Originally posted on The Hockey Program  |  Last updated 9/5/12

No, this post isn't talking about right wing or left wing politics during the 2012 Presidential Election season. But rather this post is focusing on the right and left wingers in the NHL for fantasy hockey.

The 'Fantasy Hockey Previews' of the goalies, defensemen and centers have already been written and posted so check those out by clicking on the highlighted word. This will be the last 'Fantasy Preview' for a while.

James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins ranks number one in Wingers.

Pittsburgh Penguins' forward James Neal ranks number one in all of fantasy hockey wingers. Ever since James Neal was traded to Pittsburgh from the Dallas Stars, he has been a star in the NHL. Last season, Neal had 81 points (40g, 41a) in 80 games and he looks to improve with Sidney Crosby returning to the line up "full-time".

The surrounding talent the Penguins have rubs off. With stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, it is bound to do so. While Neal was in Dallas just before the trade, he only had 39 points in 59 games.

From last season, Neal has doubled his point production and it is expected to rise to 85-90 points this upcoming season. Assists will be a big part in attempting to hit the 90 point mark. 

Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks ranks second overall in wingers.
Daniel Sedin, twin brother of Henrik, will look to continue his dominant approach game-in and game-out with the Vancouver Canucks this season. Being on a line with already mentioned brother, Henrik Sedin, and usually Alex Burrows, can really benefit the point production whether it is goals or assists.

Last season, Daniel Sedin played only 72 games because of a head injury towards the later part of the season given by Chicago Blackhawks' defenseman Duncan Keith. It could be a risk selecting Daniel because of a high risk of head injuries in the NHL today, but it is well worth the risk.

This season, expect Daniel Sedin to put up 75-80 points this season, if he plays all 82 games.

Washington Capitals' captain Alexander Ovechkin has been in a rut the past two seasons. His play has slowly decreased from a great player in the NHL, to just a good player. There is no doubt that his skills are still there, but it seems like teams are using their bigger defensemen to slow him down. Through enhanced video and film, players can learn how to stop this "machine".

During the 2009-10 season, Ovechkin had 109 points. However, his scoring started to decrease during the next season (2010-11) where he had only 85 points. Then last season, he only significantly decreased to only 65 points.

Don't watch for Ovechkin's stats to follow the pattern of dropping 20 points every season, which would mean he would put up 40-45 points. Look for Ove to stay in that same range, if not better this season. Expect 65-70 points, but he could explode to hit the 90 point mark.

After coming off a Stanley Cup losing season, Ilya Kovalchuk gained a lot of experience during the playoffs and showed he isn't as selfish as many believed. Playing on a pretty visible injury throughout the Eastern Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals showed true character and he deserves a lot of respect.

With losing fellow teammate and captain Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk's production could decrease. However, it would be a minor increase. Kovalchuk looks to carry the New Jersey Devils on his back to try and win the Cup this time around.

Expect Kovalchuk's points to be in between the range of 85-90 points because he will be heavily relied on more often this upcoming season.

Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks had a huge dip in his performance from the 2010-11 season to the 2011-12 season. His point production dropped 38 points from last season. Of course, that had something to do with the Ducks not making the playoffs this season.

Many "experts" in the fantasy hockey world, rank in the top three wingers of the NHL. What they fail to realize is that it is highly doubtful that he returns to his dominant point production this upcoming season because, quite frankly Anaheim did nothing great to improve their team. Perry is stll surrounded by most of the same team that didn't do well last season.

Perry isn't going to have an awful year this season. Watch for Perry to have streaky performances with goals on consecutive nights, then being goalless for a week or so. Expect him to have anywhere between 65-70 points.

6. Patrick Sharp - Chicago Blackhawks. Projected to have 65-70 points. Sharp is a very reliable player every game. He average just under a point per night in the past two seasons and look for that trend to continue. He is still surrounded with A+ talent in Chicago, so he should fare well.

7. Rick Nash - New York Rangers. Expect at least 65-70 points. It is yet to be seen what Rick Nash can accomplish in a new place with tough media. Playing for the horrible Columbus Blue Jackets organization throughout his whole NHL career really made people not like him because they didn't understand the situation there. With a good supporting cast in New York, Nash is expected to succeed because there is no excuses.

8. Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs. Expect 75-80 points. Last season, Kessel looked to be over-achieving with the Maple Leafs. He had 82 points in 82 games. With no supporting cast around him in Toronto, except Joffrey Lupul, it looks like he will be following a similar trend of Corey Perry, but not of the same magnitude.

9. Marian Hossa - Chicago Blackhawks. Projected to have 70-75 points. After receiving a playoff ending concussion from Coyotes' forward Raffi Torres in the first round, it could become a risk to draft Hossa. Concussions unfortunately happen often in the NHL and he will most likely receive another while he is playing in the tough Central Division. All negatives aside, Hossa is a very skilled player and will have a pretty consistent point production.

10. Scott Hartnell - Philadelphia Flyers. Expect 65-70 points. Hartnell had a big jump in points last season, going from 49 to 67. In Philly, there are tons of talent around and Hartnell thrives on it. Don't expect a rise in his point production this upcoming season, but rather for it to stay the same.

11. Patrick Kane - Chicago Blackhawks. Expect 65-70 points. Kane had an off year last season that sparked up trade rumors of him giving to Columbus in exchange for Rick Nash. There is still a chance Chicago getting rid of him through the course of the season, but don't look to much into it. Kane should have a rebound year with Toews, Hossa and Sharp.

12. Zach Parise - Minnesota Wild. Expect 75-80 points. This season, or next, could be Parise's breakout year. Yes, he has already made his place in the NHL with the Devils, but even better stats that could reach higher than 80. Minnesota has all the right pieces in place to allow Parise to have his best season ever in his career.

13. Henrik Zetterberg - Detroit Red Wings. Projects 60-65 points. Expect a dip in Zetterberg's point total this season. Without Lidstrom, who was a key figure to the success of not only Zetterberg but the rest of the team, it will affect his play a bit. Plus, Detroit did nothing to improve their team over the summer. Everything affects something else. Also, he is getting older and plays a factor.

14. Jamie Benn - Dallas Stars. Projects 70-75 points. Watch out for Jamie Benn. He is a sleeper that is young and great for keeper leagues. Going on his fourth season, he continues to have a much better season than the last. Having a round estimate of ten points better each season, it is expected to go up once more. Benn may fall because people are unaware of his potential, so he is worth picking up in the middle rounds.

15. Loui Eriksson - Dallas Stars. Expects 70-75 points. Another great player out of Dallas is Loui Eriksson. He is always a very dangerous and slick player when playing against him. Last season, he led the Stars in point total with 71. 

16. Jordan Eberle - Edmonton Oilers. Projects 80-85 points. Eberle is the future in centers for fantasy hockey. If he is available in the 3rd round of a keeper league draft, take him immediately because he will pay big dividends later on. Eberle continues to improve every season and should hit the 80 point mark for the first time in his career at the current age of 22.

17. Joffrey Lupul -Toronto Maple Leafs. Expects to have 60-65 points points. Having a breakout season last year that resulted in many hands of Flyers, Oilers and Ducks fans in their face. On the flip side, Maple Leafs' fans everywhere were rejoicing at a hidden gem Burke picked up. With Kessel expected to have a lower point production, so will Lupul. It goes hand-in-hand.

18. Joe Pavelski - San Jose Sharks. Projected to have 60-65 points. Pavelski is a interesting, but very good, winger in San Jose. Throughout most of his career with the Sharks, he has been in the 60s range and don't expect it to go to the 70s anytime soon. Solid player to have as your number two or three winger option.

19. Taylor Hall - Edmonton Oilers. Expects 75-80 points, when playing all 82 games. Hall had some injury issues last season. First, he was out for getting a skate to the eye during pregame warm-ups that made his eye completely swollen and black. Then, Hall had shoulder surgery this offseason and is going through rehab. Also, Hall signed a seven year, $42 million deal. He has tremendous skill, but it is a risk because of his injury history.

20. Chris Kunitz - Pittsburgh Penguins. Projects 60-65 points. Ever since Kunitz arrived in Pittsburgh during the 2008-09 season from Anaheim, he has seemed to click with Sidney Crosby and whoever else is with him. He is a tough player to play against because he is hard-nosed. With Crosby back, expect Kunitz's point total to go up.

Follow Fang Finger on Twitter @Fang_Faction. Send him an email to thehockeymailbag@yahoo.com if you have questions for his mailbag.

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