Fantasy hockey picks: The top 6 to watch and skip

 22 hours ago

If you’re looking for fantasy hockey tips for the games ahead, you have come to the right place.

As we gear up for the new season, fantasy hockey leagues are starting up again, with many of us preparing for our upcoming drafts. Checking spreadsheets, comparing stats and deciding how to build a lineup comes with challenges and hiccups, especially with news that certain players–like Sidney Crosby –are expected to miss the beginning of the season.

While there are surprises in every season, each competitor puts forth their best effort to pick the surefire winners, who put up points across all categories. More than that, though, deciding who to skip can be equally as valuable, dodging the spectacular failures that result in goose eggs across categories and cost precious victories.

Check out our list of which players to pick–and skip–in fantasy hockey below.

Related: NHL power rankings – Barkov, Bennett drive the Panthers to the no. 1 spot

Fantasy hockey picks

Pick: Victor Olofsson, Buffalo Sabres
Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

With Jack Eichel injured and out indefinitely with some weird stalemate, the Sabres are–surprisingly–exceeding expectations and winning games. Their offensive success comes, in large part, from 26 year old Victor Olofsson, who has two NHL seasons under his belt. With four goals and two assists in six games, his fantasy hockey appeal is pretty easy to see. He also adds 17 shots, a +2 rating, and four penalty minutes to the mix. He sees power play time, too, which helps with those categories and, as long as Eichel is out, will be one of the more primary forwards for the club. That will likely mean a bunch of points.

Pick: Kevin Shattenkirk, Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks may not be high on the projections list this season, but Shattenkirk opened the season with a five game point streak. The blueliner is one of the more veteran players on the club, especially in the defensive corps, and therefore holds a lot of fantasy hockey opportunity. Three apiece of goals and assists is awesome for a defenseman, and he adds six penalty minutes and 12 blocks as well–especially impressive considering he isn’t on a great hockey team.

Pick: Vitek Vanecek, Washington Capitals
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Even though he’s essentially splitting goaltending duties with Ilya Samsonov, Vanecek has a lot of fantasy hockey value.

He currently has a slight edge on Samsonov for the top spot, and it’s easy to see why. In four games (and in spite of one game he got pulled), he has two wins and an overtime loss, with a 2.05 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. He’s on a team that can easily rack up a lot of wins, but he’ll still face ample shots. It’ll give him value in fantasy hockey and, if he can record a shootout or two, owners would be in really good shape.

Related: NHL games today – TV schedule, best bets and DFS picks

Fantasy hockey skips

Skip: Kevin Labanc, San Jose Sharks
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Sharks forward had moments last season that saw him shining offensively, and then had moments where he was quiet. The streaky nature of his gameplay makes him a bit of a risk for fantasy hockey general managers, who should look for more consistency whenever and wherever possible. He’s a third-liner in San Jose right now, and has two goals and an assist through five games. He only adds seven shots on goal to that total, which is certainly not enough in formats that measure deeper stats. There are more consistent versions of him in the NHL, and they should be taken first.

Skip: Dylan DeMelo, Winnipeg Jets

Even though there were some rumours about the defenseman leaving Winnipeg in the expansion draft, he remained with the Jets and was expected to take on a key role. With the Jets struggling early on in the season, he has been too, which is a bit of an issue for fantasy hockey owners. He’s recorded only one assist in five contests, with an even rating and four penalty minutes. It’s not enough to keep him rostered, as he could be replaced by blueliners who are performing well now.

Skip: Marc-Andre Fleury, Chicago Blackhawks

Fleury was last year’s Vezina Trophy winner, but that victory seems like another lifetime ago. This season, he is struggling.

He is winless in each of his appearances, has already been pulled midway through a game, and allowed rookie Lucas Raymond his first career hat trick. His 5.75 goals against average and .839 save percentage are hardly good and, to make matters worse, things are being shaken up in Chicago with upper level management stepping down and the team being fined. A struggling team entering management turmoil could spell disaster, and steering clear of Fleury seems like the smart move in fantasy hockey right now.

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