This week I will follow the lead of my Western Conference counterpart and take a look back at the season that was.
Eastern Conference Goaltending
Most Valuable Goaltender
Winner: Tim Thomas
The "Tool Man" recorded the top goals-against-average (2.00) and save percentage (0.938) and was second in shutouts with nine. Thomas had 35 victories against only 11 losses (plus nine OTL). His average draft position in Yahoo was 158.3 (36th amongst goaltenders). This one was no contest.
Runner-up: Henrik Lundqvist
The King had a league leading 11 shutouts to go along with 36 wins, only two away from the top performers. Lundqvist recorded the fifth best goals-against-average (2.28) and save percentage (0.923). He pretty much delivered on high expectations.
The Charlie Sheen Commemorative Award (Duh, Winning!)
Awarded to the best goalie who just wins, often at the expense of all else
Winner: Carey Price
Jesus Price tied with Roberto Luongo for the league lead in wins with 38, but had the second most losses with 28 (Khabibulin had 32). He finished with a respectable 2.35 goals-against-average, 0.923 save percentage and eight shutouts. Winning indeed.
Runner-up: Cam Ward
His 37 wins were only one back of Luongo and Price for tops in the league, but he recorded 26 losses. Ward's 0.923 save percentage was fifth best, but his 2.56 goals-against-average was 18th in the league.
The Chris Osgood Commemorative Award
Awarded to the goalie deemed the most detrimental to a fantasy squad
Winner: Martin Brodeur
Drafted in Yahoo with an average pick of 13.7 (3rd amongst goaltenders), expectations were that Brodeur would anchor a fantasy team. Instead he was just an anchor. In 54 games started, he had a 23-26-5 record, sporting a pedestrian 2.45 goals-against-average and a poor 0.903 save percentage.
Runner-up: Tuukka Rask
Playing behind the same roster as Tim Thomas, Rask had a woeful 11-14-2 record and an abysmal 2.67 goals-against-average (compared to TT's 2.00). Rask was taken in Yahoo leagues with an average pick of 39.6, the seventh goaltender off the board. Much more was expected. Oh well, maybe next year.
Best Late Round Pick
Winner: Sergei Bobrovsky
If you owned Bob during his hot streaks, all was golden, but as with most rookies, those streaks were unpredictable. Still, Bobrovsky finished with a 28-13-8 record, a 2.59 goals-against-average and a 0.915 save percentage in 54 games.
Runner-up: James Reimer
Once Coach Wilson handed the reigns to Reimer, he rewarded the Leafs with a 20-10-5 record, 2.60 and a stellar 0.921 save percentage. Reimer appeared in 36 of Toronto's 46 games in 2011.
Most Likely Not to be on Your Roster Next Season
Winner: Pascal Leclaire
Crystal could sign on with a team as a back up, but it will be at a significantly reduced stipend. Either that or he'll head overseas ala Ray Emery to try and get his game back. Either way, you should run the other way if considering drafting this brittle 'tender.
Runner-up: Rick DiPietro
This one is on you next year (heck, it was on you THIS year too) if you expect anything but extended periods on the Injured Reserve list. Oh he's talented, but it's like having a 400 horsepower car with bald tires; it sounds great and should go like snot, but only produces a lot of smoke.
Eastern Conference Defensemen
Most Valuable Fantasy Defenseman
Winner: Dustin Byfuglien
Big Buff proved a lot of people wrong with his 20 goal, 53 point performance. On average, Byfuglien was the 34th defenseman to come off the boards according to Yahoo. He also recorded 93 penalty minutes, 24 power play points and an insane 347 shots on goal. To put his shots on goal in perspective, league leader Alexander Ovechkin only had 20 more shots.
Runner-up: Kris Letang
Letang was expected to step up this season after Sergei Gonchar was let go. Some people thought Goligoski and even newly acquired Paul Martin would be the go to guys on the Pens back end. Not so, Letang recorded 8 goals and an even 50 points, but what made his season special for poolies is the plus-15 and 100 penalty minutes he added to the mix. He also recorded the fourth most shots on goal amongst defensemen.
Best Late Round Pick:
Winner: James Wisniewski
The Wiz shocked poolies to the tune of 51 points, 29 of them via the power play. His ancillary numbers weren't the greatest, but that didn't deter his owners from putting him in their line-up every night.
