The final forward position we have to preview for the 2013-14 season is right wing. Our positions are based off of the Yahoo! fantasy hockey positions. We’re going to take a look at the top right wingers along with young players on the rise, overlooked value, rookies and sleepers!
After Alexander Ovechkin was named to the first all-star team as a right wing and the second all-star team as a left wing last season I was not sure which article to put him in. I decided to go with right considering he made the first team at right. After the worst season of his career in 2011-12 (38 G, 27 A – 65 points in 78 games) Ovechkin bounced back in a big-way in 2012-13. He was the only player to score 30-plus goals (32) and finished with 57 points which was tied for third in the NHL. If you are in a league that rewards power-play points, he is one of the best. He led the NHL with 16 power-play goals last season. With a full 82-game schedule upon us, Ovie will look to get back to 50-goals for the first time since 2009-10. He should contend with Steven Stamkos for the NHL scoring lead. Last year, Patrick Kane enjoyed the best statistical season of his career scoring 23 goals (t-5th in NHL) and adding 32 assists (55 points) in 47 games. Kane was able to cap his season off with his second Stanley Cup Championship and first Conn Smyhte Trophy. The year after winning his first Cup, Kane had his worst NHL season. He will look to avoid that this season as he looks to build off of last seasons 1.17 points-per-game. It depends what kind of league you are in, but if you are in a league that has penalty minutes, then Corey Perry is mighty valuable. After scoring 50 goals two years ago he has seen his numbers drop. Even though his linemate Ryan Getzlaf had one of the best years of his career, Perry only had 36 points in 44 games. The 50-goal season is starting to look more like a fluke each year, 30 goals and 35 assists is more along the lines of what we should see from Perry. However a healthy dose of shots and P.I.M’s help his fantasy stock. Phil Kessel possesses some of the best wheels and shot featured in the NHL. Coming into last season he had three straight 30-goal seasons, including 37 in 2011-12. In the shortened season he scored 20 times and added 32 assists for 52 points, tied for seventh in the NHL. Kessel finished sixth in the league in power-play points (21) and ranked 10th in shots on goal. He is not afraid to sling the rubber at the net making him a potential candidate for 40 goals this season. At 38, Martin St. Louis won the Art Ross trophy (NHL points leader) for the second time in his career. He had 17 goals and 43 assists (60 points) which was three points more than his teammate Steven Stamkos who finished second. The crazy thing is they finished 1-2 in scoring but the Lightning still missed the playoffs. St. Louis will play with Stammer yet again which gives him a chance to finish near the top of the scoring race in 2013-14. He has appeared in 779 of a possible 786 games over the last 10 seasons. Even as one of the NHL’s smaller players, he is one of the most durable.Bobby Ryan was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to the Ottawa Senators. He comes to Ottawa having scored 30-plus goals in each of his first four seasons. Ryan saw less ice-time last year than he had in previous years which led to a disappointing 11 goals in 46 games. As a member of the Senators, Ryan will open the season on a line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. Spezza who is the new Senators captain is a great playmaker, Ryan is a pure goal-scorer and Michalek has a ton of speed. Each brings a different skill set to the table which could make this line very successful. Ryan will most likely enjoy his fifth 30-goal season in 2013-14.
