The NHL All-Star game is this Sunday in Los Angeles! Isn’t that super exciting! And there are the top 100 NHL players of all time for the NHL existing for 100 years after disbanding the NHA after they couldn’t stand Toronto’s owner! Wow what festivities! So I thought I’d give out a few of my own for this time of year for fantasy hockey! This is a lot of exclamation points!
Fantasy Hart Trophy for MVP: Brent Burns
Runners up: Evgeni Malkin, Connor McDavid, Devan Dubnyk
I’m going a little off the board here with Malkin being the number one ranked overall player and Dubnyk putting on a show in Minnesota, but Burns’ value as the best defenseman by far makes him more valuable than any other player in the league where the guy who’s second ranked behind them is way closer than Shea Weber, at #27 overall, is compared to Burns, at #5.
He’s a defenseman and has 21 goals, 30 assists and has 194 shots on goal. That’s more shots than Malkin, McDavid and even Alex Ovechkin! FROM A DEFENSEMAN. HOW. This production isn’t going to stop with shot totals like that. It’s flat out ridiculous. If you drafted him, in the second round, as he was Yahoo!’s preseason #13, you’re probably winning your league.
Unless you drafted this guy (like me) to be your goalie:
Fantasy Lyle Odelein Award for LVP: Ben Bishop
Runners up: Johnny Gaudreau, P.K. Subban (still love you, P.K.), Anze Kopitar
He’s been flat out horrible, injured and is probably going to permanently lose his job. He was ranked #14 in the preseason with no reason to doubt that beyond Tampa trading him and his wins being sacrificed. The one reason to doubt him hasn’t come to fruition but boy has he been bad!
The whole Lightning team is breathtakingly bad this year for the talent on it, and Bishop certainly isn’t the only reason, and I’m sure a worse defense has hurt him to some degree, but boy oh boy, he’s been bad.
He only has 11 wins, a 2.78 GAA, a .905 save percentage and no shutouts. That’s worse than a replacement from the AHL is going to do. Keith Kinkaid laughs at his awfulness.
And he sure doesn’t look like he’s rebounded being back from his injury: he just allowed five goals on 17 shots to Arizona last Saturday!
Ryan Carter Award for Fantasy Free Agent Pickup of the Year: Peter Budaj
Runners up: roughly half the Blue Jackets roster
With Jonathan Quick coming down with boneitis, Budaj, one of a string of mediocre Avalanche goalies you forgot about, got the call after Jeff Zatkoff, Quick's original backup, was, uh, not good starting the season.
But Budaj is now ranked #15 overall for Yahoo! and has a .919 save percentage along with a 2.06 GAA. He’d be ranked even more highly if the Kings were good and winning games.
Auston Matthews Award for Surprising Rookie: Auston Matthews
Runners up: Patrik Laine, Mitch Marner, Zach Werenski
Shocker. He’s got 163 shots on goal to go with 23 goals. His assists will presumably perk up as the season goes on and the team as well as he matures as he only has 16 right now. But considering he was readily available in double digit draft rounds, he's been more than worth it.
Nikita Filatov Award for Fantasy Rookie Bust: Jimmy Vesey
Runners up: Kyle Connor, Drake Caggiula, Jesse Puljujarvi
Vesey won the Hobey Baker and then fled for the Rangers. He got off to a hot start, but has just 19 points and is shooting 16.4%. His numbers aren’t going to rebound too strongly. They’re probably only going to get worse! He’s a middle six type of player ultimately, but with the expectations Rangers fans had of him, he certainly counts as a bust.
Devils Fantasy Player of the Year: Taylor Hall
Runners up: Nobody
There really wasn’t much of a competition for this, not only because Hall is great but because everyone else has been pretty dang bad fantasy wise.
He’s the only player on the team with 100 shots on goal so far. He leads the team in points and his +/- is the only thing holding him down. Kyle Palmieri has rebounded to give him some competition, but let’s be honest, it’s Taylor and everyone else.
Damon Severson has calmed down after a decent start and is a -23. Cory Schneider just has a .910 save percentage and is just a few bad starts in a row from staring Ben Bishop territory in the face.
It hasn’t been good, but hey, at least we have Taylor!