The cupboard is stocked with fantasy talent at the wings. As you prepare for your fantasy draft, be sure to know you league’s system. Some leagues group wingers together, others discern between left and right wing, and others still group all offense together. If your league drafts by position, be sure to focus on the left wing position. Aside from the elite (Ovechkin/Sedin), the left is not nearly as deep in talent as the right side. Be sure to snag a left winger early, and if you’re lucky enough to draft in the top 4 or 5, be sure and grab Ovie or Daniel there.
Here are the top 10 wingers to target in the 2011-12 fantasy hockey draft:
1. Alex Ovechkin (LW-WAS)
Ovechkin saw a huge decline in his stats last season, but don’t let that scare you away from reinstating him as this year’s top draft choice. With Crosby’s health concerns, and Stamkos’s late season collapse, #8 is the best bet out there to dominate fantasy hockey in 2011-12. Look for him to get back to 50 goal form.
2. Daniel Sedin (LW-VAN)
Daniel finally broke through with the best season of his career (by far) in 2010-11. He topped 100 points and 40 goals and should make a good run at that again this year. With Daniel, you have the guarantee of one of the top set up men in the game being on the ice with him every shift. No other forward comes with that promise. That makes him a safe pick to be in the top 10 in goals and points for the foreseeable future.
3. Corey Perry (RW-ANA)
6 seasons in the NHL and his numbers have risen steadily in each of them. He surged late in the year to reach 50 goals and earn himself a Hart Trophy in the process. No reason to expect much of a drop off this year. At age 26, he’s in his prime, he’s healthy, and he has top notch talent around him. All signs point to another strong fantasy season.
4. Claude Giroux (RW-PHI)
Giroux reported in with the breakout season that many expected him to produce last year. He was a huge reason why the Flyers were comfortable letting go of Carter and Richards. He is now the go-to guy on the Philly offense and may challenge the big dogs for the scoring title when all is said and done in 2012.
5. Patrick Kane (RW-CHI)
Kane took his foot off the gas a bit, following the Stanley Cup celebration in 2010. His numbers slipped, but he stayed at a point-a-game and came close to 30 goals. He remains an elite right winger and in his 5th NHL season, has a good shot at setting a new high in goals. Expect about 35 this time around.
6. Ilya Kovalchuk (RW-NJ)
Kovalchuk had a season to forget last year. He registered his lowest point total in 9 years with a meager 60. On the bright side, he still pounded in 31 goals and saw close to 25 minutes a game for the Devils. They’ve hitched their wagons to his contract, so no matter what happens, he’ll get plenty of playing time and opportunity to return to superstar status. Plan for a return to 40 goals and look for him to slip to round 3, based on his dismal performance last year.
7. Pavel Datsyuk (LW-DET)
Datsyuk missed a chunk of time with a hand injury in December and a lower body injury in March. For that reason, he managed just 59 points in 56 games. Consider him a sleeper pick, as he’ll likely get back to 80 points this year. He was obviously back to full health in the playoffs, with 15 points in 11 games.
8. Henrik Zetterberg (LW-DET)
It’s too bad that he’s so darn responsible defensively. It would be fascinating to see what kind of numbers Zetterberg could put up if the leash was taken off. Even with his conscience, he manages to score points in bunches and should do so once more this season. Count on another run at 80 points for Hank.
9. Loui Eriksson (RW-DAL)
Erikson has set new highs in points in each of his five NHL seasons, though his goal totals have dipped slightly the past two years. He’s an elite scoring threat – the best the Star have to offer, now that Neal and Richards are gone. How much will Richards’ departure affect Eriksson? While that is cause for some concern, consider in the 10 game stretch without Richards last season, he still managed to pop in 5 goals. Expect 30+ tallies from Erikson in 2011-12.
10. Bobby Ryan (LW-ANA)
31. 35. 34. Those are pretty good numbers when looking at goal totals for the last three seasons. Ryan is in a sweet spot on the left wing, playing with Getzlaf and Perry when possible. As far as left wingers are concerned there aren’t many picks safer than Ryan for another 30 goal season.
Source by Gary J. Wilson