One thing missing from the NHL schedule in the lockout shortened season is the NHL All-Star Game. However just because we can not watch the All-Star game does not mean we can’t have a Fantasy All-Star team! This weeks version of the DailyFaceoff Team of the Week is an All-Star lineup based off of players performances so far this season. The team will consist of two of each forward position, (LW, C, RW) three defenceman and two goalies. This team will be based off of the usual fantasy scoring categories and players that excelled across the board. Skaters – (G, A, +/-, SOG, GWG, SHG, PPP) Goalies – (W, GAA, SV%, SO)
C – Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
There is no surprise that Sid is having the season that he is. Crosby has played well all season, but lately he and linemate Chris Kunitz have been on an absolute tear. We are just over the halfway point of the season and Crosby is sitting comfortably on top of the NHL points list. He has 12 goals and 33 assists (45 points) which is seven more than second place Steven Stamkos. Crosby is also a plus-18 and has 15 power-play points. The only knock on him thus far is that he does not have a game-winning goal.
C – Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
Another non-surprise on this team is Stamkos. He and Crosby were likely the #1 and #2 picks in the large majority of leagues. His 60 goals led the NHL last season and his 20 goals through 26 games this season leads the NHL again. He is currently on pace for 63 goals in an 82 game season. He has also recorded 18 assists for a total of 38 points which is second in the NHL. The Lightning have struggled to keep the puck out of their net this season which has hurt Stammer’s +/-; he is currently sitting at minus-2 . His 13 points on the power-play are also seventh among centers.
LW – Chris Kunitz – Pittsburgh Penguins
Alongside Crosby, Kunitz has been fantasy gold this season. He leads all LW in goals (18) and plus/minus (+22). He is second in GWG (4), third in assists (19) and eighth in hits (63). Those are staggering numbers from someone who was likely not drafted higher than the eighth round in the vast majority of leagues. He should remain an elite fantasy commodity as long as he is on Crosby’s left flank.
LW – Thomas Vanek – Buffalo Sabres
Vanek got off to a red-hot start this season but has slowed down slightly as of late. He still has 16 goals, 14 assists in just 26 games this season, making him one of fantasy’s best LW. The one thing that is impressive about his numbers is that even though the Sabres are tied for the fifth worst in goals against/ per game Vanek is still a plus-4. If Buffalo could win some more games, Vanek might be able to record some more game-winning goals- he currently has one.
RW – Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks point streak had a lot to do with the play of Kane. Last season was a bit of a down season for Kane but he has bounced back with a vengeance this year. He has been one of the most consistent and clutch players in the NHL this season, with 14 goals, 16 assists a plus-9 so far. His 10 power-play points and one GWG are mediocre but his steady production is more than helpful.
RW – James Neal – Pittsburgh Penguins
With Crosby and Kunitz doing what they are it is amazing that there is still enough puck to go around for Neal to have the season that he has had so far. In 27 games he has 17 goals and 14 power-play points which lead all RW. Not to mention he also has 12 assists and five game-winners. Neal has done some of his damage without the help of his regular pivot Evgeni Malkin who has missed six games with injury, and will likely miss another week with an undisclosed injury.
D – Kris Letang – Pittsburgh Penguins
Letang as a defenceman is tied for 13th in the NHL in scoring with 27 points. He has 24 assists in 24 games and has added three goals. His plus-11 rating is good for fifth amongst defenceman and what is most impressive is that he has done most of his scoring at even-strength. Of his 27 points only six has come via the power-play. Letang should continue to score at a point-per-game pace because of the team he plays on.
D – P.K Subban – Montreal Canadiens
Subban sat out the start of the season because of a contract holdout. For many owners it was likely frustrating to wait for him to return to the lineup, but he has rewarded those owners patience with some exceptional play. Subban is tied for the NHL goals lead among defenceman with six. He also has 12 assists for a total of 18 points, 13 of which have come on the power-play. Subban has an exceptional shot and great offensive awareness, he should have no trouble getting his name on the score sheet on a regular basis.
D – Kimmo Timonen – Philadelphia Flyers
Timonen has quietly went about his business this season picking up three goals and 16 assists in 27 games. He has been a force on the power-play this season racking up 14 of his 18 points with the man-advantage. The Flyers blueline is thin in terms of offensive defenceman so Timonen will continue to see time on the power-play and should be able to remain a top defenceman in all fantasy formats.
G – Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
Rask has been all the Bruins could have hoped for since taking over for Tim Thomas as the B’s starter. Rask is 13-2-3 with the fourth best GAA (1.96) and SV% (.927) in the NHL. He has also recorded two shutouts this season, and should continue to pick up wins and post elite numbers with the Bruins playing as well as they are.
G – Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
Even though Crawford has had to deal with some injuries this season he has managed to play at a high level on a consistent basis. His 11 wins is tied for fifth in the NHL, but it is his second ranked GAA (1.91) and fifth ranked SV% (.925) that have made him so valuable this season. The only downfall for Crawford is that Ray Emery has played so well and has eaten into Crawford’s starts. The Blackhawks have been almost unbeatable this season, so Crawford should continue to post great numbers for the remainder of the shortened season.