The all-star break is behind us and there are just over four weeks until the trade deadline. Here’s a look back through the first 50 games (give or take) of the season for the top 15 surprises in fantasy hockey.
(Originally published by The Hockey News January 28)
Fantasy owners have had to scramble as a result of some of these facts – to either adapt or fall behind:
15. Toronto’s Hal Gill is beating fellow rearguards Marc-Andre Bergeron, Erik Johnson, Joni Pitkanen, Mattias Ohlund, Matt Carle, Tom Poti, etc. in scoring.
14. The fact Alex Ovechkin is leading the league in shots on goal is not surprising in the least. That he is hammering runner-up Henrik Zetterberg by more than 50 is.
13. Only 12 defensemen in the NHL have more shots on goal than Tomas Kaberle. The fact he won the shooting accuracy contest in this past weekend’s NHL Skills Competition is icing on the cake: Maple Leaf fans are wrong with their “Kaberle never shoots” jokes.
12. Marek Svatos has 20 goals, which is not surprising. He has more goals than assists, which is also not very surprising. But four assists altogether?
11. Tampa’s Vinny Prospal continues to keep his fascinating career pattern alive. To have career points of 55, 79, 54, 80, 55 – in order for the past five seasons – and then produce at an 80-point pace this season is truly remarkable. Trade him this summer.
10. Nik Zherdev finally made up his mind and decided “star” would be more fun than “bust”.
9. Nik Antropov. Not his 41 points…but his 51 games played.
8. Brian Rafalski. We should have seen this big jump in point production coming with his move to Detroit, but we didn’t.
7. Mike Green is playing like he’ll reach 70 points one day.
6. Daniel Carcillo not only leads the NHL in penalty minutes, but he missed 15 games with a knee injury and has still managed to stay out in front.
5. Mike Richards - on pace to clear 90 points this season.
4. Mike Ribeiro – ditto.
3. Jason Pominville leads the Sabres in scoring.
2. Of the 35 or so goaltenders owned in my keeper league, no one had Pascal Leclaire of Columbus or Chris Osgood of Detroit to start the season. Both will have 30 wins this year and Leclaire will have 10 shutouts. Nobody saw that coming.
1. Daniel Alfredsson leading the league in scoring?