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Fantasy MVP for each team at 2017 NHL All-Star break

Evgeni Malkin best overall; Peter Budaj, Nazem Kadri surprise selections

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

The All-Star break is always an appropriate time to recognize the most valuable fantasy player from each NHL team. Some were locks to be here at the start of the season; others have crashed the party.

These selections are based on standard-league fantasy production to this point in the 2016-17 season and, in some cases, differ from the 2017 NHL All-Star Game rosters. Some teams (e.g. Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings) have multiple players very close to each other in their respective fantasy MVP races, so Yahoo's performance-based rankings have been used as the deciding factor.

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: TOP 100 FORWARDS | TOP 50 D-MEN | TOP 25 GOALIES

Yahoo's rankings weigh standard-category performance (goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal for skaters; wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts for goalies) and are the most accurate way to evaluate fantasy production over a particular time frame. But unlike NHL.com's weekly fantasy rankings, Yahoo's do not take future potential into account. They evaluate how each player's statistical coverage stacks up to the rest of the League. Each of the players below is accompanied by his Yahoo position eligibility and rank entering the break.

 

ATLANTIC DIVISION:

Boston Bruins - Brad Marchand (LW; 8th): Marchand appeared to have peaked with 37 goals last season (17th in Yahoo), but is ranked even higher this time around. He's strong in all six standard fantasy categories, on pace for another 30-goal season and has already set a career high in PPP (13). Marchand has been a fixture with Patrice Bergeron (C, 86th) and breakout star David Pastrnak (RW, 28th).

Buffalo Sabres - Kyle Okposo (RW; 77th): Okposo has quietly been a steady force for the much-improved Sabres. He likely won't reach his 64 points from last season with the New York Islanders, but leads Buffalo in goals (15) and is tied for the team lead in points (31) and PPP (17). Buffalo's top forward, Jack Eichel (C, 207th), has made up ground after an injury absence to start the season, but is well behind Okposo based on performance.

Detroit Red Wings - Jimmy Howard (G; 99th): It's been a strange season for Detroit by its high standards, and there isn't a clear MVP to showcase. The Red Wings' highest-ranked fantasy player is Howard, who has a .934 SV% (2nd in NHL) through 17 games but has been hampered by multiple injuries.

Florida Panthers - Jaromir Jagr (RW; 87th): Considering Jagr has been without linemates Aleksander Barkov for the past 14 games and Jonathan Huberdeau all season because of injuries, it's a wonder the soon-to-be 45-year-old is still among the top 100 fantasy assets based on performance.

Montreal Canadiens - Shea Weber (D; 29th): Weber, the third-most valuable defenseman in Yahoo's performance-based rankings, has been a huge hit in his first season with the Canadiens. Among defensemen, he's tied for first in PPP (18), ranks second in goals (12) and is plus-18. Not far behind Weber among Montreal players is Max Pacioretty (LW, 36th) and Alexander Radulov (LW/RW, 41st).

Ottawa Senators - Mike Hoffman (LW; 35th): Hoffman is among the top 10 LWs in goals (17), points (35), power-play goals (10, 1st), PPP (15) and SOG (127). Few could have expected Hoffman to outperform teammate Erik Karlsson (D, 60th), but he's been a huge steal based on average draft position (141.6).

Tampa Bay Lightning - Nikita Kucherov (RW; 17th): Injuries have decimated the Lightning, but Kucherov has been a bright spot. Despite being limited to 43 of a possible 50 games himself, he's tied for fifth in points per game (1.02) and leads the Lightning in goals (19), points (44) and SOG (134). He has kept the production coming despite a long-term injury to linemate Steven Stamkos.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Nazem Kadri (C; 15th): Yes, Kadri has been more valuable than rookie Auston Matthews (C, 45th) in terms of standard-league category coverage. Kadri has already tied his career high in goals (20), has 35 points (14 PPP), and is among the League leaders in PIMs (63) and SOG (144).

