Despite 2013 being a shortened season, the NHL and their fans witnessed a ton of exciting action.
Especially fantasy hockey enthusiasts.
Now, with the end of the regular season approaching, fantasy owners are well aware of which players have contributed to the success of their roster. We have seen the usual superstars shine, while also watching some newcomers emerge into big time fantasy superstardom. So, having said that, I thought now would be a terrific time to provide fantasy players a list of some MVP’s from this shortened season. Of course, there are still a handful of games remaining this year, but that won’t change the tremendous campaigns the following players have put together.
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: Go back a few months and the entire hockey world was questioning whether or not Ovechkin was still an elite player in this league. He had trouble finding the back of the net and as a result, the Capitals were struggling. Fast forward to the present and the Capitals captain is the hottest player on the ice. After scoring just 10 goals in his first 27 contests, Ovechkin now is tied for the league lead with 26. He also ranks sixth in the entire league in points (44) and first in power play goals (10). Playing alongside a terrific, veteran playmaker in Mike Ribeiro quite often certainly helped Ovechkin get it going as well. With Sidney Crosby still suffering from injury, one could make the argument that Ovechkin is currently the number one player in all of fantasy hockey. His high amount of shots on goal (136) will allow fantasy owners to continue to see goals from one of the best in the game. After pulling a complete 180 from the start of the season, Ovechkin has become one of the most productive players in the league, making him my number one candidate for most valuable player.
P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens: Look, if Subban doesn’t win the Norris Trophy this season, I will throw a major fit. Sure, he is one of my favorite blue-liners in all of hockey, but let’s look at the numbers. Subban currently leads all defensemen in both goals (10) and points (32). However, the more impressive aspect is the fact that he has played only 33 games this season, due to contract disputes at the start of the season. Before Subban returned to the Habs’ lineup, they were a good team. Once he returned, however, they became a great team, currently holding a record of 25-9-5. Subban has been a borderline point per game guy, which is rare among NHL defensemen. At this point, if he isn’t thought of as the number one fantasy defenseman in all of hockey, something is seriously wrong.
Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs: Coming into the 2013 campaign, I’m sure not many fantasy owners even knew who Kadri was. Well, it didn’t take very long at all for the 22-year old to introduce himself. At this point in time, Kadri has 17 goals and 23 assists, tying for 12th in the league in points (40). Not only is he providing fantasy value with his points, but Kadri also has 19 penalty minutes and an impressive plus-18. When I wrote my midseason fantasy awards column, Kadri was my waiver wire darling of the year, but is now making the case for my fantasy MVP award. Like Subban, once Kadri broke out, the Leafs have become a playoff bound team in the Eastern Conference. Playing alongside talented offensive players like Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk for the forseeable future, Kadri should continue to remain relevant in fantasy land.
Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators: Anderson is sporting some of the best goaltending statistics in all of hockey. Through 17 games played, he holds a GAA of 1.62 (1st in NHL) and a save percentage of .946 (1st in NHL). He started off the season red hot, but it is particularly impressive that he has continued to post solid numbers, despite the plethora of injuries the Sens have had to deal with (Karlsson, Spezza etc.). Of course, injury has held Anderson to just 17 games, which may make many believe that his league-leading numbers are a tad bit less impressive, but still, you can’t deny the stats. With not-so-elite seasons from top notch goaltenders such as Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick, Anderson has been a blessing in disguise for fantasy owners, and has arguably been the best goalie out there.
Runners-up: Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ), Sidney Crosby (PIT), Patrick Kane (CHI).
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.