The All-Star game is this weekend meaning Daily Faceoff won’t be entirely relevant for the next couple of days. However, DF Editor-in-Chief Alexander Monaghan and ‘Fantasy or Fiction’ columnist Dan Berlin decided to have some fun with the festivities and select the Fantasy Hockey All Stars.
Here are the rules:
3 G (one for each period)
Opposed to the real ‘fantasy draft’, which will be conducted in Ottawa this weekend, we did not necessitate selecting all of the goalies before the 10th round or all defenders prior to the 15th. This draft is about fantasy hockey so obviously we took the big guns.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the picks.
DB: Evgeni Malkin, RW, PIT — The league’s leading scorer heading into the break has not only helped Pittsburgh win their last seven games in a row, but he’s also managed to help the fans forget about the fact that Sid the Kid may never be the same again (at least in the short term). On pace for his best season totals since 08-09, he’s a strong candidate for comeback player of the year.
AM: Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN — Sedin was the consensus first overall pick prior to this season so it only makes sense to grab this stud as the Canucks prepare for a strong second-half showing. Despite not leading the League in points, the sniper is still in the top five and should be considered elite.
DB: James Neal, LW, PIT — Can someone tell me how this guy wasn’t initially selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game? Sure, playing alongside Malkin helps – a lot – but Neal has truly been an absolute beast this year, tied for the league lead in PPG (13) and tied for 2nd in G (27). And he’s ranked #2 in Yahoo! rankings, right behind his boy Malkin. Hey Ovie, thanks for backing out of All-Star Weekend – I’d much rather see Neal on the ice right now anyway.
AM: Steven Stamkos, C, TB — Berlin chose to unite the powerful Pittsburgh duo, which left me with perhaps the most prolific goal scorer in the League. Stamkos currently leads the NHL in goals by a healthy margin with 32 markers.
DB: Claude Giroux, RW, PHI — Giroux apparently is french for stud muffin. This guy is the straw that stirs the drink in Philly. 2nd in the league in scoring (55 Pts) ain’t too shabby either.
AM: Henrik Sedin, C, VAN — I have one Sedin, naturally I can’t let these two separate. Henrik also leads the League in assists so we hope he can help some of our snipers fill the net.
DB: Jonathan Toews, C, CHI — Toews still hasn’t scratched the surface of his greatness. His stats continue to get better and better each season, and he’s really emerged into an elite goal scorer in the league this year, currently tied with Neal for 2nd in the NHL with 27 snipes. Here’s hoping his wrist injury doesn’t keep him out too long. It shouldn’t.
AM: Pavel Datsyuk, LW, DET — Somehow Datsyuk remains on the board this late. As a top-five scorer who is no stranger to the elite ranks it only makes sense to grab the magic man. Oh, and he’s a left wing for some reason.
DB: Marian Hossa, RW, CHI — Just when it appeared that Hossa was clearly on the wrong side of 30, he’s stepped up for Chicago with a killer bounce back season (20 G, 53 Pts. through 49 GP). The just-turned 33-year-old winger is on pace for his most productive season since 08-09, when he potted 40 goals with Detroit. And he’s doing all this playing alongside rookies Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger.
AM: Corey Perry, RW, ANA — Perry may get some flack for his down season but to me he’s still the reigning MVP. Besides, Berlin went RW heavy so I might as well grab one of the better guys before they are all gone.
DB: Joffrey Lupul, LW, TOR — Loading up on wingers – especially the lack of lefties – is my key strategy early on. Hailing from Toronto, I can tell you that Lupul is the best player on the ice for the Leafs night in and night out. It’s hard to say if he’ll sustain his current pace indefinitely, but right now, there aren’t many – if any – better LW’s in the game.
AM: Erik Karlsson, D, OTT — Berlin LOVES this guy. He’s also pretty good as he leads all defensemen in scoring by 12 points.
DB: John Tavares, C, NYI — Now seems like the perfect time to rip into Monaghan for taking a goalie, considering Tavares was still on the board. He’s making hockey relevant on the Island again. Well, sort of.
