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2010-11 RotoRob NHL Draft Kit: Left Wing Rankings

August 24, 2010 | By Chris Wassel | comment on this post
Michael Cammalleri should be a force for the Montreal Canadiens this season.
Michael Cammalleri is poised to become a serious star for the Habs.

After a summer hiatus, we’re back into hockey season, and today we kick off the 2010-11 RotoRob NHL Draft Kit. This year’s list may be more cruel than last year’s edition. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent. Please also note that several players are multi-position eligible unlike years past, it seems. There are some pretty strange picks in here so it is time to just get right on down to this and then we can let the debating begin. While we wonder if the young and improving Islanders are ready to take a run at a playoff spot, let’s examine the top left wingers in the game.

Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (1): Ovechkin has led all left wingers in points in each of the last three years. He did slack a bit in shots on goal with 368 in 72 games, an average of 5.1 per game. But when you average 1.51 points per game, you are on another level. Combine that with the charisma that Ovie possesses and, really, this is the easiest top pick, position wise. Also, for those that care about penalty minutes, Ovechkin was a little more feisty last year with 89. Ovechkin has come in right around 110 points for three straight years, and that kind of consistency makes Fantasy owners happy to take him as a first or second pick. Why not expect more of the same? By the way, AO averaged 23:00 ATOI (Average Time On Ice) last year. The one thing I think could be different is his +/- — it will not be a +45. I think it will be a hair lower, but that is just me. However, another 110-point season should be on the way. So I’m expecting Ovechkin to put up somewhere between 50 and 55 goals and about 55 to 60 assists.

2. Ilya Kovalchuk, FA (2): Kovalchuk can still do things with a hockey stick that not many on this Earth can. Yes, it is a shame that we still do not know if he will remain New Jersey, but he is learning bit by bit to work with less. The 290 shots on goal and 21:28 ATOI he put up last season are also nice cornerstones for Fantasy owners. Kovalchuk can get 100 points this season. The question is will he? I happen to think he won’t only because whatever contract he signs will come with an immense amount of pressure considering the saga that has come forth. However, the Devils (if he signs there) will be better on the man advantage this season and that should translate to nearly 50 goals and a little over 90 points which means maybe 15 to 20 PPGs from Kovalchuk if the price is right in Jersey.

3. Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils (3): Parise broke in as a centre, but was moved to left wing. He was able to create his own offense, racking up 38 goals and, yes, 347 shots on net. Really, Parise is still the best player the Devils have offensively as he not only has skill, but is not afraid to outwork much bigger and stronger guys for the puck. Simply put, he is too good to be held down. Parise was a +24 last year despite having a bit of a down second half. At the age of 26, he is poised to see some of those shots go in that did not last year. I am not saying he’ll get 100 points this year, but the potential is there despite the roster. Teams just have a hard time stopping Parise and that is why he may be a more sought after LW than even Kovalchuk. A 90-to-95 point season for Parise would be about right, though I would not be surprised if he does exceed that.

4. Mike Cammalleri, Montreal Canadiens (16): The line Cammalleri will be on alone merits your attention, as Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez are perfect compliments. The playoff success Cammalleri had in carrying the team’s offense to the Conference Finals should be enough to cement this ranking. People can and will get mad here, but Cammalleri is a top notch scorer on his own now. The season he had two years ago may be nothing compared to this year. I am curious to see how this all turns out. As we all know..LW has been kind of a strange position the last few years. That being said, Cammalleri can top 90 points with this kind of offense. He has to for the Habs to make the playoffs or even get close. An even 45-45 sounds about accurate and Cammalleri will also likely pot 20-25 goals on the man advantage and get around or above 300 shots on goal with the increased ice time. The key for him is health — can he avoid the injury bug?

5. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings (NR): I just think Zetterberg will finally stay healthy…err…the surrounding talent will. That hurt badly last season, as Zetterberg limped to 70 points. Also, this is likely the last year he is LW elligible as he is only listed as Centre in most leagues, but there are enough out there that give him the dual LW/C position, so we will keep him here for now. I am expecting Zetterberg to bounce back close to the 90-point mark and maybe a hair higher. A jump up from 12 PPGs to nearly 20 is also projected for a guy that is a top five LW and is now entering his hockey prime. Zetterberg is pretty ticked and ready for action! The man is 30 now — time to step up or step down. Zetterberg will step up and should see some LW time so he may become temporarily eligible again. Stay tuned.

6. Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals (4 at RW): Playing with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom results in automatic production. I just think Semin’s wonky back and some injury issues may be just enough to keep him out of the Top five but he should average better than a point per game. The other problem is that Semin was forced to Right Wing last year and may play there again. Check your league eligibility requirements, but he should be listed as a LW in a few leagues. If you can keep him there, great! Left wingers just are not as proficient scorers as the wingers on the other side. If Semin stays healthy, he’ll go way over 90 points, but I see him missing games for a variety of reasons…mainly his back. It’s funny also that Semin shoots a lot, but only scored eight of his 34 goals on power play. That has to improve if he is to take that next step. I am expecting around 85 points in about 70 games for Semin this season.

7. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks (9): Why is Sedin still listed so low? I just think for whatever reason, he cannot stay healthy at times and this year will be no different. Vancouver is not going to score 270+ goals this year either, so the production hit will at least hinder this twin some. Sedin’s high production in limited action last year was more Vancouver mirage than actual reality. Again expect more of the same old, same old from Sedin. The nice thing is about 80-to-85 points should be achieved rather easily with around 30 goals. Sedin had nine PPG last year, so expect 11 or 12 this year. Sadly, however, he will only play around 70 games. At least the points per game average will be nice.

