Fantasy Hockey: Left Wing Rankings for 2015-16
Be sure to check out our Goalie Rankings and Center Rankings, both issued last week. Up next in our series of rankings is left wing. When it comes to the forward positions in Fantasy Hockey, the most important thing to do is to check your league’s settings to make sure that a certain player is indeed eligible at the positon you want him at, as different sites will have different criteria for player positions. I’m a big believer in drafting wings early and often; the cupboard will run bare pretty quickly.
Here are the Top 50 left wings entering training camp:
- Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: He has scored 104 goals the past two years and has never seen a puck that he didn’t like to shoot. He is still the best scoring forward in the game and deadly on the power play. It would be an upset if he didn’t lead the league in goals scored.
- Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars: Announced his presence last season by winning the NHL scoring title and will continue to play with up and coming superstar Tyler Seguin. Benn is more than likely a first-round pick in most drafts.
[caption id="attachment_98043" align="alignright" width="433"] Alexander Ovechkin has never met a puck he didn't like to shoot. Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels[/caption]
- Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks: As the Sharks have learned not to rely so much on Joe Thornton and Marleau, Pavelski has become the leader of this team. The only worry could be his flexibility. He can play wing and center, so if the Sharks decide they want to play him at center, he could actually be pushed down to the third line. It’s unlikely, but not impossible.
- Rick Nash, New York Rangers: Nash almost scored more goals last season than in his first two seasons with New York combined. Will that continue this year? The only real problem is that Nash won’t have much proven offensive talent around him.
- Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild: He always puts up solid numbers but rarely game-changing ones. There is also the fact that he has missed 23 games the past two seasons. He’s a solid second-round pick but the upside is somewhat limited.
- Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers: Will this be the year those Edmonton forwards put it all together?
- Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks: One of the best players that average hockey fans don’t know.
- Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens: Would be a few rungs higher on this list if he was completely healthy, but a knee injury could sideline him until mid-October.
- Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche: He got off to a slow start last season before turning things around. There is also the little matter of what line he will play on and with whom.
- Patrick Sharp, Dallas Stars: Two things come to mind here; if he plays on the top line with Seguin and Benn, it’s one of the best lines in hockey and this sniper should go a few picks higher, but if Dallas decides to spread the wealth and play him with an aging Jason Spezza and unproven Valeri Nichushkin, then he may need to be dropped a few spots.
- Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings: Nyquist is an intriguing young talent but the Wings just don’t have much to surround him with other than aging stars (Zetterberg/Datsyuk).
- Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues: Has had the best years of his career the past two seasons. At 31 years of age, can he continue this trend?
- Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers: If only he were playing with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
- Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets: The top line in Columbus with Ryan Johansen and Saad could be one of the best young lines in the NHL this season, and one of the best in the game for years to come.
- Brandon Saad, Columbus Blue Jackets: Someone I want to get in all leagues.
- Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres: Hopefully, the change of scenery will allow him to show off the talents he possesses. Don’t forget about him in your drafts, as he missed most of last season due to injury.
- Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets:
- James Neal, Nashville Predators: Had his moments last season, but even though the team played better than expected, he did not.
- Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins: If everyone stays healthy, this team should score almost at will, and Kunitz is slotted to play on a line with Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel. Everyone should be so lucky.
- Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks:
- Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings: How long can he stay healthy? He’s still a draft pick, but no longer someone that can carry your team.
- Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning: Was last year a fluke or a sign of things to come? Does he remain on the top line with Steven Stamkos?
- Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings: This future Hall of Famer is one of the best to play the game, but he is already hurt, unlikely to start the season, and even once he comes back there is very little reason to believe he won’t get hurt again.
- Chris Kreider, New York Rangers: Could this be his career year?
- Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames: Johnny hockey made a name for himself last year in Calgary. Can he take that next step?
- Milan Lucic, Los Angeles Kings: Fits what the Kings like to do to a tee. Rough and tumble forward who will open up room for Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik.
- David Perron, Pittsburgh Penguins: Any Penguin that will play on the top two lines will get moved up a bit.
- Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins: Team is in a rebuild but Marchand still has the potential to have a 30-goal season.
- Jiri Hudler, Calgary Flames:
- Scott Hartnell, Columbus Blue Jackets: Hopefully, he’ll be invigorated by the moves made during the offseason.
- Thomas Vanek, Minnesota Wild: Not really sure what to think of Vanek this season. He really hasn’t been the same player since being traded away from John Tavares and the Islanders.
- Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings:
- Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators: Has the talent but has never truly been able to put it all together.
- James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs: We shall see what life without Kessel brings.
- Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers: One of the few weapons for the Panthers.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals: If he was going to play with Ovechkin I would feel differently about him.
- Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo Sabres: One of the Sabres big offseason moves has already gotten into trouble with the law.
- Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus Blue Jackets:
- Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings:
- Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers:
- Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens: Team announced Friday that he will be a center this year. We will see how long that lasts.
- Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings:
- Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning:
- Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks:
- Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks: Sleeper candidate.
- Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning: Still waiting for him to be the player we were all expecting.
- Colin Wilson, Nashville Predators:
- Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers: Probably ranked too low, as he showed signs of what he can do during the last two months of last season, and right now is slotted to play on a line with Connor McDavid. Another sleeper.
- Michael Cammalerri, New Jersey Devils:
- Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs:
You can feel free to follow me on Twitter, @georgekurtz
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