NHL Fantasy Hockey Rankings Update, Week 5: Flyers Falling
Week Five 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.
Jordan Eberle- Edmonton Oilers- “Ebs”, as he is affectionately called by the Oilers faithful, in the midst of a breakout season at age 23. The young right-winger out of Regina, Saskatchewan, currently sits with nine points in 12 games and leads the Oilers in ice time for all forwards. Eberle’s 21 minutes and 46 seconds of time-on-ice per game ranks fifth amongst all forwards in the NHL. Eberle sneaks up from 36th to 31st in our rankings in our Week 5 update.
Alex Steen- St. Louis Blues- “Steener” has been absolutely incredible so far this season, potting 10 goals and registering five assists in just nine games so far. Steen’s plus/minus is solid as well, as it sits at a plus-7. The 29-year-old left-winger has been seeing an incredible amount of ice time, (20:27 per game, the best of his career) and has made the most of it in a big way. Steen, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is however shooting at a completely unsustainable 38.5 percent on the young season. Just for contrast, Steen scored eight goals in 40 games last year, and 15 goals in 43 games the season before that. His career high for goals was 24 in 68 games in 2009-2010, so Steen is really in uncharted territory here. Ride him while he’s hot because he’s going to tail off shortly. For now though, he rises to number 59 in our rankings, up seven spots from last week.
Kyle Okposo- New York Islanders- Okposo is enjoying a breakout season playing with John Tavares on the first line in East Rutherford. Now he is joined by left-winger Thomas Vanek who was acquired yesterday from the Buffalo Sabres. The 25-year-old has eight points in his last five games and is skating big minutes (19:37 per game). He catapults 20 spots up our ranks from number 89 to number 69.
Other major movers: Ryan Kesler- Vancouver Canucks (up five spots to #64), David Clarkson- Toronto Maple Leafs (enters rankings at #69), T.J Oshie- St. Louis Blues (enters rankings #70), Frans Nielsen (moves up 10 spots to #76) and Joe Thornton moved up 15 spots to number 33.
Matt Moulson- Buffalo Sabres- The newly traded Moulson goes from an excellent situation with the Islanders, in Uniondale, New York, to an awful situation in Buffalo. Moulson will skate with blossoming young center Cody Hodgson, but Hodgson is nowhere close to the level of John Tavares. Moulson essentially switches places Thomas Vanek in our rankings, moving down 12 spots.
Tomas Hertl- San Jose Sharks- Hertl scored last night against Ottawa, but that was only his second goal in his last seven games. With only 14 minutes of ice-time per game, Hertl isn’t seeing special teams minutes and has seemingly hit the proverbial “rookie wall”. We pressed the eject button in our rankings on the 19-year-old rookie while he was sitting his seat at number 71 in our rankings. Fortunately for Hertl, his parachute inflated and he landed just outside our Top-100. We expect he will make another appearance in the Top-100 if he can make some adjustments.
Jakub Voracek & Wayne Simmonds – Philadelphia Flyers – Speaking of free-falling, the Philadelphia Flyers won two games last week, but that hasn’t done anything to improve the plus/minus rating of Simmonds. Simmonds currently has a minus-7 and just two points on the season so far. His 16 penalty minutes are nice — it’s what he brings to the table most proficiently – but he must do more to make up for the eyesore plus/minus. Meanwhile, Voracek is shooting — just 15 shots on the year — and it’s killing his fantasy value as a scorer. Voracek potted his first goal of the season two nights ago against the New York Islanders, but that was against backup goaltender Kevin Poulin. Both Voracek and Simmonds dropped 20 spots apiece in our rankings update this week. They were lucky Vincent Lecavalier swooped in off injured reserve and brought the two of them backup parachutes, as they barely got the ripcord pulled in time.
