Surprise first-half fantasy hockey stars

by Mike Corcoran on January 20, 2012 @ 12:10:45 PDT


In recent weeks, we have talked a lot about disappointing players for your fantasy hockey teams, but what about some of the surprise players? Which players have been the biggest surprises so far this season in fantasy hockey?

Kessel has dominated the first half of the fantasy hockey season

Phil Kessel, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs: 25 goals, 25 assists, 50 points

Kessel has been one of the more surprising players so far in the fantasy hockey realm, and a player that quite a few people may have started to give up on entering the season. Kessel's hot start has been a huge reason why the Leafs currently sit just one point out of eighth in the eastern conference. If you have him, your fantasy hockey team is most likely in a great place right now. Kessel is on pace to well surpass his goal total of 32 from a year ago.

Milan Michalek, LW/RW, Ottawa Senators: 23 goals, nine assists, 32 points

Michalek has been a pleasant surprise for the Senators and fantasy hockey teams alike this year. At one point earlier in the season, he led the league in scoring prior to missing time with concussion issues. Michalek's 23 goals this season already surpass his total of 18 from last season and his 32 points are only two behind his entire point total from last season.

Jaromir Jagr, RW, Philadelphia Flyers: 12 goals, 22 assists, 34 points

Not many knew what to expect from Jagr going into this year being away from the NHL for as long as he had. He has not disappointed in his time back in the NHL. Jagr has contributed 34 points, and has 12 points on the power play. While those numbers are not anything close to what Jagr was able to do in his prime, they are solid production from a player we hadn't seen in the NHL since the 2007-08 season.

Jason Garrison, D, Florida Panthers: 12 goals, eight assists, 20 points

Garrison has been a key component to both the Panthers and fantasy hockey teams alike. Garrison leads all defenseman in goals currently with 12, and well surpassed all previous highs in scoring. This season, he doubled his scoring from a year ago.

Brian Elliot, G, St. Louis Blues: 15 wins, 1.68 goals against average, .937 save percentage, five shutouts

For as huge of a surprise that Elliot has been for the Blues, fantasy hockey owners are just as delighted and shocked by how he has stood on his head. Elliot improved his goals against average by almost a full two goals a game in his first year in St. Louis. After a year filled with turmoil and changing teams, Elliot was a forgotten - and with good reason - man on many draft lists this year. His numbers could be even more impressive if the team didn't continue to rotate him with Jaroslav Halak, who has posted an impressive season with 13 wins, a .920 save percentage, 2.00 goals against average and four shutouts.

Fantasy hockey news and notes

As we mentioned last week, Carolina Hurricanes center Jeff Skinner has returned from his concussion and is a must play in every league. He has just one point in his two games since returning.

Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall, who is having a nice year with fifteen goals and 31 points, missed some time this week after getting cut by a skate in the pre-game skate. He required 30 stitches to repair the cut that runs from his eyebrow to his scalp. While it is not known how long Hall will be out for, it is something to keep an eye on moving forward.

Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand served the last of his five-game suspension Tuesday; feel free to get him back into your lineups as necessary.

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About Mike Corcoran

Mike Corcoran joined KFFL in 2011 as their senior fantasy hockey writer. The Tarrytown, New York, native hosts a hockey radio show on ESPN Radio in Tampa, and covers the Tampa Bay Lightning professionally.

You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeCorcoranNHL

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