Fantasy Hockey Faceoff: 'Tis the season | Hockey | CBC Sports

NHLFantasy Hockey Faceoff: 'Tis the season

Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2011 | 02:55 PM

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Fantasy managers have many reasons to be thankful for the Florida Panthers and their surprising stars this season, including Brian Campbell, left, Stephen Weiss, centre, and Kris Versteeg. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Fantasy managers have many reasons to be thankful for the Florida Panthers and their surprising stars this season, including Brian Campbell, left, Stephen Weiss, centre, and Kris Versteeg. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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While Jesse Campigotto's off enjoying some eggnog, Jordan Shifman embraces the holiday spirit and looks at what managers have to be grateful for from the world of fantasy hockey. He also gives his weekly advice on some roster moves to consider to start the New Year off right.
It's the time of year to be thankful for many things.

While it's most important to appreciate all the good things we have in our lives, why not take a moment to reflect on the gifts of the hockey season, too?

With that in mind, while Jesse's off enjoying some eggnog, I embrace the holiday spirit and look at what managers have to be grateful for from the world of fantasy hockey. I also give my weekly advice on some roster moves to consider to start the New Year off right.

Looking for a league to join? There's no time like the present to get in on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool. It's free to play and you could win a shiny new KIA Optima Hybrid.

Like what you're reading? Follow the Fantasy Hockey Faceoff guys, Jesse and Jordan, on Twitter, plus the CBC Sports fantasy hockey account.

So let's get right to it:

O Come, All Ye Youthful

Tyler Seguin and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are two young guns that have performed at a higher level than anticipated so far this season. Seguin, who was drafted in less than 50 per cent of Yahoo! leagues, has already set all new career-highs, including in points (29).

Rookie RNH not only has a comfortable lead among rookies in scoring with 13 goals and 34 points, but he's also tied for 16th in NHL scoring after being drafted in just 15 per cent of leagues.

Sevivon, Sov, Sov, Sov

Florida Panthers fans everywhere, along with any fantasy managers that drafted from that team, have many reasons to feel the holiday spirit. Like the Chanukah dreidel (or "sevivon" in Hebrew) as it turns, the Panthers have had a dizzying number of seasons, but have finally started to come around that corner.

In goal, Jose Theodore has exceeded expectations all year long. Drafted in Yahoo! leagues on average 29th among NHL goalies and 144th overall, Theodore is currently top-15 in wins, goals against and save percentage of goalies with double-digit games played.

On defence, Jason Garrison is first in goals with 10, while teammate Brian Campbell is second in points with 26. Campbell was drafted on average 166th overall because many believed his production was going to disappear in Florida. Quite the contrary.

Up front, one of the best bargains this year has been Panthers' left/right winger Kris Versteeg. He was drafted in just 36 per cent of Yahoo! leagues, but has rewarded his owners with 16 goals (tied 10th) and 35 points (tied 12th). Versteeg's teammates Tomas Fleischmann (30 points) and Stephen Weiss (32 points) have also been pleasant surprises.

We Three Kings

Not only do fantasy managers have a reason to rejoice during this holiday season, but so, too, do these players themselves. After last season, the trio of Brian Elliott, Sheldon Souray and Joffrey Lupul were all but written off.

Elliott barely made the Blues out of training camp and was subsequently drafted in just three per cent of Yahoo! leagues. Now he finds himself leading the NHL in goals against, save percentage and shutouts.

Likewise, Souray was buried in the minors while with Edmonton, but has joined Dallas and chipped in with 15 points and 43 PIMs.

At the forward position, last season Lupul was traded to Toronto essentially as a salary dump, but the oft-injured winger has resurrected his career playing alongside Phil Kessel for the Leafs. Drafted in just 11 per cent of leagues, Lupul is tied for 10th in the NHL with 36 points.

Some stocking stuffers:

Danny Cleary has been playing some excellent hockey in Detroit just in time for the holidays. Cleary has 10 of his 17 points in the month of December, including five points in his last three games, and he's just 16 per cent owned in Yahoo! leagues.

Perhaps it's being in the limelight of the HBO series 24/7, but Flyers' forward Wayne Simmonds has picked up his game. He has tallied seven points in his last seven games, including three power-play goals and two game winners. At 19 per cent owned, Simmonds would be an excellent holiday gift for your fantasy team, especially considering that he's been playing alongside James van Riemsdyk and Danny Briere of late.

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