Video: TOR@DET: Matthews finds twine on great solo effort

 

METROPOLITAN DIVISION:

Carolina Hurricanes - Jeff Skinner (LW; 47th): Skinner has vastly outperformed his low ADP (147.7) by leading the Hurricanes in goals (17), points (35), PPP (12) and SOG (170, 6th in NHL). He has formed a strong point pair with Victor Rask (C, 153rd) and is among the top 50 overall assets at the break.

Columbus Blue Jackets - Cam Atkinson (RW; 12th): Atkinson, slightly more valuable in standard leagues than Sergei Bobrovsky (G, 14th), is tied for second in goals (24) behind Sidney Crosby (28), tied for fourth in PPP and tied for 11th in points (46).

New Jersey Devils - Kyle Palmieri (RW, 89th): Taylor Hall (LW, 135th) has missed 10 games because of injuries, and Palmieri is the highest-ranked Devils player. New Jersey's offense is lagging (2.20 goals per game, 28th in NHL), but the right wing has backed up his breakout season with reliable performance in points (28), PPP (12) and PIMs (38) along with a stable rating (plus-1).

New York Islanders - John Tavares (C; 32nd): Since New Year's Eve, Tavares has 15 points in 12 games thanks to seven multipoint outings. He had two multipoint performances in New York's first 35 games. Tavares, Thomas Greiss (G, 73rd) and a recent coaching change have sparked the Islanders' resurgence.

New York Rangers - Derek Stepan (D; 53rd): The Rangers are among the League's top 10 teams despite a rash of injuries and a subpar season from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Stepan is covering five of the six standard fantasy categories and is on pace to reach 60 points for the first time in his NHL career. Stepan and Mats Zuccarello (RW, 67th) have been as consistent as anyone could have expected given the circumstances.

Philadelphia Flyers - Wayne Simmonds (RW; 11th): It's been a roller-coaster season for the Flyers, but Simmonds and Jakub Voracek (LW/RW; 13th) have kept them in the thick of the Stanley Cup Playoff race. Simmonds is the only player League-wide with at least 20 goals (21), 60 PIMs (76) and 15 PPP (18).

Pittsburgh Penguins - Evgeni Malkin (C; 1st): Sidney Crosby (5th) has been the most valuable fantasy player by far on a per-game basis, but Malkin is actually ranked higher because he's been elite in each of the six standard categories. The only game Malkin has missed because of injury was the final one before the break. Malkin is on pace for 93 points in 81 games.

Washington Capitals - Braden Holtby (G; 6th): Alex Ovechkin (LW, 7th) deserves mention for being among the top 10 overall, but Holtby has had better peripherals than last season, when the Capitals won the Presidents' Trophy and he tied the NHL single-season wins record (48). Holtby has doubled last season's shutout total (six), has a .930 SV% and a sub-2.00 GAA (1.97).

Video: CAR@WSH: Holtby absorbs Skinner's wrister in the 2nd

 

CENTRAL DIVISION:

Chicago Blackhawks - Patrick Kane (RW; 9th): Kane and Artemi Panarin are the best point pair in the NHL for the second straight season, and Kane is tied for fifth in scoring (49 points). His fantasy profile has no flaws, and he's tied for second in assists (34) behind Connor McDavid (42).

Colorado Avalanche - Nathan MacKinnon (C/RW; 144th): MacKinnon is by far the highest-ranked Avalanche player. Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie, Gabriel Landeskog and Semyon Varlamov have underachieved and missed time because of injuries. MacKinnon is tied for 14th in SOG (156) and leads Colorado in points (33).

Dallas Stars - Tyler Seguin (C/RW; 21st): Seguin has at least a point in 31 of his 50 games, and has kept producing despite the Stars taking a huge step back in the standings. He's top 10 in the League in scoring (47 points), PPP (18) and SOG (177).

