Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
With the NHL season just a few days away, we continue our five-part series, ranking the best fantasy players by position. In the first three installments of the series we evaluated the goaltenders, defensemen and centers. Today we will look at the left wingers
Skaters contribute to six of the 10 fantasy categories - Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus Rating, Penalty Minutes, Power Play Points, Shots on Goal.
Let's evaluate the top-10.
Alex Ovechkin, Washington - If you averaged 110 points and 443 shots per year over the past three NHL seasons, you too could be the No.1 pick in fantasy hockey. And that doesn't even take into account his +45 rating and 36 power play points or position scarcity. He's the easiest No.1 selection in any of the four major sports.
Zach Parise, New Jersey - Parise (ADP 8) will be on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac which should put him in a position to be the second-best guy on the left side. He finished 2009-10 with 82 points (38 G, 44 A) on 347 shots and that was with Kovalchuk on his line for only half a season.
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver - Sedin and brother Henrik form one of the best scoring combinations in the league. Despite missing 19 games with an ankle injury, Daniel finished second in scoring at the position. He's one of just six left wingers to average a point-a-game so he is worth the high draft choice (ADP 9).
Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey - In many leagues Kovalchuk is listed as both a left winger and a right winger which gives the scorer additional value. He doesn't need much extra help as his 41-goal, 44-assist season already had him being selected at the end of the first round (ADP 11).
Alexander Semin, Washington - If Semin would play the complete schedule, he would be an elite winger. As it is, he's just very good. He has missed an average of 17 games a season over the last five years in Washington. However, in his last two seasons, he's become a good fantasy value, averaging more than one point per game (135 games - 163 points). Semin has also turned a defensive weakness (plus minus ratings of -2, -7, -18 from 2003-2007) into a strength in 2008 (+25) and 2009 (+36). As a fourth-round selection (ADP 33), he should be a great value.
Rick Nash, Columbus - Nash disappointed fantasy owners in 2009 with a 13-point drop in scoring and a weak plus/minus rating. But much of that had to do with the varying lines used during the season. Nash has the talent to be a 90-point scorer, it's just a matter of finding the right offensive system and teammates. Perhaps new coach Scott Arniel has the answers.
Loui Eriksson, Dallas - After more than doubling his point total from 2008 to 2009 (31 to 63) Eriksson continue his progress in 2009 with a 29-goal, 42- assist effort. His continued play with Brad Richards should allow him to keep producing solid numbers, but some more power play time would drastically help his fantasy value. He would make a solid sixth-round selection (ADP 75).
Simon Gagne, Tampa Bay - Gagne is an excellent scorer, if he can just stay on the ice. He played just 58 games last season and 25 in 2007. If he can play in 70+ contests, he could net you 30+ goals and 35+ assists...IF? He'll likely play on a line with Vincent Lecavalier which means he could produce some very good numbers. He's being selected around the eighth round (ADP 90), which would be a bargain if he plays the full season.
Jason Pominville, Buffalo - The one thing you know you'll get from Pominville is a full year of production. He's played 82 regular season games in each of the past four seasons. He's been a consistent scorer too, averaging 69 points per season. He'll likely be overlooked on Draft Day because he's not flashy, but don't you be the one to let him go past the 12th round (ADP 160).
Ryane Clowe, San Jose - Clowe should net you somewhere around 60 points in 2010, but his key "selling" point is the 100+ penalty minutes he can bring to your fantasy team. Don't be fooled by last year's mediocre numbers, he had just four points heading into November before picking up his level of play.