2013 Fantasy Hockey Midseason Awards
Fast-forward to the beginning of March and it seems like a distant memory. Skates have been laced up and pucks are flying, so most fantasy fans could care less at this point.
The shortened season has been rather tough to judge from a fantasy standpoint. Naturally the lack of the preseason hockey and off-season conditioning has taken a rather large toll on the NHL. More and more key players are getting injured; with several now out for the remainder of the season. Injuries can ruin a fantasy season, so naturally one award will be handed out to the most devastating fantasy injury of the season.
Also, there have been several superstars who have yet to play up to their draft potential, otherwise known as fantasy busts. This year has seen more than usual, again due to the limited preseason, as many players simply had a difficult time getting in game shape.
Goaltenders New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and Philadelphia Flyers’ Ilya Bryzgalov both got off to miserable starts this season. The superstar duo have combined for an embarrassing 22-17-2 record so far through the season, which is certainly bust-worthy considering that they were both ranked among the top-five netminders in many leagues this off-season.
The fantasy season is really chugging along, so there are many awards to hand out. Here are the full midseason fantasy hockey awards thus far through the shortened NHL season:
C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins – Crosby was almost forgotten about in fantasy drafts this year, which is shocking considering he was once the first overall pick. He is currently leading the NHL with 36 points, including 11 goals and 25 assists. Sid the Kid is finally healthy and is reminding the rest of the league every game. Crosby has outplayed everyone this season and is back as the league’s most dominating fantasy player.
Best Value Pick
RW Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres – Vanek has been absolutely on fire over the first half of the fantasy season. He was not ranked in the top-70 in any preseason rankings, but was leading the NHL in scoring and goals for over a month. He was the best value pick of the entire 2012-13 fantasy hockey season.
Bust of the Year
G Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres – Miller is having a rather miserable season, but it is through no fault of his own. He has seen more shots than any other goaltender, and he can only do so much before a couple start to get by. His Goals Against Average (GAA) is a 2.82, which is his highest total since his three-game season back in 2003. Miller is also only saving 91.5 % of the shots he has faced. Miller was drafted as a starting goaltender in fantasy leagues, but his 9-11-3 record and career-low numbers are killing owners this season.
Return to Glory
RW Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks - Last year was Kane's worst season as a pro, as he only managed to record 66 points. Kane has racked up 27 points in 24 games this season and has been the key factor to the Hawks' amazing winning streak. Kane is once again an elite fantasy winger.
Performance of the Year
Stats: Three goals, two assists, eight SOG, four +/-, one PPG, one PPA, one SHG
Zetteberg recorded a hat trick in the game and the center contributed to all five of the team’s goals. He also not only added two power play points, but he even scored a shorthanded goal in the game.
It was a tough decision, considering the aforementioned Vanek also had two five-point games on the season, including a hat trick of his own, but Z-Man gets the edge due to his +/- in the game and his eight shots. Zetteberg's magical game was easily the best fantasy performance of the entire season.
Most Devastating Injury
D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators – Karlsson won the Norris Trophy last season, as the NHL’s best defender. He racked up an amazing 75 points in 2012 and the blue liner scored like he was one of the top centers in the game.
It came out last month that the superstar would be on the shelf for the remainder of the season. He had season-ending surgery to repair his left Achilles tendon after it was cut by a skate in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. This was particularly devastating, because he was not only the first defender taken in drafts this winter, but he was even drafted in the first round in some instances.
Goaltender of the Year
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens – Price is currently leading the NHL with 12 wins. He also has an amazing 2.33 GAA to go along with a 91.2 % Save Percentage. Price is playing better than any other netminder in fantasy and is primed to have an even bigger second half.