2009-10 RotoRob NHL Draft Kit: Right Wing Rankings
The 2009-10 RotoRob NHL Draft Kit rages on, today with the release of our right wing cheat sheet.
Usually, ranking Fantasy wingers tends to favour depth on the right side rather than the left. If you look at this year’s crop, the situation seems to have reversed, with more sure things lining up on left wing. You’ll see a lot of guys that may have more inherent talent than the players listed in front of them, but issues with inconsistency and health have lowered their rankings — I’d rather take a steady sure thing than a risk with only 10 more potential points.
As with the left wing cheat sheet, these positions are dictated by the Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey game, and your actual position listing may not match up based on what league provider you use. Also, watch during the season for a player to get converted to a dual position (such as a centre that soon becomes eligible for right wing after being moved around).
Last year’s rankings are in parenthesis.
1. Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames (1): Captain Calgary continues to do it all, though will he miss having Alex Tanguay or Michael Cammalleri to play with? Probably not, since he’ll get a full season of Olli Jokinen. Jokinen can be shifted to fulfill various roles, as Iginla still has good chemistry with Daymond Langkow. The Flames have less scoring depth this season, heightening the burden on Iginla. However, he’s never been shy about shouldering his load in the past. The only real question is how different things will be under old-new coach Darryl Sutter and his “recommitment” to defense.
2. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning (5): St. Louis still put up 30 goals and 50 assists despite (a) playing on a team in absolute turmoil; (b) working with an injured Vincent Lecavalier; and (c) not having a steady third member of the line. That should all change this year, as Lightning coach Rick Tocchet is starting this season off with stability that was missing last year, Lecavalier’s shoulder is rebuilt and ready to go, and playmaker Tanguay should round a dynamic trio. There’s no reason why St. Louis can’t break the 90-point barrier.
3. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks (NR): He’s dirty and he’s talented; he’s also not as good as centre Ryan Getzlaf. It doesn’t matter, though, as Getzlaf and Perry will be linked together all season long. Only 24, Perry still has upside, and breaking the 80-point barrier isn’t out of the question this year. The good news for Fantasy owners is that Perry also generates a huge amount of PIMs (100+ in the past two seasons) and he’s getting more aggressive when it comes to shooting the puck (up 83 shots last year).
4. Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals (NR): The other Alex in DC isn’t as skilled, as fiery, or as flamboyant. Nor is he a good fighter. That’s okay, though, as he’s still one of the best young forwards in the league. Injuries cut short his past two years, most notably last season where he was on pace to break 90 points. With the veteran presence of Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov gone, more of the off-ice responsibilities will weigh in on Washington’s two Alexes. I get the feeling that this won’t weigh Alexander Ovechkin down, but it might limit how much Semin grows in his fourth NHL season. He’s still a lock for 30 goals and 80 points.
5. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (7): You can bet your last 20 cents on Patrick Kane improving as he’s going into his third year. Though his point totals dipped slightly, his points per game was about the same between his stellar rookie year and his sophomore year. Here are the good trends to note: Kane took more shots on goal and his goals increased. In addition, he’s starting to (barely) fill out his wiry frame, and there should be no more sophomore jitters. Just beware the EA Sports cover boy curse and don’t ever, ever share a cab with the dude.
6. Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators (2): Now that Ottawa’s Big 3 have been broken up, the Senator offense starts with Alfredsson and centre Jason Spezza. Who lines up with them? Well, that depends. New acquisitions Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo offer different skills, and it’s unsure which will best mesh with the two. The Senators can’t nearly be as awful as they were last season, but one has to think that Alfredsson won’t replicate his 40-goal campaign from ‘07-08. However, without Dany Heatley there to finish, look for Alfredsson to be more aggressive in shooting the puck (unless Cheechoo rediscovers his goal-scoring ability and takes Heatley’s place).
7. Brad Boyes. St. Louis Blues (NR): People tend to forget about Boyes, but his numbers speak for themselves. Two years ago, he exploded 43 goals; last year, his goal total went down but his total points went up. With Paul Kariya claiming to be healthy, the Blues have a surprising mix of old and young forward talent that can be put together. Boyes offers both creativity and finishing abilities, and should put up at least 30 goals and 70 points in whatever configuration Andy Murray throws out there.
8. Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes (NR): Regardless of where the Coyotes actually play, Doan will still be the focal point of the franchise. It’s not too often you put up career numbers after 30, but he did just that. The Coyote attack actually has the potential to be better this season, even without Jokinen (that’s okay, though, as Jokinen never really meshed with the team). Doan’s numbers should stick around 75-80 points, especially if young players like Kyle Turris, Peter Mueller, and Viktor Tikhonov fulfill their potential.
9. Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings (NR): The Mule keeps scoring goals and putting up some (but not nearly as many) assists. Once again, he’ll be sporting this ratio, but 30 goals should be the bare minimum for Franzen. His assists, though, depend on his linemates, and Detroit’s missing a big chunk of its goal scoring from last season. In three of his four NHL seasons, Franzen’s missed around 10 games. Since he scores goals from ugly areas of the ice, this isn’t unexpected, but it could take its toll as Franzen reaches the other side of 30.