Next in Line
In terms of skill, Alexander Semin belongs in the Top-Tier. He has one of the best shots in the game giving him the ability to bust a game open at anytime. However, Semin can be very inconsistent. In his first year in Carolina he played on a line with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty. The trio was nothing short of spectacular in their first year together and will look to build on that in 2013-14. Semin was heavily scrutinized in Washington but if he can put another good season together, he will be beloved in Carolina. He could get to 30-goals and 50 assists this season, making him a really good upside pick in the late-third, early-fourth round. Before being traded to Columbus at the trade deadline, Marian Gaborik had a terrible season going. He scored just nine times in the first 35 games. His 0.35 points-per-game in New York was by far the worst of his career. After moving to Columbus he became the obvious focal point of their offence. Gabo scored three times and added five assists along with a plus-5 rating in 12 games. He has had some durability issues in his career but with a healthy 2013-14 season, a return to mid-70′s point production is likely. Marian Hossa won his second Stanley Cup last season. The speedy 34-year-old winger missed eight games last year but still produced 31 points in 40 games. In the post-season he finished tied for second with nine goals and tied for fifth with 16 points in 22 games. Hossa is another winger who has battled injuries in the last few years. In the last five seasons he has missed a total of 59 games, but when he is on the ice, he puts up points. Hossa is good for 60 points in 2013-14, but expect him to miss about 10 games when drafting him. With Vincent Lecavalier in town, Wayne Simmonds should have a career year. Lecavalier is a gifted scorer and passer giving his line mates the chance to rack up goals and assists. Simmonds previous career high came in 2011-12 when he scored 28 goals and had 49 points in all 82 games. While he probably will not get to 60 points, he will be able to contribute around 130 hits and PIM’s. Simmonds is a good all-around fantasy selection in the early fifth/late-sixth round in 12-team leagues. After being traded to the Penguins, Jarome Iginla posted 11 points in 13 games and also added 12 points in 15 games in the playoffs. He is not the player he used to be, but the 36-year-old is still a serviceable scorer. He needs just 20 goals to get to 550 for his career. Now a part of a stacked top-6 in Boston, Iginla is probably going to score 30 goals and add 35 assists. The fifth overall pick in 2004, Blake Wheeler had the best season of his career in the lockout shortened campaign. The 6-foot-5 winger had 19 goals and 22 assists (41 points) in 48 games. In 2013-14 the 27-year-old Wheeler will look to break the 70-point plateau. While he does not throw his body around like you would expect a play of his size to do, he will contribute a healthy number of hits and shots.
On the Rise
The Edmonton Oilers have an abundance of young talent on their roster. Two of them are great right wingers, Jordan Eberleand Nail Yakupov. The 23-year-old Eberle enters his fourth year in the NHL while Yakupov is just 19 and was last year’s first overall selection. Eberle who scored 34 goals in 2011-12 had another 16 and 21 assists (37 points) in 48 games last year. Yakupov had 17 goals and 14 assists (31 points) in his rookie year. In 2013-14 the Oilers are expecting 30 goals out of both of them. Eberle will push for his career-high of 76 points while Yakupov will look to build off of an impressive rookie season. Both these wingers have a ton of upside and could easily outplay their pre-season ranking. When the Columbus Blue Jackets made Jakub Voracek the seventh overall selection in 2007, they were expecting to get the player we all saw last season. His previous career high was 50 points in 2009-10, but he nearly topped it in the shortened season. The 24-year-old had 22 goals and 24 assists (46 points) in 48 games. Voracek is a fantastic skater with great vision, while he prefers to set up his line mates, he has a great shot which could allow him to score 30 this season. Brendan Gallagher is a small but very gritty winger who looked great in his rookie season in Montreal. He has a quick release that enabled him to score 15 goals in 44 contests, he also scored twice in five playoff games. Heading into his second season he’ll see top-6 minutes in Montreal and will have a great opportunity to post 25 goals and 25-30 assists. After his NHL career got off to a red-hot start with nine points in his first seven games, Vladimir Tarasenko added just 10 points in his other 31 games. He has great wheels, a quick release and a high motor which the Blues love. If he sees top-6 minutes this season there is nothing to suggest he will not have successful year. As long as he can stay healthy, a 50-point season is possible for Tarasenko.
Nathan Horton signed a seven-year deal with $37.1 million US with the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason. Horton will not be ready for the start of the season after having offseason shoulder surgery. The Blue Jackets are reluctant to give a firm timetable on when Horton will return, but he is expected to be back in December or January. Columbus will lean heavily on Gaborik until Horton returns to the lineup. Once he gets back if he plays close to 50 games he should still be able to score 15-20 goals. Ryan Callahan underwent offseason shoulder surgery as well. However unlike Horton, Callahan is hoping to be ready for the season opener.
“I think there’s a slim chance it could happen,” Callahan said. “I’m not going to say no until that day has passed. I’ll just keep strengthening it and see what happens.”
Callahan had a pretty successful season albeit it was a tough one for many other Rangers. He scored 16 times and had 15 assists (31 points) in 45 games.Without a real understanding of when Callahan will return it is hard to project him for a certain amount of points. However should he play in 75 games, 25 goals and 25 assists and an average plus/minus rating should be attainable for the Rangers’ captain.
