The Power Play
As the regular season wraps up, so will The Power Play for the 2006-07 season. Martin Brodeur and Sidney Crosby finished in the No. 1 and 2 spots, positions they held most of the season. In third position was the league's leading goal scorer, Vincent Lecavalier, while the league's top defensemen is Montreal's Sheldon Souray (No. 12), who produced one of the best fantasy seasons from the blueline in recent memory, if you can overlook his poor plus/minus.
Note: The Power Play is a Top 50 fantasy list that covers the entire season. It makes no claim to list the 50 best players in the NHL.
1. Martin Brodeur, G, NJ: An NHL-record 48 regular-season wins and an NHL-leading 12 shutouts stamp Brodeur as the top fantasy performer in 2006-07. The question is, will he be the No. 1 pick next season?
2. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT: Two seasons, 222 points. Crosby led the league with 120 points in addition to leading the league with an amazing 61 points with the man advantage.
3. Vincent Lecavalier, C, TB: The NHL's goal leader (52), Lecavalier scored an amazing 31 goals over his final 43 games. Vinny finished with 108 points, third best in the league.
4. Dany Heatley, RW, OTT: Heatley said he would scored 100 points with 50 goals, and damned if he didn't go out and do it. Heatley is the first NHLer since Pavel Bure in 2001-02 to score 50 goals in back-to-back seasons. Heatley reached the two milestones by finishing the regular season with an eight-game point streak (8g, 5a).
5. Marian Hossa, RW, ATL: 66, 80, 82, 92, 100. Those are Hossa's point totals over the last five seasons. 9, 14, 14, 14, 17. Those are Hossa's power-play goal totals the past five seasons. 13, 19, 25, 25, 27. Those are Hossa's power-play assist totals the past five seasons.
6. Teemu Selanne, RW, ANA: Selanne led the NHL with 25 power-play goals on his way to becoming the first skater in league history with back-to-back seasons of 40-plus goals after the age of 35 (he finished with 48 this season). Selanne also tied for the NHL lead with 10 game-winning goals (Henrik Zetterberg and Heatley).
7. Joe Thornton, C, SJ: Thornton led the NHL with 92 assists, and he was arguably the best player in the league after the All-Star Game with 54 points and a +21 in just 34 games.
8. Martin St. Louis, RW, TB: A year after scoring 61 points, St. Louis accrued 59 assists on his way to a career-high total of 102 points.
9. Dominik Hasek, G, DET: Only the inevitable injuries stopped Hasek from reaching 40 wins (he finished with 38). Still, he finished with the second best GAA (2.05) and second-most shutouts (8) in the NHL.
10. Roberto Luongo, G, VAN: Luongo tied the old single-season wins record of 47, and while his GAA and SV% were nearly identical to Brodeur's, he had seven fewer shutouts (5).
11. Miikka Kiprusoff, G, CGY: With 82 wins and 17 shutouts the past two seasons, there are only a handful of goalies who can legitimately be put into Kipper's class.
12. Sheldon Souray, D, MON: Souray led defensemen with 26 goals, 19 power-play goals, six game-winning goals (tied with Sami Salo), and was third with 64 points and 135 PIMs.
13. Nicklas Lidstrom, D, DET: Lidstrom's +40 tied with Tom Preissing for the NHL lead amongst d-men, and he set a career high with 10 power-play goals on his way to 62 points overall.
14. Jaromir Jagr, LW, NYR: Jagr recorded his 30th goal in the next-to-last game of the season, the 15th straight season he has recorded at least 30. He also finished with 96 points.
15. Thomas Vanek, LW, BUF: Thomas led the NHL with a +47 mark, a number which slightly obscured his tremendous offensive accomplishments (43 goals and 84 points).
16. Jarome Iginla, RW, CGY: With 94 points and 39 goals, Iginla had a tremendous season when one considers that he skated in only 70 games.
17. Alexander Ovechkin, LW, WAS: AO put up 46 goals and 92 points, so why do we still feel cheated? Look for a return to the 50-goal, 100-point club next season from this dynamic player.
18. Daniel Alfredsson, RW, OTT: Alfredsson didn't quite match his 2005-06 numbers, but 87 points and a +42 certainly aren't too shabby.
19. Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR: Over his final 25 games Lundqvist went 16-3-6 with a microscopic 1.72 GAA to finish the year with 37 wins and a 2.34 GAA.
20. Daniel Briere, C, BUF: The Sabres leading scorer with 95 points, Briere has 153 points over his last 129 games the past two seasons (1.19 points-per-game).
21. J-S Giguere, G, ANA: J-S won 36 games with a 2.26 GAA, though he was only 13-6-3 in his final 22 decisions.
22. Joe Sakic, C, COL: On his way to a 100-point season, few were hotter down the stretch than Colorado's captain, who scored 45 points in his last 32 games.
23. Marc Savard, C, BOS: Though he finished one point off his career-best total of 97 set last year, Savard totally collapsed down the stretch with just five points over his last 12 games.
