The Top 15 fantasy winners from the Western Conference who exceeded expecatations this year.
Another fantasy hockey season has found its way into the record books and what a great finish this season with a high volume of games to the condensed schedule after the Olympic break. Many of us are already looking back at our draft decisions and waiver wire pickups wondering what was and what could have been. The season is still fresh in our minds, making it the perfect time to reflect on those players that surprised us the most. Last week Russ Miller's Eastern Edge column focused on the top 15 fantasy winners in the Eastern Conference. Following his lead, let's take a look at the top 15 fantasy winners in the West who exceeded our expectations this year.
15. Patrick Maroon, Ducks (62-11-18-29)
Maroon was on the radar of zero percent of fantasy general managers going into 2013-2014 and gradually progressed from irrelevant to waiver wire fodder to a decent depth pickup. The 25-year-old career AHL forward had only 15 games to his NHL credit but managed to stick with the big club this year putting up close to a 40 point pace. A bonus peripheral Maroon contributed for those who were wise enough to snag him off the waiver wire – 101 PIMs.
14. Hampus Lindholm, Ducks (78-6-24-30)
Most of us had reserved expectations for Lindholm this season. At best we figured the young Swede would be a worthy farm player that may come along in a few years. Instead Linholm posted some solid numbers this year. His 30 points in 78 games was a nice surprise and only trailed Torey Krug among rookie blue liners. The bonus peripheral is Lindholm's plus-29 which is fourth overall among all defensemen in the NHL.
13. Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues (64-21-22-43)
A worthy farm option for numerous owners over the years but many of us had Tarasenko pegged for a 40 point season at best this year. In the end he posted just over 40 points but these statistics were accumulated in just 64 games. Tarasenko's numbers over an 82 game season prorate to 27 goals and 28 assists – 55 points. He appears to be on the cusp of taking the next step.
12. Craig Smith, Predators (79-24-28-52)
Somehow Smith managed to put together an impressive campaign on an offensively challenged Nashville team surpassing his career high 36 points from 2011-2012. Smith's 52 points ranked him 77th overall in NHL scoring making him a waiver wire savior and a championship piece for many fantasy squads. His plus-16 on a team where minuses were the norm made his addition to fantasy rosters look borderline genius.
11. Kari Lehtonen, Stars (65-33-20-10)
Lehtonen has long been a staple on many fantasy rosters. This year he and the Stars overachieved. Lehtonen's 33 wins were good for third overall in the Western Conference and his 65 games played was tops in the league. Most impressive, Lehtonen's 1735 saves were good enough for second overall in the NHL. Tack on his 2.41 GAA and .919 save percentage and owners benefitted from his consistency this year. Lehtonen's five shutouts also tied him for third in the NHL.
10. Jaden Schwartz, Blues (80-25-31-56)
Schwartz took the next step this season after an unimpressive 13 points in 45 games as a rookie in 2012-2013. Likely shored away on the farm in many dynasty leagues, the sophomore winger flirted with 60 points this season falling just short of the mark. Despite the deep two