Fantasy hockey is another side of the sport that most of us love. Whether it’s competing in a league with your friends or with strangers for fun, it’s an exciting branch to explore. It also shines a light on players that aren’t as valued by other fans.
The basic categories for fantasy hockey are typically goals, assists, power-play and penalty-kill points, plus/minus and penalty minutes. Other leagues can go in depth and add hits and blocked shots. For goalies, wins, save percentage, shutouts, saves, and goals-against average can be used. Depending on the league, you might want to draft your players accordingly. Some leagues are weekly head-to-head matchups that count the total points. Other leagues are category-based, meaning you need to win in multiple categories throughout the week, so be careful.
For the case of the Philadelphia Flyers, a lot of players can have high value. Despite not being the most productive team over the past seasons, they have heavy artillery that can be useful for any fantasy hockey team owner.
In the past five seasons, only Nicklas Backstrom has more power-play points than Giroux. His best work is done on the man advantage, where the Flyers have been clicking at 19 percent or higher for the last five years. Be cautious, as Giroux’s production has been going down over the years and it’s been a concern. He is still an elite fantasy player due to his power-play production.
Voracek had his breakout season in 2014-15 where he scored 81 points. Since then, Voracek has tallied 55 and 61 points. He has marked himself as one of the best even-strength producers for the Flyers. He can also produce on the power play and is usually a lock for 20 goals and 50-60 points.
Simmonds has the biggest value of any player on the Flyers. He has scored 120 goals in the last four seasons, two of them being 30-goal campaigns. He has been the most consistent goal scorer for the Flyers and is an absolute power-play menace (second in the NHL in power play goals in the past four years). In that same span, Simmonds has 441 penalty minutes; he is one of the most well-rounded players in fantasy hockey and if you have a chance to pick him up, don’t hesitate.
Could this finally be the year of Sean Couturier? With Brayden Schenn out of the picture and the addition of Nolan Patrick, we could a see a rise in Couturier’s point production and maybe even some time on the first power-play unit. In a healthy season with a bit of power-play time, Couturier could hit the 50-point mark for the first time in his career.
Konecny had a decent rookie campaign that saw him score 11 goals and post 28 points in 70 games. He still had one year of junior eligibility left, so for him to make the jump to the NHL at that age is a positive sign. He was often misused by coach Dave Hakstol, which didn’t help his numbers, but Konecny was the Flyers’ most creative forward and next season should be a good one for the 20-year-old.
Obviously injuries are a concern with Patrick. But if he makes the team and stays healthy, a 50-point season would not be out of the question for 2017’s second overall pick.
‘Ghost’ had a little bit of a down year after his tremendous rookie season. He still managed 39 points on a team that couldn’t find the back of the net, and he was very unlucky for a majority of the season. Gostisbehere was also a victim of Hakstol’s misusage and was a healthy scratch several times throughout the year. That being said, he should bounce back next season.
Provorov was by far the best defenseman for the Flyers last season. He scored 30 points with no power-play time and played against top lines every game. He was also tied to Andrew MacDonald all year, which didn’t always help. He averaged close to 22 minutes a night and those numbers will surely rise next year as the 2015 seventh overall pick continues to establish himself as a number-one blueliner.
Brian Elliott & Michal Neuvirth
Elliott might seem like the number-one guy at the moment, but he and Neuvirth will likely split starts and neither is a huge fantasy asset. Neuvirth had a disastrous season and Elliott showed glimpses of greatness with Calgary, but in the end, neither will really shine. Neuvirth’s .891 save percentage was horrible in the 28 games he played. With the youth movement surrounding the Flyers, we could see different results, but in the end, they aren’t your best fantasy goaltenders.