2013 NHL Fantasy Hockey Rankings Update, Week 7: Semin Down 50 Spots
Week Seven of the NHL season is upon us and so it’s time to once again update our Fantasy Hockey rankings. These rankings reflect a standard ESPN.com league that uses “Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, Average Time on Ice, Penalty Minutes, Power-play points, Shots on Goal, Wins, Save Percentage, and Goals against Average.
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Bobby Ryan– Ottawa Senators: The 26-year-old forward is having an absolutely amazing season skating alongside fellow breakout star Kyle Turris. Ryan, a former first-round number two overall pick, has never reached the point per game plateau in his young career, but thus far has 19 points in just 17 games. Just as important is Ryan’s plus-10 plus/minus rating, because while Ottawa is struggling, the Turris-Ryan-Clarke MacArthur line most certainly is not. The trio has a combined plus/minus rating of plus-34 on the season, while Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Mika Zibanijad are all minus for the season. Ryan is scorching hot in his last five games, recording nine points (three goals, six assists) and a plus-8 rating. For reference, in our Top-200 update last week, Ryan and Jordan Eberle were one spot apart. This week, they are 13 spots apart in just the Top-100 forward rankings alone!
Brad Richards– New York Rangers: Unfairly placed in “then-coach” John Tortorella‘s dog house, the 33-year-old Richards has bounced back from his woeful performance in the playoffs last year. Richards recorded just one point in 10 games in the playoffs last year. Needless to say, Richards has really taken to liking new coach Alain Vigneault‘s system, as Richards has 13 points in 16 games this season. Not only that, Richards has upped his shot per game totals from 2.39 per game in 2012-2013, to 3.50 in 2013-2014. Roll out Brad Richards with confidence, as he catapults up our forward rankings to number 40.
Jiri Hudler– Calgary Flames: Hudler has been downright sensational so far this season as a first-liner for the Flames. During his seven-year tenure with the Detroit Red Wings, Hudler never skated more than 15 minutes per game. At age 26, Hudler played 54 games in the KHL for the Dynamo Moscow. He put up 54 points, becoming a point-per game player for the first time in his career (again, granted it was the KHL). But regardless, given that, plus a couple 50+ point seasons for the Red Wings, the Flames decided to take a chance on Hudler last year. The 30-year-old Czech native recorded 27 points in 40 games for the Flames last year with a minus-13 rating. This season, his results have been excellent, scoring 19 points in just 17 games while skating nearly 20 minutes per game (by far the most of his career). Is Hudler a late bloomer? Did he just need time to develop? Whatever the case, Hudler is on absolute fire, and he has an even plus/minus rating which is a boon for a player taking the ice for Calgary.
Alexander Semin– Carolina Hurricanes: We probably were incredibly unfair to drop Semin to number 100 in our rankings, but he has been downright awful on the stats sheet, and possibly even worse to the keen observer. Semin has just eight points in 17 games, which is his worst point per game output pace since his rookie year. While Semin’s minus-4 doesn’t seem all too horrendous, it bears noting that linemate Eric Staal has been equally as horrendous, therefore its a chronic problem in Carolina. The Hurricanes are completely scuffling at this point and Semin just looks lost out there on the ice. Semin is droppable at this point in all standard 10-team leagues.
*Writers note*- Ryan Callahan is given a harsh rankings of number 99 in this weeks update. He is going to be moved up considerably next week, providing he can stay healthy for a full week. Callahan has hit IR twice this season for major injuries.
Radko Gudas– Tampa Bay Lightning: Gudas is sitting at number 10 right now on ESPN.com’s Fantasy Hockey player rater tool, but most of that is coming from his 55 penalty minutes. In fact, 72% of Gudas’s player rater value is coming from his 55 penalty minutes. The 23-year-old native of Prague, Czechoslovakia, is only skating just under 20 minutes per game, much less than ideal, but those penalty minutes will continue throughout the season. Also, the former third-round pick is now skating with Matthew Carle on the top defensive line pairing, so the time-on-ice numbers should begin to drastically improve, thus why he has moved up 20+ spots.
Erik Johnson– Colorado Avalanche: It has taken seven weeks, but the former number one overall pick of the St. Louis Blues has finally cracked our Top-75 defensemen rankings. Let’s face facts, Johnson has been an absolute bust in the NHL consider his prospect pedigree when he came into the league. As much fun as it can be sometimes to make fun of the Blues for taking Johnson first overall, when Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and Phil Kessel went third, fourth and fifth overall in that years draft, Johnson was the only good defenseman in that draft. The 25-year-old defenseman sits with a plus-10 rating so far this season, along with seven points in 16 games. Getting back to the 2006 NHL Draft in which Johnson was taken first overall, there were 11 defenseman chosen between Johnson and Jeff Petry who was taken by the Oilers late in the second round. Those eleven defensemen have combined for just 140 career NHL games played, and Johnson has 300+ games played. In fact, of the 20 defensemen chosen in the first three rounds, 12 of them played five career NHL games or fewer, with nine of them not playing in a single NHL game. So yeah, Johnson was the only guy to take if you needed a defenseman in that draft.
Dustin Byfuglien– Winnipeg Jets: “Big Buff” as he’s referred to usually, has been swapped out for Zach Bogosian to be on the first line defensive pairing with Tobias Enstrom. Byfuglien has been the worst defensively on that team other than his new partner Grant Clitsome. Clitsome and Byfuglien combine for a minus-14 on the year, and Bogosian has a plus-7. Byfuglien’s plus/minus will be a problem all year, but thanks to his offensive contributions he’ll never fall out of the top six. At this point though, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has cemented himself as being much deserving of the number four spot behind Karlsson-Subban-Suter.