|April Flowers (2012)||Tweet|
|Written by Ryan Ma|
|Tuesday, 17 April 2012 08:20|
With the regular season now done and dusted, it's time to look back at how your Western Conference fantasy players have fared this season and hand out some April flowers.
Western Conference Goaltending
Most Valuable Goaltender (fantasy Vezina)
Winner: Jon Quick
Pretty tight contest for this award, but because Quick’s been so under-rated during the past couple of years, I felt that he truly deserved this award over Pekka Rinne. The icing on the cake was that he was also, on average, selected about 25 spots after Rinne in Yahoo! leagues, which highlights that he was much better value at his draft position than Rinne. You couldn’t have done too poorly if you owned the goalie with the fifth most wins, along with the second-highest GAA, and fifth highest SP amongst his peers. In a list of the top 500 Public Yahoo! leagues Quick appeared in the winning team in a whopping 34.6 percent them. Although it was tough competition from Rinne and Mike Smith, Quick was probably the most worthy.
Runner Up: Pekka Rinne
Rinne followed up a fantastic season last campaign with a fairly decent one. His SP was slightly down (.930 to .923), while his GAA was slightly up (2.12 to 2.39), but the wins were where the true money was, as he led the league with 43 wins. If his peripheral stats were remotely close to Quick’s, I would have easily handed him the award.
Runner Up: Mike Smith
Smith was also in the running for the fantasy Vezina, but what couldn’t get him past the line was his middle of the range stats compared to Rinne and Quick. His stat-line (38 wins, 2.21 GAA and .930 SP), and draft position (157.5), were all great, but in terms of fantasy impact Quick definitely had the edge.
The Charlie Sheen Commemorative Award (Duh, Winning!)
Awarded to the best goalie who wins at the expense of all else.
Winner: Corey Crawford
If wins were all you’re after, then Crawford was your man. He finished with a respectable 30 victories, but from a peripheral stat perspective, he finished 33rd and 36th overall in terms of goals-against-average and save percentage respectively. Wins are always a nice stat to chase, but not when you have to sacrifice two stats in order to get them. It certainly wasn’t a surprise to see many forum threads from frustrated Crawford-owners during the season.
The Marty Kwaiton (he finished last in this year’s Dobber Expert Pool) Commemorative Award:
Awarded to the Western Conference goaltender determined to be the most detrimental to a fantasy team.
Winner: Steve Mason
Mason did play well in spurts throughout the season, but the problem is when you look at it from a seasonal point-of-view, it’s hard to find anything positive about Mason’s campaign. His 16 wins, 3.39 GAA and .894 SP were all career-lows, which looks even worse if you contrast it to his fellow teammates. Curtis Sanford picked up 10 wins, with a 2.60 GAA and .911 SP, even rookie Allen York snagged three victories, with a 2.30 GAA and .920 SP. I mean you can’t really blame the team in front of him for all of his miseries. Mason is certainly deserving of the Kwaiton award for 2012.
Runner up: Nikolai Khabibulin
The Bulin-wall started off 2011-12 in blazing fashion with a 7-0-2 record along with a remarkable 0.98 GAA and .964 SP during the first nine contests of the season, but came crumbling down with a 5-20-7 record, along with a 3.19 GAA and .895 SP during the next 32 contests. If it wasn’t for his hot start, he could have easily earned the award instead.
Best Late Round Pick:
Winner: Mike Smith
There just wasn’t anything to be negative about in regards to Smith. He was, on average, the 36th goalie taken at Yahoo! drafts, and was essentially 100% owned throughout the entire season while stabilizing goalie stats for plenty of poolies. Considering the high price of goalies during many drafts, Smith was definitely a bargain at his draft position. Can’t really do any wrong with this pick.
Runner-up: Brian Elliott
Elliott could have easily won this award if it wasn’t for Smith. His overall stats were absolutely brilliant (23 wins, 1.56 GAA along with a .940 SP), plus given his draft position (144.3), he was definitely considered as a massive “steal” by many this season. The only thing that held him back was his limited starts (36), if he had 45-50, he would have easily ran away with this award hands down.
