In honor of the upcoming NHL All-Star game, I have put together my version of the Western Conference All-Fantasy Team. This team will actually consist of three separate lineups, each with their own twist. Let the debate begin!
As a new feature, be sure to check out the HockeyDB.com link for each player's current and career stats.
1st Lineup: The Stars- Your fantasy superstars.
C- Joe Thornton- Many would argue for the well-rounded statistics of Getzlaf, but I give Thornton credit for doing so much with so little help.
Runners-Up: Getzlaf, Datsyuk
LW- Henrik Zetterberg- Here is an easy choice. With all the other elite left wingers in the East, no one comes close to Zetts in the West… despite his missing five games. He is already approaching his totals in 63 games last year.
Runners-Up: Nash, Huselius
RW- Jarome Iginla- In another very easy call, Iginla takes the right wing with his conference leading 63 points and 32 goals. He is possibly the best player in fantasy right now.
Runners-Up: Perry, Gaborik
D- Nicklas Lidstrom- Is there any question? Same old, same old here. He is the best.
D- Dion Phaneuf- In the tightest of races, Phaneuf steals the 2nd spot on the defense. He has played fewer games than Pronger, but without shots on goal, Chris takes it.
Runners-Up: Pronger, Rafalski
G- Roberto Luongo- After a bit of a slow start, Luongo quickly climbed back to where he belongs. His GAA is the best it’s ever been. Nabokov was close with his impressive win total.
Runners-Up: Nabokov, Giguere
2nd Lineup: The Steals- The best bargains in fantasy this year.
C- Mike Ribeiro- Is he for real? I think a 90-point pace in mid-January proves it for me. He has come a long way since his fake flailing days in Montreal.
Runners-Up: Horcoff, Lang
LW- Dustin Brown- Having nearly reached his career high in points already, Brown is on his way to stardom on one of fantasy’s best teams for the future.
Runners-Up: Morrow, Naslund
RW- Daniel Cleary- With a huge January thus far, Cleary is clearly the choice for value here. Many suspected he was a flash in the pan, where as his closest competitors were always seen as having upside.
Runners-Up: Sharp, Hudler
D- Brent Burns- Here is one of the many fantasy darlings popping up on the blueline this year. He has an amazing shot and players like Burns are giving the position some hope for the future.
D- Craig Rivet- It has been a very strange season for fantasy players in San Jose. While many players like Carle struggle, Rivet benefits. He started fast, had a lull, but then rebounded again. He deserves the recognition, but I don’t see the 33-year-old veteran keeping this up.
Runners Up: Byfuglien, Blake
G- Pascal Leclaire- One of the biggest values drafted/added this year. We always knew he was talented, but few really expected this much even if he did stay healthy.
Runners-Up: Bryzgalov, Ellis
3rd Lineup: The Future- The rookies making an impact.
C- Jonathan Toews- Though this has been a very deep position for rookies, Toews has blown away the competition. It is unfortunate he hit the IR because his race with Kane would have been interesting.
LW- Daniel Carcillo- Everyone's favorite bruiser still holds down the top LW spot despite his extended time on the shelf.
RW- Patrick Kane- The leading rookie this season, Kane may already be a point-per-game player. Still, can he hold off the surging Backstrom?
D- Erik Johnson- Who else did you expect to be here? He has been great as a rookie even despite missing a fourth of the season with injury.
D- Matt Niskanen- Zubov’s apprentice continues to impress and has quietly racked up 18 points this season.
G- Josh Harding- This long-awaited keeper hasn’t disappointed. He is slowly weaseling his way into the starting gig in Minnesota.
The Status Report: This week is the debut of our newest section called Young Guns.
Mike Cammalleri, C/LW, LA
I’ve noticed in several of my leagues and on the forum that Cammalleri is going for a song in many trades for some reason. Sure his lingering injury issues are frustrating, but we can’t forget he scored 80 points last season and was the best scorer on the team. Go get him if you have an owner who is still looking to make a mistake.
Mike Ribeiro, C, DAL
The dislike and expectation of disappointment seems to be sticking to Ribeiro. Sure I think he is an 80-point player this season… not 90, but I see people moving him for even less. Perhaps you should go against the grain and go get this guy now. Otherwise, if you own him, trading him might not be worth it after all. Few people will give you the value he deserves.
From the Dust: The player who may have some value after all.
Robert Nilsson, C/LW, EDM
Just when you thought he was dead, he has the best season of his young career. After demotions, benching and many drops to the FA, it looks like Nilsson has finally arrived. Having passed his career high in points in 13 fewer games, it is time to be a little excited about Nilsson. Just be prepared for a wild ride for another year or two.
Young Guns: The future of the West.
Jakub Voracek, RW, CLS
Here is a good update. Voracek is the most productive forward in the Q. He has 62 points in 30 games. Considering Francis Pare leads the league with 69 points in 49 games, Voracek is really dominating. He projects to be destroying the league with 100 points in 49 games if healthy. Wow.
Mark Santorelli, C/W, NSH
Although just a footnote last week in the Colin Long article, Mark still deserves more attention. As Bugg predicted, Mark has continued to produce at an elite level. . He looks to be a level above his brother and has produced 69 points in 46 games, which is good for second in the WHL.
Cactus of the Week: The player you shouldn’t touch right now.
Curtis Joseph, G, CGY
So you picked up CuJo hoping he would logically sign with a team like Tampa Bay where he could steal a starting job… or at least a portion of it. Instead he goes to back up one of the best in the game in Calgary. Seems like all Joseph wants is a paycheck. It’s time to drop that little prospecting attempt. Unless you want to insure Kipper, the 40-year-old tender is officially dead to the fantasy world.
Fantasy Flashback: Your weekly reminder that fantasy hockey is a rollercoaster.
Peter Mueller, C, PHO
Today we have a more recent flashback than typically presented here, but I feel it really does a great job of demonstrating that rollercoaster spirit of fantasy hockey for which this section is made. Mueller is a machine right now and is looking like a superstar already. Oh how things have changed. It took one month.
Before Nov. 4th- 11GP, 1G, 1A, 2P, minus-4, 4PIM, 18SOG
After Nov. 4th- 36GP, 12G, 16A, 28P, plus-2, 12PIM, 99SOG
It is good things started clicking. If not, he was on pace for 8 points at this point. He has truly exploded and is one of the best young players in hockey recently. For many teams, he is doing his best Crosby impression with 11 points in his last 7 games. His slow start continues to hide his value some, so it is worth one last inquiry just in case.