Runner-up: P.K. Subban
The cocky Habs rookie is a fantasy stud in the making. He recorded 14 goals and 38 points, while finding time to sit for 124 penalty minutes in his first NHL campaign. Subban also racked up 197 shots on goal and 18 power play points. He is just scratching the surface here.
Most Disappointing Defenseman
Winner: Mike Green
It's hard to blame injuries for your fantasy team's downfall, but Green was only scoring at a 40 point pace while dealing with multiple ailments this year. That is a huge letdown after recording back-to-back seasons of 76 and 73 points. He was taken with an average 13.6 pick in Yahoo, so he let down many a fantasy owner this year (yours truly included).
Runner-up: Dion Phaneuf
Many thought this would be a bounce back year for Phaneuf. On average, Yahoo had him as the sixth defenseman drafted. He did record 12 points in 15 games in the month of March, but overall this was a disappointing campaign.
Jeff Schultz One Hit Wonder Commemorative Award
Winner: Matt Carle
The Flyers blueliner stepped up in the absence of Chris Pronger to record 40 points, all but one of them assists. He did record a sweet plus-30, but his two power play points and 23 penalty minutes did more harm than good in most rotisserie leagues.
Runner-up: Adam McQuaid
The Lone Wolf put up great numbers in the plus/minus category, recording a hot plus-30. He also sat in the penalty box for 96 penalty minutes, which was good, but 15 points and only 46 shots on goal weren't so sizzling.
Eastern Conference Forwards
Most Valuable Fantasy Forward
Winner: Steven Stamkos
In 51 pre-All-Star games, Stamkos had 67 points, a 108 point pace. After the All-Star game, he faded significantly, recording a paltry 24 points in 31 games, only a 64 point pace. Overall, he did finish with 45 goals and 91 points. His 36 power play points were behind only Daniel Sedin (42), Martin St. Louis (41) and Niklas Lidstrom (39). Stamkos ended up 13th in shots on goal with 272 and added 74 penalty minutes to boot.
Runner-up: Alexander Ovechkin
Sure OV had a sub-par season, but his overall numbers were second best for rotisserie owners. He had 32 goals, which was a huge drop from the 54 goals he averaged over his first five seasons in the NHL. He averaged 106 points a season in his NHL career before this season's lowly 85 points. Ovechkin did manage to help fantasy owners in other categories by recording a plus-24, 24 power play points and a league leading 367 shots.
Best Late Round Pick:
Winner: Milan Lucic
His overall fantasy numbers were sublime this season; 30 goals, 62 points, plus-28, 121 penalty minutes and 173 shots on goal. He was taken with an average pick of 134.9 in Yahoo. The question remains, can he repeat the feat?
Runner-up: Jeff Skinner
It would be a shock if Skinner doesn't win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. He finished with 31goals and 63 points, 18 of them with the man advantage. He was on the positive side of the plus/minus (plus-3), had 46 penalty minutes and recorded 215 shots on goal. The kid doesn't turn 19 until May. Carolina and fantasy owners alike hit a home run with this kid.
Most Disappointing Forward
Winner: Nicklas Backstrom
Another Cap in a disappointing category. Backstrom had his worst season ever, recording four points less than he scored in his 69 point rookie year. He followed his freshman campaign with an 88 point effort and surpassed the century mark (101) last season. He was the fourth player taken in most drafts and 65 points just doesn't cut the mustard.
Runner-up: Ilya Kovalchuk
Many of you were savvy enough to back away from Kovalchuk based on his finish with the Devils last season. That said, he did have 27 points in as many games after coming over from Atlanta last year. He scored at a 50 point pace in 48 pre-All-Star games (29 points), but redeemed himself somewhat by recording 31 points in 33 post-All-Star matches, good for a 77 point pace. His minus-26 and 28 penalty minutes were killers in rotisserie leagues though, especially when you factor in that he was taken with an average of the 11.4 pick in Yahoo.
One Hit Wonders, One Track Mind
Winner: Zenon Konopka
Only two goals, nine points, minus-14 and 56 shots on goal and that's in 82 games played! Konopka's only value lies in his league leading 307 penalty minutes, nearly 100 minutes ahead of the next sin bin visitor (Chris Neil, 210).
Runner-up: David Booth
Booth finished 12th in the league in shots on goal with 280 and had a respectable 23 goals. His 40 points didn't help or hurt much, but his minus-31, 26 penalty minutes and 10 power play points made him next to useless in most leagues.