Monday, January 14, 2008

Fantasy Focus: 1st Half Freaks And Flops

It's Fantasy Focus time again! In this week's installment I am going to look back on the first half of the 07-08 NHL season and name my All-Freak ("Freak" in a good way) and All-Flop teams. Keep in mind this is strictly from a fantasy point of view and is not taking "real" performance into account. So with no further delay...

1st Half All-Freak Team

Center - Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim) -
This was a really tough call. Getzlaf, Lecavalier, Crosby, and Datsyuk were all outstanding in the first half of the season. I'm giving Getzlaf the nod here because he is a good source for PIMs, has a great +/- rating and of the four had the lowest expectations entering the season and was undoubtedly the last drafted in every league on the planet.
Honorable Mentions: Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)

Right Wing - Jarome Iginla (Calgary) -
Jarome has been the total package this season. He has contributed big time in every category possible. The only way Iginla could do any more for his fantasy owners would be to suit up in goal and get a couple shutouts. First half fantasy MVP in pretty much any format.
Honorable Mentions: Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa), Corey Perry (Anaheim)

Left Wing - Dany Heatley (Ottawa) -
Don't expect to see this name here at the end of the season as Heatley is set to miss the next 6 weeks with a separated shoulder, but before that Dany had been outstanding. Think of Heatley as "Iginla-lite", he produces across the board and will be leaving a huge void in his owners lineups until he returns.
Honorable Mentions: Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit), Alexander Ovechkin (Washington)

Defense - Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit) -
The old Swede just keeps getting it done. I'm sure Lidstrom owners wouldn't mind a few more goals from the Detroit captain, but winners can't be choosers. Just be happy with what you've got and smile on your way up your league standings.
Honorable Mentions: Brian Rafalski (Detroit), Sergei Gonchar (Pittsburgh)

Defense - Chris Pronger (Anaheim) -
Points and PIMs, it's hard to ask for more. An improvement on the meager +2 rating would be nice, but the return of Scott Niedermayer (and eventually Teemu?) should help that a bit.
Honorable Mentions: Dion Phaneuf (Calgary), Zdeno Chara (Boston)

Goalie - Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose) -
Nabby owners have been treated to an outstanding season from the Sharks' netminder. With Vesa Toskala shipped off to hockey purgatory Toronto, Nabokov has had the San Jose crease all to himself and started every single one of the team's first 41 games. He responded with tremendous numbers and is probably keeping more than a few owners (including yours truly) firmly entrenched atop their respective standings.
Honorable Mentions: Roberto Luongo (Vancouver), Pascal Leclaire (Columbus)

1st Half All-Flop Team

Center - Patrick Marleau (San Jose) -
What a year it has been for the San Jose captain. If I had a dollar for every time I read this season that Marleau was about to break out of his slump I could quit my job and live on the beach somewhere. The stats speak for themselves; 8 goals, 13 assists, -14, 9 power play points and 0 game-winners. What more can I say?
Honorable Mentions: Brad Richards (Tampa Bay), Chris Drury (New York Rangers),

Right Wing - Jonathan Cheechoo (San Jose) -
Are we beginning to sense a trend here? Cheechoo has been even worse than his teammate Marleau so far (as hard as that is to believe) netting only 5 goals and 7 assists to date. That's a far cry from the guy who led the NHL in goals just two seasons ago. I can only shudder at the thought of the homers who drafted Cheechoo and Marleau this season.
Honorable Mentions: Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo), Martin Havlat (Chicago)

Left Wing - Alexander Semin (Washington) -
I've had a front row seat for the train wreck that has been Alexander Semin's season so far... he's on both of my teams. He's the kind of guy that will drive you crazy because he has been hurt most of the year, but he has so much upside that you just can't bring yourself to cut him, so he just ends up taking up a roster spot all year. Hopefully he can get healthy and put it together in the second half. But I wouldn't count on it.
Honorable Mentions: Pavol Demitra (Minnesota), Simon Gagne (Philadelphia)

Defense - Dan Boyle (Tampa Bay) -
Boyle could return to the Lightning lineup at any time now (check your waiver wire!), but that won't help those who drafted him forget that he only played four games in the first half and was held pointless with a stellar -7 rating to go along. Not what most people envisioned for the Lightning point man.
Honorable Mentions: Bryan McCabe (Toronto), Sheldon Souray (Edmonton)

Defense - Alexei Zhitnik (Atlanta) -
Unlike Boyle in Tampa, Zhitnik has actually stayed healthy and been playing all season. You wouldn't know it by looking at his numbers though. Zhitnik was outstanding after joining the Thrashers at the trade deadline last season, but he has been nearly invisible so far this season. At least he's racked up 38 PIMs.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Bieksa (Vancouver), Matt Carle (San Jose)

Goalie - Ray Emery (Ottawa) -
There were a few strong candidates here (see the Honorable Mentions), but in the end I had to go with Emery. I can only imagine how many owners thought they had a great mid-round pick in Emery, only to have him spend the first half of the season fighting injuries, teammates, and the puck. He's a good candidate for a second half rebound, but for the time being it is Flop-City for the Senator voted Most Likely To Be Traded.
Honorable Mentions: Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh), Mikka Kipprusoff (Calgary)

So there you have it, the best and worst from the first half of the season. Some of these choices were no brainers, while others were a lot tougher than I thought they would be. If you had told me before I sat down to do this that Ryan Getzlaf would have been my All-Freak center I would have laughed you out of the room. Not to mention how mentally and emotionally prepared I had gotten to make MAF my All-Flop goalie. Thank you Ray Emery!

Here's looking forward to the second half of the season. There's nowhere to go but up for most of us!

1 comment:

Wilford Brimley said...

Chris Osgood has to get an honorable mention simply because his expectations were so low. 19 wins in only 23 starts with 1.82 GAA and .927% save percentage. I drafted him because he would get a decent number of starts on a winning team since Hasek can't stay healthy. I didn't expect he would be carrying my team.