24. Evgeni Malkin, C/LW, PIT: The likely Calder Trophy winner, Malkin scored 33 goals, 16 coming on the power play, and 85 points overall.
25. Scott Niedermayer, D, ANA: Niedermayer is the unquestioned leader in Anaheim, and he posted career-best numbers with 15 goals and 69 points.
26. Pavel Datsyuk, C, DET: Datsyuk produced 87 points for the second straight season after a huge finish (42 points, +20 in his final 33 games).
27. Jason Spezza, C, OTT: In 68 games last season, Spezza had 19 goals and 90 points. In 67 games this season, Spezza had 34 goals and 87 points.
28. Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN: Sedin has seen his goal totals rise in each of the past four years to a career best total of 34 this season (9, 14, 18, 22 and 36). Daniel also set a career-high with 84 points and 16 power-play goals.
29. Olli Jokinen, C, FLA: Jokinen rode a huge second half of 17 goals and +17 over his final 32 games to set career-highs in goals (39), assists (52), points (91) and plus/minus (+18).
30. Chris Pronger, D, ANA: With 59 points, Pronger had his highest totals since he scored 62 points in 1999-2000 when he won the Hart Trophy.
31. Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, ATL: Kovalchuk had his worst season in three years, but that season still produced 42 goals with 18 on the power-play.
32. Marty Turco, G, DAL: With 37, 41 and 38 wins the past three years, Turco is one of the most consistent netminders in the NHL. He has also totaled at least six shutouts in three of his last four seasons.
33. Alexander Semin, RW, WAS: Semin had 38 goals and 90 PIMs, marking him as the only skater in the league to post at least 90 PIMs with at least 30 goals.
34. Kristen Huselius, LW, CGY: Huselius set career bests in almost every conceivable category this season and he was particularly deadly after the All-Star Game with 10 goals and 12 assists on the power play (in 35 games).
35. Henrik Zetterberg, LW, DET: Henrik played his last game on Feb. 24, when a back injury felled him. As such, he ends the season on a seven-game point streak which helped him to 68 points and a +26 in just 63 games.
36. Michael Nylander, C, NYR: Nylander has had back-to-back career seasons with the Rangers, including career-best numbers in goals (26), assists (57), points (83), power-play goals (14) and power-play assists (23) this year.
37. Patrick Marleau, C, SJ: With 78 points in 77 games, Marleau has been a point-per-game producer the past two seasons (164 points in 159 games). Marleau also finished the year with a career-high nine game-winning goals.
38. Rod Brind'Amour, C, CAR: With 82 points, Rod the Bod produced his highest point total since 1995-96, when he totaled 87 points.
39. Sergei Gonchar, D, PIT: Gonchar tied his career best with 67 points, including 48 power-play points to tie Souray for the lead among all blueliners.
40. Slava Kozlov, LW, ATL: Kozlov recorded double-digit points in every full month of the season on his way to reaching the 80-point plateau for the first time (28g, 52a).
41. Ray Whitney, LW, CAR: Whitney finished with a career best 83 points and he has scored 138 points in 144 games with the Hurricanes.
42. Dan Boyle, D, TB: Boyle set career bests with 20 goals, 43 assists and 63 points. He also set career-highs with 10 power-play goals and 29 power-play assists.
43. Niklas Backstrom, G, MIN: Backstrom was the NHL's 3rd Star last week (3-0, 0.33 GAA) to cap off an amazing run to the playoffs in which he totaled three shutouts in his last five games to finish 23-8-6 with a 1.97 GAA to lead the NHL (as did his .929 save percentage).
44. Michael Cammalleri, C, LA: Cammalleri scored 80 points on the season, and he picked up his play after the All-Star break even further with 37 points in 31 games (including 16 goals).
45. Daymond Langkow, C, CGY: Langkow had career-best numbers across the board for the Flames (33-44-77 with a +23). Strangely enough, Langkow was a +22 in before the All-Star break and just +1 after it.
46. Ray Emery, G, OTT: Emery won 33 games for the Sens, though he went only 12-5-5 in his last 20 decisions.
47. Rick DiPietro, G, NYI: DiPietro had a disappointing end to a strong regular season due to concussion-related symptoms (32 wins, .919 save percentage and five shutouts).
48. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, PIT: Fleury was one of only five goalies to win 40 games this season, and he added five shutouts.
49. Ryan Miller, G, BUF: Miller went 16-8-3 after the All-Star break, though his 2.88 GAA in that time was a bit high. Also, though he won 40 games, he had only two shutouts.
50. Evgeni Nabokov, G, SJ: Nabokov finished seventh in the league with a 2.29 GAA, but it's his seven shutouts that give him the majority of his fantasy value considering he had only 25 wins.
HONORABLE MENTION: Dion Phaneuf, Jonathan Cheechoo, Paul Stastny, Alex Tanguay, Andrew Brunette, Ryan Whitney, Andy McDonald, Henrik Sedin, Pavol Demitra, Marian Gaborik and Martin Havlat.
Next Week: Season in Review -- Awards