By Jesse Campigotto & Jordan Shifman,
This week, the Hockey Hall of Fame welcomed Doug Gilmour, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk and Mark Howe into the club. Almost as soon as the ceremony concluded, the debate began over which players could be inducted next year.
With that in mind, in this week's Fantasy Hockey Faceoff we examine which of those players are most worthy of induction to the HHOF from a fantasy perspective. We also highlight some lesser-known players that could help bolster your roster this week.
Looking for a league to join? There's still time to get in on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool. It's free to play and the top prize is a brand-new KIA Optima Hybrid.
Using fantasy value as a guide, which of these players is most deserving of being part of the Hall of Fame's 2012 class? Mats Sundin, Jeremy Roenick, Joe Sakic, Gary Roberts, Adam Oates, Brendan Shanahan, Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, Claude Lemieux or Curtis Joseph?
Jordan: Though Sakic and Roenick aren't far behind, the choice from this impressive list is clear: Brendan Shanahan.
Back before he was known as "Shanaban" the former Red Wing was one of the most well-rounded players the NHL had ever seen. He simply had it all: longevity (averaged 73 games a year over 21 seasons), production (1,354 points and 502 PPP in 1,524 games), defensive presence (plus-151 with 23 SHGs), grit (2,489 PIMs) and finish (109 GWGs).
On top of all that, the former second overall pick regularly played left wing, which I would argue is the position with the least amount of depth in the NHL, especially during Shanahan's career.
Jesse: I'll go in the opposite direction and tell you who doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame: Eric Lindros.
A lot of people remember the Big E as a dominating force, but because of his utter inability to stay healthy, he really had only three great fantasy seasons, starting in 1993-94 when he notched 97 points in only 65 games.
The next year he won his only MVP award with 70 points in a lockout-shortened 46-game season, and the following year he hit triple digits for the only time in his career with 115 points in 73 games.
Lindros's points-per-game rates remained impressive for the next three seasons, but he averaged only 62 games over that span.
And that's the point. Productive as he could be when he was healthy, Lindros was a fantasy nightmare because of all those missed games. And he always went high in drafts because of that tantalizing potential, which, sadly, went largely unrealized.
ADD THIS GUY!
Jordan: There are roughly a half dozen players who are on a roll right now and are owned in fewer than 10 per cent of Yahoo! leagues.
One of those players is veteran Dainius Zubrus (1 per cent). The Devils centre started the year with just two points in October, but had five points in five straight games before going pointless in Wednesday's win in Buffalo.
BENCH THIS GUY!
Jesse: Semyon Varlamov's hot start is a distant memory. Since beginning the season 5-3 while allowing an average of 2.5 goals, the Avs goalie has gone 0-5-1 and allowed 4.2 goals per game in six November appearances.
With Colorado (8-9-1) sinking back toward the bottom of the standings, Varlamov doesn't deserve a spot in your starting lineup. He may not have one in the Avs' either (backup J.S. Giguere is 3-1-0 with a 2.18 GAA and .920 SV%) if Colorado hadn't traded a first- and second-round pick for him over the summer.
PLAY THIS GUY!
Jordan: T.J. Oshie is owned in just 29 per cent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues despite tallying five goals and 11 points in 17 games this season. And since Ken Hitchcock took over as the coach of the Blues, he's notched three points in four games, but is lucky to be started even 20 per cent of the time. Now's the time to get this former first round pick in your starting lineup.
Jesse: Speaking of the Blues, there seems to be a discrepancy between how the public views the team's goaltending situation and what's actually happening.
Jaroslav Halak is 70 per cent owned and Brian Elliott is only 52 per cent owned even though both guys may be on equal footing on the depth chart because Hitchcock has already shown a willingness to go with the hotter player.
For his first game as coach, Hitchcock started Halak and won, but after Halak lost the next game in a shootout, the coach turned to Elliott, who's won two straight.
We'll know more about Hitchcock's usage strategy going forward, but with Elliott getting plenty of playing time and leading the NHL with a 1.43 GAA, there's no reason why he should be owned at a significantly lower rate than Halak.
Do you have improvements to suggest for this page?