Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheets: Shots on Goal leaders

While Pro Hockey Talk doesn’t specialize in fantasy hockey (our Rotoworld cousins do, though), we still think that there are areas where we can help you, the budding imaginary general managers. For that reason, we’re going to discuss different philosophies, strategies and cheat sheets as fantasy drafts begin to increase around North America.

Previous entries: Penalty Minutes, Faceoff winners.

Today’s entry: Shots on Goal.

alexosoghero.jpgWhile many people roll their eyes at the debate, I still think that Sidney Crosby vs. Alexander Ovechkin will ultimately be the “Magic vs. Bird” debate for this NHL generation. I agree that other great players such as Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin and so so on deserve a bigger piece of the spotlight, but Crosby and Ovechkin are still on the top of the mountain.

That much remains true in fantasy hockey, too, especially if you don’t choose frivolous stat categories (more on that soon). With Crosby developing into a more trigger happy player, his mixture of normal stats plus FW and SOG get him back in the No. 1 pick argument in my mind.*

* – That being said, as long as Ovechkin doesn’t suffer an off-season injury, I would take him in most leagues (especially if they are wise enough to have winger/position categories … leaving all forwards labeled ‘F’ is no fun). The logic is simple: great left wingers are a lot harder to come by than great centers. That’s another discussion for another day, though.

All that out of the way, Ovechkin’s SOG make him the No. 1 option in leagues that include that stat. His 2009-10 numbers might look tame to you compared to his previous seasons, but keep in mind he won the imaginary shooting frequency title by 20 shots even after missing 10 games in 09-10. That’s still 5.1 shots per game, which would equal 419 overall. Here are the top 10 SOG leaders from the last three seasons, with Ovechkin the clear king of that category. (Stats via NHL.com.)

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In case you want a nice snapshot of which guys are consistent SOG-heavy players, here are the players who made a top 10 list at least twice in the last three years. (This includes their rank for 09-10, 08-09, 07-08; NR means “not ranked” although they might have been as high as #11.)

Alex Ovechkin: 1, 1, 1
Zach Parise: 2, 3, NR
Jeff Carter: 3, 4, NR
Henrik Zetterberg: 4, 5, 2
Vincent Lecavalier: 8, 9, 7
Ilya Kovalchuk: 9, NR, 10
Eric Staal: NR, 2, 8
Jason Blake: NR, 7, 5

pariseandcarter.jpgExpect big SOG numbers from Parise and Carter since they’re going to be free agents after this season. Greed is good when SOG are concerned. I’ve always been a big fan of Zetterberg in fantasy hockey because he earns a ton of FW and often gains C/LW eligibility**. If he wasn’t so injury prone, so handsome and so devoted to playing for the Red Wings he’d be my hero.

** – This means you can play them at center OR left wing. Not every fantasy league allows you to do this, but players who can earn this opportunity warm my dorky heart.

My guess is Eric Staal would have contended for the top 10 if he wasn’t fighting injury problems last season. One might think that Lecavalier is primed for a minor bounce-back year merely based on the fact that he shot at a mediocre 8.1 rate last season. Jason Blake is notable for being one of those guys who only justifies his fantasy existence with SOG, but he has to be healthy to do so.

I’ll leave you with these last two thoughts: if you have the No. 1 pick in a league with SOG, just draft Ovechkin. Number two: if you are a commissioner for a fantasy hockey league, don’t make shooting percentage (or S%) a stat category. It is really dumb.

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    Goalie nods: With Talbot sick, Oilers give Laurent Brossoit second career start

    San Jose Sharks Bryan Lerg (42) scores a goal on Edmonton Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit (1) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Edmonton, Alberta. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson)
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    Laurent Brossoit will make his second career start in Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

    Brossoit will be between the pipes because starter Cam Talbot is ill and missed the morning skate.

    The Oilers are hoping Brossoit isn’t as busy this time as he was in his first career start last year when he turned aside 49 shots in a 3-1 loss to San Jose.

    “I’m a big believer in Brossoit,” said teammate Brandon Davidson, per the team’s website. “He’s done a great job. I played with him in the minors and he competes like no other. He’s tremendously athletic and he did a great job last year when he got the game too. He’s ready and I think he’ll show that tonight.”

    The Jets will go with Ondrej Pavelec, who hasn’t played since Nov. 21 because of a knee injury.

    Elsewhere…

    –The Leafs have yet to announce their start. The Canucks haven’t named one either, but expect them to go with Ryan Miller.

    Craig Anderson will be between the pipes for Ottawa. The Blue Jackets will counter with Joonas Korpisalo.

    –Like the Leafs and Canucks, the Islanders and Hurricanes have yet to announce their starting goaltenders. It could be Jaroslav Halak against Eddie Lack.

    –Expect Pekka Rinne to get the start against the Panthers. Roberto Luongo, who was pulled on Friday, will be between the pipes for Florida.

    Braden Holtby will put his five-game winning streak on the line when Washington takes on Dallas. Kari Lehtonen will look to extend his winning streak to three games.

    –The Ducks have yet to announce their start. The ‘Hawks will turn to Vezina Trophy candidate Corey Crawford.

    Louis Domingue will look to win his second straight game. Martin Jones will get the start for San Jose.

    Gostisbehere sets new rookie record in OT loss to Devils

    Philadelphia Flyers' Shayne Gostisbehere reacts after scoring the first goal of his career during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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    Shayne Gostisbehere is the proud owner of a new rookie record.

    With his goal in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils, the 22-year-old extended his point streak to 11 games, which is a record for rookie defensemen in the NHL.

    Gostisbehere has an incredible 10 goals and 30 points in 35 games this season.

    Gostisbehere’s goal tied the game at one after Devils forward Joseph Blandisi scored this beauty in the first period:

    Adam Henrique added the game-winning goal in overtime.

    It’s the second straight 2-1 victory for the Devils, who also beat the Oilers by the same score on Tuesday night.

    The Flyers have just one win in their last five contests.

    To add insult to injury, Philadelphia lost Michael Del Zotto to an upper-body injury, per GM Ron Hextall.

    Here’s an updated look at the Metropolitan division standings and Wild Card race:

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    After missing two games because of an illness, Panarin will return to ‘Hawks lineup

    Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates after scoring an empty-net goal on an assist from Patrick Kane against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Chicago. The Blackhawks won 3-1. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
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    CHICAGO (AP) Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin is expected to play Saturday night against Anaheim after missing two games with an illness.

    Panarin participated in Chicago’s optional morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville says the rookie will be in the lineup against the Ducks.

    The 24-year-old Panarin, who has played on Chicago’s second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane for most of the season, is second on the team with 34 assists and 52 points. The Blackhawks dropped both games while he was out.

    Rangers get good news on McDonagh, bad news on Nash

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    Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.

    Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.

    The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.

    McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).

    The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.

    McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.

    The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.

    Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.

    He’ll miss at least another week.