Sunday, April 8, 2012

End Of The Year Fantasy Hockey Awards

Fantasy Hockey GM of the Year
It's that time of year again when there's a few days between the NHL regular season and playoffs. This means season reviews, playoff previews, and award predictions. Well, being the fantasy hockey nuts that we are, we're going to salute those players this year that helped us win our fantasy hockey pools. Unlike the real NHL awards, we'll also look at some of the brutal performances from this year that you might have regretted.

Most Valuable Player - Evgeni Malkin

Winning the Art Ross Trophy doesn't guarantee you fantasy hockey MVP, but having 50 goals and 109 points is a good start. Throw in 34 powerplay points, +18 rating, 70 PIMs, and a league leading 339 shots and you have a Fantasy Hockey MVP guarantee. If you were lucky enough to grab Malkin late in the first round you must have been laughing throughout the season as he tore it up whenever he was in the lineup. Malkin said he wanted to have a big year and boy did he deliver, Geno is a Fantasy Hockey Stud.

Rookie of the Year - Gabriel Landeskog

What a year it was for Landeskog who tied Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for rookie scoring with 52 points. While Landeskog has a decent chance at winning the Calder this year, he is a lock for Fantasy Hockey Rookie of the Year. He became a Top 50 Fantasy Player this year thanks to his 270 shots, +20 rating, 51 PIMs, 2 shorthanded points and 5 game winners. For those that have hits as a category, you have to be impressed with the 19-year-old's 219 recorded bodychecks this year which ranked him 19th overall in the league. Landeskog gets bonus votes too for being a left winger, which are always so valuable in fantasy hockey.

Best Defenceman - Erik Karlsson

You definitely got more than you bargained for if you drafted Erik Karlsson in the 8-10th rounds as he won the defensive scoring lead by 25 points. If you were undeterred by his -30 the previous season, you ended up with 78 points, +16 rating, 42 PIMs, 28 powerplay points and 261 shots on goal. You just don't see those kind of performances from the blueline these days, but the 21-year-old Swede has definitely solidified himself as one of the top fantasy hockey defencemen and will be on everyone's first round radar come September and fantasy hockey draft season.

Top Goaltender - Jonathan Quick

What a year it was for goalies as finding a hot hand was not hard to come by this year. There are probably 10 goalies who could have won this award, but Quick's statline of 35 wins, a 1.95 GAA, .929 SV% and league leading 10 shutouts are worthy of the Top Goaltender crown. While you may have been frustrated with the King's offence which could have stolen you some more wins, Quick held his own and will be a Top 5 goalie pick in future years thanks to solid numbers like this year.

Best Late Round Goalie Pick - Mike Smith

If you're like me and like to draft goalies late rather than waste one of my Top 3 picks on a goalie who might flop (see Tomas Vokoun), then I hope you got Mike Smith who not only one of the best fantasy goaltenders this year, but also in the Top 10 for all fantasy hockey performers. With 38 wins, a 2.20 GAA, .930 SV% and 8 shutouts, he went above and beyond his call of duty as a 20th round draft pick. Smith is the best late round goalie pick this year, if not the best late round draft steal.

Best Free Agent Pick Up - Brian Elliott 

While this largely depends on how your league drafted, there are many contenders for this award. I saw Joffrey Lupul, Milan Michalek, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Fleischmann, P.A Parenteau, Ray Whitney available for pick up early in the season, some even in November, but the best pick by far was Brian Elliott. If you were picking up a goalie early in the season and grabbed Elliott then you were lucky enough to grab him in a historic season as his .940 save percentage is the best in a single season and his 1.56 GAA looks like a stat from the late 1920s. Sometimes being aggressive on the waiver wire early on pays off with steals like this.

Best Late Round Player Pick - Radim Vrbata 

There's always someone looking to take a chance on Radim Vrbata, and that chance paid off this year with a career year of 35 goals and 62 points. I always enjoyed taking Vrbata because he shot so much, but snagging a 35-goal scorer in the 24th round? Yes please. His other stats are just as impressive with a +24 rating, 9 powerplay goals, 232 shots and a league leading 12 game winning goals. It's a shame my consistent late round draft pick will be going a lot earlier next year.

Worst Draft Pick - Bobby Ryan

Normally, every guy that goes in the first 5 rounds deserves to go there, but every season one of those guys as their worst season and you kick yourself for taking him. We're not talking injured players here, we're talking taking a 2nd round pick who plays the entire season and has their worst season since being a rookie. This season, that was Bobby Ryan. Sure he posted his 4th consecutive 30-goal season, but only posted 57 points when he was expected to improve on last year's 71-point performance. Sure Ovi was a bad pick this year, but he at least hit 300+ shots and 23 powerplay points, Ryan only had 11 powerplay points. Many projected Ryan to hit 85+ points, but he fell very short.

Biggest Bust - Mike Green

Why do I always take him with my 2nd round pick? The top ranked fantasy defenceman going into most drafts, Green followed up last years injury-shortened season with an even worse injury-riddled season. Many were hoping for a return to his 76-point form, but instead got 7 points in 32 games with injury setbacks taking their toll throughout the season. Even when he did return healthy in February he put up 1 point in 22 games. I think the worst part of his season was the fact that he was listed as day-to-day for almost two months. Never again am I drafting Mike Green.

Biggest Loss To Injury - Nicklas Backstrom

Was among the leading scorers with 42 points and a bright spot on the Washington Capitals before he went on the IR with a concussion delivered by Rene Bourque early in the new year. A Top 10 draft pick, Backstrom only played in 38 games before getting injured, and would return only in late March for four games to end the season for 44 points in 42 games. Any team with the star Swede on it definitely suffered as he was one of the hottest players in the league before going with injury.

Worst Gamble - Martin Havlat

While Sidney Crosby's name was sitting in this position for most of the season, his 37 points in 22 games means he has more points in less games than Martin Havlat. Havlat had been healthy for the past 3 seasons and was expected to put up career numbers playing with Thornton, Marleau, Boyle, and Couture, but the injury prone winger managed to require hamstring surgery after falling during a line change at the bench. That injury put him out 39 games and had fantasy owners in disbelief at the fragility of Marty Havlat. With 27 points in 39 games this season, this gamble did not pay off, although his injury was pretty funny.


  1. Worst Gamble for me was Mike Green. Took him 3rd round in my pool and he cost me 1st place.

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