Crashing the net: Fantasy's best and worst of the NHL's first half
The top three point getters in the league are the top three forwards in fantasy at the break. Stamkos leads the league in goals (38) and points (67), with Crosby being the only other 30-goal scorer in the league (32). Of course, Crosby has missed time with a concussion, which has held his totals down a bit or he would be leading the league in points (he has 66) and likely goals (32 in 41 games, 10 fewer games than Stamkos). As for Sedin, he has done it all this season with 27 goals, 37 assists and a plus-21 rating.
The draft day steal of the year appears to be Byfuglien. He has fallen to fourth at the position with 41 points thanks to his current 10-game pointless streak, but he still leads the position with 16 goals, six game-winning goals (tied for the NHL lead) and 217 shots on net. Letang had never scored more than 33 points and he is already up to 41. He's also chipped in 58 PIMs as well as posting a plus-22 rating for the Penguins.
Only one keeper in the league has a GAA under two, and that is the Bruins' Thomas at 1.81. Thomas is also leading the way in save percentage at .945 -- a mark that would be the best in the history of the game. Oh yeah, he also is tied for the league lead with Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers with seven shutouts. Not bad for a guy who came into the year as the No. 2 guy in net on his own team. Thomas is only challenged by Dustin Byfuglien for the moniker of the best value drafted this season.
Armed with a $100 million contract and coming off seven straight years of at least 38 goals, Kovalchuk hits the All-Star break with 29 points. On pace for less than 25 goals, Kovalchuk is also sporting a plus/minus mark of minus-29. He's the biggest failure in the game at the break. Everyone knew that Alfredsson was slowing down as he approaches his 39th birthday, but he entered the year with nine-straight seasons of 70 points. Through 50 games this year he as 28 points and is on pace for just the second negative plus/minus mark of his 15-year career. Gagne went to Tampa, and not surprisingly ended up injured. However, unlike previous seasons, even when he has been on the ice he hasn't been productive with a mere 13 points (9g, 4a) in 33 games, not nearly enough production to allow you to overlook his hideous minus-19 rating.
Last year's Rookie of the Year, Myers has gone from a plus-13 last year to a minus-11 mark this season. He's also on pace for 26 assists and 92 blocked shots, a year after he had 37 assists and 137 blocked shots. Phaneuf has seemingly lost his offensive game. He has one goal in 33 games this season, and dating back to last year he has three goals in 59 games as a Leaf. From '05-07 he scored 20, 17 and 17 goals. He has only 21 points in his last 59 games.
Thought to be the backstop for a team that could challenge for the Western Conference's best record, Turco has been a catastrophic failure. His GAA has ballooned to 3.02; it's never been higher than 2.81 in his career, and for the second time in three years his GAA is under 90 percent (.898). He rarely plays anymore with Cory Crawford having taken over the starting role. Anderson, drafted in the top-10 among keepers this year in many leagues, has dealt with some injury setbacks, but even when on the ice he has been disappointing. Anderson has seen his GAA blow up to 3.12, his save percentage dip to .903 and his record fall to under .500 at 13-12-3 a year after he was a star (38 wins, 2.63 GAA, .917 SV%).
Thornton is a minus player (-14), scoring less than a point-per-game (44 in 48 games). Frolov was supposed to star alongside Marian Gaborik. He hasn't with seven goals in 43 games. He's out for the year with a jacked up knee. Zajac was supposed to reach 70 points for the first time. He'll be lucky to reach 50 (he has 26 in 49 games). Losing Zach Parise was a huge blow to his offensive output.
Keith is still one of the best overall defensemen in the league, but it looks like he won't be able to match his assist total from last season (55) in points this year (he has 28 in 50 games). Keith also has a minus-4 rating, this after three-straight years of at least plus-21. Gonchar was supposed to light up the scoreboard on the power play in Ottawa. He has 16 power-play points and just 21 overall points in 50 games. Toss in a dreadful minus-17 mark and you have a wildly disappoint skater.
Kipper has a 2.75 GAA and a .901 save percentage, much worse than his career marks (2.47 and .913). He also has seen his record fall to 20-18-2, which means he'll need a strong finish to reach 35 wins for the sixth straight year. Still, his effort this season blows the doors off what Brodeur has done. The Devils' keeper has dealt with an arm injury, but his overall numbers are simply dreadful for a man considered by many to be the best keeper ever (10-19-2, 2.84 GAA, .895 SV%). There are signs he may be turning things around as he has gone 5-1-1 in his last seven starts.
As I write this there is only one man in the NHL with more than 150 PIMs, and that is Zenon Konopka of the Isles with 158. However, he has scored only a single goal this year. In fact, there are six men this season with at least 125 PIMs and not a one of them has more than five goals: Konopka, Sean Avery, Chris Neil, Jared Boll, Colton Orr and Matt Carkner. Clearly these guys are only of value because of their fists.
If we are looking for power forward types, and they are seemingly getting harder and harder to find each year, that list starts with Scott Hartnell, who is the only player with more than 100 PIMS and double-digit goals (he has 103 and 17). A bit further down the list we find the name of Corey Perry, the Ducks rugged, pain-in-the-rump forward. Perry has 25 goals and 26 assists in 52 games, and he has caused enough trouble to also rack up 82 PIMs.
Amazingly, those are the only two skaters in the league with more than 75 PIMs and double-digit goals. Oh has the game changed.
Jonas Hiller leads the NHL with 25 wins and 1,354 saves. His saves total is 96 more than anyone else (Cam Ward).
Tomas Vokoun has a .923 save percentage. In each of the previous five seasons his save percentage is at least .919.
Ondrej Pavelec has a .927 save percentage, third in the game. Not bad for a guy who wasn't drafted in many leagues and one who had health concerns at the start of the year.
Pekka Rinne is second in the NHL in GAA (2.11) and save percentage (.929).