Did you ever know that you're my hero, and everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle, 'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
A few days ago we looked at the players who have been killing fantasy teams so it's only fair we look at the players who have saved them. A lot of these players' performances were completely unpredictable but some of them we should have seen coming.
Here are the players that have massively exceeded our expectations. If there is a player or two your team owes it's fantasy success to, pump his tires in the comments section... it's the least you can do for your fantasy hero.
The ''what we expected' stats are from our SuperStats Projections. Current and Project Stats have both been prorated to 82 games to make comparisons easier.
What we expected: 0+0=0... what we got: 27+43=70
Like everybody else we weren't expecting Henrique to make an impact or even play this season. We had him ranked 338th overall in our Fantasy Prospect DB which seemed reasonable after his rookie AHL season with 25+25=50 in 73 games. With RNH out injured we're looking at the likely ROY now.
What we expected: 0+0=0... what we got: 26+32=58
Things might have changed had we made our projections a little bit later as Read was getting a lot of hype in training camp. We did rank him 133rd in our Pro DB but it's not too often undrafted 25 year olds put up 58 point seasons (playing on the third line no less).
What we expected: 0+0=0... what we got: 17+32=48
Cam was loving Smith but we didn't expect him to make the team this year. He's cooled off considerably (two points in last 13) but still has a shot at the magical 50 point season.
What we expected: 0+0=0... what we got: 14+30=45
After a half season in the KHL, Wellwood is back. When we made our projections I can't remember if we didn't know Wellwood was going to be in the NHL or didn't care. After 25 points in his last full NHL season the not caring would be understandable. He's playing well enough that he might help some of you in deep points only leagues.
What we expected: 0+0=0... what we got: 22+22=44
He was ranking 415th in our Pro DB (the 400's are where fantasy prospects go to die) but Hagelin has exceeded all expectations. Even making the team would be a surprise but he's been contributing and has been finding himself with some pretty great linemates (Stepan and Gaborik most recently).
What we expected: 0+0=0... what we got: 8+32=40
Journeyman 27 year old d-men are not normally of interest to fantasy players but Potter has been the exception this season. Last year he had 37 points in 75 AHL games but he's managing to outproduce that pace when he's been healthy in Edmonton.
What we expected: 0+0=0... what we got: 12+21=32
Voynov has quietly put together a nice little half season in LA. He had 51 points in 76 AHL games last year and he was ranked him relatively high in our Pro DB (96th) but we just didn't think he would get the PT this season.
Now on to some players that we actually projected numbers for...
What we expected: 27+24=51... what we got: 36+51=87
We figured he would continue on the pace he set when he joined the Leafs half way through last season. Instead he's been one of the biggest surprise of the season so far. Getting a point-a-game player off the waiver wire is a huge advantage to your squad.
What we expected: 18+27=46... what we got: 28+47=76
We only figured RNH would get nine games as we weren't sure he could handle the NHL but the skinny youngster proved us wrong. We also stated that if he did play a full season you should expect around 50 or so points. Wrong again, FHS.
What we expected: 30+20=50... what we got: 39+39=78
Moulson's first two full seasons in the NHL saw him pick up 48 and 53 points as he rode shotgun with John Tavares. To us it looked like Moulson was topping out but this season he's gone absolutely nuts. Is Moulson really a point-a-game player? I'm not convinced but I did see myself trying to pick him up in a keeper league. I wouldn't have done that a year ago.
What we expected: 17+27=45... what we got: 17+56=73
Maybe I should just copy and paste Moulson's comment for P.A. as it's pretty much the same story. He's recently been moved off of Tavares' line but he's still finding a way to get the points (11 points in last 10 games). Like Moulson, I'm not convinced he can continue this pace but if I could get him cheap I would grab him.
What we expected: 3+8=11... what we got: 15+24=39
Coming into this season he had 18 points in 130 games. This year he has 18 points in 38 games. He's playing more than any other Cane d-man on the PP lately (why?) so as long as Joni Pitkanen is out he might be useful in some leagues.
What we expected: 16+11=27... what we got: 27+27=53
In his first two NHL seasons he put up ppg's of .35 and .31. Not exactly the numbers you want to see on your fantasy squad. He was pretty good in College and had a very nice half of a season in the AHL so there is some talent here. He's had some consistency issues but he's playing with Toews and Kane now so he's worth a look.
