Well this is it. For many leagues, the beginning of the NHL playoffs means the end of the fantasy playoffs and season. Congratulations to those who’ve made it this far.
If you are as lucky as I to be in a final round matchup or have a chance to steal/secure the points lead, now is the time to search for every advantage you can to take this last week. One week wonders win championships. I remember last year, Carcillo helped me make it to the finals, and a solitary goal from the youngster Bill Thomas and one win from Wade Dubielewicz where the difference between victory and defeat in my keeper finally. Dub is up to it again ironically. Either by luck or research, find the guys like Burrows who last week contributed 35 PIM to single handedly put my team at a huge disadvantage in that category. Here are some possible Western Conference fantasy free agents to consider in deep or shallow leagues for the stretch run…
Last Week Production
Mikko Koivu - 6P
Joe Pavelski - 5P
Alex Burrows - 35PIM
Jere Lehtinen - 4P
Johan Franzen - 4G
Stephane Robidas - 3P
Jeremy Roenick - 4P
Taylor Pyatt - 2P, 17PIM
Tom Gilbert - 3P
Clay Wilson - 2P, +3
Gilbert Brule - 2P
Jiri Novotny - 2P
Duncan Keith - 2P, 12PIM
Sean Hill - 4P
Jeff Finger - 3P, +4
Wayne Primeau - 3P
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - 2P
Todd Fedoruk - 2G, 14PIM
Kyle Brodziak - 3P
Also, players on the St. Louis Blues are worth considering because they all have only played 78 games going into today where as the rest of the teams are at 79 or more. Though it may be too late to take advantage of this, keep in mind the teams that have an extra game over others when adding players for these final few days. Three games versus two can make all the difference.
Moving along, this year has produced some interesting results for the West. Some of them include…
• This may be the first year in quite some time that the conference hasn’t had a triple-digit scorer. Last year the two Joe’s kept the West respectable among the elite with two amazing totals. Before Thornton arrived, the Western Conference hadn’t had a 100-point scorer since both Forsberg and Naslund did it in 2002-03. With Igina and Datsyuk at 94 and Thornton at 93, the chances look slim in this final week.
• On a positive note, Iginla has a great chance to become a 50-goal man which is something no one accomplished last year in the West.
• The West has already produced a 300 penalty minute stud in Daniel Carcillo. He has had one of the best seasons of all time for that category. The record of 472 was not out of his grasp with more health and Gretzky support. In addition, two and soon three other Western Conference players contributed 200 or more minutes. Only Ben Eager cleared that mark last year in the entire NHL. We haven’t seen this much elite PIM production since the so called “Old” NHL. Is this a good or bad sign for the game?
• Though tied at 66 points, if Kane could somehow really impress in these last few and secure the Calder, he would be the first Western Conference winner since the interesting selection of Barret Jackman for St. Louis in 2002-03.
• The NHL Plus-Minus Award should go to a Detroit Red Wing this season. Both Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom are tied at plus-41 which would be the highest western plus-minus total since Milan Hejduk was plus-52 in 2002-03. Did you know the NHL record highest was Bobby Orr in 1970-71 with plus-124 and Bill Mikkelson in 1974-75 with minus-82. Amazing.
The Status Report:
With this being the last week in many leagues, I thought I'd put together my All-Status Team of 2007-08 Western Conference stars. Some of this is based on results and statistics and some is purely Statusfaction. Here are the guys I really liked from the last year.
C: Mike Ribeiro - 83 points from an eternal disappointment.
LW: Daniel Carcillo - 310 penalty minutes plus 18 points in a shortened season.
RW: Alexander Radulov - Youngster with 58 solid points and the best yet to come.
D: Brian Campbell - Breakout season even better with a finish in the West.
D: Ed Jovanovski - It was great to see what a healthy year could do for him.
G: Pascal Leclaire - Another sleeper pick who did wonders with 9 shutouts.
There you have it… my starting lineup for the All-Status Team. I loved watching those guys succeed.
Good luck these next few days. Hold nothing back, show no mercy and let this be your time to make fantasy history.