Alright, all 12 of you have been eagerly awaiting my Top 10 (okay okay, all 5 of you). I hate being so corny with the “Top 10”, but cut me some slack my degree is in finance. I originally had a whole diatribe about draft strategy, but I was distracted by the SpikeTV show “Repo Games” (strategery will come later). Has anyone seen this farce? There’s this dooshy looking guy who goes to peoples house to repo their car, but instead of just taking it he gives them the chance to win it back by answering 3 questions correctly. The best part though? The cars are complete crap. An ’01 Hyundai, a 2003 F-150, and a ’99 Ford Bronco. The lucky winners celebrated like they had just struck oil in their backyard…. I weep for humanity. Now onto my Top 10:
10. Jarome Iginla – RW (Cgy): You win Jarome. For year’s I’ve underestimated your value. Sure you’re getting up there in age and your plus/minus stinks, but 43 goals (3rd most in the NHL last year) forgives those sins. Now just go back to fighting every other game like you used to, and you’ll guarantee I don’t look like a jackass for ranking you in the Top 10…
9. Henrik Lundqvist – G (NYR): King Henrik is what you would call “reliable”. Over the last 5 seasons, the King has averaged 71 starts, 37 Wins, a 2.32GAA, .918SV%, and 7 Shutouts. And since he’s only 29 and last season was (arguably) the best one of his career I consider those numbers his floor. I almost never advocate a goalie in the Top 10, but gun to my schvontz Lundqvist is the guy I’m taking.
8. Evgeni Malkin – C/LW (Pit): Probably my most controversial ranking will be the malkin-tent. Prior to last season Geno was in the discussion for top fantasy player in the game (He, Ovechkin & Crosby were the Big 3). He stumbled a bit in 2009-10 (only playing in 67 games) but prior to that he’d only missed 4 games in 3 seasons. But now after a brutal ACL/MCL tear and his lazy disposition, the only way I draft him is if he falls at least this far..
7. Martin St. Louis – RW (TB): The little engine that can is a big reason why Stamkos is ranked so high on this list (Spoiler!). The Saint is consistently underrated in fantasy hockey as well as real hockey (probably because he is what scouts call a “late bloomer”). St. Louis reminds me of Paul Kariya 10 years ago, only better. He can skate and pass as well as anybody, but he also has a kind of deception with the puck that I can’t really explain – his passes seem to come from nowhere. At age 36 though he’s not without risk.
6. Sidney Crosby – C (Pit): Point-Per-Game Average in 2010-2011: 1.61; Next highest PPG Average? 1.27; Which means I desperately wanted to put him #1 on this list, but I just can’t trust guys who miss MONTHS at a time because of a concussion. Throw in the fact that he could still be experiencing those same concussion symptoms and the rest of the NHL hates him, I see a huge risk here. But the upside is the #1 player in fantasy by a wide margin, so the risk=reward. Stay tuned for updates his pre-draft ranking is going to fluctuate big time between now and the start of the season.
5. Henrik Sedin – C (Van): The assist side of the Regular Season Twins has had the same career path as his brother (because they’re twins, get it!). Despite the fact that he’ll be forever linked to Daniel, Henrik is plenty great on his own. Barring injury, his floor is top 2 in assists, top 10 in Power Play Points, and top 5 in plus/minus. You’ll take that and like it!
4. Alex Ovechkin – LW (Wsh): Ranking OV outside the Top 3 would have been unthinkable last year, but Bruce “Flabby Gabby” Boudreau decided that putting an emphasis on Defense would lead to a better showing in the playoffs… Yeah, not so much. Last season was probably his floor though so as long as he stays healthy, he’ll justify a Top 5 pick.
3. Corey Perry – RW (Ana): The reigning MVP and the biggest A-Hole in the game today (non Sean Avery division) is a stud and if you drafted him 1stoverall I wouldn’t blame you. Perry’s been one of the better players in the league for years now, but he’s never got recognition due to the fact that he A) Plays in Anaheim and B) Makes Claude Lemieux seem civil. He was the only player in the NHL last season to hit the magical 50 goal plateau, which he accomplished by scoring a crazy 25 Goals in his last 29 games. Want more? How about 104 Penalty Minutes. Yes, please, and thank you.
2. Daniel Sedin – LW (Van): The only player to top 100 total points last year and the goal scoring side of the Regular Season Twins has had a slow and steady climb to this spot over the years. It was tough for me to rank him here since most of my time spent watching him and his twin brother is during the playoffs, when they turn into the Olsen twins… Okay okay enough cheap shots. The Sedin line last year looked like men amongst boys. Varsity vs freshmen. Pros vs amateurs. Georgia Tech vs Cumberland… Okay maybe that one went too far but you get the point.
1. Steven Stamkos – C (TB): The reign of Crosby and Ovechkin is over! The owner of the sickest one timer in hockey, Stamkos knows how to take advantage of fellow lighting’er St. Louis. 50 goal seasons are quickly going the way of the dinosaur, but if I had to put money on one guy to do it this year its Stamkos. I think he will top last season’s ridiculous totals and next year his #1 overall ranking won’t even be a debate…