Brad Marchand- Boston Bruins- Marchand has been atrocious this season after scoring 0.80 points per game in 2012-2013. He has been moved down a line and only an injury to Loui Eriksson (which likely brings Marchand back up to the second line) prevents Marchand from landing his parachute in black hole. As it is, he landed on a brick roof which caught his fall at number 86. He fell 10 spots, the third straight week of a 10-spot drop for the Bruins forward.
Other major movers: Patrick Kane- Chicago Blackhawks- (down from number seven to number 11), Andrew Ladd- Winnipeg Jets (down six spots to #39).
Cody Franson- Toronto Maple Leafs- The 26-year-old defenseman continues to build on his breakout season of 2012-2013 that saw him record 29 points in just 45 games despite playing just 18 minutes and 47 seconds per game. Franson has increased his ice-time to 21 minutes per game this year and it’s paying major dividends. The native of Sicamous, British Columbia has nine assists already in just 12 games. Seven of those nine assists have come on the power-play, giving him the most power-play points for a defenseman this season. He catapults up to number 16 in our rankings (up from 23).
Dennis Wideman- Calgary Flames- The not-so-wide-man defenseman for the Flames stands at 6’0 200 pounds, but his impact has been immense for his new team. The 30-year-old defenseman put in a workman’s like effort two nights ago against the Washington Capitals. Wideman pocketed two assists along with a plus-5 rating and seven shots on goal. The Kitchener, Ontario native also skated 29 minutes and 17 seconds, an effort that is a microcosm of his overall usage this season. Wideman is second in the league in ice-time per game at 28 minutes and eight seconds. Only Ryan Suter has more ice-time per game than Wideman. The former eighth-round pick in the 2002 NHL Draft moves up to number 26 in our rankings (nine spot increase)
Matt Irwin- San Jose Sharks- The 25-year-old defenseman has continued to produce and now has 37 shots on the young season. In addition to those 37 shots (which tie him for third amongst defensemen with Duncan Keith), the native of Brentwood Bay, British Columbia has four assists and a plus-5 rating. Irwin’s ascent is mostly the cause of his good play, but the rest of the defenseman in the league have contributed to his 16-spot bump in the rankings by playing quite poorly.
Other major movers: Dennis Seidenberg- Boston Bruins (up 13 spots to #38), Seth Jones- Nashville Predators (up 6 spots to #57), P.K. Subban-Montreal Canadiens (moves up to #1 from #2)
Mark Streit- Philadelphia Flyers- Speaking of playing poorly, the Philadelphia Flyers; isn’t this fun? If Voracek, Simmonds, Marchand, and Hertl have all had problems with their parachute, then Streit has metaphorically jumped out of a plane from 30,000 feet in the air with nothing but an insect-chewed parachute. You see, there were only three ants on the plane Streit was in, but Streit failed to defend it. Streit is skating just 20 minutes per game and has produced only four assists in 10 games. He was fortunate to double his scoring output in the big win the Flyers had over the Kevin Poulin goalie-led New York Islanders. Streit’s two assists that night have done little to allow his owners to forget the fact that Streit has been utterly useless in relative comparison to his $5.25 million per-year contract. The native of Bern, Switzerland has just 14 shots in 10 games as well after averaging two shots per game last year. Streit plummets to number 61 in this weeks rankings update.
Kevin Shattenkirk- St. Louis Blues- The young blue-liner has been quite effective in limited ice time. The 24-year-old Shattenkirk is skating a shade under 20 minutes per game, an unfortunate consequence since the youngster has six assists in nine games. Five of those six assists, by the way, have come on the power-play. The lack of playing time causes us to drop the former first-round pick to number 26 in our rankings (a decrease of 12 spots).
Kimmo Timonen- Philadelphia Flyers- We wish we didn’t have to keep picking on the hapless Flyers but we have no choice. We’ll spare you Flyers fans for the frustrating undertones of Timmonen’s play, but he plummets 20 spots along with Streit.
Other major movers: Jonathan Ericsson- Detroit Red Wings- (injury related drop to #73)