Vancouver Canucks Gear

8. Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils (14): Elias is old and crafty and he typically bounces back after very poor seasons. This season will be a test, but I think he can rebound. Elias will have one more good season before fading and this is it. Health is always an issue as he only played 58 games last season, but he did score 48 points and nearly had 60 to be honest. If he gets it in gear early, Elias will see left wing time as well as action at centre time. Elias will get 30 goals this season or come awfully close. He was projected around 30 last season and with the man advantage getting an upgrade, the points should get back to around one per game as well. Elias will end up with around 80 points, which is enough to earn a Top ten rankings.

9. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks (8): So we create a little more controversy by not having Marleau in the Top five. However, he only had 83 points and I really think his production is capped around that total. Sure, Joe Thornton will help some, but part of me just thinks this is what Marleau now is — around a 40-40 guy, which is great for your league, but not the top line talent he once was. Maybe I will be proven wrong like I was with the Sedins last year. Still, I’m expect the same old, same old again from Marleau — around 80-to 85 points. I think he’s a player that will be drafted way too early in Fantasy leagues this season.

10. Ray Whitney, Phoenix Coyotes (15): Why not, really? Phoenix is very good at reclamation projects with players like this and Whitney is in a good situation. If he sets up on a line with Shane Doan and Lee Stempniak, that could be some serious potential. The key for Whitney is health. This is one of our riskier picks, but we will take it based on consistency and I expect 75-to-80 points from him, including ten PPGs and about 20 PPAs, nice numbers from a guy heading toward the age of 40. Call it a bounce back year before he finally goes into the tank!

11. Simon Gagne, Tampa Bay Lightning (12): Gagne was pretty healthy last year, and that means a very good season. The injury issues are a major concern for Fantasy owners, but when he is in, your team is good to go. It will be interesting to see how he gels on the Tampa Bay power play. That should tell the tale as far as his production goes, and ultimately his Fantasy relevance.

12. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres (5): As Jason Pominvillegoes, so goes Vanek. Vanek is likely stuck in one of those situations where the team dynamic just dictates balanced scoring and instead of rising above the fray, he floats into the status quo. Maybe he finds a way to get his scoring up to around 75 points or so, but that would almost seem to be a miracle this year. His 53-point output last season really angered some Fantasy owners, so Vanek will have to step up.

13. David Perron, St. Louis Blues (NR): Ladies and gentlemen, I like Perron’s potential and you should too. The Blues are young and exciting and they are also bound to erase the Power Play nightmares from last season as the old guard is definitely finished. Here comes a season that will make the Blues shine a bit more.

14. Loui Eriksson, Dallas Stars (18): Last season was no fluke. Eriksson is on his way with guys like Brenden Morrow and James Neal (if he ever signs). You can do worse than Eriksson and he likely gets around 65 points or so, maybe a hair more if Dallas figures out the right way down the ice.

15. David Booth, Florida Panthers (17): When Booth’s head is up, he is good to go. Florida will need scoring and Booth can provide it. Again, the only concern is can he take the physical pounding? For Booth to be relevant in Fantasy leagues, he will have to play at least 75 games. I think he does just that.

16. Ryane Clowe, San Jose Sharks (NR): For Clowe to take the next step, the man advantage goals have to come way up. Two will not cut it. If he gets around eight to ten PP tallies, a 60-to-65 point season is likely, at that keeps Fantasy owners like Hershey’s — happy!

17. Ryan Smyth, Los Angeles Kings (NR): Kovalchuk is better than Anze Kopitar.  Sorry. Smyth will still have a nice season, but another year older means maybe he’s a step slower. The Kings will be more balanced from top to bottom as well. Expect a decent year from the aging warrior.

18. Jussi Jokinen, Carolina Hurricanes (NR): Simply put, Jokinen plays a good two-way style and has found his niche in Carolina. He scores and he dishes just enough to be a viable Fantasy player. A Fantasy owner can steal him very late and be glad they did.

19. Kristian Huselius, Columbus Blue Jackets (NR): Huselius has to play better than last season. I think he will respond at least somewhat to the pressure. The question becomes, does anyone care? I do not have an answer to that, but watch out for Huselius, especially early.

20. Alex Burrows, Vancouver Canucks (NR): Expect a slight drop from Burrows. Canuck fans were spoiled last year as it seemed everyone had a breakout season, or at least it felt that way. Do not expect 35 goals from Burrows, but something close to 30-30 will be a possibility as teams clamp down a bit on Vancouver.

21. Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins (20): I’m throwing the big guy a bone here, to be honest. Lucic’s third season was supposed to be the breakout year until an injury derailed anything and everything. Expect him to come firing back with a vengeance.

22. Andrew Brunette, Minnesota Wild (NR): Brunette could probably score in a phone booth. Watch the crud Minnesota throws out there and then watch him still score.

23. Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers (11): Hartnell will have a better second half, but expect a big drop in the first half. Sounds crazy? No, this is just Hartnell in a nutshell. Sorry to disappoint everyone.

24. Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings (NR): The NortonSports client will do some nice things this year and improve on his Power Play totals. That should keep Brown Fantasy relevant.

25. Slava Kozlov, Atlanta Thrashers (NR): This could be the end of the road for Kozlov, but a last good run is not out of the question.

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