Kukla's Korner

The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

Category: fantasy-hockey

Fantasy Hockey Mailbag

So how does the health of Sidney Crosby affect his fantasy value this season? What about for future seasons? I answer a question from a reader who was recently offered Sid the Kid in a keeper league trade, which I believe that he would be better off not making if he wants to win his league this season.

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Pick Six: Monday December 26

In Canada, we have our own version of Black Friday, called Boxing Day. (Apologies to my Canadian readers, who are already aware of this phenomenon.)

On Boxing Day, shoppers will line up before stores open, and then trample in to find the hottest discounts on electronics, furniture, appliances, clothing, sporting goods, and whatever else they desired for Christmas but didn’t receive.

So what does Boxing Day have to do with fantasy hockey? Just as you might search for items selling at less than full market value, you should always also be doing the same for your fantasy hockey team. Since your fantasy team has been standing still for the two-day Christmas break, this is also a good time to take stock of where you are and if there are superior assets on the waiver wire.

With the spirit of Boxing Day in mind, here are some bargain names that will be owned in approximately 50 percent or fewer Yahoo leagues – names that have likely been ignored despite good to great production. Speaking of Boxing Day, don’t forget about the World Juniors, which as always start on December 26! Go Canada!

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Pick Six: Thursday December 22/Friday December 23

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day promise us presents, great food, time with family - but no NHL hockey (NFL football, anyone?) For fantasy owners, that means that the current week shuts down early and that results from Thursday (16 teams in action) and Friday (22 teams in action) become that more important.

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Pick Six: Saturday December 17

Hopefully you didn’t spend a high fantasy draft pick on Chris Pronger this season.

Over the last 14 months, Pronger has missed time with injuries to his knee, foot, hand, and eye, in addition to the concussion that will end his season and may end his career.

When will this concussion problem end? So far we have Pronger, Claude Giroux, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Milan Michalek, Jeff Skinner, Joni Pitkanen, Mike Richards, and Marc Staal – among others – sidelined with concussions.  Who will it be on Saturday? I don’t mean to joke about the situation, but this is getting laughable.

More extreme measures perhaps need to be taken, such as a European-sized rink or the return of the two-line pass. You’re probably groaning, but I’d take a more boring game over one without many of its brightest stars. Players have gotten bigger and faster over the years, meaning that they are capable of doing more damage – something that the experts who have played the game need to recognize.

Anyway, this is a fantasy column, so my job is to focus on the fantasy implications here. So we’ll start the Pick Six for Saturday with two defensemen who you’ll be seeing a lot of in Pronger’s absence.

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Pick Six: Thursday December 15

I have plenty of choices for the headline for this edition of the Pick Six.

The concussion epidemic? Already covered it, although you can add Milan Michalek, Jeff Skinner, and Joni Pitkanen to the growing list.

The first episode of 24/7? Haven’t watched it yet, although I’ve saved it on the PVR and plan to watch it ASAP.

The classy comment from Dave Bolland? Sure, I have an opinion. But I’ll probably sound like a Canucks homer if I share it here.

No, I’m going to save my headline for a good friend of mine, Steven Ives.

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Pick Six: Tuesday December 13

What’s the new dirty word in hockey? The c-word.

Given Sidney Crosby’s current state of affairs, the concussion is officially the injury that no one wants a part of. If a player was hit in the head and he leaves the game, everyone mentions the c-word. Perhaps the team won’t call it that, but if it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

A two-game break for precautionary reasons? I’m not buying it. After experiencing the feel-good story of the year, we’re back to where we were before. I don’t mean to sound negative, but the NHL needs its prime drawing card healthy. I just hope that the NHL’s current leading scorer, Claude Giroux, isn’t sidelined very long. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where I can’t watch a hockey game anymore and worry that one of my favorite players is going to get knocked in the head somehow.

It pains me to say that you need to bench Crosby and Giroux on Tuesday, so who should you start on a Tuesday in which 24 teams are in action?

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Pick Six: Saturday December 10

Usually when a team trades for a proven NHLer, its fan base shows optimism while hyping up the new acquisition. But when the team is Montreal and the player is Tomas Kaberle, the reaction is “Why?”

There are plenty of reasons to doubt Kaberle. After all, the Habs will be taking on $4.25 million for two more seasons after this season for a defenseman that they won’t need once Andrei Markov returns. The most telling comment about Kaberle had to be from Canes GM Jim Rutherford, who said, “I should have known better,” when referring to his decision to sign him. I’m sure Rutherford didn’t make that comment while he was attempting to work that deal with Montreal!

So does all the cynicism and doubt about a player who has been in four different NHL organizations in 2011 mean that he is a player that you should ignore in fantasy leagues? Let’s discuss the road ahead for Kaberle, along with a few other players who have been noteworthy recently.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, fantasy+hockey, ian+gooding, milan+michalek, olli+jokinen, patrick+marleau, pick+six, scott+hartnell, the+goods, tomas+kaberle

Pick Six: Thursday December 8

I stared at the TSN alert on my phone as I normally do when I read bad news.

“Pittsburgh Penguins says Sidney Crosby will sit out the next two games as a precaution.”

I don’t happen to own Crosby in any leagues. Crosby doesn’t even play for my favorite team; in fact, I had to swallow another bite of bad news later in the day with the announcement that David Booth, a player from my favorite team, would miss the next 4-6 weeks. But just like many Crosby owners out there, I automatically feared the worst. Is the injury concussion-related? The reports aren’t clear. But what if following these two games, he misses two more?

 

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Pick Six: Tuesday December 6

So… how about this realignment thing?

I know I write the fantasy hockey column at Kukla’s Korner, but chances are at this moment you’re paying more attention to realignment and how it affects your favorite team than your fantasy team. There are so many issues at play here: guaranteed home-and-home matchups with all teams; the new playoff format; lessened travel for Western Conference teams; which of Detroit, Nashville, or Columbus should move east; the yet-to-be-determined permanent home of the Phoenix Coyotes; and teams that should be contracted (a topic hardcore long-time fans love to bring up whenever relocation is discussed).

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  Tags: cal+clutterbuck, dan+boyle, fantasy+hockey, ian+gooding, jarome+iginla, matt+moulson, milan+hejduk, pick+six, ryan+o'reilly, the+goods

Pick Six: Saturday December 3

A total of 12 games are on the schedule for Saturday, meaning that all but six teams (Detroit, Colorado, Minnesota, Anaheim, Columbus, and Vancouver – all from the Western Conference) are in action. All of those teams except for the Blue Jackets play on Sunday, while Calgary is the only team that plays both Saturday and Sunday. So it should go without saying that you should load up on Flames and avoid Blue Jackets if you need to make up ground in offense this week in head-to-head leagues. Aside from the Flames and Blue Jackets, here are my weekend recommendations.

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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.

A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to gooding74@shaw.ca, or follow me on Twitter.

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