AM: Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR — King Henrik is still on the board making this selection quite easy. The New York Rangers are the best team in the Eastern Conference with Lundqvist having a career year.
DB: Phil Kessel, RW, TOR — Kessel would do well to stop his constant bitching and moaning on the ice, but there’s no argument with regards to his talents. His game has truly blossomed this season, no longer the puck hog, shoot first-type player that made him so one-dimensional prior to this season. He’s on pace for 40 goals, and that’s nothing to scoff at.
AM: Alex Ovechkin, LW, WAS — He may not go to the real All-Star Game but Ovechkin still makes the cut in fantasy hockey. At this rate, he may even score more than his 32 of last year.
DB: Tyler Seguin, C, BOS — While Weber was a fine grab below, Seguin continues to emerge and impress in his sophomore season. In two years, I have a strange feeling he’s going to be among the top 5 players in hockey. Right now, he’s certainly good enough to get snatched up in the ninth round.
AM: Shea Weber, D, NAS — Weber is arguably the best d-man in hockey and is a great addition to my team. His 10 goals are three behind Jason Garrison for the League lead.
DB: Zdeno Chara, D, BOS — Knee jerk pick now that Weber and Karlsson are off the board. If you can’t have those two, the obvious choice is Chara.
AM: Jarome Iginla, RW, CGY — Iginla brings grit and leadership to a flashy group of players. Expect him to explode during the second half as the Flames make a playoff push.
DB: Scott Hartnell, LW, PHI — Under the category of “I’ll have what he’s having,” you’ll find Hartnell. Almost incredibly, Hartnell has been at the heart of Philly’s offence, potting 25 goals, including 13 on the powerplay, so far this season. This guy’s on pace to shatter his career highs for goals (30) and points (60). He better think of something nice to get Giroux, his centerman, for Christmas.
AM: Ryan Kesler, C, VAN — Kesler has great chemistry with the Sedin Twins on the power play — a success we expect to translate over when one of Berlin’s boneheads takes a bad penalty.
DB: Nicklas Lidstrom, D, DET — At 41, Lidstrom remains the heart and soul of the Wings D. Want proof? After having his consecutive game streak snapped at 213 Wednesday night, the Wings promptly go out and lose 7-2 to the CANADIENS. Nuff said.
AM: Johan Franzen, LW, DET — Datsyuk needs a familiar linemate, and with Lidstrom off the board, Franzen only makes sense. With Henrik Zettterberg mired in a down season, the mule has carried the offensive load for stretches of the season and deserves recognition for it.
DB: David Backes, C, STL — Damn you, Monaghan! Franzen was mine! Ah well. I’ll take the next, best thing … David Backes. I call him Mr. Everything – in addition to goals and assists, he gives you quality PIM’s, SOG, SHP, GWG and plus-minus. A very underrated fantasy guy. Welcome aboard!
AM: Patrick Kane, RW, CHI — Kane brings a bit of, err, swagger to the forward corps. He also single-handedly guarantees the skills competition!
DB: Jamie Benn, LW, DAL — How valuable is Benn to Dallas? Well, the 42-point scorer so far this season lands on IR (with an appendectomy), and the Stars promptly lose four straight. He’s getting better with each passing day.
AM: Jimmy Howard, G, DET — Howard gained recognition as a first-time All Star in real life despite not even being a nominee on the ballot. He knows how to win highly skilled games which makes him an easy choice.
DB: Jonathan Quick, G, LA — With Monaghan snatching up the goalies, I pull my quick trigger finger to land JQ on my roster. A steal in Round 15, you might even wonder why Quick wasn’t the first goalie taken. He plays basically every game, and leads the league in shutouts and saves.
AM: Ryan Suter, D, NAS — Reuniting Suter and Weber only makes sense as they combine to form the best two-way pairing in the League. Oh, and Suter is really tearing it up offensively this season too.
