Shuffle Up: The Unrankable Alex Ovechkin

The new assignment on the Shuffle Up clipboard is the forwards, the men who drive so much of the fantasy equation. We're looking at the basic Yahoo! scoring categories here (goals, assists, power-play points, shots on goal, plus-minus, penalty minutes) and we're trying to project how they'll play out from this point forward. Position flexibility and scarcity also counts a small amount; in theory, it's a tie-breaker between similar commodities.

[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

What's happened to this point is merely an audition; this list is not intended to merely stand as a list of stat leaders. In every Shuffle Up, some will find the list too reactive while others will feel it's not reactive enough. Everyone has a different perspective, and I welcome you to share your ice angles in the comments.

My own commentary will follow later in the day, and I reserve the right to tweak this list as the day goes along. Also please note that anyone currently carrying an IR tag is ineligible for the list; sorry about that, Franzen Youth.

To the board:

1. Sidney Crosby
2. Steven Stamkos
3. Evgeni Malkin
4. John Tavares
5. Patrick Kane
6. Daniel Sedin
7. Claude Giroux
8. Ilya Kovalchuk
9. Eric Staal
10. James Neal
11. Thomas Vanek
12. Henrik Zetterberg
13. Alex Ovechkin

Is Ovechkin still a superstar in your fantasy world? Is the Adam Oates Era eventually going to click? Can the Capitals get back into the playoff mix? Can I stop asking rhetorical questions? Ovechkin is the most difficult name player to rank these days.

The best thing I can say for Ovechkin is that he's still shooting the puck, piling up 64 attempts through 15 games. We're never going to see the obscene rate he had during his best days, but if he can fire off four shots per game, that's reasonable. A 7.8 shooting percentage is unlikely to stick; it would be the lowest of his career. And the Caps power play has been surprisingly useful, clicking at a 25 percent clip (sixth-best in the league).

14. Zach Parise
15. Martin St. Louis
16. Jonathan Toews
17. Patrick Marleau
18. Pavel Datsyuk
19. Marian Gaborik
20. Joe Thornton
21. Rick Nash
22. Corey Perry
23. Henrik Sedin
24. Anze Kopitar
25. Taylor Hall
26. Patrick Sharp
27. Jordan Eberle
28. Tyler Seguin
29. Phil Kessel
30. Jamie Benn
31. Marian Hossa
32. Matt Moulson
33. Joe Pavelski
34. Chris Kunitz
35. Alexander Semin
36. David Clarkson
37. Bobby Ryan
38. Jeff Skinner
39. Jason Pominville
40. Ryan Getzlaf
31. Nicklas Backstrom
42. Logan Couture
43. Patrik Elias
44. Teemu Selanne

Selanne is one of those remarkably-conditioned athletes who will be a plus player until the day he hangs up the skates. I'm psyched we're getting one last go-round with Teddy Flash (and I appreciated his candid, and necessary, comments during the lockout). … As many of you have pointed out, I botched the Clarkson rank before the season. He's capable of playing a number of styles, beating you in the corner or in the slot. The Devils are currently tenth in the league in power-play efficiency; I'm expecting that rank to improve in the next two months. I like what I'm seeing here.

45. Mike Ribeiro
46. Jarome Iginla
47. T.J. Oshie
48. Matt Duchene
49. Vincent Lecavalier
50. David Backes
51. Ryan Kesler
52. Dany Heatley
53. Brad Richards
54. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
55. Loui Eriksson
56. Sam Gagner
57. Damien Brunner
58. Tomas Plekanec
59. Jaromir Jagr
60. Teddy Purcell
61. Alex Steen
62. Mikko Koivu
63. Milan Lucic

Brunner is already Detroit's third-best forward, and it's really no contest. While he's yet to have a multiple-point game, you can also look at it this way: he's made the scoresheet in 11 of 15 games (and two of his bagels came in the opening two games). He's also firing plenty of shots, collecting 48 through a month of play, and he looks solid as a point man on the power play. … Lucic has just one goal in his last nine games, and he's not even generating scoring chances regularly (five shots in February). The Bruins have been dealing with a flu bug of late and a power-play bug (the unit is horrible) all season, and yet somehow they're 9-2-2. Take a bow, defense and goaltenders. Meanwhile, any one of 6-7 Boston forwards might wind up leading the team in scoring (and it probably won't be with a juicy total).

64. Jordan Staal
65. Kyle Turris
66. David Krejci
67. Tyler Ennis
68. P.A. Parenteau
69. James van Riemsdyk
70. Evander Kane
71. Brad Marchand
72. Patrice Bergeron
73. Cory Conacher
74. Daniel Alfredsson
75. Jeff Carter
76. David Perron
77. Cody Hodgson
78. Pascal Dupuis
79. Vladimir Tarasenko
80. Danny Briere

Tarasenko's monthly splits tell a story: he had a 5-4-9 line in January with a plus-6 rating and 24 shots, but he's crash-landed in February (1-2-3 over eight games, minus-7, just nine shots). He's obviously not the only St. Louis player to hit a speed bump (and a lot of other rookies around the league have cooled off), but I can't see how we ignore this, either. Heck, he just turned 21 in December.

81. Paul Stastny
82. Ales Hemsky
83. Radim Vrbata
84. Nazem Kadri
85. Shane Doan
86. Mike Richards
87. Carl Hagelin
88. Matt Read
89. Michael Cammalleri
90. Max Pacioretty
91. Andy McDonald
92. Nail Yakupov
93. Jonathan Huberdeau
94. Chris Stewart
95. Andrew Ladd
96. Dustin Brown
97. Wayne Simmonds
98. Jakub Voracek
99. Tomas Fleischmann
100. Alex Tanguay

If I were sure Hagelin's role were secure on Broadway, I'd have him 10-20 spots higher, no doubt about it. There's never been any doubt about his wheels or Hockey IQ, and he's looking terrific on a line with Rick Nash. Hagelin is on a 6-3-9 burst in February, with a plus-5 rating and 28 shots over seven starts. He's a good one.

101. Saku Koivu
102. Alexandre Burrows
103. Blake Wheeler
104. Jiri Tlusty
105. Martin Hanzal
106. Zack Kassian
107. Martin Erat
108. Brayden Schenn
109. Milan Michalek
110. Rene Bourque

All due respect to the lunch pail Predators, there's only so much I can expect from a team that counts Erat as one of the essential forwards. When will this team find a potential superstar up front? It's long overdue.

111. Brad Boyes
112. Patrik Berglund
113. Nathan Horton
114. Jamie McGinn
115. Mikkel Boedker
116. Brandon Prust
117. Adam Henrique
118. Steve Ott
119. Michael Grabner
120. Colin Wilson
121. Olli Jokinen
122. Derek Roy
123. Mikhail Grabovski
124. Ryane Clowe
125. Ryan Callahan

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