Minnesota Wild - Devan Dubnyk (G; 3rd): Dubnyk has the best GAA (1.88; minimum 11 games) and SV% (.936), and he's second in wins (27) and tied for second in shutouts (five). The Wild, stacked with breakouts (Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund), bounce-backs (Eric Staal) and even-strength studs (Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter), have Dubnyk to thank for leading the Western Conference.

Nashville Predators - Ryan Johansen (C; 55th): The Predators have been ravaged by injuries to P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and James Neal, but Johansen has kept them in contention by not missing a game (played in all 49) and leading the team in points (36) and PPP (15).

St. Louis Blues - Vladimir Tarasenko (RW; 34th): Even with a goalie controversy brewing and inconsistent secondary scoring in St. Louis, Tarasenko hasn't missed a beat. He's the only player in the League with at least 20 goals (21), 20 assists (26), 15 PPP (18) and 150 SOG (157).

Winnipeg Jets - Blake Wheeler (RW; 22nd): It's been an incredible season for rookie Patrik Laine (LW/RW, 46th), center Mark Scheifele (C; 27th) and perennial fantasy beast Dustin Byfuglien (D; 24th), but the highest-ranked Jets player is Wheeler, who's covering all six categories and poised for his third straight finish among Yahoo's top 20.

Video: STL@WPG: Wheeler buries nice feed from Byfuglien

 

PACIFIC DIVISION:

Anaheim Ducks - Ryan Kesler (C; 10th): We're used to seeing Corey Perry or Ryan Getzlaf leading the Ducks each season, but Kesler is on pace for his first 60-point season since 2010-11 (73) with top-notch coverage. He and Malkin are the only players with plus-10 or better and at least 15 PPP and 40 PIMs.

Arizona Coyotes - Radim Vrbata (RW; 130th): With Max Domi's injury and an underachieving season by Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Vrbata is leading Arizona's pack, covering four of the six standard categories. His minus-14 makes him a liability, but he's the only Coyotes forward worth owning in fantasy right now. He has strong totals in points (34), PPP (10) and SOG (147).

Calgary Flames - Matthew Tkachuk (LW; 30th): With Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and two relevant defensemen in Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton, it's stunning to see this rookie leading the Flames in fantasy worth. It's not just his strong PIMs total (92, 2nd in NHL), either. Tkachuk is tied for fourth among rookies in points (31), and is plus-7 with 10 PPP.

Edmonton Oilers - Connor McDavid (C; 2nd): What more can you say about McDavid and the Oilers? He has lived up to all the hype by leading the League in scoring in his second season (59 points in 51 games), and has first-class peripherals (plus-18, 16 PPP, 149 SOG). The Oilers have gone from a perennial lottery team to being tied for the Pacific Division lead at the break.

Los Angeles Kings - Peter Budaj (G; 23rd): When Jonathan Quick sustained a long-term groin injury on opening night, the Kings never panicked. Their stout defense and fill-in goalie have carried the torch admirably. Budaj is ranked fourth among goalies in Yahoo behind Dubnyk, Holtby and Bobrovsky. He rolled into the break with his fifth shutout, 3-0 at the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Given Anze Kopitar's slow start, forward Jeff Carter (C; 25th) also deserves a ton of praise.

San Jose Sharks - Brent Burns (D; 4th): Burns has cemented his top-five fantasy status by being better than a point-per-game player at the break (51 in 50 games; 4th in NHL). He leads the League in SOG (194) and is producing in all six fantasy categories. He hasn't been affected at all by the Sharks' dip in secondary scoring or power-play regression.

Vancouver Canucks - Ryan Miller (G; 133rd): Daniel Sedin (LW; 142nd) was in contention, but the fact that this team is anywhere near the playoff mix is a testament to Miller's bounce-back season. He's 14-12-3 with two shutouts, as well as his best SV% (.920) since 2009-10 (.929), when he won the Vezina Trophy with the Sabres.

Video: VAN@ARI: Miller stones Rieder, keeps game scoreless

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