NHL Fantasy Hockey: Most, Least Valuable Players for Week 1

What a glorious opening week of hockey – at least it was for me as I am ahead in all of my pools.

Scoring is up to start the season, which is a wonderful trend if it holds. It probably won’t and you can blame me when it doesn’t. You have to acknowledge the small sample size that a shortened week of hockey provides. By acknowledging how drastic the swings can be from week to week in fantasy hockey we can embrace the true randomness of head-to-head pools.

Any player can be a star for anyone’s team on any given week and of course, anyone can be a goat. That’s why each week of the season we at DobberHockey will be providing for you the fantasy MVP of the Week as well as the LVP (least-valuable player) and maybe a few runners up. Sounds like fun, right?


Alexander Ovechkin – RW – 100% Owned

Unlike in the actual NHL, Alex Ovechkin can only win awards at one position in Yahoo! pools. That’s okay because the right-winger is definitely back. He leads the NHL in goals (four), points (six) and shots (24). Ovechkin is a fantasy dreamboat and don’t be surprised to see him in this space all season.

The Runners-Up

Marc-Andre Fleury – G – 96% Owned

What a shot in the arm this first week was for Fleury. He stopped 47 of 48 shots that were fired his way on route to a 2-0 record. For those scoring at home that’s as many wins as Fleury had in each of the last two playoffs. Yes, Fleury has had some fantastic spring meltdowns but each year he comes back and has a fine regular season. With Tomas Vokoun sadly no longer breathing down his neck Fleury is in the driver's seat.

Lars Eller – C – 48% Owned

Last time we saw Lars Eller he had just been decapitated by the Senators’ Eric Gryba. Now he is back with a vengeance like some kind of headless horseman. Eller has combined with super-sophomores Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher to form one of the most productive lines in the league thus far and at just 48% owned you could actually stand a chance of acquiring him.

Mikhail Grabovski – C – 61% Owned

Good news, Grabovski and his hot start are still available in over a third of all Yahoo! leagues. That means you won’t have to wait for his team to foolishly drop him in order to get Grabovski for free. A word of caution – Grabovski is not skating with Ovechkin at even strength but he is on the top unit of the Capitals’ league leading power play so he is a good bet to keep producing.

The LVP (Least Valuable Player)

Claude Giroux – C – 100% Owned

Note to self: Don’t draft angry golfers. Seriously though, Giroux is 100% owned so there is someone in every pool out there furious at Giroux’s slow start. He even played three games, which is as many as anyone in the league so of course he went scoreless.

Not Last But Certainly Least

Taylor Hall – LW – 99% Owned

Speaking of golf, Hall is now a cool minus-five after one week and has just one point with four SOG. That center experiment is going about as well a cook with Walter White. The good news is that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be back on Monday night pushing Hall back to his familiar left wing position. Nowhere to go from here but up!

Braden Holtby – G – 87% Owned

Goalies are easy targets but when Holtby gets an MVP week from Alex Ovechkin and somehow goes winless in three starts, well that’s going to drown a lot of fantasy teams. That Michal Neuvirth stepped in and salvaged a win for the Capitals in Holtby’s stead last Thursday is just salt in the wound. Are we headed for a goalie carousel in Washington?

Devan Dubnyk – G – 55% Owned

Miserable doesn’t even begin to describe Dubnyk’s start to the 2013-14 season. His goals-against average stands dead last at 6.53 and his save percentage is not much better thanks to a litany of long range goals like this and this. At this point Dubnyk would have better luck if he were fastened in place. In positive news, Edmonton will go with Jason Labarbera on Monday, which will help prevent the masochists playing in 55% of leagues from drowning themselves any further.

Steve Laidlaw is an Associate Editor at DobberHockey. You can follow him on Twitter @Steve Laidlaw. The Most and Least Valuable Fantasy Players will appear on Puck Daddy every Monday.