Most Likely Not to be on Your Fantasy Roster Next Season Award:
The only reason you would have either of these two guys on your fantasy roster next season is that you are desperate for a goalie.
Winner: Andrew Raycroft
The “Razor” was given a shot to prove to be a quality number two goalie this season, but blew it with his atrocious stats. In 10 starts, Raycroft finished with a 2-8-0 record along with a disappointing 3.52 GAA and .898 SP while giving way to Richard Bachman half way through the season. At 31, it’s pretty safe to assume that Raycroft just played the final season of his NHL career.
Runner-up: Dan Ellis
Ellis was pretty much along the same lines as Raycroft, but at least had “injury” as a reason for his poor overall stat-line. In 10 appearances, Ellis finished with a 1-5-0 record along with a 2.72 GAA and .911 SP. The only problem is the Ducks have Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and newly signed Viktor Fasth, along with Jonas Hiller competing for the goal-tending duties next season, which would leave Ellis out of contract for next campaign. He’s also 31, and I don’t know very many teams who would be willing to give Ellis another shot at an NHL gig.
Western Conference Defensemen
Most Valuable Fantasy Defensemen
Winner: Shea Weber
It’s hard to argue with this one. Weber finished with 19 goals (tied for first), 30 assists (23rd), a plus 21 rating (tied for seventh), 46 PIM (tied for 60th), 22 PPP (tied for sixth) along with 230 SOG (third). If you look at the across-the-board stats, there’s just no arguing the impact that Weber had on fantasy leagues this campaign. He’s wins this award by a landslide.
Runner-up: Alex Pietrangelo
The closest competitor to Weber was probably AP, as his stats were the only one that was remotely close. Pietrangelo finished with a line of 12 goals (tied for sixth), 39 assists (tied for sixth), a plus 16 rating (tied for 17th), 36 PIM (tied for 92nd), 24 PPP (fourth) along with 202 SOG (eighth). Next year might be a different story, but for now Weber has the edge.
Best Late-Round Pick:
Winner: Dan Hamhuis
A close battle, but I decided on Hamhuis, mostly due to his initial draft position (162.1). On average he was the 68th blue-liner selected at Yahoo! drafts (and many in which he was left undrafted), which yielded a brilliant end-of-year stat-line of four goals (tied for 77th), 33 assists (17th), a plus 29 rating (second), 46 PIM (tied for 60th), 11 PPP (tied for 35th) along with 140 SOG (tied for 34th). Considering Hamhuis was mostly undrafted at the start of the season and finished off being owned in 60 percent of Yahoo! teams, is certainly a testament to what a great late-round pick he really was.
Runner-up: Kevin Shattenkirk
Another pretty solid quiet achiever this campaign was the Blues’ Shattenkirk. In Yahoo! leagues he was, on average, drafted as the 36th blue-liner, which makes it that much more impressive that he finished tied amongst all defenseman for 14th overall with 43 points. If it wasn’t for Shatty’s heroics, surely the Blues wouldn’t have where they did at the end of season.
Most Disappointing Defenseman
Winner: Lubomir Visnovsky
Hard to argue this one.
Five reds and a green just isn’t a good result from someone who was supposed to carry number one D status into the season. On average, Vissy was taken with the 51st pick in Yahoo! drafts, but finished off ranking 365th. It certainly wasn’t hard handing this award out to Vissy.
Runner-up: Drew Doughty
Look at the following tables then flip back to the comments section in my column back in December for a laugh.
Dobber, going to need a pair of your shorts and maybe some mustard for reader 'Craig'…
One Hit Wonders, One Track Mind
Winner: Nick Leddy
With 34 assists this season, Leddy was tied for 14th amongst his peers in terms of tallying helpers, but it’s the other areas of fantasy hockey that he needed to help contribute in. His three goals tied for 104th overall, his minus 12 rating was tied for 263rd (ouch!), and his 11 PPP was tied for 35th, while the 94 SOG was tied for 74th. Leddy surely “assisted” many teams in the apples front, but the lack of production in the other areas definitely hurt his overall value.
