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Fantasy Hockey Gauntlet - Week Seven: Jakub Voracek, Mark Giordano, and Pekka Rinne

Troy Langefeld runs the fantasy hockey gauntlet for week seven of the NHL season!

Don't look now, but there's a Flame among the leagues best so far this year - Photo Credit
Don't look now, but there's a Flame among the leagues best so far this year - Photo Credit
Derek Leung/Getty Images

If you missed out on the earlier entries into my weekly series, you can find it all right here: Fake Teams Fantasy Hockey.

A quick recap of last week's article: last week's recommendations wasn't anything spectacular, but it wasn't bad. Kris Versteeg was one of the top players in the league last week, contributing in every facet of the game. Jake Muzzin also made for a solid addition as one of the top blue liners last week in the absence of Alec Martinez and Slava Voynov. Brayden Schenn and Tomas Plekanec weren't flashy, but they got the job done and put up respectable numbers across the board. Despite the solid play Brad Richards wasn't anything special last week, but I think he'll be a good play for the remainder of the year now that it seems he's caught onto playing the Blackhawks style. Tyler Ennis also wasn't special, but we didn't come in with huge expectations and at least he didn't hurt you either. Devan Dubnyk played quite well in his lone game of the week. It was unfortunate that he only got the one game, but that was the risk here. At least you got the win and solid saves and save percentage numbers. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Mikko Koivu played bad and your teams may have been better off without them. Alex Tanguay was injured and so I will reserve judgement for him although the one game he played wasn't very good.

In the snake draft league - This was Made in Kariya - the standings continue to be in a constant state of fluctuation. The teams in the lead continue to win big and the teams in the middle continue to be separated by just a few points. I lost another tight matchup to the team now in fifth and have fallen to seventh in the standings. I need to get back on the winning ways in this league. The auction draft league - Don't Toews me bro! - is also fluctuating quite a bit. I lost pretty bad and fall into a tie for third in the standings now. Overall last week I went 1-5-0, which is by far my worst week of the year (the five losses was nearly the same amount of losses I had all year coming in with six). I'm now 20-11-4 for the year in head to head matchups.

Week Seven (November 24-30):

4 Game Week: Detroit, Minnesota, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
2 Game Week: Arizona, Boston, Montreal, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto 
All other teams at 3 games

You should go and get NHL Center Ice (if you haven't already done so) to properly enjoy the season's slate of games; trust me - it's worth the money and maybe you can get a discount now since the season has already started.

The waiver additions piece is nice, but it's time for something a bit different. Last Saturday marked the quarter point for the NHL, so this week we're going to look at the best and worst players of the season to date.

Top Forward:

Jakub Voracek - RW - PHI (92% owned)

Runner Up: Vladimir Tarasenko - RW - STL (91% owned)

First of all, how are Voracek and Tarasenko not 100% owned by now? That's ludicrous.

Voracek gets the edge in this battle due to his amazing consistency through the first 19 games of the year. Believe it or not, but Voracek has only been held pointless in two games this year. Consistency is worth so much in fantasy, when you don't need to worry about a guy in your lineup it speaks volumes. Add to the fact that Voracek was the 85th Yahoo! ranked player and my 96th ranked player and you can say that he is greatly exceeding expectations as the leagues number one scorer with 29 points through the quarter point of the season.

Tarasenko has been amazing as well and has been the better all around fantasy player so it was difficult to pick between the two. Tarasenko took advantage of some key injuries to the top line of the Blues and responded by filling the net. His 12 goals, 11 assists, plus 15, 11 penalty minutes, 7 powerplay points, and 80 shots in 21 games show that he can contribute in all areas of the game which is nice if he suddenly goes cold.

Top Defenseman:

Mark Giordano - D - CGY (96% owned)

Runner Up: There really was none.

Giordano has been so good this year that no one else really deserves to be talked about on the back end. His 23 points paced all blue liners and he has led the Flames back to relevancy. Super consistent, he has only been held pointless in five of Calgary's 22 games. A great plus/minus and healthy penalty minute, powerplay point, and shot totals make him the best of the group by a mile.

