Five Fantasy Players to Watch: Pacific

Here are five player profiles taken from the 2011-12 FHC Fantasy Hockey Pool Guide from the Pacific Division.

Bobby Ryan (Anaheim) – It’s hard to be known as the player drafted right after Sidney Crosby, but Bobby Ryan is making the best of it and lines up beside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf at times to form one formidable line.  Only ten points on the power play is a bit worrisome, however, with Teemu Selanne uncertain of playing this season, those numbers should rise.

Loui Eriksson (Dallas) – PICK THIS GUY UP!  Seriously, I just don’t understand fantasy players at all.  Every year I do a draft, every year I get Eriksson in the last few rounds, it doesn’t matter if I do one pool in the year or ten pools, it never fails.  People will say, well he lost Brad Richards he can’t possibly be as good as he was last year.  This might be true, however, in 2008-09 he didn’t really play with Richards, and all he did was score 36 goals.  Eriksson is a goal scorer and Richards or not, he’s going to continue to score goals and be the key to the Dallas Stars attack.

Viatcheslav Voynov (Los Angeles) – The numbers game may push a terrific prospect out of the NHL and back to Russia and that’s the situation facing Voynov.  Despite a 51-point season in the AHL, it’s an unfortunate situation as the 21-year-old proved he is NHL ready but with Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson already ahead of him the Los Angeles Kings brass feel his development is better served with the Manchester Monarchs.  This summer will be a pivotal decision in Voynov’s future as he could be lured back to the KHL with good money and most importantly a promise of ice-time.  If Voynov decides to stay, it means he is willing to give the NHL every chance he can and that shows a lot of character. Skill wise he has all the tools to be a contributor at the next level; he harnesses a good shot and effortlessly makes the always important outlet pass.  Look for the Russian to play 30 games with the Kings this season and if productive will be full-time next season. If the call-up fails to come early, is a definite KHL risk.

Keith Yandle (Phoenix) – Yandle has quietly developed into an elite offensive and reliable defensemen in the NHL. Offensively he does it all.  Yandle is dangerous running the power play as he posses a blistering slap shot that he is not shy to use, letting loose 199 shots last year.  Of Yandle’s 11 goals, three were on the power play and 26 of his 59 points were also powerplay markers.  Last season Yandle also managed to refine his defensive game sporting a plus/minus rating of +12 and blocking 103 shots. Yandle will continue to play huge minutes as he averaged 24:22 minutes per game last season and continue to improve, as the star defender is only 24 years old. A 20-goal season is eventually within reach for this stud.  Forecast 15 goals, 50 assists for 65 points.

James Sheppard (San Jose) – Sheppard has been hampered with multiple injuries but has a decent upside.  He can play any forward position and is a sound two-way player.  He was a scoring machine in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League so he does have an offensive side to his game he just needs to play with more consistency.  A change in scenery may just be what the doctor ordered.  He has 65-point potential but it might take a couple seasons, he is a project.  Count on at least 20+ points for this season.

To see more fantasy information like this you can purchase the 2011-12 FHC Fantasy Hockey Pool Guide at www.fantasyhockeycoach.com.

Be sure to check out the two free fantasy hockey pools we are running this year.  One pool is a regular hockey pool where you pick players and get points for different stats they accumulate.  The second pool is a “Saturday Pick’Em” pool where you pick the winner of each NHL game that Saturday.

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