forward in Chicago earning a respectable 65+ points over the past three seasons. Sharp has been playing alongside Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane, and they are expected to continue their same routine next year. With Sharp’s sniper shot, Hossa’s stick handling ability, and a young talented Patrick Kane all on the same line, there is no doubt in my mind that Patrick Sharp will be an important asset to your fantasy line up.
5. Jamie Benn- Lets just say for arguments sake Jamie Benn finally re-signs with the Dallas Stars (Currently a Restricted Free-Agent). If you look at his statistics from last season, he finished with the 2nd best record amongst the Stars (26g-37a, 63p) and recorded 55 PIMs. And with veteran newcomers Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney, and Derek Roy possibly on his line, there is no telling how lethal those combinations could be. But whether he’s playing with Jagr, Whitney, Roy, Eriksson, or Ryder, Jamie Benn proved himself to be a huge asset to Dallas and fantasy users when he was the only Dallas Star named to the 2011-2012 All-Star game for his stellar play last season.
If you’re wondering where Alex Ovechkin’s name is and why he did not make my top 5 list, that’s because ESPN highlights don’t get you fantasy points. Being a team player does. And…because of THIS.
If you enjoyed this article, please check back TOMORROW for Part 4: Defensemen
Thank you for reading! Feedback is always encouraged! Please leave comments below!
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