DB: Pekka Rinne, G, NAS — Staying with the Honky Tonk theme, Rinne is unquestionably a Top 5 fantasy goalie. Wins, Save Percentage, Saves, Shutouts – you name it. He’s among the leaders in every category.
AM: Keith Yandle, D, PHX — It’s no secret I mancrush on Yandle. The smooth-skating offensive defenseman will be unstoppable while paired with the equally dangerous Erik Karlsson.
DB: Tim Thomas, G, BOS — Third goalie pick in a row. While Monaghan is busy writing love notes to Yandle, I’m voting for the staunch Republican to be a solid candidate for the Vezina this season. As for the future of the 38-year-old netminder, with his strong political viewpoint, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thomas give up goaltending altogether and try out on right wing next season.
AM: Kris Letang, D, PIT — Letang missed significant chunks of the season due to a concussion but returned to be just as dynamic, if not more dynamic. Also, he might know a thing or two about the Malkin/Neal duo.
DB: Dennis Wideman, D, WAS — In the absence of Mike Green, Wideman has stepped up in a big way offensively this season to bolster the Caps blueline. Amazingly, he’s the lone Washington representative at the NHL All-Star Game. A capital offence.
AM: Alexander Edler, D, VAN — Who better to round out my defense than Alex Edler — another staple on the Canucks’ lethal PP. His 34 points also rank third among d-men scoring.
DB: Dan Boyle, D, SJ — Boyle’s a true gamer, and has a spot on my team anytime. Despite playing through a broken foot for much of the first half, Boyle was still able to put up solid numbers (29 Pts.) while never missing a game. Expect even bigger things in the 2nd half.
AM: Patrick Sharp, C, CHI — Sharpie is hurt but I’ll strap a cast on that broken wrist for the game. As a forward eligible in all three positions, Sharp could move around during the game or be given the tough assignments against Hossa and Toews.
DB: Brian Campbell, D, FLA — Florida is in playoff contention, and Campbell is a big reason why. He’s proven to be an anchor on the powerplay (20 PPP) and is second in NHL scoring for defencemen with 35 points. Now, if only he’s shoot more …
AM: Teemu Selanne, RW, ANA — Teemu is the sentimental pick but really deserves credit for his great season. At age 41, he shockingly is the best offensive weapon on the Ducks.
DB: Ian White, D, DET — Ok, perhaps even Monaghan himself could rack up 20 points and a plus-30 rating playing with Detroit. Still, White (6 G, 18 A, plus-26 in 46 GP) has proven to be both unassuming and an unexpected performer in his first season in the Motor City. He’s found his game under Babcock, which will ultimately result in White achieving career-highs in practically every offensive category, by a country mile.
AM: Brian Elliott, G, STL — Jaroslav Halak may have stolen back some playing time but Elliott gets credit for his downright nasty season. The former Senator castaway leads the NHL in GAA, SV% and is one back of Quick for the lead in shutouts.
Whose team do you like better? Any guys we’re missing, in your opinion?
|Team Berlin||Team Monaghan|
|Evgeni Malkin||Daniel Sedin|
|James Neal||Steven Stamkos|
|Claude Giroux||Henrik Sedin|
|Jonathan Toews||Pavel Datsyuk|
|Marian Hossa||Corey Perry|
|Joffrey Lupul||Erik Karlsson|
|John Tavares||Henrik Lundqvist|
|Phil Kessel||Alex Ovechkin|
|Tyler Seguin||Shea Weber|
|Zdeno Chara||Jarome Iginla|
|Scott Hartnell||Ryan Kesler|
|Nicklas Lidstrom||Johan Franzen|
|David Backes||Patrick Kane|
|Jamie Benn||Jimmy Howard|
|Jonathan Quick||Ryan Suter|
|Pekka Rinne||Keith Yandle|
|Tim Thomas||Kris Letang|
|Dennis Wideman||Alexander Edler|
|Dan Boyle||Patrick Sharp|
|Brian Campbell||Teemu Selanne|
|Ian White||Brian Elliott|