Def Leppard puts the cup Upside Down!!!
This is how the season started folks…come on you remember Toronto defeating Detroit on opening night….don’t you? So while Chris Yarbrough did the best of 2008 Fantasy on Going Five Hole….I decided to do something more traditional with a wrinkle. These are the best players by position from the start of the 2008-2009 season till right now. When now??? NOW NOW!!!! Forgive me, I just watched “Spaceballs: The Movie” again!
Here we go a standard 6 players (LW,C,RW,D,D,G)
- Left Wing — Alexander Ovechkin. Apparently visiting his ailing grandfather in Russia did some unbelievable things for AO who definitely got his groove back. He has over 60 shots more on net than anyone else in the NHL. Ovechkin only had a few goals before that trip….he now is just one off the Rocket Richard race with 25. He also is up to 49 points already….only ten behind a guy named Evgeni Malkin. With the Caps as hot as they are offensively….I would not be surprised if Ovechkin tops out over 110 points when all is said and done this year. He is just that good folks!! It is scary!
- Center — Evgeni Malkin. 59 points! That is ten more than anyone else right now. Malkin is a +22 by the way for those who said he could not play some D! Twenty points on the Power Play…but only four goals…that may be the only downside. He will get that PPG total up eventually but by far, he is the best Center out there. Malkin is even better than that Crosby fellow. The scary thing for goaltenders is that Malkin’s shot percentage (12.1%) is almost three percent below his career average (14.9%) It’s going to be a fun 2009 for Malkin owners!
- Right Wing — Jarome Iginla. He is still the best RW out there…period! The numbers are a little off…40 points in 36 games and only a +3 but I would not worry about that so much. Iginla heats it up in the second half normally. He has 8 PPG and 17 points on the man advantage so expect even more production there. This is looking like Chris’s list a lot I know but truthfully this is how it translates. He has not had any long point streaks of late but expect that to change in the not so distant future. The law of averages will catch up some. As an honorable mention I will throw out Patrick Kane (his 41 points, 20 on the Power Play) as someone to watch for in 2009 as well.
- Defense — Shea Weber. It is time to crown a new Norris Trophy winner! 28 points in 36 games gets the nod here for me. Though Shea only has 8 points on the man advantage, that number will come up soon as he has quite the shot from the point. Add in two GWG’s and a +10 with some physical play and you will see why Weber at age 23 has the potential to become a perennial candidate for the Norris for years to come. Look out 2009, here comes Shea Weber and the ceiling will only get raised from here on out!
- Defense — Dan Boyle. I did not go with Lidstrom and his +13 here. I went with Boyle based on points alone. His 30 lead all defensemen right now and let’s face it…that kind of production from your blueline is an added bonus in any league! 16 Power Play Points, 102 shots on goal and a respectable +6 make Boyle an easy choice here at least for now. Though guys like Markov, Wideman, Chara, Lidstrom, and even Streit may have a say…..right now Boyle is just a cut above those guys in a razor thin fantasy race.
- Goaltender — Evgeni Nabokov. This was the toughest choice by far but as of right now, the best starter (and not this 1a and 1b crap) is Nabokov. He has played dramatically better of late since coming back from injury and his 20 wins, 2.39 GAA, and .910 save % actually look respectable. A 20-3-3 record will get you a lot of praise but San Jose is stacked like those Detroit teams. And yes an ex Detroit guy (Todd McClellan) is coaching them. However, Nabokov is showing the form over his last 10 games that made him a Vezina finalist last year. Time will tell if guys like Steve Mason, Nick Backstrom (G), or even Carey Price could get into the mix here. Only time will tell in 2009!!
Needless to say the first few months have been interesting to say the least. No one is really sure what 2009 will bring….but we will have our best for the second part of the 2008-09 season in April. Until then….debate away folks! I am curious what you think here!