Beyond The Benches

Central Division Full Of Potential Fantasy Picks

With the NHL season quickly approaching it is time to start preparing for fantasy leagues as well. If you are not if a league, yet, then join the Beyond The Benches League before it is too late. Plenty of mock drafts going around in the “preseason” of fantasy leagues and there’s plenty of action in the Central Division. The Central has plenty of forwards and reliable defenseman and goalies that will be available to you depending on how you want to set up your team. In fact, if you wanted to have a team of just Central Division players, it would still be a team that could excel.

Early Rounds

As said earlier, it all depends on how you want to set up your team. Do you want to stockpile scoring? We all know about the Crosby’s and Ovechkin’s, but if you have a later pick, you could land someone like Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin, or Jamie Benn. The second and third rounds could still land you players such as Zach Parise, James Neal, Nathan MacKinnon, and Jason Spezza. All these players seem to be lining up as worthy second or third round picks. If you are looking for defense and a goalie early, it would still be smart to take a forward in the first round because chances are that no defenseman will be taken in this round. In these early rounds, you can take defenseman like Shea Weber and Duncan Keith depending on what other draft owners do. Because of their reliability and ability to produce points, these players, along with Alex Pietrangelo, can be safe picks in early rounds. If you’re in a two goalie league you could also try to land two big-time starters such as Pekka Rinne, Corey Crawford, or Kari Lehtonen knowing that scoring is still available in the middle rounds. All three finished in the top ten in wins.

Middle Rounds

If you’re continuing to stockpile scoring, then continue and take chances on defenseman in later rounds. Intriguing names such as Hossa, Vanek, Backes, Oshie, Saad, and Blake Wheeler are great options in these rounds, especially since they could be considered steals in fantasy hockey one the season starts up. Worries about your defense being depleted may comeinto play but reliable veterans such as Ryan Suter, Brent Seabrook, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Alex Goligoski should still be available.

Later Rounds

At this point you may be picking your bench players, but some starters may still be available. Defensemen go quick in late rounds with players such as Roman Josi, Erik Johnson, Tobias Enstrom and Jay Boumeester still available. This also may be the time to grab another goalie. Those may be limited, but expect Josh Harding or Jake Allen to still be available depending on round.

Sleepers 

Brad Richards – If he remains healthy, he will be centering a line for Patrick Kane entering the start of this season and most likely through the regular season.

Dustin Byfuglien – In some drafts Byfuglien is able to play wing and defense which can play huge. He had 56 points last year and that could see an increase with an all-around improved Jets team around him.

Ales Hemsky – Hemsky seems to be falling in fantasy drafts, but most likely playing on a line with Jason Spezza should increase Hemsky’s point production. Take Hemsky if he’s there in late rounds.

 

Follow Chris on Twitter @Chornig94!