2019-20 Fantasy Hockey Mid-Season Awards

by Tyler Mulligan
2019-20 Fantasy Hockey Mid-Season Awards

The NHL All-Star break typically marks the approximate midpoint of the hockey season, bringing us to the homestretch – an immensely crucial part to the season, with the conclusion of each game becoming increasingly important. Last year, the St. Louis Blues demonstrated how the second half of the season can bring a team from worst to first in their eventual Stanley Cup run.

At the midpoint of each season, the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) put together their votes for the mid-season awards.

Like real life, the fantasy hockey season is now winding down, as teams vie for a coveted postseason position. With the 2019-20 Fantasy Hockey Mid-Season Awards, we'll take a retrospective look at some of the most exciting fantasy players to lace up the skates so far this season.

2019-20 Fantasy Hockey Mid-Season Awards

Hart Trophy

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The illustrious Hart Trophy, who goes to the player judged to be the most valuable player to their team, has fewer strings attached when attributing the award to fantasy hockey.

It’s tough to determine which player is the most valuable to their team. The most skilled player in the league is widely considered to be Connor McDavid. McDavid, however, plays on the Oilers, who haven’t made the playoffs in the past couple of years. All of this goes into consideration when determining the MVP of the league.

In fantasy hockey, however, we don’t need to factor in as many variables, because where the player’s teams lie in the NHL standings has no bearing on fantasy standings.

  1. David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins
  2. Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers
  3. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche

Honorable mention: Artemi Panarin, LW, New York Rangers

All three of our picks for midseason MVP are in the top-5 in the points department, with McDavid leading the league at 76. McDavid also leads the league in power-play points with a whopping 34. Despite McDavid leading in both categories, David Pastrnak edges the Newmarket-grown prodigy.

Pastrnak has the most goals in the NHL with 37 through 51 games. Goals are less plentiful than assists, and as a result, bare more weight in the MVP debate. He also out-muscles McDavid and MacKinnon in hits and in the plus-minus category.

MacKinnon leads the league in shots on goal with 229, while Pastrnak claims the fourth spot with 200.  McDavid has 158 SOG, 17th in the league.

Mainly for his goal-scoring prowess, Pastrnak is our choice for mid-season MVP, but owners should be happy having any of these studs.

Norris Trophy

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Although the Norris Trophy apparently goes to the top all-around defenseman, everyone knows it goes to the best offensive defenseman in the league. In fantasy hockey, offensive defensemen are extremely important because of their rarity. There are only five players in NHL history to score 100 points from the blueline, the last of which was Brian Leetch during the 1991-92 campaign.

  1. John Carlson, D, Washington Capitals
  2. Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators
  3. Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis Blues

Honorable mention: Dougie Hamilton, D, Carolina Hurricanes

John Carlson who has notched 60 points (47 assists, 13 goals) in 49 contests is running away with the blueliner scoring title. He’s on pace for 100 points, which will put him among legendary company if he is to break the milestone.

Nashville’s Roman Josi ranks second in rearguard scoring with 48 points. Josi’s 34 assists are impressive, but Carlson’s 47 assists dwarf Josi’s total.

Alex Pietrangelo is having a great season for the defending Stanley Cup champion, St. Louis Blues. His 20 powerplay points lead all D-men. Pietrangelo is tied with Dougie Hamilton of the Hurricanes with 40 points who would have been slated at the No.3 spot on our list if it wasn’t for his recent injury— a fractured fibula, which will leave him out of the Canes’ lineup without a timetable for return.

Carlson’s historic pace leaves him as the top Norris candidate, while second place is miles behind.

Selke Trophy

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In the NHL, the Selke Trophy is awarded to the forward that demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the sport. Year-after-year, the usual suspects — Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Toews — take home the award with little competition.

The best defensive forwards are tough to quantify in a numerical sense. Their hustle, grit and defensive-zone savvy don’t necessarily show up on a stat sheet, but greatly affect the game. In fantasy hockey, we’re taking a different, more quantifiable approach to doling out the honor.

Despite being a defensive award, we’re putting in place a 20-point qualifier for the potential honourees. The reason for this qualifier is because in order to be fantasy viable, players, by and large, must contribute offensively to an extent. Next, we’ll factor in defensive statistics like blocked shots and hits.

The results are vastly different than the real-life outcomes, which is fitting since fantasy hockey is exactly that — fantasy.

  1. Brandon Tanev, LW/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Tom Wilson, RW, Washington Capitals
  3. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ottawa Senators

Honorable Mention: Noel Acciari, C/RW, Florida Panthers

Brandon Tanev is only owned in 28% of leagues, but the winger is surprisingly valuable when it comes to defensive statistics. Out of forwards in the NHL, Tanev is the only player to crack the top-5 in both hits and blocked shots. His 186 hits and 52 blocks rank third and fourth among forwards, respectively. The Pittsburgh Penguin has also contributed ten goals while adding 12 assists during the 2019-20 campaign.