Under Appreciated Value
In his first three full NHL seasons P.A Parenteau has only missed three games. Last season the playmaking winger scored 18 goals while adding 25 helpers (43 points) in 48 games. Each season he has been in the NHL he has seen his points-per-game rise. In 2010-11 he had a 0.65 (53 in 81 gms), 2011-12 he bumped it up to 0.84 (67 in 80 gms) and then last year he finished the season at 0.90. He will once again play on the Avalanche first line with Matt Duchene. He is a great source of assists and could reach 30 goals as well. Minnesota’s Jason Pominville is another good playmaking right winger. After being dealt to the Wild at the deadline, Pominville posted nine points (4 G, 5 A) in 10 games. In a full season with Minnesota, Pominville will likely find himself on a line with Zach Parise. With Pominville’s passing ability and Parise’s scoring prowess they should be able to light up the stat sheet. Before last year Pominville had six straight seasons of 20-plus goals and 30-plus assists. He is a steady fantasy option and should be able to score 25 and add 40 apples. Dustin Brown can do it all. He will score 20 goals, assist on 35 of them, have a healthy plus/minus and finish towards the top of the league in hits. Drafting Brown assures solid production across the board and someone that will stay in your lineup year round. The Kings captain has only missed 12 games in his eight-year career. After missing only three games in his first five seasons in Philadelphia, Scott Hartnell missed 16 games last season with a broken foot. After scoring a career high 37 games in 2011-12, Hartnell only posted eight goals and four assists last season. This year the Flyers will look to bounce back from a disappointing season and Hartnell and Claude Giroux will be a huge part of their success. He probably will not get back to 37 goals in 2013-14, but a 25-25 season is reasonable. Hartnell will also contribute in the PIM’s category, he finished with close to or more that 140 PIM’s in his first five seasons in Philly. The 22-year-old Ryan O’Reilly only appeared in 29 games last season because of a contract holdout. Once he got back he scored six times and added 14 assists for 20 points. He is known for his outstanding two-way game but in 2011-12 he managed to score 55 points in 81 games. He will play top-6 minutes on an improving Avalanche team where he could break his career high of 55.
Filip Forsberg was traded to the Nashville Predators at the trade deadline as a part of the Martin Erat deal. Forsberg is a great skater with size. He has the ability to score and set up his line mates. At 6-foot-1 he has the size to make a difference in the NHL this season. Forsberg had just one assist in his first five NHL games after being dealt to the Preds. He should have no problem cracking the Nashville lineup this season. Forsberg has the tools to be a 20 goal scorer this year, but 15 goals and 20-25 assists is more likely. With the Buffalo Sabres in a rebuilding year, Joel Armia should be able to make the October 1st roster. At 6-foot-3 he is a strong power-forward with goal scoring ability. At 19-years-old, he was able to score 19 goals and 14 assists (33 points) in 47 games in the Finnish Elite League. Should Armia make the lineup he could potentially crack the top-6 with strong play. He is not worth drafting until you know he has made the Sabres lineup. Tyler Toffoli posted five points in 10 games for the Kings last season and also had six points in 12 post-season games. Heading into 2013-14, Toffoli is a lock to make the Kings roster. He was close to a point-per-game in the AHL last season (51 points in 58 games). He will likely start the season on the third line, but could work his way into the top-6. Toffoli should finish the season somewhere between 40 and 50 points if he plays all 82 games.
Jakob Silfverberg was dealt to the Anaheim as a part of the Bobby Ryan trade. He is a well-rounded, two-way player who will eventually be a top-6 forward in the NHL. After posting 10 goals and nine assists (19 points) in 48 games last season, Silfverberg will look to take a step forward this season on a line with Teemu Selanne and Nick Bonino. He should be able to crack 40 points this season. Cam Atkinson could end up on the Blue Jackets top-line with Gaborik. If he ends up with Gabo, then his value will definitely rise. Atkinson entered last season as a potential before an early season injury derailed that. Entering 2013-14 he is healthy and ready for a big year. He is under-sized but makes up for it with his great speed. A 20-goal season is certainly a possibility. Beau Bennett is projected to start the season on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. Playing on a line with the two of them absolutely raises Bennett’s fantasy stock. He is an offensively talented 21-year-old who scored three times while adding 11 assists in 26 games last year. Monitor his status throughout the pre-season to make sure he will start on Malkin’s line. On that line assists should come easily and 15 goals could very well happen as well.
Editors Note: If you have any questions or concerns about RW’s that were not featured in this article, feel free to leave comments or tweet us @DailyFaceoff!
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