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2023 RotoRob Fantasy Hockey Awards

February 17, 2024 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on 2023 RotoRob Fantasy Hockey Awards

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a decade since we last handed out hockey hardware, so it’s high time for us to revitalize that beloved feature of the site.

Welcome to our 2023 Hockey Awards extravaganza!

Bear in mind that these honours are based on the calendar year, so when it comes to the NHL, we’re looking at the back half of 2022-23 and the first half of 2023-24.

Without further ado, let’s get to it…

Fantasy Stud of the Year

Brock Nelson has been superb for the New York Islanders.
No one has outplayed their ADP like Brock Nelson. (Michael Miller)

Obviously the McDavids, MacKinnons and Makars of the world are all Fantasy studs, but when you can land a player who vastly outplays his draft slot, that is how you win your league. And based on his ADP the last two seasons, no player has exceeded expectations as much as New York Islander centre Brock Nelson.

Barely drafted inside the top 200 last season, all he did was deliver seventh round value, putting up career bests in games, goals, assists and points, en route to his first All-Star appearance. Naturally, Nelson’s ADP rose this season as he wound up just outside the top 150, yet he again massively outperformed that with 30 points through the first 36 games before 2024 arrived.

Coming off a career season, he’s a prime candidate to be traded at the deadline, assuming the Islanders will be sellers and trying to replenish their bare prospect cupboard.

Honourable mentions: Carter Verhaeghe, C, Florida Panthers; Brandon Hagel, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning; Filip Hronek, D, Vancouver Canucks; and Josh Morrissey, D, Winnipeg Jets.

Fantasy Dud of the Year

Jonathan Huberdeau has been a huge flop for the Calgary Flames.
Joining the Flames sure cooled off Jonathan Huberdeau. (The Athletic)

As left winger Jonathan Huberdeau continues to flounder as a Flame, that huge trade with Florida looks progressively worse for Calgary. On average, Huberdeau was drafted 17th last season, but absolutely fell off a cliff, posting less than half the points he had in his final campaign as a Panther. Things have gotten even more dire this season.

In fact, as of this writing, he’s only managed 81 points in 127 games in Calgary after scoring 115 in 80 games with Florida in 2021-22. Hell, to end 2023, Huberdeau had just a single point in 13 December games. Yuck!

Even if you consider his 2021-22 output as an outlier, he’s still been a grave disappointment to his Fantasy owners. Worse yet for Flames’ fans is the bad news didn’t end with Huberdeau…

Dishonourable mentionsJohnny Gaudreau, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets; Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals; and Elias Lindholm, C, Calgary Flames.

Fantasy Rookie of the Year

Connor Bedard is not your typical rookie for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Connor Bedard (right) may win his first NHL award before he starts shaving. (JennG)

There were some very notable freshman showings in 2022-23, but let’s face it, no one had as big an impact as Connor Bedard, who wasted no time proving he can produce in the NHL. The fact that he was able to live up to years of hype by averaging nearly a point per game in the NHL makes him all the more deserving on this honour.

Sure, Bedard got hurt and burned a lot of Fantasy owners, but that didn’t happen until 2024, so is irrelevant for these purposes. He finished 2023 by potting five goals and 10 assists in 15 games in December and accumulated these numbers as an 18-year-old on a team that offered very little help to him, talent wise.

For now, we can only dream what Bedard will be capable of when he’s surrounded by a better roster.

Honourable mentionsMatty Beniers, C, Seattle Kraken; Luke Hughes, D, New Jersey Devils; Stuart Skinner, G, Edmonton Oilers; and Brock Faber, D, Minnesota Wild.

Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year

Ryan O'Reilly rebounded hugely for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators.
Ryan O’Reilly had an amazing bounce back year. (Mark Zaleski/AP)

Since that amazing 2020-21 season when we thought he’d finally become a point per game dude, things have gone downhill for Ryan O’Reilly. And they really seemed to bottom out in 2022-23 when he managed just 30 points (even if — in fairness — he missed a substantial amount of time and injuries clearly affected his performance).

Still, he was much better down the stretch after getting dealt to Toronto, and — despite an inconsistent start — that trend continued over the remainder of the calendar year as he racked up 30 points in his first 37 games after signing with the Predators.

Rumours of O’Reilly’s downward spiral were greatly exaggerated as he’s delivered a massive return on whatever Fantasy investment his owners made in him this season. He’s settled in nicely as the 1C in Nashville, seeing plenty of special teams time as well.

Honourable mentions: Brock Boeser, RW, Vancouver Canucks; Robert Thomas, C, St. Louis Blues; and Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Seattle Kraken.

Now, it’s time for some of our slightly less official awards…

Failed Mentor of the Year

Corey Perry was a big fail for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The first rule of Mentor Club: don’t bang the mentee’s mom. (Lapresse)

You may recall that Corey Perry was one of the veterans the Blackhawks brought in to help Connor Bedard learn how to be a pro. Um, ya… about that…

Apparently, Perry took his pseudo parental duties very seriously, tapping Bedard’s mom if the rumours are accurate. The imagination boggles: just picture the Bedard kitchen when Perry walked downstairs in his boxers, scratching his balls as he joined a bewildered Connor and the rookie’s milfy mama at the kitchen table.

