Fantasy Hockey: Our MVP and LVP
We may not have tuxedos, a ritzy Vegas venue, or Jay Mohr, but it's awards time in Fantasy Hockey 1-on-1, where this week we present our end-of-season MVP and LVP (we'll explain later).
Plus, we give our advice on which moves to make this week with the money on the line in your pool.
Still looking for a league? (Talk about procrastinating.) Try CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool presented by Kia. Prizes are still up for grabs. Or try the Crown Royal Star Selector in-game pool. You could win a trip to a Hockey Night in Canada game.
All stats are through Tuesday.
1. Who's your 2010-11 fantasy MVP?
Jesse: Picking a fantasy Most Valuable Player isn't the same as picking a real-life MVP. For one, we don't just reflexively award the prize to the scoring champion, like NHL voters have done in four of the five seasons since the lockout. And winning the fantasy MVP isn't necessarily about racking up the most points — it's about delivering the most value based on your draft position. So if you took, say, Steven Stamkos with the first overall pick and he ends up winning the Art Ross, well, that's pretty much what you expected.
What you didn't expect, I'll bet, is for Teemu Selanne to notch 75 points in 67 games — good for 10th in the scoring race. Don't feel bad. No one else did, either. The Ducks winger was selected 108th overall in the average Yahoo! draft, and with good reason: Selanne is 40 years old, hadn't played more than 65 games in a season since 2006-07, and missed an average of 34 games over the last three. He could always score, managing 27 goals in each of the last two seasons despite missing big chunks of time, but this year Selanne has jacked up his assists to a five-year high while staying relatively healthy. That, and the fact that he went almost 100 spots too low in the average draft, are why he's my MVP.
Jordan: Though I could easily talk about Claude Giroux again, as I did in both last week's review of our pre-season picks and when we named our mid-season MVP (Giroux was drafted 146th overall on average and he's 12th in NHL scoring and tied for second in shorthanded points), I'll go with Ryan Kesler and Patrick Sharp. Kesler was drafted, on average, 60th overall in Yahoo! drafts and all he's done is score a career-high 36 goals, including 12 power-play goals, three shorthanded goals and seven game-winners. On the league's best team in Vancouver, Kesler is also approaching a career high in points (68) and his plus-22 rating is tied for 21st in the league.
Listed as both a centre and left-winger, Sharp was selected 100th overall on average, which is just about the 10th round. Though he's likely out for the season with a knee injury, he put up a career-high 68 points (34 goals and 34 assists) in just 71 games. He also reached personal bests in power-play goals (12) and power-play assists (14) to go along with six game-winners. Sitting tied for 15th in league scoring along with Eric Staal, Kesler and Sharp are clearly two fantasy MVPs this year.
2. Who's your 2010-11 fantasy LVP?
Jesse: Again, a quick clarification. The fantasy Least Valuable Player isn't the worst player in the NHL. Trevor Gillies is worthless (unless you're still in a league that rewards penalty minutes, in which case I present you with reason No. 548 why you need to change your rules), but you already knew that on draft day (right?). Ditto for the Fredrik Sjostroms of the world. Think of the LVP as the inverse of the MVP — the guy who delivered the least value based on his draft position (excluding, for the sake of fairness, injured players like Zach Parise and Evgeni Malkin).
For me, that guy is Nicklas Backstrom. Fantasy players were extremely bullish on the young Caps forward, taking him with the fifth overall pick, on average. And why not? He finished fourth in the 2009-10 scoring race with 101 points, he just turned 23 in November, and he plays on a line with Alex Ovechkin. But Washington's power play went in the tank, leading to off years for Ovechkin and Backstrom, who's fallen to 41st in scoring with 59 points through 72 games. In fact, he's not even the highest-scoring Swede named Nicklas. That honour belongs to Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, who has one more point than Backstrom.
Jordan: In 2010, Drew Doughty emerged as one of the top-tier blue-liners in the league. He tallied 16 goals, five game-winners and 59 points, including 31 power-play points, on his way to his first Norris Trophy nomination. With good reason, that prompted fantasy managers to draft the Kings defenceman 18th overall on average, which is midway into the second round. Doughty has not followed up his 2010 campaign with even a remotely similar offensive output (38 points in 70 games, which is 23rd among D-men) and he's become all but invisible with the man advantage (just five power-play goals and nine power-play assists). Arguably one of this season's most disappointing players, Doughty is my LVP.
The LVP between the pipes is Tuukka Rask. Selected in Yahoo! drafts 40th overall on average (seventh among goalies), Rask has started only 25 games all season. He has a whopping total of 10 wins on the year (10-13-2) with a 2.69 goals against, whereas in 2010 he went 22-12-5 with a 1.97 GAA in 39 starts for Boston. In fairness, Rask has underachieved in part due to the play of Tim Thomas. Thomas could easily be in our MVP discussion too, as he was drafted 158th overall on average, which put him 36th amongst goalies taken, after the likes of Ty Conklin, Pascal Leclaire and Brent Johnson.
3. What's your move of the week?
Jesse: There are two Kostitsyn brothers in the NHL. One has 20 goals and 42 points this season. The other has 19 goals and 44 points. So why is the first guy owned in 63 per cent of Yahoo! leagues, while the other is owned in only 11 per cent? Oh, right, the first guy (Andrei) plays for the Habs, and the Habs have a lot of fans. But right now the readily available Sergei Kostitsyn is playing out of his mind for Nashville (which doesn't have a lot of fans), piling up nine points during a seven-game points streak.
Jordan: Way to stay ahead of the curve, Jesse. I recommended the younger Kostitsyn to our faithful followers way back in our Jan. 7 column. With that in mind, here are two players you may not have noticed: Nathan Gerbe and Dominic Moore. Gerbe, 13 per cent owned, has 27 points in 58 games, with six of those points coming in his last six games. More importantly, though, the 5-foot-5 centre has three game-winners since mid-March for the Sabres. In Tampa Bay, just two per cent owned, Moore has five points in his last four games, including two power-play goals. On Thursday night, Moore is going for just his second three-game point-streak since the opening three games of the season.
Jesse: Noticed Gerbe? Please. I have his poster on my wall.