Kettler Capitals Iceplex is starting to emit the sounds of hockey and the Caps are just a few weeks away from the opening of NHL training camps. Which means it’s time to get your fantasy rosters in order.
NHL.com’s fantasy experts have assembled their Top 275 hockey rankings for 2014-15 and nine Capitals made their list. Some, like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, are obvious choices.
Here’s a quick rundown of where the Capitals fell on NHL.com’s leaderboard. Who, in your opinion, are surprise entries? And who are glaring omissions?
No. 6 Alex Ovechkin
He ranked below only Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry, Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Getzlaf. Among right wings Ovi is listed behind only Perry.
No. 25 Nicklas Backstrom
Ranked just behind Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon and Chicago’s Patrick Sharp, Backstrom is listed at 13th among NHL centermen, probably lower than his actual worth.
No. 103 Braden Holtby
This is a huge season for the Caps’ 24-year-old netminder, who is entering the final year of his contract and is trying to rebound from a tumultuous season. Holtby ranks 19th on the NHL’s list of fantasy goalies, just below Vancouver’s Ryan Miller (No. 98) and ahead of Philadelphia’s Steve Mason (No. 105).
No. 109 Evgeny Kuznetsov
The Caps’ rookie phenom could be an excellent darkhorse candidate. Many consider him a strong Rookie of the Year candidate and if he is used as the Caps’ No. 2 center behind Backstrom, look for him to pile up significant fantasy points.
No. 131 Mike Green
Ranked just behind Chicago’s Brent Seabrook [No. 128] and just ahead of Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, Green is another player with a lot at stake. He is also entering the final year of his contract and could see his ice time reduced with the arrival of …
No. 148 Matt Niskanen
Ranked behind Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, Niskanen comes in at No. 29 among NHL defensemen. If he can duplicate his numbers from last season [10 goals, 36 assists], Niskanen would be a steal at 148.
No. 194 John Carlson
Ranked just behind Florida’s Brian Campbell and just ahead of the Kings’ Jake Muzzin, Carlson is listed at No. 43 among NHL defensemen and is coming off his best offensive season with 10 goals and 27 assists.
No. 199 Troy Brouwer
If Brouwer remains the Caps’ No. 2 right wing behind Ovechkin, he should be able to match his career highs of 25 goals and 43 points. If he winds up as a top-line left wing, those numbers could increase.
No. 273 Justin Peters
This makes sense if Holtby surrenders the No. 1 job, but making Peters 43rd among goalies, just behind Evgeny Nabokov of the Lightning, seems a bit generous, especially when you consider the expected contributions of Caps teammates Joel Ward and Marcus Johansson.