Fantasy Hockey end-of-season awards: Nathan MacKinnon wins MVP (2024)

Michael Finewax

·5 min read

Fantasy Hockey end-of-season awards: Nathan MacKinnon wins MVP (1)

By Michael Finewax, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Here are my season-ending fantasy award winners. It is so easy to argue whether some choices could go elsewhere, but that's the beauty of these awards.

All stats are through April 14

Fantasy MVP

Nathan MacKinnon, C, COL

This was a tight race as Nikita Kucherov, Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Quinn Hughes also received consideration. MacKinnon smashed his previous career highs of 41 goals (set in 2018-19) and points with 111 set last season, as he managed 51 tallies and 138 points with a league-leading 404 shots on goal. He was second in the NHL in points behind Kucherov and tied for seventh with a plus-34 rating. That was more than enough to get MacKinnon the fantasy MVP of the NHL this season.

Fantasy Sleeper of the Year

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, BUF

Luukkonen was not expected to be the No. 1 goaltender with the Sabres this season — Devon Levi was — and Luukkonen sat on the bench for the first six games of the season, while Levi imploded. Luukkonen took over the crease at that point and never looked back. He was 27-22-4 with a 2.57 GAA and a .910 save percentage for a Buffalo team that didn't make the playoffs, despite Luukkonen's outstanding play.

Fantasy Bust of the Year

Tage Thompson, C, BUF

Thompson had a good year in 2021-22 with 68 points and really broke through last season with 47 goals and 94 points in 78 games. That performance made him a second- or third-round pick in most drafts before the start of the season. Thompson struggled early and never really recovered, though he did have a hot streak from March 16 to April 7 when he managed 10 goals and 17 points in 11 games. That didn't compensate enough for the rest of the season, as Thompson had 29 goals and 56 points in 70 games. That's more worthy of a late-round pick and not someone who was drafted early.

Goalie MVP

Connor Hellebuyck, WPG

Hellebuyck was the best goaltender from start to finish this year but was aided this season, as the usual candidates — Andrei Vasilevskiy, Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin — all struggled at times in 2023-24. Hellebuyck beat out Sergei Bobrovsky here, who was a close second. Hellebuyck was second in the NHL in wins with 36, and was among the league leaders with a 2.38 GAA and a .922 save percentage.

Defenseman MVP

Quinn Hughes, D, VAN

Hughes was spectacular all season and just beat out Cale Makar and Roman Josi for the award. Hughes has 91 points — two better than Makar and six more than Josi — and a plus-39 rating, as he led the Canucks to the top of the Pacific Division standings. Hughes also had a career-high 37 points on the power play and is the favorite to win the Norris Trophy, as well as winning here as the best fantasy defenseman.

Fantasy Rookie of the Year

Pyotr Kochetkov, G, CAR

Connor Bedard was expected to win this award handily, but Carolina goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov snuck out the victory. Kochetkov was 23-13-4 with a 2.33 GAA and a .911 save percentage and held the team together when Frederik Andersen went on injured reserve with blood clots and Antti Raanta played poorly. Bedard had 22 goals and 60 points in 66 games with 204 shots on goal. His minus-41 rating really hurt his fantasy value — enough to cost him the award here.

Waiver Wire Pickup of the Year

Gustav Nyquist, RW, NSH

Nyquist was definitely an afterthought on draft day. The 34-year-old had only 11 goals and 27 points in 51 games in 2022-23, split between Columbus and Minnesota. He signed with the Predators in the offseason and saw plenty of time on the first line with Filip Forsberg. The result was a career-high 74 points in 80 games, including 24 points with the man-advantage. It will be hard to duplicate those numbers next season, but this season, Nyquist was the pickup of the season. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was also in consideration, but Nyquist just beat him out.

Dynasty Stash for 2024-25

Dougie Hamilton, D, NJ

Hamilton was off to a great start with five goals and 16 points in his first 20 games. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle that cost him the rest of the season. The Devils struggled when Hamilton went down, though Luke Hughes proved himself to be a very good power-play quarterback. Next season, the Devils should bounce back after a bad 2023-24 campaign, as Jack Hughes and Hamilton will be healthy. The Devils should be one of the top scoring teams once again and Hamilton — who will play on the top power play with Luke and Jack Hughes — is expected to be one of the players leading the charge.

My Best Fantasy Pick

Auston Matthews, C, TOR

I picked fifth overall and was concerned, as I was hoping to get one of McDavid (no chance), MacKinnon, Kucherov or David Pastrnak. All four went, and I thought I was stuck with Matthews. But Matthews returned to form this season and could be the first player to hit the 70-goal mark since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny both did it during the 1992-93 season, when goal scoring in the NHL was much higher. Matthews had a special season and was instrumental on my team.

My Worst Fantasy Pick

Spencer Knight, G, FLA

I chose Knight with my last draft pick and expected him to take over the starting gig in Florida by the start of November, assuming Sergei Bobrovsky would be sent to the bench. It didn't work out that way, as Bobrovsky was outstanding all season while Knight spent the year in the AHL.

Fantasy Hockey end-of-season awards: Nathan MacKinnon wins MVP (2024)
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