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NJ • United States • 22 Years Old • Male

Duck Puck: Fantasy Flock

Posted 8:32 PM ET | Comments 0
I've said it in different ways before, but we're really starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel here, folks. That said, this very brief edition of Duck Puck will focus on which Ducks you may want to add to your fantasy rosters, after a quick news roundup.

As we've finally reached a month in which NHL teams will hit the ice, the annual season previews are being released. NHL.com outlines how Anaheim can return to its 2006-07 form, TSN has a blend of what happened last year and what to expect in this upcoming one, and the always-entertaining Puck Daddy takes a yearbook-style look at the "Class of '08-'09."

On a personal note, I was glad to see someone finally give credit to the Duck who I've always felt was the most overlooked of the star players on Anaheim's roster. I'm talking of course about Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who was named the Western Conference's top netminder by NHL.com staff writer Dan Rosen. Say what you want about his pads or his supporting defense (both of which I'd be glad to argue over), but I think by now Giggy has proven he is one of the most consistent puckstoppers with the ability to steal games when his team needs him to.
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With most of the team that won the Cup less than two years ago still intact, the Ducks have plenty of players worthy of consideration when you assemble your fantasy team.

FORWARDS

The dynamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry should hover around the point-per-game mark, with the former having a slight edge in points but the latter likely to garner more PIMs. With Getzie being the setup man for his contract twin, he should also be more useful for assists, while his buddy could lead the club in goals if he has a relatively healthy year.

If Teemu Selanne returns as expected, he should be a bit below those two in overall production, but equal or slightly below Perry in the goal-scoring department. His centerman and latest Canuck-turned-Duck, Brendan Morrison, may not pile up as many points, but like Getzlaf, he'll be dishing out the puck more than putting it in the back of the net.

The only other forwards worthy of a spot on your roster have a few question marks surrounding them. Chris Kunitz is a good second-tier sniper whose LW eligibility makes him even more valuable in leagues that distinguish the three forward positions. The only problem is that we don't know whether he'll be getting first or second line minutes (my bet is he'll spend most of the year riding shotgun on the Getzlaf-Perry line). Regardless, "Hedgehog" is usually good for at least 50 points.

Even more of a mystery is Bobby Ryan. Is he simply like any other budding power forward that needs more time in the oven and is now ready to serve? If his performance in the AHL last season (21-28-49 in 48 regular season matches and 8-12-20 in 16 playoff games) is any indication, this could be his breakout year. However, until we get a good look at him in a top-six role, I would still consider him a late round pick or injury replacement.

DEFENSEMEN

Don't let last year's numbers fool you - Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger are still no-brainers on the back-end. In half-a-season, Scotty still managed to muster up a respectable 25 points, which should be on pace for what you can expect from him in a full campaign. The fact that Pronger's 43 point output was considered a disappointment says all you need to know about the Ducks' captain, who should also rebound in '08-'09. In fact, if it wasn't for his inevitable suspension, he could even have a chance to outscore Nieds.

Like Kunitz, Francois Beauchemin's value depends on his role. If he isn't overworked liked he was in the first half of last season due to his defensive partner's absence, he should be somewhere between the 36 points of his impressive first year with the Ducks and the 21 points of last season. Getting more time on ice during man advantages would also help him return to his breakout form.

One way Frankie may receive that additional PP time is if Mathieu Schneider is shipped away for salary cap purposes. While some destinations are obviously more favorable than others, no matter where Schneids ends up, his point totals should make him a good second-tier option.

GOALTENDERS

As the previously-mentioned feature on the top Western Conference goalies indicates, Jean-Sebastien Giguere is right up there with names like Roberto Luongo and Evgeni Nabokov. The only thing holding him back from reaching the lofty win totals of netminders like those two is the fact that the Ducks play him less, but this also means that he should be fresher down the stretch.

While most backup goalies are usually only viable fantasy options in tandem situations, Jonas Hiller should get his fair share of starts and, as he did in his initial NHL campaign, make the most out of them. If you're in a deep league or in the event that Giggy sustains an injury (knock on Sher-Wood), don't hesitate to take a flier on the Swiss netminder who is far from resembling his country's cheese.

For those of you who like solid numbers, here are my statistical projections for these fantasy-worthy Ducks:

NAME Goals-Assists-(Points)
GETZLAF 25-65-(90)
PERRY 35-50-(85)
SELANNE 35-40-(75)
S. NIEDERMAYER 15-45-(60)
MORRISON 20-35-(55)
PRONGER 15-40-(55)
KUNITZ 25-25-(50)
SCHNEIDER 10-35-(45)
RYAN 15-30-(45)
BEAUCHEMIN 5-25-(30)

NAME W-L-GAA-SV%-SO
GIGUERE 35-15-2.20-.920-5
HILLER 10-5-2.10-.925-1

Yes, I like round numbers.
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This is usually the space where I say I'll see you next Sunday, but unless news starts to pick up, I might have to skip a week. Personally, I'm hoping for a trade or two in the next seven days followed by a certain signing, but we'll just have to wait and see...

Keep on quacking!

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Filed Under:   Anaheim   Ducks   fantasy hockey  
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