The 2012-2013 NHL season was full of highs and lows. In 48 games, the league compacted their season and yet produced one of the most exciting playoffs in recent memory. For fantasy purposes, the best players were basically the best players; I don’t find a huge number of surprising breakouts when I sift through the end results. With that in mind, here is The Lockout in Retrospect, a brief review of the 2012-2013 NHL fantasy hockey season.
Elite production from a player you probably would touch before round 5? Can’t beat that! Will he do it again? For my part, Kunitz will command too high a draft position to justify his risk/reward factor. I hate to say it, but I can’t recommend drafting Kunitz where you’d need to to get him. You can say literally all of the same things for Pascal Dupuis, who also would have been a huge value if you’d drafted him.
A huge value. Top ten goal scoring production, +15, shots, hits and blocked shots? Power play production? Who is this guy? Tlusty richly rewarded his owners last season. As a sidenote, I was pleased to deal Tlsuty in a keeper league. My return? Ryan O’Reilly. At the time, I felt rather like the cat who had caught the canary. The truth is, based on his 2012 production, I think we need to recalibrate what we expect from the former top prospect.
Guess who lead the league in power play points last season? Subban? Ovechkin? Malkin? Not even close. Well…ok. Close – but the correct answer is Mike Ribeiro. Ranked between 50-60 by Yahoo! going in to last season, he would have been a huge difference maker.
Did ANYONE draft him last year? Seriously? In even the deepest expert leagues, I can’t imagine he would have been drafted by very many managers. Fasth might be an unfair inclusion on my list, but he emerged as a legitimate starter for a good team out of nowhere. His season (and his addition to many rosters) remind us why we love fantasy sports: Forgetting to draft enough goaltending and then seeing a wicked goalie come out of nowhere to rescue you.
I don’t understand the Hawks logic on letting Emery walk. Both he and Corey Crawford are clearly “system” goalies – they benefit enormously from the system they play in, and the elite defensemen who protect them. Don’t believe me? Their numbers – other than shots faced and saves made – are almost literally identical. The difference is that Emery would have been a late round pick at best in most leagues, and yet he had one of the greatest seasons any goalie has ever had in the NHL. The Hawks let him walk, though, and signed Crawford to a huge contract. For once, the Flyers may have gotten the best out of a free agent goalie signing.
Thanks for reading the The Lockout in Retrospect. Coming tomorrow: Top 5 2012-2013 busts! Let the remembrance of players who didn’t perform as advertised warn you against the same mistakes!