Dobber counts down the 10 most impactful moments in fantasy hockey in 2014…
10. Jason Spezza Traded to Dallas
Spezza has just 26 points so far and has been in a pretty deep spiral since the start of November and Alex Chiasson has just 15. These are numbers that aren’t exactly rocking the fantasy hockey universe. But when the trade went down it had the buzz of the second biggest trade of the year. Which it was.
9. Slava Voynov Suspended Indefinitely
Six games into the season, Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the NHL for alleged domestic abuse. Voynov, 24, was probably looking at a 40-point season. But he has the upside of a 55-point blueliner and fantasy owners had high hopes. Now his fantasy value is worthless. If Voynov is found guilty and given jail time, there will be Visa issues such as what we experienced with Bob Probert and Mike Danton in years past. It’s a very real threat to his NHL career (but would have little impact on, say, a KHL career – hint hint).
8. Alex Ovechkin Nearly Scores 50 and Goes Minus-50
Ovechkin scored 53 goals in 2013-14 and was also a minus-34. But there was one point midseason where many speculated the “what if” scenario. What if he scored 50 and was minus-50? After 76 games he was minus-35 and even then there was still a chance – he had been a minus-5 in the three games leading up to that point. In leagues that counted both categories, you can imagine the frustration. After 37 games this year under a new coach, Ovechkin was a plus-8.
7. Mumps Invasion
Mumps. Ranks right up there with scurvy on the list of illnesses you thought were long gone. But when Corey Perry was hit with it on November 5, it impacted fantasy owners. Perry ended up missing five games, Sidney Crosby missed three games, Derick Brassard missed two games – those were the names with the biggest fantasy impact. But in all (so far), 21 confirmed cases hitting five NHL teams (Pittsburgh, New Jersey, NY Rangers, Minnesota and Anaheim).
6. Young Players Break Out – Tarasenko, Kucherov, Johnson, Forsberg, Gaudreau
In what seems like an unprecedented wave of young players breaking out, the NHL scoring leaders are dotted with new names. Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay) and Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis) lead the wave of newcomers, with both of them still firmly in the Top 10 after 37 games. But Nikita Kucherov, Filip Forsberg and Johnny Gaudreau could all be in the Top 25 at the end of the season. Of the five, Tarasenko is the only one to reach the 43-point mark prior to this year. Just imagine the boost this gives the fantasy team that likely picked one (or more) of these guys in the 10th or 15th rounds.
5. Kris Letang‘s Stroke