The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 10/05/11 at 10:15 AM ET
It’s officially go time in fantasy hockey leagues, which means it’s time for our first Pick Six of the season. A new feature at Kukla’s Korner, the Pick Six will list six players of interest that you should know about as you set your fantasy lineup. Players listed will be worth a start or a sit because of hot/cold play, injuries, matchups, favorable line combinations, or just because they are in the news for whatever reason. But more than anything else, I will provide a fantasy hockey take on whatever I write, which I hope will make this article both interesting and informative.
Drum roll, please… my Pick Six for Thursday will include one player from each of the teams in action on Opening Night.
Sidney Crosby, C, PIT – bench
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or in a non-traditional hockey market) this summer, you’ll know that all the talk about Crosby missing the start of the season has led us to this point. There won’t be a fantasy league in sight in which Crosby will be unrostered. However, he will be nowhere to be found as far as the Penguins’ three-game tour through Western Canada is concerned. Simply put, Sid the Kid has not been cleared for contact yet, so he should be on your bench (or IR) not only in daily leagues, but weekly leagues as well.
Cody Hodgson, C, VAN – add
When a young player switches from a high number to a low number, it usually means that the player is here to stay with the big club. Such may be the case with Hodgson, who has switched from #39 to the #9 worn by greats such as Howe, Richard, and Hull. He will start the season on the Canucks’ second line, centering Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. During his brief stay with the Canucks, Hodgson has been forced to cut his teeth on the fourth line with limited minutes. However, Ryan Kesler’s recovery from offseason surgery means that we will truly see what Hodgson is made of.
Tim Connolly, C, TOR – drop
All the Sabres fans reading this may be snickering at such an obvious pick for the bench. However, Connolly’s debut with the Blue and White will likely have to be put on hold, as he is doubtful for Thursday’s opener with an upper body injury. Connolly is one of the game’s slickest passers when he is healthy, which could make a Connolly/Phil Kessel line a force for the Leafs. However, Tuesday’s acquisition of David Steckel has to signal that the Leafs need some help at center. Matthew Lombardi, who missed almost all of last season with a concussion, could benefit from Connolly’s absence. At any rate, I wouldn’t blame you if you think Connolly’s ship has already sailed.
Andrei Markov, D, MON – bench
Markov’s situation is eerily similar to Crosby’s: a player was cut short last season and is also not ready to start this season. Still recovering from knee surgery, Markov has not even begun skating yet, which is not a good sign for fantasy owners hoping for a speedy recovery. If you need to find a replacement for Markov, two options that you could take a flier on are Alexei Yemelin and Raphael Diaz, both NHL newcomers who played in Europe last season. Of the two, Diaz has the greater fantasy potential, as he is more of a puck-moving defenseman.
Tyler Seguin, C, BOS – start
Seguin may be in line for some dual eligibility soon, as Bruins coach Claude Julien is looking into moving the 2010 second overall pick to the wing. Such a move would be huge for his fantasy value, as he will fill a shallower forward position along with much-increased icetime. Seguin scored just one goal and three points during his first season, totals that will no doubt improve with a move to the top 6. The offseason departures of Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder mean that someone has to fill the void, so Seguin should be classified as a legitimate sleeper.
Sean Couturier, C, PHI – add
At one time considered the top prospect of the 2011 draft crop, Couturier fell to the Flyers and the eighth overall position. Although the Flyers haven’t announced their opening-night roster, Brayden Schenn’s demotion to the AHL should free up a spot for the tall center. This recommendation to start Couturier should be reserved for only the deepest of leagues, but it is worth noting that he is one rookie who will be on a ten-game “trial” and likely won’t see major minutes at that. However, Couturier is always worth a speculative grab in case he turns out to be this year’s version of Jeff Skinner.
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Tags: andrei+markov, cody+hodgson, fantasy+hockey, ian+gooding, pick+six, sean+couturier, sidney+crosby, the+goods, tim+connolly, tyler+seguin
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter.