A funny thing happened this week. The superstars just stopped producing at outrageous paces.
Alex Ovechkin is no longer on pace for 50 in 50, P.K. Subban isn’t scoring literally every game, Tuukka Rask actually allowed some goals, Sidney Crosby might be human. They all fell off, as if in response to your cries that this weekly post about the fantasy MVPs (and LVPs!) was too obvious. The best producers so far this season have (for the most part) been the best players. It was all just a little too neat and tidy. But not this week.
No, the chronically under-appreciated second class players came out in droves, demanding to be recognized. Here’s to the waiver wire wonders, your Week Four fantasy hockey MVPs!
Frans Nielsen – C – 55% Owned
When the Islanders lost Mark Streit this summer a huge hole on their top power play unit was opened. Enter Frans Nielsen. Nielsen is “just” a second-line center but with a key spot on the Islanders top power play unit – the second best power play in the whole league – he is cashing in big time. No one scored more than Nielsen this past week and it’s absolutely criminal that he is only owned in just over half of all leagues.
Ryan Kesler – C – 85% Owned
Who knew skating with the Sedins would be so profitable? Kesler posted three two-point games this week and is firing the puck on net at absurd rates. How he isn’t owned in every Yahoo! league is beyond me but if you are playing in one of those leagues where he is still on the waiver wire, you’ve found your golden ticket.
Jarome Iginla – RW – 79% Owned
Iginla has been skating way too many minutes to lie dormant forever so it was only a matter of time before he finally scored. Iginla scored his first two goals of the season this week and added four assists in what was an offensive breakout for Boston’s KIL line.
Brandon Dubinsky – C/LW – 32% Owned
If your league keeps track of shorthanded points, you should probably find a new league because it’s a ridiculous stat to be keeping track of. Case in point, Dubinsky, who scored five points this week, two of which were shorthanded. That’s a matchup swinger if I’ve ever seen one. Thankfully, Dubinsky is owned in just 32% of leagues and even fewer leagues actually count shorthanded points.
Dubinsky actually has a ton of value, even if you don’t score shorties. He skates on Columbus’ surprisingly potent top line with Marian Gaborik and is an excellent source of rotisserie production in stats like hits, faceoff wins or penalty in minutes, as his 15 PIM last night would indicate. He should definitely be owned in more than a third of all leagues. Just bear in mind the suspension that's no-doubt forthcoming.
Honorable Mentions: Phil Kessel, Antti Niemi, Garth Snow, David Krejci, Henrik Sedin, Thomas Vanek’s fantasy stock, Radim Vrbata, Keith Yandle, Tomas Plekanec, Milan Lucic, Rick DiPietro, Josh Harding, Richard Bachman.
The LVP (Least Valuable Player)
Alex Goligoski – D – 39% Owned
Goligoski has been playing so poorly not even his own NHL team (the Dallas Stars) wants to put him on the roster. Goligoski was scratched for one of Dallas’ two games this week and was held scoreless in his return. The Stars actually tried this same gimmick with Goligoski last season and it led to a big turnaround in his play. We don’t know for certain that that sort of turnaround is in the cards for Goligoski this season but we know it literally cannot get any worse. Goligoski is scoreless and his fantasy value is at rock bottom.
Not Last but Certainly Least
Jonas Hiller – 82% Owned
A couple of four-goal stinkers led to Hiller ceding the net to Frederik Andersen, who has won two straight since taking over between the pipes. Great, now it’s a goaltending controversy. Hiller had been looking great up until this week. Now Hiller owners are looking over their shoulder wondering if he is even going to be reliable for starts, let alone good numbers. Hopefully this is just a blip on the radar, otherwise you’ll be stuck wasting a roster slot on the Andersen handcuff.
P.A. Parenteau – 90% Owned
One of many scoreless skaters this week, Parenteau stands out as one of the highest owned. You drafted Parenteau because of how well he meshed with Matt Duchene last season and John Tavares the season before that. Parenteau is a masterful complimentary player but that doesn’t work when you aren’t skating with a star.
So far this season Parenteau is skating with the likes of Nathan MacKinnon and Jamie McGinn on the Avalanche third line. MacKinnon is a star in the making but he isn’t there yet and while Parenteau sees enough ice time that he’ll remain somewhat productive he most certainly won’t be scoring the 70 points you were hoping for when you drafted him.
Devan Dubnyk – 44% Owned
I really hate to harp on Dubnyk every week but he just brings such a special kind of terrible that it has to be celebrated. This week’s hilarious Dubnyk moment came in Phoenix on Saturday when Jason LaBarbara’s own miserable goaltending led to Dubnyk’s day off becoming yet another opportunity for him to fail.
He didn’t fail! Dubnyk came on in relief and stopped the first shot he faced, getting hurt in the process and needing to leave the game. But he left that game a champion – 1.000 Save Percentage, 0.00 goals-against average. Booya!
Now Dubnyk is out with an “ankle injury”. Yeah, I keep my confidence in my ankles too, Devan.
Dis-Honorable Mentions: Nathan MacKinnon, Michael Del Zotto, Matt Moulson’s fantasy stock, Tobias Enstrom, Stephen Weiss, Tyler Ennis, Pekka Rinne’s doctors, Pascal Dupuis, Eric Staal, Dustin Byfuglien, P.K. Subban, Ryan Miller, Carolina’s goaltending, seemingly every team’s backup, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara