We are nearing the midway point of the season and all teams have played between 36-39 games. With the NHL Christmas break wrapping up today let’s take a look at who we think have been the two best players at each position though the first (almost) half of the season. We are looking at all the relevant fantasy statistics (G, A, P, +/-, PPG, PPP, SHG, S, GWG) Today we will release our top-6 forwards (2 C/LW/RW) and then the top 2 D and G will come on Saturday.
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Sidney Crosby (PIT) – Is anyone surprised by Crosby’s dominance so far? On a team who has been absolutely ravaged by injuries, the line of Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis has been the one constant so far. Despite all the injuries, the Penguins continue to pace the NHL, a lot of that success obviously has to be attributed to Crosby. He ranks 5th in the NHL in goals (20), 2nd in assists (34) and leads in points (54) in 39 games – five points ahead of second place (Patrick Kane – 49). On top of those ridiculous numbers, Crosby has 19 power-play points and four game-winning goals.
Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) – After a troublesome 2011-12, Getzlaf was fantastic last season posting 49 points (15G / 34A) in 44 games and that has carried over into the first-half of this season. Through 36 games he is on pace to have the best year of his NHL career. His current career-highs are 25 goals, 66 assists and 91 points, all of which he posted 2008-09. This year, his 19 goals and 25 assists through 36 games have him on pace for his first 40-goal season (42) and 55 assists which totals 97 points. Getzlaf is also 5th in the NHL with a plus-19 rating and has six game-winners.
Alex Steen (STL) – One of the most surprising and most valuable late-round picks this year has definitely been Steen. The former first round pick (24th overall in 2002) has already tied his career high in goals with 24, which ranks 2nd in the NHL, trailing only Alex Ovechkin. To go along with his 24 ginos, he has 14 assists (38 points), a plus-15 rating and six game-winning tallies. For a guy who was drafted between the 12th-14th round in most leagues, he has provided a superb late-round burst through 35 games. He is currently dealing with an upper-body injury, but is not expected to be out long-term.
Chris Kunitz (PIT) – Kunitz continues to show amazing chemistry with Crosby. I’m sure it is not hard to look good playing with someone as good as Sid, but regardless that guy is Kunitz and he is reaping all the benefits. That chemistry may also earn him a roster spot on Team Canada’s Olympic squad. Amongst Yahoo! eligible LW, Kunitz ranks near the top of almost all significant fantasy categories – He is 1st in points (39) and power-play goals (9), 2nd in goals (20) and plus/minus (19), tied for 5th in GWG (3) and tied for 7th in assists (19).
Patrick Kane (CHI) – After winning the Stanley Cup last season, the former 1st overall pick (2007) is on pace for his first 100-point season. Kane has registered 22 goals and 27 assists with a plus-9 rating in his first 39 games. He was over a point-per-game for the second time in six seasons last year and at this rate he will be well over a point-per-game this season. He currently ranks 2nd in goals, 6th in assists and sits five points back of Crosby for the NHL lead in points with 49. Nine of the 22 goals have come via the power-play and six of them have been game-winners. Think about this one… He is on the Blackhawks’ second line and has had Michal Handzus and Brandon Pirri as his pivots this season.
Corey Perry (ANA) – Right now I know you are all thinking “WHAT!? No Ovechkin?” Let me explain myself. Ovechkin is leading the NHL in goals with 30, but Perry has just eight less and has eight more assists and a significantly better plus/minus, plus-19 versus minus-13. Ovechkin has 12 power-play goals, Perry just four, but Perry also leads Ovi 7-4 in game-winning goals. They each are having great seasons, but overall I give the slight edge to Perry. If you are in a league where it is just goals and assists, then Yes obviously Ovechkin is the man, but in ALL traditional fantasy statistics, Perry has had the better first-half.