In yet another way that fantasy mimics the NHL, while you may need great depth to win a fantasy championship, but it’s almost impossible to win one without an elite player on your squad.
Every once in awhile, you have a player on your squad that puts up a season that makes every other general manager jealous.
With the decade almost over, it’s a good time to look back to figure out what were the best fantasy seasons of the past 10 years. To make it simpler, I’m including 2009-10, even though part of the season was before the decade, as well as excluding 2019-20 since the season isn’t over yet.
Special consideration was given to a player who may have accomplished something that wasn’t done by another player in a while. I’ve also come up with the idea that each player can be here only once, to prevent Alexander Ovechkin from nabbing six spots on the list.
10. Mike Green, 2009-10
It’s easy to forget this now, but Green started off the decade as the must-own fantasy defenseman until injuries put a huge damper on his fantasy career. In 2009-10, Green became the first defenseman since Brian Leetch in 2000-01 to put up 19 goals, 76 points and 205 shots in a season. His plus-39 that year is tied for highest for a defenseman this decade. He also contributed in peripheral categories, as he notched 133 hits and 105 blocked shots to go along with 35 power-play points.
9. Erik Karlsson, 2015-16
While everyone remembers Karlsson for his offense, he was grossly underrated when it comes to some of the peripheral stats. In four of five years with the Sens, he had at least 100 blocked shots, including 201 in 2016-17. In 2015-16, Karlsson potted 16 goals, was the first defenseman to reach 66 assists in a season since 1995-96, and the first defenseman in a decade to reach 80 points (he finished with 82). He also had 50 PIM, 248 shots and 175 blocked shots.
8. Braden Holtby, 2014-15
Holtby may have won more games the next season, but 2014-15 was his best fantasy campaign. He picked up 41 wins for the first time in his career, and his nine shutouts are still a career-high. A sparkling 2.22 GAA and .923 SV % were excellent, and his 1,887 saves led the league. He also played 73 games, which pretty much guaranteed you a chance to win your head-to-head league every single week.
7. Evgeni Malkin, 2011-12
Despite being an elite performer, this was actually Malkin’s only elite season of the decade as he spent too much time on the IR. In 75 games in 2011-12, Malkin netted 50 goals for the first time in his career, his 109 points was the only time this decade he reached 100 points, his plus-18 and 339 shots were career highs, and he also put up 70 PIM. As well, he had 34 power-play points and a career-high 575 faceoff wins.
6. Sidney Crosby, 2009-10
It’s a shame that Crosby spent so much of the first part of the decade on the IR, because we could have seen truly elite 82-game seasons. As it stands, his 2009-10 is one of the best of his career. He posted 51 goals for his only 50-goal campaign, had 109 points and 298 shots for career highs, and had 34 power-play points. He was also a plus-15, with 71 PIM and 1,001 faceoff wins. As good as that season was, he was actually on pace for 128-plus points in each of his next three seasons. However, injuries and a lockout limited him to a high of 41 games over those next three years.
5. Brent Burns, 2015-16
Thankfully, someone at some point made the smart decision to move Burns back to defense instead of leaving him at forward, as it led to some truly wonderful seasons, with 2015-16 being his best. That year, the San Jose Shark had 27 goals, 75 points, 53 PIM, 353 shots, 101 hits, 30 power-play points, and 145 blocked shots. The next season was a smidgen better when it came to goals and points, but was worse in PIM, shots, hits and power-play points, hence why 15-16 gets the nod.
4. Steven Stamkos, 2011-12
Scoring 60 goals in the NHL is no easy feat. When the Lightning forward potted 60, he joined the 2007-08 Ovechkin as the only players of the last 25 years to reach the 60-goal mark. Funnily enough, he’s also one of only three players in NHL history to get 60 goals and not reach 100 points. Regardless, that season he still took 300 shots, had 66 PIM, 109 hits and was a plus-seven. Imagine how much more he could have scored if Tampa had a decent power play. Despite all the goals, Stamkos had only 12 power-play goals and 25 power-play points.
3. Nikita Kucherov, 2018-19
He may not have had the number of hits or blocked shots needed to usurp an Alexander Ovechkin, but there’s no doubt Kucherov’s season last year was one of the best in decades. His 128 points were the highest since 1995-96. His 48 power-play points were the highest since 2006-07. He also took 246 shots, had 62 PIM and a plus-24. His 41 goals were pretty good too.
2. Alexander Ovechkin, 2014-15
It’s really difficult to narrow Ovechkin’s seasons down to one, but 2014-15 gets the slight edge thanks to shots and power-play goals, even though he had way more assists and points in 2009-10. In 2014-15, Ovechkin had decade highs in goals with 53 and hits with 259. His 395 shots that year were only three off his decade high. He also had 81 points, 25 power-play goals and 34 power-play points. He was also a plus-10, an impressive feat considering he was a minus-34 the previous season and was a combined minus-40 over his previous three seasons.
1. Carey Price, 2014-15
Price may have put together the greatest fantasy season ever by a goalie on his way to winning the Hart trophy. He led the league in wins, goals against average, save percentage and was second in shutouts (just one behind the leader). No netminder had finished the season as number one in all four categories in the last 30 years, and it took a Marc-Andre Fleury shutout on the last day of the season against a tanking Buffalo team to prevent Price from accomplishing such a feat. He was fourth in saves with 1,823. Bernie Parent in 1973-74 is the only other netminder to finish a season with at least 40 wins, a save percentage of .930, a GAA below 2.00 and at least nine shutouts.
Other articles from our "decade" series…
|Top 10 Underrated Players of the Decade in Fantasy Hockey||Tom Collins|
|Top 10 Fantasy Hockey Goalies of the Decade||Ian Gooding|
|Top 10 Fantasy Hockey Defensemen of the Decade||Rick Roos|
|Top 10 Fantasy Centers of the Past Decade||Mario Prata|
|Top 10 Fantasy Wingers of the Past Decade||Cam Robinson|
|Top 10 Overrated Players of the Decade in Fantasy Hockey||Tom Collins|