With NHL training camps set to begin about four weeks from now, it’s time for fantasy hockey managers to start reengaging their brains and begin planning for their upcoming Fantasy Hockey Draft. Most drafts will take place in the latter-half of September, but it’s never too early to start looking for that gem of a late-round pick, the underrated talent who is set for a breakout season or the veteran presence who is due for a rebound year.
Today’s Position: Left Wing
Left Wing has some very talented players, but be diligent in your drafting because these players go very quickly and very high in the draft – and you definitely do not want to lose out on some of these names.
If You Have a Top 3 Pick – Take Ovechkin. Don’t ask why, just do it.
If You Can’t Take Ovechkin – Then definitely consider Ilya Kovalchuk. Again, this is a no-brainer as Kovalchuk netted 40 or more goals in each of his past five NHL seasons and will probably continue that pace this year.
The Secret Is Out On – Zach Parise (pictured). Despite a breakout season in 2008-09 where Parise posted 94 points, he was still somewhat of a wild card. Well, his 84-point season last year showed that he isn’t a fluke and you can expect him to tally 30+ goals and 80 or more points this season as well.
Still Under the Radar Is – Simon Gagne. With potential to top the 70 point plateau, Gagne suffers from inconsistency and is somewhat injury-prone, which keeps him off the radar for many fantasy owners. With 40 points in 58 games last season, if Gagne can stay healthy he might shoot back up near 70 points if he plays on one of Tampa Bay’s top two lines centered by either Lecavalier or Stamkos.
Look for a Rebound Season From – Alex Tanguay. After a disappointing outing with Tampa Bay last season, Tanguay will return to Calgary where he did quite a bit of damage offensively in 2006-07 with 81 points. The Flames are hoping that Tanguay can recover that scoring touch and help boost the team’s struggling offense and will probably be given every opportunity to succeed.
Look for a Breakout Season From – Ville Leino. After being traded to the Flyers at the trade deadline, Leino came alive when the pressure was on in the playoffs and tallied seven goals and 14 assists in 19 playoff games. Look for Leino to benefit from playing on a team that is deep and very talented offensively. Fifty points could be within reach if Leino works hard for it.
Keep An Eye On – Taylor Hall. As the number one overall selection in the 2010 Entry Draft, Hall will be given every opportunity to succeed in Edmonton. Chances are he will immediately land a spot on one of the top two lines and Hall is expected to score a lot of goals in an Oilers uniform. Keep an eye on him to see if those goals start coming as early as this season.