Veteran grinder Tom Wilson could have easily been picked for the fantasy Selke. While he’s more well rounded than Tanev from an offensive perspective, defensively, Wilson also excels. His 164 hits and 40 blocked shots rank in the top-20 for forwards. On top of that, Wilson has posted a plus-9 rating and adds to his fantasy allure with 71 PIMS. He’s a player that has a bad reputation for often pushing the boundaries between physical and illegal but doesn’t sacrifice skill for willingness to play physically.

Brady Tkachuk has had an excellent rookie year for the Ottawa Senators. He’s become one of the few bright spots on an otherwise dismal roster. Much of his success revolves around his relentlessness on the forecheck and ability to get under the skin of his opponent. Much like his brother, Matthew Tkachuk, he’s turned into the mosquito that buzzes around the ice, annoying the masses. One thing Brady does more impressively than Matthew is hit. With 198 hits this season he ranks second, behind Ryan Reaves in the entire NHL. His downfall, however, is his plus-minus, posting a -14 rating.

Noel Acciari of the Florida Panthers, who leads the league in blocked shots from forwards with 76 receives honorable mention for his willingness to put his body on the line.

Calder Trophy

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The recipients of the rookie of the year award typically go on to be some of the most dominant fantasy contributors in hockey. In recent years, players like Auston Matthews, Artemi Panarin and Nathan Mackinnon have won the award and then gone on to shine at an elite level. This year, the Calder conversation has been dominated by two rookie blueliners in Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes.

On a fantasy level, these burgeoning superstars' value increases exponentially in keeper leagues.

  1. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche
  2. Ilya Samsonov, G, Washington Capitals
  3. Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks

Honorable Mention: Victor Olofsson, LW, Buffalo Sabres

Colorado’s Cale Makar leads the league in rookie points with 37 while notching 15 points on the man-advantage, which also leads the NHL among rookies. Makar moves the puck with the confidence and craftiness of a veteran. He can also put the puck in the back of the net. His 11 goals from the blueline is eighth-best in the entire league and the most among rookie defenders.

Quinn Hughes has been impressive for the Vancouver Canucks, appearing in his first All-Star game this past weekend. While his 29 assists leads all rookies, Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov is our pick as runner-up in the Calder race.

Samsonov has earned a timeshare in Washington, which is a great feat considering his goalie partner Braden Holtby earned his fifth consecutive All-Star nod this past weekend.

The rookie has earned his right to perform between the pipes, leading the league in with a 2.07 GAA. He’s also top-5 in save percentage with an outstanding .927 rate. More impressive, however, is his near-perfect record.

In just 16 games started, Samsonov has 15 wins for the Caps. If it wasn’t for Holtby’s tried and true track record, the 22-year-old would have ascertained the starting role long ago. From a fantasy standpoint, Samsonov offers the perfect handcuff for Holtby owners, but also has stand-alone viability.

Vezina Trophy

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Goalies are extremely important in fantasy hockey. Week after week, goalie stats determine the winner of head-to-head winners. As the season progresses towards the playoffs, squads with the best goaltending, like cream— rise to the top of the standings.

  1. Tristan Jarry, G, Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Ben Bishop, G, Dallas Stars
  3. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning

Honorable Mention: Connor Hellebuyck, G, Winnipeg Jets

Tristan Jarry earned his first All-Star selection for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jarry's Penguins sit in second place of the Metropolitan Division, despite numerous notable injuries. Solid goaltending is a large part of their success.

After outperforming two-time Stanley Cup winner, Matt Murray, for the starting job in Pittsburgh, Jarry has been a force in the crease. He leads the NHL with a .929 save percentage and sits in second for goals against average with 2.16. To go along with a 16-8-1 record, Jarry has three shutouts so far on the season.

In Dallas, Ben Bishop has quietly been one of the best fantasy goalies this season. The Stars’ backstopper is in the top-5 of both GAA and SV% categories while posting 17 wins on the year. Bishop came close to winning the Vezina during the 2015-16 season for Tampa Bay, placing second in votes behind Braden Holtby.

The man who replaced Ben Bishop in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization is Andrei Vasilevskiy, our third choice for the mid-season Vezina. While posting a GAA of 2.55 and SV% of .917, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner has already managed to rack up 24 victories for the Bolts. The league-leading 24 wins sets the 25-year-old apart from his counterparts, giving him a chance to be the first goalie since Ken Dryden to win the honor in back-to-back seasons.

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1 comment

2019-20 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Planner - Fantasy Six Pack February 3, 2020 - 10:31 am

[…] From Tyler’s Fantasy Hockey Mid-Season Awards: […]


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