The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 04/06/12 at 01:47 PM ET
Here is the first of my series on the top fantasy players, sleepers, and busts by position this season. Each of these teams are set to resemble a starting lineup (1 G, 2 D, 1 LW, 1 C, 1 RW), so you could say this lineup has been created in the spirit of the First All-Star Team that is announced at the NHL Awards show every season.
I will post shortly a similar lineup from my good friend Chris Wassel of The Program. He also has a few bonuses in his article that I think you will enjoy.
Were any of these players on your fantasy team? You were probably more successful this season if so.
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR
Based on all four traditional categories (GAA, SV%, W, SO), Lundqvist is the top fantasy goalie across the board. Lundqvist was a top-5 fantasy option when the Rangers were merely an average team. Now that the Rangers have clinched first place in the Eastern Conference, Lundqvist clearly deserves this honor. As a result of his and the Rangers’ new and improved situation, he will also generate a lot of interest in playoff pools that count goaltending stats.
Erik Karlsson, D, OTT
If fantasy hockey aficionados have any say in the matter, Karlsson should win the Norris Trophy hands down. Fantasy owners were somewhat iffy on drafting Karlsson this season, given his (-30) last season and the lack of expected improvement to that number given the Sens’ preseason projections. But both team and player have far surpassed expectations – especially Karlsson. With at least 25 points more than any other defenseman in the NHL this season, Karlsson has left no doubt who the top fantasy defenseman is this season.
Zdeno Chara, D, BOS
As a Canucks fan, it pains me to add Chara to this list, but he has once again posted giant numbers that place him in the elite defenseman category. His impressive numbers include double-digit goals, 50+ points, a plus/minus north of +30, 200+ shots on goal, and 80+ penalty minutes. Unlike Karlsson, who is has just proven himself, Chara posts these kinds of numbers year after year.
Steven Stamkos, C, TB
Since all 16 playoff teams have now been decided, one of the main reasons to watch Saturday’s action will be to see if Stamkos can score goal number 60. He will likely finish second in the scoring race to Malkin, but Stamkos has run away with the Rocket Richard Trophy with ten more goals than Malkin. If Stamkos didn’t play in a hockey backwoods like Tampa, he might well be the NHL’s most marketable superstar right now.
Evgeni Malkin, RW, PIT
After the concern that Malkin wouldn’t be 100 percent following knee surgery that ended his 2010-11 season early, hopefully you were able to grab Malkin on a second (or even a third!) round pick this season. Malkin should win the Art Ross Trophy as the only player to reach 100 points this season, which should also mean that a Hart Trophy is well within reach. Malkin was also the league leader in shots on goal while also finishing second in goals to Stamkos. Next season, who would you rather draft: Malkin or Sidney Crosby?
James Neal, LW, PIT
How ironic was it that Penguin Neal and Flyer Scott Hartnell were wrestling it out for the left wing honor here. However, Neal’s 40-goal season ensured him this honor. His 40 assists, near 100 penalty minute season, and 300+ shots on goal (second only to Malkin) ensured that most of your stats would be taken care of with him in your lineup. Here’s a compelling argument for drafting Neal ahead of Alex Ovechkin next season: former number one Ovechkin has nearly 20 fewer points than Neal this season.
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Tags: erik+karlsson, evgeni+malkin, fantasy+hockey, henrik+lundqvist, ian+gooding, james+neal, steven+stamkos, the+goods, zdeno+chara
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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.
A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter.