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Mid-season Fantasy Hockey Evaluations

Jason Spezza (ADP 11) was a wasted selection.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Just like the NBA, the NHL has arrived at the halfway point of the 2008-09 season. So it's time to evaluate the preseason rankings and compare them to where they stand after 40+ games.

Centers - In a league where centers are everywhere and you can pick up a player performing at a top level off the waiver wire, the high draft pick of Jason Spezza (ADP 11) was a wasted selection. Spezza has 18 goals, 19 assists, a -5 plus/minus rating, 36 penalty minutes and 132 shots on goal. Currently available in one of my leagues is Travis Zajac (14G, 21A, +17 rating, 23 PIM, 113 SOG). So is Todd White (14G, 30A).

Left wingers - Alexander Ovechkin is exactly as advertised and his 31G, 28A, +13, 56 PIM, 299 SOG puts him at the top of the charts. but the second left winger drafted, Dany Heatley, has not performed to expectations. His 19G, 22A first half has him as only the 11th-best at his position. On the other hand, put Zach Parise near the top for "best bargains" after putting up a 27G, 26A, +18 plus/minus first half.

Right wingers - Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson could be tagged a bit of a disappointment after a 12G, 28A first half because expectations were so high. However, at least he still has a change to rebound in the second half whereas Marian Gaborik (ADP 40) will be out at least two more months and maybe the entire season after left hip surgery.

Defensemen - Both Nicklas Lidstrom and Dion Phaneuf were top-16 preseason selection who haven't quite lived up to their billing. On the other hand San Jose's Dan Boyle (13G, 25A, +11 plus/minus, 124 SOG) and Zdeno Chara (10G, 18A, +21 plus/minus, 124 SOG) have proven to be fantasy bargains.

Goalies - It's hard to argue with Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom as the best goalie to date. Twenty-two wins, five shutouts, a GAA (goals against average) of 2.15 and a .928 save percentage from a 52nd-draft pick. Pure gold.

Centers
Preseason ADP Team Current Overall Rank
Sidney Crosby 2 Pittsburgh 5
Evgeni Malkin 3 Pittsburgh 2
Joe Thornton 7 San Jose 11
Pavel Datsyuk 10 Detroit 9
Jason Spezza 11 Ottawa 62
Vincent Lecavalier 14 Tampa Bay 21
Olli Jokinen 22 Phoenix 68
Ryan Getzlaf 23 Anaheim 3
Mike Richards 27 Philadelphia 12
Eric Staal 28 Carolina 34
Left wingers
Preseason ADP Team Current Overall Rank
Alex Ovechkin 1 Washington 1
Dany Heatley 4 Ottawa 32
Henrik Zetterberg 6 Detroit 16
Ilya Kovalchuk 8 Atlanta 26
Rick Nash 24 Columbus 36
Daniel Sedin 30 Vancouver 19
Thomas Vanek 32 Buffalo 31
Simon Gagne 51 Philadelphia 37
Alexander Frolov 55 Los Angeles 150
Alexander Semin 60 Washington 29
Right wingers
Preseason ADP Team Current Overall Rank
Jarome Iginla 5 Calgary 13
Marian Hossa 12 Detroit 8
Daniel Alfredsson 13 Ottawa 83
Martin St Louis 18 Tampa Bay 44
Marian Gaborik 40 Minnesota 1335
Patrick Kane 43 Chicago 33
Jason Pominville 45 Buffalo 95
Corey Perry 47 Anaheim 15
Johan Franzen 49 Detroit 55
Nathan Horton 58 Florida 223
Defensemen
Preseason ADP Team Current Overall Rank
Nicklas Lidstrom 15 Detroit 67
Dion Phaneuf 16 Calgary 76
Mike Green 31 Washington 43
Brian Rafalski 34 Detroit 80
Zdeno Chara 36 Boston 22
Brian Campbell 37 Chicago 146
Chris Pronger 39 Anaheim 78
Dan Boyle 42 San Jose 28
Scott Niedermayer 46 Anaheim 90
Andrei Markov 57 Montreal 64
Goalies
Preseason ADP Team Current Overall Rank
Evgeni Nabokov 9 San Jose 92
Roberto Luongo 17 Vancouver 93
Martin Brodeur 19 New Jersey 250
Marc-Andre Fleury 20 Pittsburgh 205
Miikka Kiprusoff 21 Calgary 91
Henrik Lundqvist 25 New York Rangers 85
JS Giguere 26 Anaheim 286
Carey Price 33 Montreal 120
Ryan Miller 41 Buffalo 57
Niklas Backstrom 52 Minnesota 14


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.