Runner-up: Brent Burns
Burns didn’t exactly have a monster across-the-board fantasy campaign, but his 201 SOG ranked him in the top-10 amongst all blue liners in that department. The problem is every other stat was lagging behind. If you’ve been a follower of my work for the last little while, then you probably would have read about my thoughts regarding the correlation between SOG and point production. Well Burns is certainly an outlier in my theory with the numbers that he posted this season.
Western Conference Forwards
Most Valuable Fantasy Forward
Winner: Patrick Sharp
If I had a choice to pick from the players out East, this would have been bloody easy, but out West, it’s a completely different story. The factor that tipped Sharp over the edge was the extremely rare triple eligibility (C, LW and RW). With that type of flexibility it made roster line up decisions so much easier. If you look at the overall stat line 33 goals (tied for 17th), 36 assists (tied for 45th), plus 28 rating (tied for fifth), 38 PIM (tied for 173rd), 17 PPP (56th) and 282 SOG (12th), add that to the fact that he also missed eight contests due to injury, there’s no doubting the contributions that Sharp made to fantasy leagues this season. Another factor that weighed heavily in my decision was Sharp was owned in 12.4 percent of the top 500 winning public league teams in Yahoo! which was slightly higher than the rest of his competitors.
Runner-up: David Backes
Backes just missed out on this award, mostly because he wasn’t as influential across-the-board as Sharp. His 24 goals, 30 assists, plus 15 rating, 101 PIM, 17 PPP and 234 SOG ranked him tied for 60th, tied for 79th, tied for 35th, tied for 17th and 32nd amongst all forwards respectively. He also appeared in 11.6 percent of the top 500 winning public league teams in Yahoo!
Honorable Mention: Henrik Sedin (deep center status plus the lack of PIM and SOG kept him out)
Best Late Round Pick
Winner: Ray Whitney
On average Whitney was taken as the 65th overall LW at Yahoo! draft tables during the pre-season. He finished the season as the fifth-ranked LW (wow!) with a beautiful across-the-board line of 24 goals, 53 assists, plus 26 rating, 28 PIMs, 20 PPP along with 185 SOG. That’s definitely a massive payoff for a player who was largely forgotten just eight months ago. He certainly won’t be available on the cheap for the upcoming drafts next campaign.
Runner-up: Radim Vrbata
Vrbata has always been a high shot-taker, but this season things have finally clicked which resulted in a career-high of 62 points. If you look at his overall stat-line it’s certainly something to be proud of considering he was taken on average as the 162nd pick. He finished ranked 32nd, which just showcases how much of a great late-round pick he really was.
Most Disappointing Forward
Winner: Jeff Carter
I don’t generally like taking a dig at a player who was injured, but this one had to be done. Carter was on average taken with the 33rd pick (late-third round in 12-team leagues). Now, when you consider the players that were surrounding him (Henrik Zetteberg, Brad Richards, Eric Staal, Patrick Marleau, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler), the production that you received from Carter certainly would be disappointing compared to the rest of his cohorts. Many poolies went into the season thinking, new home, new line mates, and a new environment surely this should be a great chance to redeem himself, right? How wrong we all were…
Runner-up: Matt Duchene
There were plenty of high hopes for Duchene heading into this campaign. I mean he’s just entering his third season while reeling off a 67-point effort in his sophomore year. I mean what could possibly go wrong? Boom, a few injuries hit, the emergence of Ryan O’Reilly, and coach Joe Sacco’s doghouse, suddenly Duchene ended the season with just 28 points. Either way he’ll be on a discounted rate for next campaign, and I’ll be ready to pounce.
Runner-up: Chris Stewart
Stewart was, on average, selected as the 91st player in Yahoo! drafts. He finished the season ranked 186th. This just highlights that a player can have the best potential (skating ability/mental fitness), in the world, but in the wrong environment even the most prospective seedling will not grow.
One Hit Wonders, One Track Mind
Winner: Cody McLeod
McLeod wins this award for the second consecutive season. With 164 PIMs and very little of everything else, he once again is certainly most deserving of the one-hit wonder award.
Did I miss anyone you thought should have been included in the Western Conference Fantasy Awards? Comment below!
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|Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 21:11|