Top 10 Surprising Seasons From Older Players

Tom Collins

2022-05-09

Every season, there are a few players that come out of nowhere to be a complete shock, and this campaign was no different.

This year may have seen even more than usual, as there were more goals scored this season than in years. There were so many shocking seasons that we’re going to break it up.

This week, we’re looking at the top 10 surprising seasons from players who are at least 30 years old. One theory of mine is that many fantasy general managers become too enamoured with youth. If you’re in a league with many people who feel like that, you can take advantage to help lead to championships, especially through trades. Even if you have Roman Josi, for example, you probably won’t be able to trade him straight up for Adam Fox or Cale Makar. That’s because youth is king, no matter how much that older player might be outperforming the younger generation.

For this list, I’m following hockey-reference’s rules that a player must be 30 years old on a certain date for it to be considered his age-30 season.

10. Sergei Bobrovsky

There were plenty of doubts about the $10-million goalie going into the season. In Yahoo pools, Spencer Knight was drafted higher than Bobrovsky (Knight went on average in the seventh round, Bobrovsky in the 10th), which goes to the mindset of many fantasy general managers. Instead, the 33-year-old Bobrovsky put up excellent numbers right from the start (he allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his first 12 games) and never relinquished the starter’s crease. While some of his final numbers were average (a .913 SV % and a 2.67 GAA), he finished with a league-high 39 wins.

9. Alex Ovechkin

To mangle a Mark Twain quote, the news of Ovi’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. Five to seven years ago, fantasy general managers were speculating that Ovechkin might be ready for a downturn. Their reasoning that his numbers were down, he plays too physical a style and was hitting his 30s (when the majority of players start to see their production diminish) was sound, but completely wrong. The 36-year-old Ovechkin just finished one of his best seasons. Another 50-goal campaign put him as the oldest player to ever score 50 in a season, and he finished this season fourth in goals, third in power-play goals, 16th in points, 21st in power-play points and second in shots. He also put up 155 hits.

8. Brent Burns

Even though Burns doesn’t produce as he used to, he’s still an underrated fantasy option. As a bonus, he has only missed one game total in the past eight years, and that was in 2014-15. He had 54 points in 82 games this year, which was the 12th-highest point total among defensemen, and ahead of sexier picks that are 10-15 years younger than Burns’ 36 years. Burns also put up 18 power-play points (tied for 21st among defensemen), 203 shots (tied for 11th) and 150 blocked shots (tied for 15th).

7. Vladimir Tarasenko

It’s humorous to look back at last season’s expansion draft. Sure, Seattle has done a poor job since being awarded a team, bu