Top Goaltender:

Pekka Rinne - G - NSH (95% owned)

Runner Up: Marc-Andre Fleury - G - PIT (99% owned)

This was another tough call as Rinne has the better numbers overall, but Fluery has more shutouts. Consistent with my other picks, I chose Rinne because he is the more consistent goalkeeper this year. In his 17 games started so far, Rinne has won 13 of them and only has four games played allowing more than two goals against (not surprisingly they are three of his four losses). I'll admit, I was worried about him coming into the season off of his recent surgeries, but he has responded like the elite goalie I've always admired. His 1.92 GAA and .930 SV% are among the best in the league and he has led the Predators back into a playoff position with his strong play.

Fluery has also been spectacular, winning 11 of his 15 starts. But to go along with his four shutouts, he also has seven games of three or more goals against. The aggregate numbers are just fine with a 2.10 GAA and .926 SV%, but you're never quite sure how he'll play in any given game for you (similar to all Penguins players). I'm just nitpicking here though as he's been a league leader all year and is fully deserving of the top spot barring a guy named Pekka Rinne.

Most Disappointing Forward:

Anze Kopitar - C - LA (99% owned)

Runner Ups: Jeff Skinner - LW/RW - CAR (83% owned) and Thomas Vanek - LW/RW - MIN (80%)

Jarome Iginla and Alexander Semin also deserve consideration as well, but I went with the three highest ranked before the season as it really shows just how much they've disappointed this year. Kopitar has been one of the most consistent scorers in the last few years despite the Kings struggle to score and yet this year seems to be different. Was the Gaborik injury too much to deal with? Or have the kids just stolen the show (That 70's line - Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, and Jeff Carter)? I have no idea, but he is so much better than this. I'd still buy him low if I could. I was down on Skinner and Vanek going into the season and I'm happy that they aren't in any of my lineups. A terrible Hurricanes team is really affecting Skinner's play and not being the go to guy for the Wild has Vanek slumping. They both have the skill to rebound, but I wouldn't make them a trade target until I start to see it first.

Most Disappointing Defenseman:

Matt Niskanen - D - WAS (75% owned)

Runner Ups: Alex Pietrangelo - D - STL (96% owned) and Christian Ehrhoff - D - PIT (73%)

It's kind of funny (in a sad sort of way) that Matt Niskanen and his replacement for the Penguins in Christian Ehrhoff are both on this list. I purposely stayed away from both of them in drafts this year as I was scared of Niskanen's career year last year as well as Ehrhoff's drop in production since leaving the Canucks. The one I am very surprised of is Alex Pietrangelo. He is super skilled and has been so consistent over the last four years that I don't think anyone saw this coming. He's a great buy low option right now despite his horrendous start to the season.

Most Disappointing Goaltender:

Mike Smith - G - ARI (70% owned)

Runner Up: There really was none.

There were other goalies who did poorly like Kari Lehtonen, Semyon Varlamov, and Sergei Bobrovsky, but Mike Smith was so bad that he ran away with this award. For a player ranked 48th in the Yahoo! rankings, a lot was expected of Smith this year. His four wins in 15 starts, 3.22 GAA, and .893 SV% is sure a surprise for a goalie playing in a Dave Tippett system known for sheltering goaltenders. There has been a lot of talk among fantasy owners of dropping him and while I endorsed buying him low earlier this year, this has gone on long enough that I'm taking that back. This just isn't the year for him. I'm not sure he can be dropped necessarily as he is a starting keeper and you're not getting anything for him on the trade market, so I'm not sure exactly what to do with him. Trade your other goalies for stronger forwards and defenseman and weak but starting goalies and go for a volume goalie strategy? Not an easy situation to be in...

Here is a preview towards next week:

Week Eight (December 1-7) Preview:

4 Game Week: Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Vancouver
2 Game Week: Minnesota, New York Rangers
All other teams at 3 games

My NHL Schedule:

The NHL Schedule has been revised for the schedule change last week as a result of the snow storms in Buffalo and can be found here: 2014-15 NHL Schedule . Don't forget to change the time zone to your appropriate time zone. The one thing I ask of you is that you do not take my schedule and use it for your own personal gains. Please do not sell it, you can direct people here to find it, but do not sell it.

I'm new to the twitterverse, but I'd love to hear your feedback and questions. Follow me on Twitter @HockeyGauntlet for more of my thoughts and all of your fantasy hockey needs.