Fantasy Hockey: RW Tiers

Because I can.

I thought about leading this by blowing smoke up everyone's A about how Patrick Kane could lead you to your fantasy Cup and blah, blah, blah, but it really comes down to this, and only this:

I am a Blackhawks fan.

So there you have it. On to today's tiers, right wing.

OVERVIEW: It is my *expert* opinion that right wing is the hardest positon to fill. The top options have the lowest ceilings of elite players at any position, and the dropoff in the first few tiers is steep. There are very few safe bets, and very few easy calls. Almost every player has some question mark attached to them, and that's why it's probably best to roll with a couple of the Tier I or Tier II players here. You just honestly do not want to know what you're going to wake up next to otherwise. Down to business after the jump, but one last note before we begin: for position elligibility, I used NHL.com. Different sites might label players at different positions, particularly at winger, but for consistencies' sake I felt it was best and easiest to go with NHL.com. Obviously if your site (CBS, Yahoo!, etc.) lists a player at another position, you'll have to consider where they'd fit in there. You can always ask. ... I have no life am always happy to help.

TIER I - The Beauties.

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay

Patrick Kane, Chicago

Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers

Dany Heatley, San Jose

Jarome Iginla, Calgary

Marian Hossa, Chicago

Boy they're pretty, eh? Each of these guys has 40 goal, 80-point potential, with varying degrees of safety. St. Louis is making beautiful music with Stamkos (is that weird?) down in Tampa Bay. Kane seems to be on the verge of a monster year any season now. Gaborik is a big injury risk but also one of the most talented players in the league. Heatley's best days are behind him, but 40 goals and 80 points are nothing to shake a stick at. Iginla had a horrid 2009-10 season, but he figures to get himself back in the 80 point range. Hossa played well in limited action returning from injury last season, and is a virtual lock for 35-40 goals and 80 points. Get one of these guys. Seriously.

TIER IA - Purgatory

Bobby Ryan, Anaheim

Corey Perry, Anaheim

Ales Hemsky, Edmonton

Not quite Tier I, but not a full step below either. These three are all electrifying players and have the potential to play alongside those Tier I options, but they haven't quite arrived. Yet. They'll all be reliable 80 point players within the next few years, but they aren't locks like the guys listed above them.

TIER II - Nothing To Complain About, Nothing To Write Home About.

Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa

Jason Pominville, Buffalo

Nathan Horton, Boston

Phil Kessel, Toronto

Martin Havlat, Minnesota

Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders

Danny Briere, Philadelphia

Patric Hornqvist, Smashville

Jakub Voracek, Columbus

Alexei Kovalev, Ottawa

Teemu Selanne, Anaheim

Milan Hejduk, Colorado

Johan Franzen, Detroit

There's value here, but it's starting to look ugly and old or young and unproven. If you miss out on a Tier I guy it's imperative you grab two Tier II guys. Alfredsson, Selanne, Hejduk and Kovalev are aging and clearly in their decline phases, but they're all capable of 70 point seasons. Havlat won't be nearly as bad in his second year as a member of the Wild. Horton's always been a good goal scorer and playing alongside Marc Savard might do wonders for his career. Hornqvist had an excellent 30-goal campaign last season and should be even better this year. Pominville is one of the most under-the-radar players you'll find. Franzen + Detroit power play = another 30 goals. Ditto that for Kessel, who's only in this tier because he doesn't assist enough to jump higher. Voracek and Okposo are both young and talented and figure to finish between 60-70 points. Briere is never going to be the guy he was in 06-07, but he's got the talent and opportunity to fit in here.

TIER III - The Lights In The Bar Come On.

Chris Stewart, Colorado

Dustin Penner, Edmonton

Dustin Brown, Los Angeles

Shane Doan, Phoenix

Mikael Samuelsson, Vancouver

Mike Knuble, Washington

Martin Erat, Smashville

Lee Stempniak, Phoenix

David Backes, St. Louis

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia

Brian Gionta, Montreal

Kris Versteeg, Toronto

Steve Downie, Tampa Bay

Brad Boyes, St. Louis

Devin Setoguchi, San Jose

Bryan Little, Atlanta

There are some solid options here, but nothing that can carry your team. Lots of 20-25 goal scorers, and there's value in that, but not the kind you want as your RW1 or RW2. Don't reach on Gionta hoping he'll rekindle his once-in-a-career 80 point skill. He's just not that guy. Stewart and Giroux have legs to climb into higher tiers, but my gut says they're still a year or two away. Versteeg has scored at least 20 goals in both of his two NHL seasons, but he's got bust written all over him. Going for Chicago to Toronto will have a significant effect. Samuelsson is due some regression as well. Boyes, Setoguchi and Little all experience dropoffs last year and should bounce back next season. Downie had a nice year playing alongside Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis and gets a boost in PIM leagues, but a simple lineup change would squash his value.

TIER IV - Yike.

Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey

J.P. Dumont, Smashville

Nicklas Bergfors, Atlanta

Todd Bertuzzi, Detroit

Radim Vrbata, Phoenix

Mark Recchi, Boston

Antti Miettinen, Minnesota

Wayne Simmonds, Los Angeles

Eric Fehr, Washington

Blake Wheeler, Boston

Brian Rolston, New Jersey

Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers

Dustin Byfuglien, Atlanta

Dan Cleary, Detroit

Drew Stafford, Buffalo

Joel Ward, Smashville

Michael Ryder, Boston

Deep sleepers here. If you draft one of these guys as a starting right wing it is time to get trading. Officially. Make no haste! Trade today!

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