Western Conference 2016-17 Fantasy Hockey MVP’s

by Kevin Wickersham on April 17, 2017

The Wild West – Western Conference Fantasy MVPs

 

Following Eric Daoust’s excellent Eastern Edge piece, here are my thoughts on the 2016-17 Western Conference fantasy MVPs.

With the 82-game schedule complete let’s look back at this year’s best in the West fantasy-wise at each positon. It’s impossible to factor in all the various league scoring systems out there, so I’ve accounted for both points-based and multi-category leagues as best I can. Scoring totals are king since all leagues value them, but players that rank high in non-traditional categories also get strong consideration. I assigned each player with multiple-position eligibility just their dominant positon for the purposes of this article, so your parameters may vary.

Note: The MVP(s) at each position are at the top, the runner up is next, and some top contenders in as close as I could come to bronze (a.k.a. copper).

 

CENTER

Name

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PIM

Hits

Bks

FW

FO%

PPP

SOG

Connor McDavid

EDM

82

30

70

100

+27

26

34

29

348

43.2%

27

251

Mark Scheifele

WPG

79

32

50

82

+18

38

49

34

635

43.5%

15

160

Ryan Kesler

ANA

82

22

36

58

+8

83

146

75

1029

57.4%

20

186

Joe Pavelski

SJ

81

29

39

68

+11

34

130

73

449

52.5%

22

233

Tyler Seguin

DAL

82

26

46

72

-15

22

60

26

401

51.0%

29

301

Ryan Getzlaf

ANA

74

15

58

73

+7

49

99

88

509

50.3%

20

138

 

Connor McDavid outscored everyone, particularly in the West where there was an 11-point gap between him and second place Patrick Kane. From there it’s another seven-point drop to Mark Scheifele. While his final goal total landed outside the top ten in the conference, his 70 assists topped the league. Beyond earning the Art Ross Trophy, McDavid’s plus-27 ranks behind only three in the West, all from the Wild’s positive-differential machine – Jason Zucker, Ryan Suter, and Jared Spurgeon. His 251 shots-on-goal and 27 power play points both tied for second among West centers. That’s enough to offset the lower peripheral stat totals in other areas and place him on top.

The second spot is debatable, but I’ll take Mark Scheifele over runners-up Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin, Ryan Getzlaf, and teammate Ryan Kesler. I was tempted to put Kesler there as even though the scoring isn’t nearly as much as Scheifele’s, his penalty minutes, face-off percentage, hits, and blocks totals are all high for this group. Depends on your scoring system, but I’ll take the Jet.

 

LEFT WING

Name

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PIM

Hits

Bks

FW

FO%

PPP

SOG

Jamie Benn

DAL

77

26

43

69

-9

66

89

47

212

51.5%

26

201

Artemi Panarin

CHI

82

31

43

74

+18

21

23

14

2

20.0%

17

211

Viktor Arvidsson

NSH

80

31

30

61

+16

28

23

45

4

25.0%

9

246

 

Due to his scoring I came into this thinking Artemi Panarin likely for the gold, but if we’re talking multi-categories Jamie Benn’s power play points, hits, blocks, and faceoff numbers offset a deficit in goals and plus-minus. Further, it’s almost a dead heat for the silver between last year’s Calder-winner from Chicago and hard-working upstart Viktor Arvidsson. Having 13 more assists and nearly double the power play production tipped things in Panarin’s favor and the remaining peripherals were relatively close, other than short-handed points in which the Predator’s seven points tied Kevin Hayes for NHL-best and the Blackhawk had none.

 

RIGHT WING

Name

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PIM

Hits

Bks

FW

FO%

PPP

SOG

Patrick Kane

CHI

82

34

55

89

+11

32

28

15

7

13.7%

23

292

Blake Wheeler

WPG

82

26

48

74

+6

47

100

51

43

45.7%

21

259

Leon Draisaitl

EDM

82

29

48

77

+7

20

41

36

476

49.0%

26

172

Vladimir Tarasenko

STL

82

39

36

75

-1

12

50

31

5

50.0%

22

286

 

Patrick Kane wins with a sizable, 12-point scoring margin over his nearest competitor Leon Draisaitl (who did it in 120 fewer shots) and edges him and other worthy challengers Blake Wheeler and Vladimir Tarasenko in plus-minus and shots-on-goal. The “tough-guy” peripherals are fairly even among all except Wheeler, who grabs the second spot for leading in all three categories, doubling second-place Tarasenko in hits. It’s worth noting Draisaitl’s monster advantage in face-off wins here as well.

