Hey guys! Sadly, the season has come to an end with the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the Stanley Cup. Almost everyone but Kris Letang screwed their fantasy owners this season but that didn’t stop them from putting together an excellent performance throughout the playoffs. I’m going to highlight some players who played well throughout the playoffs and some who didn’t and take a deeper look at how their value for next season was affected. Then I’ll give you a heads up on what my posts will be on and when they’ll be coming before I start going full steam ahead.
First, I’d like to congratulate “Lil’ Lamplighters” for winning the Razzball Bracket Challenge! “Sergio Italy” also had the Penguins winning the Cup but the difference was that he had the Panthers in the conference finals while The Lamplighters correctly picked the Lightning. Here’s to hoping that we keep expanding everything on the hockey side of things over the next year so more people join the brackets. Now to some players:
Martin Jones – Wow, what a performance throughout the playoffs, especially in the Finals. If it was my choice, I’d have given him the Conn Smythe, barely over Phil Kessel (I have no idea how Sidney Crosby won, I could make a better argument for him being 6th in voting than 1st). If there was any doubt that Jones was a #1 goalie next season, it was erased. He’ll be somewhere in the bottom half of my top 10. As for Kessel, he was able to stick it to Leafs fans who thought he wasn’t good enough to be a key cog in a Cup winner. In 24 games, Kessel had 10 goals, 12 assists and over 4 shots per game. The Penguins power play was lethal; Kessel picked up half of his points there. He’ll surely be on the first unit again next year and while he won’t be going around the wheel like last year, he should still be close to the top 25.
Logan Couture – Couture was sensational scoring a whopping 30 points (10+20) in the Sharks’ run. The shots were down a bit this season but he’s another case of a player who can make up the value elsewhere. Couture will definitely be in the top 50 again.
Robby Fabbri – All of my loyal readers know how much I like Fabbri going into next season. We caught a glimpse why; he put up 15 points in 20 games. The minutes still weren’t great and the shots were still poor but as long as Ken Hitchcock gives him playing time, his ceiling is quite high. He’ll have a sleeper post eventually and will be one of my favorite targets in the middle to late rounds.
Matt Murray – Murray wasn’t needed as much in the finals as the Penguins dominated the Sharks in terms of possession but in the earlier rounds, especially against the Capitals, Murray was terrific. It’s clear that he is the goaltender of the future in Pittsburgh and the sky is the limit. He’ll certainly be a hot name in drafts next season but will probably crack my top 10 goalies.
Marc-Andre Fleury – On the other side of the spectrum, Fleury lost his cushy job due to injury and then Murray’s stellar play. MAF has a partial NMC so it’ll partially be up to him to decide whether or not he’s traded. If he moves to say, Dallas, then his value isn’t hurt from where it’s been. If Fleury ends up in Ottawa or stays in Pittsburgh, then he’ll be ideally drafted as a handcuff for Murray owners.
Joe Pavelski – He led the league in playoff goals with 14. I feel stronger about having him at 1oth overall in my Way Too Early Rankings. The consistency is simply outstanding.
Nikita Kucherov – Kucherov finished second in goals to Pavelski and was downright dominant for the Lightning. He finished with 11+8 in 17 games, was a +13, was taking 3 shots per game and didn’t even have his totals boosted by crazy STP (only 4). I had him just missing my Top 20 but now I’d probably put him at 20th.
If there are any other players you want to ask about, please do so in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. I’m going to write a big recap on the draft and free agency once things settle down for a couple days, probably somewhere around July 11th. Then right around August 1st, I’ll be starting to post on close to a daily basis. In the meantime, I’m doing the weekly roundup for baseball that comes out on Sunday morning so check those out! Take care everyone!