For those participating in fantasy hockey pools, the looming — and often frustrating — task is to make the picks that lead you to victory over friends and foes.
If you are gathering this weekend and are still undecided on your rankings, here are five players (one at each position) who probably won't be on the board for long:
Centre - Sidney Crosby
The reigning Hart Trophy winner would be tough to overlook if you are holding the first pick.
He was the top scorer last season with 104 points (36 goals, 68 assists) and appeared in 80-plus games for the first time since the 2009-10 season. He also ranked in the top 10 in power-play goals (11) and added five game winners.
Bottom line: if you are looking for points, Crosby will deliver.
Right Wing - Alex Ovechkin
Ovechkin is the obvious choice. He was the best in that category last season, netting 51 goals. There is potential for that total to climb as evidenced by his career-high 65 goals in 2007-08.
Some may cringe at his -35 rating in 2013-14, but don't be surprised if that number improves under new head coach Barry Trotz.
Left Wing - Jamie Benn
The Dallas Stars forward will not surprise anyone this year. He became a household name last season, especially after winning a gold medal in Sochi with Team Canada in February and then going on to have a productive opening playoff round.- On mobile? click here to watch video
Benn's 79 points and 81 games in 2013-14 were both career highs — a noticeable progression from his 33 points in 41 contests the year before.
Playing alongside Tyler Seguin should make for plentiful scoring opportunities for Benn this season.
Defence - Erik Karlsson
The newly minted captain of the Ottawa Senators is one of the elite defencemen in the game. He appeared in all 82 games last season and was the top point-getter at his position with 74. Karlsson (and Keith Yandle of the Coyotes) also led all defencemen with 31 power-play points.
Expectations are high in the nation's capital as Karlsson will be relied upon heavily to guide the Senators back to the playoffs.
If all goes well, that should translate into another productive season for the 24 year old.
Goalie - Tuukka Rask
Rask is your best bet and likely the first goalie to be taken in fantasy drafts. He took home the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14 with an impressive 2.04 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage, and seven shutouts while recording 36 wins for the Boston Bruins.
Rask only appeared in 58 games last season, but that shouldn't take away from his worth as a starter on a fantasy roster.Suggest a correction