 

DEFENSE

Name

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PIM

Hits

Bks

FW

FO%

PPP

SOG

Brent Burns (co-win)

SJ

82

29

47

76

+19

40

69

142

0

N/A

25

320

Dustin Byfuglien (co-win)

WPG

80

13

39

52

+10

117

183

124

0

N/A

14

241

Dougie Hamilton

CGY

81

13

37

50

+12

64

68

94

0

N/A

14

222

Duncan Keith

CHI

80

6

47

53

+22

16

24

107

0

N/A

15

183

 

Any way you slice it it’s Brent Burns. Leading the West in blue line power play points and overall scoring (beating second place Duncan Keith by 23 points), and everyone in the league with 320 shots, his offensive skills are remarkable. Regarding peripheral stats his plus-19 places him sixth, and 142 blocks 16th, among West defensemen. Add to that a reasonable amount of hits for such a prolific scorer and we have our first seed.

Dustin Byfuglien is also a no-brainer for the second slot. Just one point behind Keith in Western defensemen scoring, he’s as much a force with the peripheral stats as he is on the ice. Tops in penalty minutes, second in shots, fifth in hits, tied for 13th in power play points, and 26th in blocks among rearguards from Nashville to Vancouver. He earned it.

The runner-up is less clear. Lots of outstanding ones including Keith, Doughty, Giordano, Josi, Klingberg, and Pietrangelo with various high and lower points. Ultimately I gave it to Dougie Hamilton as a top scorer with solid power play and shots-on-goal numbers. Other than the penalty minutes, blocks, and hits his line looks remarkably like Byfuglien’s. Of course those are all very important stats, but even they aren’t bad for the 6-6, 23-year-old who is 50 pounds lighter than Big Buff. Landing seventh among West rearguards in penalty minutes is solid, and his shot totals rank third behind only Burns and Buff. And all that in just 19:41 average ice time compared with Burns’ 24:51 and Byfuglien’s 27:26.

 

GOALIE

Name

Team

GP

W

GAA

SV

SV%

SO

Devan Dubnyk

MIN

65

40

2.25

1701

.923

5

Cam Talbot

EDM

73

42

2.39

1946

.919

7

Peter Budaj

LA/TB

60

30

2.18

1294

.915

7

 

Despite his late-season slow-down Devan Dubnyk is top dog in the West. Demonstrating how stingy his first two-thirds of the season was, even after a 7-8-2, 2.86, .897 post-February plunge he landed just short of the save percentage title, trailing the under-heralded John Gibson by less than 0.0007 while playing 13 more games, and the Kings’ version of Peter Budaj.

Cam Talbot proved ridiculously durable, dropping his GAA from 2.55 to 2.39 despite logging over a thousand more minutes and twenty more starts (73 total) than in 2015-16. He also nudged his save percentage from .917 to .919 and passed Grant Fuhr for most Oiler wins (now 42, was 40) in a single season. That reliability can’t be under-estimated as a factor in Edmonton’s long-awaited playoff berth. 

Let’s appreciate Budaj who kept a bad LA squad afloat and led the West in goals-against-average (2.12) based upon his work there. His pre-Lightning, post Ontario Reign iron man antics approach those of Talbot as he missed only five out of 58 contests after replacing ineffective Jeff Zatkoff, and before Jonanthan Quick’s return from injury. Remarkably, his two-team, campaign-closing mark of 2.18 GAA sits beneath only Sergei Bobrovsky (2.06) and Braden Holtby (2.07) league-wide. His seven shutouts tied Tukka Rask and Talbot for third in the NHL.

 

****

 

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