In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and thus exclude player’s salaries.
Not too busy of a night with six games and 12 teams in action. Complete tie between the offense and defense as six teams scored two or less and six three or more. Here are our standout fantasy stars for January 6, 2009:
THIRD STAR: James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers (0-0-1) – van Riemsdyk played a large role in the Flyers 6-2 route of the Leafs. In under 14 minutes of ice time, the 20-year-old scored a powerplay goal and assisted on another. In addition, the former 2nd overall pick fired three shots on goal while finishing the game a modest plus-two. Even though his scoring pace slowed down from a point-per-game clip at the quarter mark, this top prospect should finish with respectable numbers and eventually break out.
SECOND STAR: Eric Belanger, Minnesota Wild (0-1-0) – Belanger helped the Wild defeat the Flames last night by a 4-1 margin. The veteran center tied the game at one with a powerplay tally, and added the third, insurance goal halfway through the second. Moreover, the 32-year-old finished with a perfect 2-2 shooting percentage and a perfect plus-one rating, making him our second star of the evening.
FIRST STAR: Sean Avery, New York Rangers (1-0-1) – Even though Avery admitted playing his old team was a nonfactor, he stepped up to elite levels. Against the Stars and his buddy Marty Turco, Avery scored a powerplay goal and assisted on three more tallies, leading the Rangers to a 5-2 victory. Keep in mind the pugilistic wing managed all this in under 14 minutes of ice time, due to taking a healthy 12 penalty minutes. He also fired three shots on goal and a plus-three rating, making him a strong contributor across six categories and a shoe-in for first star of the night.
HONORABLE MENTION(S): Chris Pronger, Tim Connolly