Top 20 Eastern Conference Fantasy Right Wingers - Part 1 of 2
Happy New Year from the Edge!
Let's kick off the new year the Right way. Now that we've covered Goaltenders, Defensemen and Left Wingers, it's time to turn to Right Wingers for the next couple of weeks. It's a position that used to be home to a plethora of elite talents, but of late, it seems to thin out rather quickly after the top talent has been taken. Once again, Yahoo will be used for positional eligibility. A player can only appear at one position on these lists, ideally where he is most valuable.
We're not looking at keeper value here, only what kind of return we can expect for the coming season, whenever and for however many games that may be. Here is the lower half of the top 20 Eastern Conference fantasy Right Wingers as ranked by the Eastern Edge:
20) David Clarkson - New Jersey Devils
Heading into last season, most prognosticators thought Clarkson would be lucky to score 30 points, but he turned into last year's unlikeliest 30 goal scorer. His previous NHL highs in goals and points were 17 and 32 respectively. What helped him set career highs is that he received top power play unit time and 16 of his 46 points came with the man advantage. Clarkson generated 228 shots on goal and his 169 hits were second only to Anton Volchenkov on the Devils. In his last major junior season, Clarkson had 54 points in 51 games. That said, he won't help you much if you are in a straight points league.
19) Daniel Briere - Philadelphia Flyers
If you are in a pool that includes a playoff component, this is the guy you want; Briere is money in the post-season. He has 109 points in 108 career NHL playoff games. He has been a little less prolific in the regular season however. Last year, he scored only 49 points in 70 regular season games, which came as a disappointment as the previous season, he logged 34 goals and 68 points. Briere received the third most time on ice (17:21) per game amongst Flyer forwards, including 3:12 on the power play. He will almost certainly play in the top six with a talented group of players.
18) Kris Versteeg - Florida Panthers
Versteeg only surpassed the 50 point mark once in his five seasons of junior hockey, yet in his first full professional season, he recorded 72 points in 70 AHL games. In his first four full NHL seasons, he has hit the 50 point barrier twice. The 26-year-old received nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game and was a fixture on the Panthers top power play unit. Nothing suggests that this season will be any different for Versteeg.
17) Kyle Okposo - New York Islanders
With the departure of P.A. Parenteau, Okposo is penciled in as first line Right Wing. Last season, Okposo recorded a career best 24 goals and has previously eclipsed 50 points in the NHL. Look for the 24-year-old to excel on the top line beside budding superstar John Tavares. Sixty pro-rated points is not out of the question.
16) Drew Stafford - Buffalo Sabres
Stafford found himself on a line with Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno that was smoking hot at the end of last season. He finished the year with 17 points in his last 13 games. The previous season, he recorded 31 goals and 52 points in only 62 games, which would be a 69 point pro-rated season. If he can manage to stay on that line and they are able to pick up where they left off last season, Stafford will be in for a career year.
15) Wayne Simmonds - Philadelphia Flyers
Simmonds had a career year last season, scoring 28 goals and 49 points. He averaged 3:13 per game on the power play and recorded 11 power play markers. For those in roto-leagues, his 114 penalty minutes and 140 hits certainly made him a multi-cat contributor. In his four NHL campaigns, Simmonds has only missed a total of six games. Count on a 45 point pace this season, provided the 24-year-old continues to receive top power play minutes.
14) Nathan Horton - Boston Bruins
The risk/reward for Horton is fairly large, depending on what round of your draft he is taken. He's been sidelined by multiple concussions in a relatively short period of time, but is a consistent 30 goal, 60-plus point threat when healthy. Last year's injury ended a string of 20 goal seasons at six. He was playing the majority of his time with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and was on the Bruins number one power play. How much of a risk taker are you?
13) Erik Cole - Montreal Canadiens
Even though Montreal endured a brutal season, the 34-year-old Cole set a new high in goals with 35 and tied his career best in points with 61. He took the majority of his shifts with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. Cole will help in roto-leagues that count Hits and Shots on Goal; he had 186 and 241 respectively last season. Although he has a past littered with large swaths of games missed due to injury, Cole has managed to put together back to back 82 game campaigns.
12) Blake Wheeler - Winnipeg Jets
Wheeler recorded a career high with 64 points last season playing largely with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little. Wheeler led all Jets forwards in average even-strength ice time and was a fixture on the top power play unit. The points weren't too surprising in that he scored at a 61 point pace (17 points in 23 games) after coming to Atlanta in a February 2011 trade. The 26-year-old is just hitting his stride.
11) Teddy Purcell - Tampa Bay Lightning
Purcell took fifty per cent of his even strength shifts with Steven Stamkos. That's going to help your bottom line. Purcell showed modest improvements on his previous career highs; 17 to 24 goals and 51 to 65 points. The 27-year-old is a decent complimentary player and as long as his situation remains relatively unchanged, he'll continue to rack up points.
On New Year's Day 2010, where did Marco Sturm of the Boston Bruins score an overtime goal to beat the Philadelphia Flyers?