With the 2007-08 fantasy hockey season underway, I decided to focus two columns (players in the Eastern Conference and players in the Western Conference).
As dobberhockey readers, many of you already know a great deal about point potentials of various players, but for those of you in leagues that include non-standard scoring categories, these columns are right up your alley.
In this second column, let's take a look at some of the guys in the western conference.
***The following statistics are accurate after games from Sunday, October 28, 2007***
Historical Statistic - Alex Tanguay had one of the best shooting percentages in the NHL in both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. In 2005-06, he scored a goal on 29 of his 129 shots on goal (22.4%). In 2006-07, he scored 22 goals with just 107 shots on goal (20.6%). In leagues that reward shots on goal, Tanguay has obviously been somewhat of a liability, but for those that reward shooting percentage, Tanguay is historically one of the best.
This Season - After getting off to an “inaccurate” start, Tanguay is starting to return to his high shooting percentage ways recently… After zero goals in 20 shots through the first nine games of the season, he now has three goals in seven shots in the last two games. He’s not a shoot first player, so never expect a high shot on goal stat from this guy… He will give decent goal totals though, because he picks his spots/chances well.
Historical Statistic - Henrik Zetterberg had 19 game winning goals in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. He had more game winners than any other player in the NHL during these to seasons. With 81 total goals since the beginning of the 2005 season, approximately every fourth goal Zetterberg has tallied is a game winner. While game winning goals sometimes seem to be as much about luck as they are skill, Zetterberg seems to have proven that he has the luck and/or skill to help any fantasy squad that counts game winning goals.
This Season - With nine goals this season (tied for second most in the league) thus far, Zetterberg looks to continue his trend of scoring and getting game winners. While he doesn’t have any yet this season, he’s on the best goal scoring pace of his career, and there’s no reason to think that he won’t help out any fantasy team in the gwg stat category.
Historical Statistic - Josh Harding has the following NHL career stats: 1.75 GAA, 94.1 save %, three shutouts, and seven wins. He’s only started eleven NHL games. Is this kid ever going to come back down to earth? In leagues that count GAA and save percentage, he’s huge because while he won’t help a fantasy team much with cumulative stats (wins, shut outs), he’s been one of the best goalies when he plays in terms of GAA and save %.
This Season - Despite a loss and an overtime loss in his last two games, Harding has still posted a 1.96 GAA, 93.9 save %, one shutout, and two wins in four starts this season. He looks to continue his amazing stats once again this season, and with Backstrom sidelined recently with groin troubles, Harding will help a bit more in cumulative leagues for the next few weeks. He’ll get a shot to steal the job with stellar play, but with Demitra and Gaborik both currently sidelined, he may not get the wins to steal starts from Backstrom quite yet. Watch this situation carefully though (especially if Backstrom takes longer to recover or re-injures himself).
Historical Statistic - Dion Phaneuf has taken 512 shots on goal in 170 career NHL games. He has averaged roughly three shots on goal per game. He leads all NHL defenders in shots on goal since the start of the 2005 season.
This Season - Phaneuf has continued his mission to punish western conference goalies with rubber as he has 40 shots on goal in just 11 games this season (an average of 3.6 shots on goal per game). He is also one of only eight NHL defenders to have at least 3 goals on the season. If your league includes cumulative shots on goal and/or special scoring for defender goals, Phaneuf is still your guy.
Historical Statistic - Rick Nash tied for the “Rocket” Richard Trophy for most goals in a season in the 2003-04 season posting 41 goals that year. In the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, he had just 58 total goals. Fellow Richard Trophy winners from 2003-04 Ilya Kovalchuk and Jarome Iginla have had 94 goals and 74 goals (respectively) during the same span since winning the trophy.
This Season - Rick Nash has eight goals in ten games so far this season (a 65 goal pace through 82 games), and is currently outscoring both Kovalchuk and Iginla for the first time since they all won the trophy three seasons ago. Needless to say, it seems as though the “Old” Rick Nash is back. While he may not contribute as many assists over the course of the season as Kovalchuk and/or Iginla, he’ll certainly help any team in the goal scoring category. In addition, while his career plus/minus is minus-64, he seems to be in for a “positive” season this year.