The Five Most Dominant (Fantasy) Top Sixes in the Western Conference
A few weeks ago for my Wild West debut column we took the four most fantasy relevant defensemen from each team in the Western Conference, combined their totals, and ranked them according to points, power play points, plus/minus, and shots on goal. In the end there was little surprise that the Edmonton Oilers foursome finished last in all four categories while the talented fantasy blue lines in Chicago and St. Louis battled it out for top spot in the conference. A slight surprise was seeing Nashville’s top four ranking out in third spot.
For this week’s edition of the Wild West, we are going to apply the same formula, but focus on the top six most fantasy relevant forwards from each team in the West. Again we will combine the numbers and rank each top six according to points, power play points, plus/minus, and shots on goal. So, enough stalling already, let’s take a look at the top five most dominant top sixes in the West.
#5 – Anaheim Ducks (Getzlaf, Perry, Bonino, Cogliano, Perreault, Palmieri)
With the dynamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry leading the way, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Anaheim’s top six on the list. In fact, considering that Getzlaf is third overall in league scoring (73 points) this year, while Perry is seventh overall (67 points) we probably expected the Ducks fantasy top six to be even higher. But take away the contributions of their terrific tandem, and the talent thins out in Anaheim with Bonino being the next best weapon (44 points) followed by Cogliano (34 points). It may be a surprise to some, but legend Teemu Selanne is not even a top six fantasy forward for the Ducks this season. One surprising note in Anaheim - Bonino leads the team in power play points with 19.
One of the more impressive statistics from the team’s top six is their combined plus-94 on the season. In fact, the team’s top 15 forwards all carry a plus rating this season. The team’s plus/minus trend is their overall strength as Anaheim’s top four fantasy defensemen came out first in the West in this category.
Total points: 275 (5th) Power Play Points: 57 (7th)
Plus/Minus: 94 (3rd) Shots on Goal: 862 (9th)
-Anaheim is the only team in the West to have two players in the top ten in league scoring and soon will be the only team in the league to make this claim. Kyle Okposo is currently fourth and Tavares is tied for 10th, but this will soon change with Tavares on the shelf for the year.
-Corey Perry is second overall in the race for the Rocket Richard with 36 goals, trailing Alexander Ovechkin (45 goals) by a significant margin. Getzlaf is ninth overall with 29 goals – already a career high.
-Getzlaf and Perry are both top ten forward contributors in the league in the plus/minus department as they are tied for sixth respectively with a plus-26 each.
#4 – St. Louis Blues (Oshie, Steen, Schwartz, Backes, Tarasenko, Roy)
Historically the Blues have been a team that scores by committee and this season is no different. The team has no players in the top 30 in league scoring, but four of the six players above are in the top 60 with Oshie (32nd), Steen (33rd), Schwartz (38th), and Backes (52nd) leading the way. Barring injury, Steen would easily be in the top 30 and perhaps even the top 15 considering his points per game pace of .95/game (53 points in 56 games). The biggest surprise in St. Louis this year is the play of Jaden Schwartz who is currently on pace for 64 points this year.
Similar to Anaheim, the Blues also boast a strong showing in the plus minus department and their top 11 forwards currently carry a plus rating. The team’s top six fantasy forwards are steady contributors and a great place to look for depth options, as they finished in the top five in three of the four categories.
Total Points: 279 (4th)
Power Play Points: 71 (5th)
Plus/Minus: 90 (4th)
Shots on Goal: 808 (12th)
-Schwartz is also a beast in the plus/minus department and is currently fifth overall among NHL forwards and second best in the West with a plus-28 rating.
-With a goal against Nashville this past Saturday night, Steen has his first 30 goal season in the books. Despite missing just over a dozen games due to injury, Steen is still seventh overall in goal scoring.
-A bit of a surprise - Derek Roy leads the team in power play points with 16.