Clearly not what the Blackhawks envisioned when they inked Perry.

All we can say is what a freaking douchebag… presenting further evidence that perhaps Tony DeAngelo had the right idea when he speared Perry in the ‘nads.

Ignorant Act of the Year

Ivan Provorov showed his ignorance for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Ivan Provorov is apparently too proud to have Pride. (Eric Hartline-USA Today Sports)

Speaking of douche moves, in mid-January, Ivan Provorov created a PR nightmare for the Philadelphia Flyers when he boycotted Pride Night by refusing to join his teammates in warmups wearing the Pride jersey. Reportedly, he was already a less-than-popular player in the dressing room, and this only exacerbated that issue, especially given that teammates Scott Laughton and James van Reimsdyk were both huge supporters of the LGBTQ communities.

Small wonder that Philadelphia opted to trade Provorov in the offseason; we only wish that he had landed in the Bay area (San Jose), with its huge gay population, instead of Columbus.

Don’t Fuck Around Award

Evander Kane is tough as nails for the Edmonton Oilers.
Do not mess with this dude. (Edmonton Oilers)

Evander Kane is no stranger to controversy, but he’s also one tough mofo. In last year’s playoffs, when the Oiler was grabbed from behind by Vegas enforcer Keegan Kolesar, Kane turned the tables and beat the crap out of him, landing several kidney shots.

Then, he delivered one of the quotes of the year: “You don’t see a lot of guys getting jumped from behind then head locked,” Kane said. “When you wanna fuck around, sometimes you have to find out.”

The Undeserved Honour Award

Dustin Brown was great for the Los Angeles Kings, just not statue great.
Dustin Brown deserves a bronze athletic cup, sure, but a bronze statue? Uh, no. (The Hockey News)

Dustin Brown had a tremendous career with the Los Angeles Kings, playing more games than anyone in franchise history while acting as captain for both Stanley Cup wins.

But was what he accomplished statue worthy? Last February, Brown was immortalized in bronze in Star Plaza, next to the likes of Los Angeles sports legends Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal.

We won’t quibble one iota with Brown having his No. 23 retired, but a freaking statue? Sorry, that’s reserved for players that transcend their sport; not forwards that barely average over a half point for their career.

Only the best of the best deserve to be covered in pigeon poo.

Best New (Almost) Owner of the Year

Ryan Reynolds tried to buy the Ottawa Senators.
The NHL almost got so much cooler. (CTV News Ottawa/TSN)

For the first few months of 2023, there remained a chance that actor Ryan Reynolds would be part of a new ownership group of the Ottawa Senators. At the end of the day, however, his group never did submit a final bid. Instead, it was a group headed by Toronto healthcare billionaire Michael Andlauer which purchased a 90 per cent stake in the club.

Can you imagine the Deadpool tie-in possibilities here had Reynolds’ group prevailed?

Honourable mention: Snoop Dogg

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Big Audio Dynamite had a string of critically-acclaimed albums through the ’80s and ’90s before breaking up in 1997. Here’s “The Big V,” a bonus track on the U.S. and U.K. versions of their second album, No. 10, Upping St.

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2015 RotoRob Football Awards

April 6, 2016 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on 2015 RotoRob Football Awards
Lacy’s weight made him an easy target (both literally and figuratively), and Anderson did less in 16 games than he did in his final eight in 2014, but Murray gets the nod by split-decision. While both Lacy and Anderson experienced statistical shortfalls, they pale in comparison to Murray, who went from 2,261 total yards and 13 scores to 1,024 and seven.
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2015 RotoRob Basketball Awards

April 1, 2016 | by RotoRob | Comments (2)
This season, Thompson started perfect at the line in October, got more touches in November and then started really shooting the lights out from downtown as 2015 drew to a close. The first half of this season put him on a trajectory to set a new career high in treys. Yup, studly.
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2015 RotoRob Hockey Awards

February 15, 2016 | by Dakota Case | Comments Comments Off on 2015 RotoRob Hockey Awards
Hodgson scored just six goals and 13 points in 78 games last season, notching a league 11th-worst minus-28 rating. It was by far his worst season ever. This season, Hodgson was doing slightly better with three goals, eight points and a plus-2 rating in 39 games with a much better team in Nashville. Still, he was only on pace for 14 points in 66 games, so in the middle of January, the Preds waived him. He’s currently toiling in the AHL. Woof. Dud.
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2015 RotoRob Baseball Awards

February 8, 2016 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on 2015 RotoRob Baseball Awards
Oh man, as super talented kids start arriving in the Bigs younger and younger and make a bigger impact each season, picking this award gets harder all the time. So many choices!
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