Ladies and gentlemen, we are just about at the end of the 2010-11 fantasy hockey season. This will be a very brief edition as we simply preview our potential award winners. It is our way of concluding the season and tying in how fantasy could mirror reality here.
Today we will do this in three steps by breaking down potentially the best fantasy forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders. That is a little different from most but hey we were told to be quick here and let the fans have at this because the GM’s are the ones that may have rode your team to fantasy glory or at least drove it closer to victory or a high standing.
Sure there are a few nights left in the season but the reality is one has pretty much brought everything they can to the dance here. What really is left? Think about the player from each of the three categories that likely helped your team the most and well let’s get this started quickly.
STEP 1: Presenting the Forwards
1. Corey Perry (Anaheim) — The hottest player in the NHL now has 97 points as of press time including 50 goals. Just in the last 14 games, Perry has 19 goals and 10 assists for an average of 2.07 points per game. Do remember early in the year Sidney Crosby had a 50 points in 25 games span. For those who say that Perry is a product of a line…he has produced at least 20% above the point totals of his linemates which is a solid percentage for fantasy fans and also has put the Anaheim Ducks on his back as they close in on a playoff berth. That spells great value and maybe H A R T.
2. Daniel Sedin (Vancouver) — Oh he only has 100 points and yes 41 goals for the Canucks. Also for fantasy owners, he is a +28. Though he does not have over 100 penalty minutes, that is okay. This Sedin leads the league in power play points with 40 and boasts 10 GWG’s (2nd to Perry’s 11). Using our rankings, Sedin is just barely second almost a 1B to Perry at this juncture but too fantasy fans, he is likely 1A.
3. Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay) — Almost in stealth mode, St. Louis has put up 95 points as of April 7th. He has been fairly hot of late scoring 21 points in his last 15 games and has points in 13 of his last 15. Sure a drawback or two may involve a negative +/- and only four PPG’s on the year but he has 30 goals overall and 7 GWG’s. That has to command at least a bit of respect considering that Steven Stamkos has struggled mightily at times in the last month or two.
Step 2: About those Defensemen
1. Lubomir Visnovsky (Anaheim) — Enough is enough! The guy can stop being snubbed now. There is not much more that can be expected from the player as he leads defensemen with 67 points, is a +17, and has a very respectable 30 points on the man advantage. His low, hard shot is usually under the radar to most but to fantasy hockey GM’s that know him, Visnovsky is a very good d-man who has stepped up even more this year.
2. Keith Yandle (Phoenix) — It is scary how good he could become. The reality is that fantasy wise he is HERE NOW. Yandle has 59 points and is a +11 on a Phoenix team where he has to be the #1 shutdown guy period. Ed Jovanovski is oft-injured but Yandle stepped it up all year. Though his shooting percentage is not so hot at 5.7%, at least his shot totals ramped up at the end of the year. Look out next year. Pretty scary? Yes.
3. Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit) — Now him and Dustin Byfuglien were close but in the end Lidstrom is the old man who still is the man for Detroit’s blueline even at 40 years of age. He has 62 points on the year and has still been in charge of keeping up with top players nearly half his age. Some of the parts around him have broken down but not him and the 39 points on the man advantage are too hard to ignore. He still is that good.
STEP 3: Oh lord those Goaltenders
1. Tim Thomas (Boston) — Let us creative some controversy here. The goalie leads the league in GAA and Save % virtually wire to wire. Now the starts do alarm some owners but in those starts he has mostly been bank this year. Fantasy playoffs wise his numbers are not as good. His GAA is up nearly half a goal at 2.51 and save percentage is ONLY .919. Still that is pretty respectable considering how great he was before the All Star Break.
2. Henrik Lundqvist (NY Rangers) — It is tough to ignore 11 shutouts on a team that scores goals inconsistently like the Rangers. The 2.27 GAA overall does not sound so good but the .923 save percentage is very good. It is not the Thomas .938 but let us be honest Lundqvist faces more quality chances. 135 more shots faced than Thomas this year. That makes a difference. He has been rested a bit but Lundqvist has played every game down the stretch. It counts for something.
3. Pekka Rinne (Nashville) — This was the toughest choice of all to leave Roberto Luongo off the list but Rinne made that happen. If Nashville scored a bit more, Rinne would be closer to 40 wins than the 32 he currently has. He is 2nd in GAA and 2nd in save percentage at .929. Numbers do not lie here and nor does his play, Rinne has earned the praise and accolades this year and in some circumstances could be Hart Trophy worthy. He really has raised his level of play up several notches.
Well there you have it our nine choices. We only ask you to pick one from each group and submit in the comment section. Give us your reasons and who knows we may just use them on the show Sunday Night. Thank you everyone for letting us be a part of your fantasy hockey conversation on The Daily Faceoff. See you next week.