What we expected: 23+27=49... what we got: 32+42=74
Versteeg looked like a pretty consistent 50 point NHL player as he had 44 to 53 points for three straight years. But in Florida things started much differently as Versteeg exploded out of the gate with 26 points in his first 21 games. I'm happy to say I had him in my lineup for most of those as a lucky early season free agent add. Since then he has only 13 points in 22 games and he's been sitting on my bench. Looks like reality has come crashing down. It was nice while it lasted. Thanks for the good times, Kris.
What we expected: 16+37=54... what we got: 10+66=77
After last year's 45 points (impressive) and minus-30 (not as impressive) we were still bullish on Karlsson and projected 54 points. That would have been good for fourth in d-man scoring last year, but that wasn't enough for Karlsson as he leads all blueliners by a whopping 11 points so far. That's crazy.
What we expected: 32+57=90... what we got: 47+65=112
After an injury filled (and generally crappy) season last year I was a bit worried about him when he had a few early season injuries. Luckily for his owners those fears were unfounded as he playing at the same pace as he did in 2008-09 when he put up 113 points. I sure wish I owned him this year instead of last year.
What we expected: 23+33=56... what we got: 33+45=78
After 22 points as an NHL rookie everybody knew Seguin would be improved this season but nobody could foresee the massive jump in production coming. A 50-60 point season seemed like a reasonable expectation but he's shattered that and is playing at nearly a point-a-game.
What we expected: 24+27=51... what we got: 37+35=73
I owe a big thanks to Hartnell as he has saved one of my teams this year. After two points in his first seven games on the third line Hartnell was dropped by many (and nearly by me). Thankfully I hung in there, he was moved to Giroux's line and he's now on pace for over 70 points, plus-33, 120 PIM's and 206 shots... making him one of the most valuable fantasy players out there.
What we expected: 17+31=48... what we got: 27+42=69
His shooting percentage is high right now (19.5% vs a career of 13.1%) but he has still become a much more consistent source of production. He's playing with Zetterberg and has 12 points in his last 12 games.
What we expected: 9+32=40... what we got: 6+56=62
He had 27 points all of last year but as the PP QB in Florida he's already surpassed that total with 33 points so far. We figured Campbell was past his 50+ point seasons but it's looking he's back on track.
What we expected: 3+15=18... what we got: 2+36=39
With only nine points in 41 NHL games Nikitin wasn't on a lot of radars to start the year. Zero points in his first seven games and a trade to the lowly Jackets likely took care of the last few Nikitin believers. But surprisingly he's been playing at a 48 point pace since the trade. I doubt it will continue but he's does have seven points in his last 14.
What we expected: 29+54=83... what we got: 37+66=103
What a monster breakout. We love this kid and expected him to put up his first point-a-game season but we were not ready for him to compete in the scoring race. Loving it.
What we expected: 31+37=68... what we got: 34+52=86
Hall and RNH were getting all the attention in Edmonton but we thought Eberle would be just as good as them. Only problem is we didn't think any of them would be scoring over a 70 point pace. Eberle has been the best of the bunch and we hope his current injury doesn't keep him out too long.
What we expected: 27+28=54... what we got: 35+35=71
Did anybody expect him to play at a higher pace than he did in the playoffs? I didn't but that's exactly what he's doing. The best part is... check out the rest of his numbers prorated to 82 games: plus-60, 166 PIM's and 190 shots. Add him to the most valuable fantasy player discussion.
What we expected: 39+34=73... what we got: 44+46=89
Kessel was listed as one of our superstar breakout candidates but we didn't expecting anything like this season. He's only three off the league leader in points and when you add in his big shot total we're into stud territory.
Other contenders for fantasy hero of the year...
Jason Garrison - What we expected: 7+12=19... what we got: 22+15=37
Jason Pominville - What we expected: 25+38=63... what we got: 27+53=80
Patrik Elias - What we expected: 24+40=65... what we got: 32+50=82
Rich Peverley - What we expected: 21+28=48... what we got: 16+49=64
Kyle Quincey - What we expected: 4+21=25... what we got: 8+32=40
Patrice Bergeron - What we expected: 24+36=59... what we got: 27+48=74
James Neal - What we expected: 29+29=58... what we got: 44+29=73
Jaromir Jagr - What we expected: 22+38=60... what we got: 26+47=73
Zach Bogosian - What we expected: 11+14=24... what we got: 6+31=37
Dion Phaneuf - What we expected: 12+27=39... what we got: 13+38=51
Michael Del Zotto - What we expected: 8+24=31... what we got: 9+34=43
Jamie Benn - What we expected: 28+40=69... what we got: 25+55=80