Consider the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks rank second, third, and fourth respectively among NHL teams with 225, 218, and 217 goals scored this season. Each of these teams have several offensive fantasy studs—Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle in San Jose, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith in Chicago, and Daniel and Henrik Sedin in Vancouver.
The Washington Capitals rank first in the NHL with 266 goals scored, 41 more than the Canucks, and 108 more than the 30th ranked Boston Bruins!
Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong picking any player from a scoring line on the Washington Capitals, because they are bound to contribute offensively.
While points are the obvious indicator of a fantasy stud, plus-minus can be a more subtle teller of where the value lies. Let’s take a look at the points and plus-minus totals of the Capitals’ top 10 fantasy-relevant skaters, all of whom should be considered on draft day next season.
1. Alexander Ovechkin, LW—96 Pts, +41
Step aside Sid and Geno—Ovie is the consensus number one in fantasy from here on out. He ranks second in the NHL in goals (44), sixth in assists (52), first in points (96), first in plus-minus (+41), first in power play points (33), and fourteenth in game winning goals (5). He also has a robust 81 minutes in penalties, and he’s accomplished all this despite missing eight games due to injury and suspension. Yup, Ovechkin’s in a class of his own.
2. Mike Green, D—69 Pts, +31
The Canadian Olympic snubbing hasn’t even remotely fazed Green. He’s accumulated nine points in seven games since the break, and is just five points away from breaking his single-season record (73) set last year. Green’s 142 points in the last two seasons alone put him miles ahead of the next three offensive defensemen, Duncan Keith (105), Dan Boyle (104) and Nicklas Lidstrom (102). You could make a legitimate case for Green being the number two fantasy pick next year after Ovechkin. In fantasy hockey, no one consistently dominates their positions like Ovechkin and Green.
3. Nicklas Backstrom, C—83 Pts, +31
Now that he’s shooting more, Backstrom’s a true fantasy stud, and the chemistry he’s formed with Ovechkin is downright scary. If you’ve seen a Capitals power play you’ve undoubtedly witnessed the duo toying with opposing penalty kill units. It’s just simply not fair. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, so expect the Caps to give him a hefty pay increase from his entry level deal, and likely something long-term. Backstrom will probably go late first or early second round in most drafts next year. Imagine snagging the first overall pick to get Ovechkin and then grabbing Backstrom with your second round pick? Win-win.
4. Alexander Semin, RW—68 Pts, +26
Frustratingly inconsistent at times (three points in his last seven games after posting seven points in his previous three contests), there’s no denying Semin’s tremendous skill. The Russian sniper has slick hands and a unique ability to bulge the twine. Semin could go anywhere from the first to third round in fantasy pools next year, depending on whether your pool is broken down into all three forward positions (left wing, center and right wing), or just simply “forwards”. Wingers are harder to come by than centers, so draft accordingly.
5. Brooks Laich—51 Pts, +11
Laich’s not as flashy as the previous four, but he has an admirable work ethic and benefits from receiving occasional ice-time with some of the NHL’s best players. He might not be as skilled as a Rick Nash or an Eric Staal, but his current numbers are comparable to theirs. In fantasy, it doesn’t matter how you get points. Laich is deserving of a mid-round pick in drafts next season.
6. Tomas Fleischmann—47 Pts, +6
Like Backstrom, Fleischmann’s a RFA this summer but there have been no reports that the Caps intend to let him go. While his plus-minus isn’t as spectacular as some of his teammates, he’s been a top-tier secondary scoring option for the offensive-juggernaut Capitals. If he stays healthy next season, he could make a run at 70 points. He’s another mid-rounder.
7. Mike Knuble—45 Pts, +21
At 37, age is becoming a factor, but playing in Washington, Knuble has at least one more year of fantasy-relevance. He contributes in all categories, and is incredibly consistent. This is his seventh straight year posting at least 20 goals and 45 points. Depending on the format of your pool (positions and statistic categories), Knuble’s worthy of a pick somewhere between rounds eight and 12.
8. Eric Fehr—33 Pts, +18
Fehr, 24, is another RFA who’ll be looking for a pay increase but it’s well deserved. He’s on pace to set career highs in nearly every stat category this season, and has performed admirably even though bouncing between the second and third lines for much of the season. He’s worth a late pick, especially if the Capitals are unable to resign Fleischmann.
9. Tom Poti, D—22 Pts, +19
The Capitals only have one true offensive defenseman, but Poti has the luck of being the next closest player to fit that description. Unfortunately for Poti, prospect John Carlson is fast approaching consistent NHL duty. If your pool values plus-minus, Poti’s worth a mid-round pick. Otherwise steal him late.
10. Brendan Morrison, C—36 Pts, +18
Morrison’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, and he may have earned some market value with strong play this year so he might not be donning Capital red next season. He’d be better off playing in Washington though, where he’s been an ideal fit as their second line pivot. If he returns to Washington, he’s worth a late-round pick. Otherwise steer clear.