The Top 10 dual-positional (according to Yahoo!) players…
There was a little bit of a shock when Yahoo! debuted its player list for their fantasy hockey web site a couple of weeks back as they took many dual-positional players and turned them into singular-positional players. This is impacting a many keeper pools that use Yahoo! as they can no longer keep five centers and just slot players into a wing position instead. And it will also affect more one-year pools than you might think. I've mentioned this story before, but I was in a Yahoo! pool last year where we started 11 forwards and three defensemen. I owned Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Giordano, John Klingberg, John Carlson, Shea Weber and Shayne Gostisbehere. Most of the season Byfuglien was slotted in as a forward for me because he was a better option than my 10th and 11th forward.
I won't have that luxury this year with Byfuglien. Or many other players.
But that's going to add extra value to players that can slot in more than one position. Drafting some players that can slot in numerous spots will help you later on in the season when slumps and injuries start to hit. Here are the top 10 dual-positional players for Yahoo! fantasy hockey for this season.
10. Dustin Brown
We all know Brown is no longer going to get you 30 points. And we also know the former Kings captain is on a major downswing in his career. But he's still great in the peripheral categories of shots and hits. He's sneaky good pick for leagues that count those categories as with Milan Lucic gone, Brown may be counted on for even more of those peripherals. Knowing he can slot in as a left wing or a right wing makes him more valuable than a similar-type player. Note that if you don't count those peripherals, don't draft him.
9. Sam Reinhart
Reinhart may be the toughest player to peg for fantasy hockey this season. Is he a third-line center? Will be play a top-six role as a winger? Will he get any power-play time? That could be why his projections are all over the place. I've seen anywhere from 36 to 60 points. That's quite a range. But he has some extra value as he can slot in as a centre or a right winger, especially if he can hit that 50 to 60-point mark.
It used to be Alex Ovechkin that had the Capitals' market cornered on slotting in as a left wing or right wing. But the Great 8 lost that ability this season, now being earmarked as just a left winger. But Marcus Johansson is picking up the slack. He can be positioned in your lineup on either wing and has a good shot at breaking the 50-point mark for the first time.
7. Brandon Saad
Saad had a breakout season with Columbus last year with 31 goals and 53 points. Many are expecting him to duplicate that feat. The best part? You can slot him as a left wing or a right wing, thereby putting him where ever you are weakest. This is where multi-positional players are best. They automatically give you greater depth at whatever spot you are weakest.
Voracek lost a lot of name value last year, thanks to a subpar 55-point season. But there's still value there. And knowing that you can play Voracek as either a left or right winger gives him some extra worth. Remember that Voracek had a slow start and a slow finish last year. But the middle of the season he was dynamite with 38 points in 38 games.
Zibanajad will be underrated in leagues that count faceoffs. But knowing that you can also slot him in as a right winger will pay dividends. Last year, Zibanajad had 1,306 faceoffs and won 659 of them. The only Ranger that took more and won more was Derick Brassard, who now happens to be playing in Ottawa. Even though Zibanajad will be the second-line center in New York, he's going to see plenty of faceoffs.
Schenn is being undervalued in mock drafts so far this year — at least the ones I have participated in. I managed to snag him in the 10th round of one pool, right before Ryan Kesler and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and right after Thomas Greiss and Sami Vatanen. The forwards that went before Schenn included Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique. Schenn is coming off a 59-point season and can be either a center or a left wing.
His value in faceoff leagues just exploded. In a two-center league, if you have Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar and Jordan Staal, there's going to be nights when you are leaving faceoffs on your bench. But if you have Ryan O'Reilly instead of Staal, you can slot O'Reilly in as a left-winger and not miss any faceoff value. Or imagine owning Bergeron, Kopitar, O'Reilly and Zibanajad. With the latter two as wingers, you'd run away with the faceoff category.
We're still waiting for MacKinnon's breakout season. This year is a good bet since he's entering his all-important fourth season. I did a mock draft last week where I drafted MacKinnon in the fourth round. I then slotted MacKinnon as a right winger. That was a much better option than the right wingers that were left on the board (Dylan Larkin, , Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp). I was then able to pick up Sean Monahan as my second centre in the fifth round.
1. Joe Pavelski
Pavelski always had value. He was underrated for a few years, but last year seemed to be about where he should be. Now his value is even higher. It used to be at least half of the picks in the first two rounds were dual eligible. Now Pavelski is the only player in the first three rounds that is dual eligible (as long as no one reaches for MacKinnon). That's crazy value. Just knowing you can slot him in as either center or right winger will help you make the right decisions needed to win your pool.
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