10. Devin Setoguchi, San Jose Sharks (NR): In his third NHL season, Setoguchi will most likely line up with Joe Thornton and newcomer Heatley. Setoguchi exploded out of the gate last year, then started to tail off following the All-Star break. Will he have a letdown season? Setoguchi’s speed and tenacity are perfect for coach Todd McLellan’s up-tempo system, and he’s got every reason to put up even bigger numbers. The only question is if he’ll succumb to the pressure following his breakout campaign.
11. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (9): If you don’t mind using an IR spot for Hossa at the beginning of the season, he will probably be a valuable scoring winger from mid-December on. Once he returns to the lineup, there’s a good chance that he’ll need about two weeks to get up and running again, and even then an off-season shoulder operation can really hamper your season (see: Lecavalier, Vincent) as it limits what strength training you do. Still, if you’re willing to put up with using your IR spot on Hossa, you can’t deny his talent in a loaded Hawk forward lineup.
12. Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers (4): Yes, he’s fast. Yes, he’s talented. And yes, he’s always hurt. If Gaborik’s muscles could be synthetically replaced, he’d be in the top 10 of NHL scorers every year. Instead, he’s become a bit of a running joke and a gamble. Gaborik will put up points when he plays, and John Tortorella’s up-tempo style will work well with the Czechoslovakia’s explosive speed. However, Gaborik’s already missed time in training camp because of a sore groin, so…well, if you draft him, you know what to expect. If you’ve got IR in your league, he’s a good pickup.
13. Jason Pominville, BUffalo Sabres (6): In three full NHL seasons, Pominville’s point totals have been 68, 80, and 66. The Sabres were middle-of-the-road in goal scoring last season, and a big part of their success depends on Pominville and other core players like Drew Stafford and Derek Roy carrying the load. If they all go up, their collective point totals will rise and Pominville will hit 80 points again. These aren’t the run-and-gun Sabres of the Chris Drury/Daniel Briere days, though, and a safe bet is probably 70-75 points.
14. Alexei Kovalev, Ottawa Senators (3): The great enigma goes to Canada’s capital, where he endeared himself to Senator fans by talking about how he wished he was still in Montreal. Way to exercise those PR skills, Alexei. It’s unsure where Kovalev will fit in, as the Senators have enough scoring forwards to mix-and-match their top two lines. Even if he plays with Alfredsson and Spezza, no one knows if that will be enough to keep Kovalev interested. A reasonable expectation is around 65 points, or what he put up last year. If Kovalev suddenly he decides he likes Ottawa (the capital building is a nice piece of architecture, after all), add 10 points to that.
15. Phil Kessel, Boston Bruins (NR): See Hossa’s description above (Kessel will be out until December following surgery as well). However, Kessel’s only had one good season whereas Hossa is a seasoned veteran. Buyer beware.
16. Martin Havlat, Minnesota Wild (NR): Surprise, surprise — Havlat wasn’t broken for most of last season and wound up leading the Chicago Blackhawks in points. Going to Minnesota, he’s essentially a replacement for Gaborik (both in terms of scoring and in delivering frustration over injuries). Havlat is shockingly more durable than Gaborik, and new coach Todd Richards wants an up-tempo style that would make Jacques Lemaire’s head explode. Havlat won’t have the same talent level as he did in Chicago, but when he’s healthy, he can produce at nearly a point-per-game and he’s explosive enough to create offense out of nothing.
17. Ales Hemsky, Edmonton Oilers (10): An immensely talented player, Hemsky’s dangling ability is reminiscent of Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk – minus the consistency and two-way play. His points per game across the past few seasons has been roughly 0.9, and there’s no real reason why that should trend any different. Keep in mind that two-thirds of those points will be assists.
18. David Backes, St. Louis Blues (NR): In his third season as an NHL regular, Backes finally broke through with 31 goals. In addition to putting up goals (and only 11 of his 54 points were on the power play), Backes gets shorthanded time and huge PIMs (165 last year). The Blues remain one of those bubble teams that can go either way; the question is whether or not Backes leads them to greener pastures or if the team’s success dictates his point totals.
19. Brian Gionta, Montreal Canadiens (NR): A long time ago (2005-06) in a galaxy far, far away (New Jersey), Gionta scored 48 goals. Since then, it’s been nothing but downhill: 25, 22, and 20 goals. He’ll be reunited with former New Jersey pivot Scott Gomez and here’s hoping that Gomez’s playmaking skills can bring him above the 25-goal mark. At least, that seemed to be Bob Gainey’s plan in bringing them both to Montreal.
20. Joffrey Lupul, Anaheim Ducks (NR): Lupul is back in Anaheim after being traded for Chris Pronger (again, as he was part of the original deal to Edmonton). Lupul had his greatest success as a Duck, scoring 28 goals. In his first Philly season, he was on pace to break that before injuries took out a quarter of his games. Now that he’s back in Anaheim, it appears like he’ll be looked at for secondary scoring and will probably rotate across lines depending on the new-look Duck forwards perform. Lupul may never be a 30-goal guy but he should be reliable for 25 in his old stomping grounds.