#3 – Colorado Avalanche (Duchene, O’Reilly, Landeskog, MacKinnon, Stastny, Parenteau)
Colorado was not expected to compete for a playoff spot this season. More importantly, experts did not expect their top six forwards to jump onto the fantasy hockey radar so quickly. The Avalanche have surprised many and have gradually become a must own across most competitive leagues. All six forwards currently carry an even rating or better while Matt Duchene (62 points/19th overall), Ryan O’Reilly (55 points/26th overall), and Gabriel Landeskog (54 points/28th overall) impressively sit in the top 30 in league scoring. Rookie sensation Nathan MacKinnon isn’t that far off either with 51 points in 67 games and is a good bet to jump into the top 30 in scoring while coasting to the Calder.
A young forward group with the potential to have four players in the top 30 in league scoring should strike fear into teams for years to come. They should also strike fear into the fantasy oppositions. The top six from the Avalanche earned their top three ranking, finishing in the top four in three of four categories. In fact, this talented forward group just missed out on the top five in all categories due to the plus/minus department where they finished sixth.
Total Points: 303 (3rd)
Power Play Points: 75 (4th) Plus/Minus: 53 (6th)
Shots on Goal: 966 (3rd)
-O’Reilly is fifth in the West in power play points with 20 this season.
-The Avs boast two great options in the SOG category. Duchene is 16th overall among forwards with 207 so far this season, while MacKinnon is 28th with 192 SOG.
#2 – San Jose Sharks (Pavelski, Thornton, Marleau, Couture, Wingels, Burns)
With some of the most dominant fantasy options skating alongside each other, there should be little surprise that San Jose is so far up this list. In terms of points, Joe Pavelski (10th), Joe Thornton (14th), and Patrick Marleau (21st) lead the way offensively. In fact, Pavelski is second overall in the conference in power play points as well with 23 on the year, only trailing Patrick Kane by a mere point in the battle for “PPP - Best in the West”.
The Sharks are elite in the plus/minus department with a combined plus-100 and have also taken 1031 shots on goal. They are the second best team in the conference in both categories. Brent Burns is a quality own in both of these areas as he is tied for sixth overall among NHL forwards in plus/minus (plus-26) and is tied for 25th in the league with 194 shots on goal. Despite being the team’s sixth best offensive option with 35 points this year, Burns contributions in other areas are a significant reason why the team finished in the top three in all four categories.
Total Points: 306 (2nd)
Power Play Points: 76 (3rd)
Plus/Minus: 100 (2nd)
Shots on Goal: 1031(2nd)
-Sticking with assists, Pavelski and Marleau are tied for 29th among forwards with 32 helpers each this season.
-Pavelski is currently tied for 3rd overall in the Rocket Richard race with 34 goals this year.
-Marleau is second best in the West with 240 SOG, also good enough for fourth among all NHL forwards.
#1 – Chicago Blackhawks (Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa, Saad, Shaw)
It was close in a few categories where San Jose and Chicago were neck in neck – but the winners of the Top Five Most Fearsome Fantasy Foursomes in the West three weeks ago are also the champions in the forward category as well. Chicago’s embarrassment of riches up front needs little advertising but here is a taste of what the West’s most dominant top six brings to the table. Patrick Kane (67 points), Patrick Sharp (64 points), and Jonathan Toews (63 points) are all in the top 20 in scoring. Marian Hossa’s 50 points in 57 games also breaks down into an impressive .88 points per game and if healthy all season Hossa would have threatened as a fourth Hawk’ in the NHL’s top 20.
In regards to plus/minus Toews and Hossa currently sit 10th overall among NHL forwards with plus-25 each, but it is Brandon Saad’s impressive plus-29 that is good enough for first overall among forwards in the West. Here is a look at the final numbers for the most dominant fantasy top six in the West.
Total Points: 319 (1st)
Power Play Points: 87 (1st)
Plus/Minus: 116 (1st)
Shots on Goal: 1099 (1st)
-Patrick Sharp is the best in West from a firing squad standpoint. He leads all forwards in the conference with 253 shots on goal. Kane (217 SOG/14th) and Hossa (193 SOG/27th) are also in the top 30 in the league in getting pucks on net.
-Patrick Kane currently leads the conference with the man advantage with 24 power play points.
Good luck down the stretch.
Recent Wild West columns:
|The Top Four Trade Deadline Acquisitions in the West|
|North of 60?|
|The Top Five Most Fearsome Foursomes in the West|