Top Fantasy Picks from the NHL Eastern Metropolitain Division
The fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from each team for 2018-19. Today, we look at the Eastern Metropolitain division franchise players.
Top Washington Capitals Player
Alex Ovechkin, LW — Ovechkin is the only player in the NHL to score at least 49 goals and have at least 139 hits in a single season, and he has accomplished that eight times since entering the NHL in 2005-06. If Ovechkin, who turns 33 on Sept. 17, has a similar season to any of the aforementioned, he’ll finish as the top-ranked player in fantasy hockey. He had 87 points (49 goals, 38 assists) in 82 games to lead the Stanley Cup champion Capitals last season.
Top Pittsburgh Penguins Players
Sidney Crosby, C — Consistently a top-five fantasy player in all formats, Crosby, 31, finished third on the Penguins with 89 points (10th in NHL) in 82 games last season, behind center Evgeni Malkin (98) and right wing Phil Kessel (92). Crosby leads active NHL players in career points per game (1.29) and is an elite passer with immense value on the power play (38 power-play points last season, T-3rd in NHL). Considering Crosby regressed from 44 goals in 2016-17 to 29 last season, it’s realistic to think he can improve upon his production.
Evgeni Malkin, C — The 32-year-old ranked fourth in the NHL last season with 98 points (42 goals, 56 assists) in 78 games, his highest point total since winning the Art Ross Trophy with 109 in 2011-12. He overcame previous injury concerns by playing 78 games last season, his highest total since 2008-09, and led the Penguins in goals, points, game-winning goals (seven) and shooting percentage (17.6 percent). He plays with Crosby on the power play (38 PPP last season) and usually brings exposure to either Kessel or right wing Patric Hornqvist at even strength, making him a safe pick.
Top Philadelphia Flyers Player
Claude Giroux, LW — The 30-year-old had NHL career-highs in goals (34), assists (68) and points (102), and finished second in the NHL in points behind Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (108). Giroux has the potential to finish top 10 this season with Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier by his side.
Top New Jersey Devils Player
Taylor Hall, LW — Coming off a career-high 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists), the reigning Hart Trophy winner will be ready for training camp after having surgery for torn ligaments in his left hand April 30. Hall set career highs in almost every statistical offensive category, including goals, assists, rating (plus-14), power-play points (37), and shooting percentage (14.0), and led Devils forwards in ice time (19:09). From Jan. 2 to March 6, Hall had 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) in a personal 26-game point streak. Playing on the first line and power-play unit, Hall will once again be the focal point of the offense. It may be asking too much for another 90-point season, but he should be in line for 80-85 points and complete category coverage if healthy.