The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 02/21/12 at 02:26 AM ET
We’re less than a week away from Trade Deadline Day, which is already a national holiday in Canada and may soon one day be a holiday in the States too (cross your fingers).
So far there haven’t been any trades that have stolen any of the thunder away from next Monday, although the day will probably be remembered more for the quantity of deals made rather than the quality. Either way, I will attempt to target my coverage in the Pick Six over the next week toward players who have been traded or are on the trade block, although not all of my picks today will fall into that category. If anything, the Pick Six is defense-rich, and who couldn’t use help on defense?
Before I list the Pick Six for Tuesday, I’d like to mention my good friend Steven Ives once again and his always-humorous hockey blog over at Blog Dudes. He’d like me to mention his keeper league, the Flight Keeper Hockey League – a league in which I currently hold the top spot among ten participants! My league-leading team is listed below (apologies if it is difficult to read):
Since I took this picture, I dropped the underperforming Joe Corvo (four points in last 24 games) to activate Christian Ehrhoff (mentioned below).
Pavel Kubina, D, PHI – watch
Unless you firmly believe that Hal Gill is a desired fantasy commodity, Kubina is the most fantasy-relevant player to be traded this month. I know, that’s not saying a lot. With Chris Pronger out for the season, any blueliner with an iota of offensive talent will be top-4 minutes and a whirl on the Flyers’ second-unit power play. Kubina would be nothing more than a short-term “lightning in a bottle” pickup, as his offensive numbers this season (11 points in 52 games) don’t stand out at all.
Mike Smith, G, PHX – start
Perhaps the NHL’s hottest goalie this month, Smith has shutouts in two of last three games and is riding a seven-game win streak. He could very likely add to that on Tuesday against a punchless Kings attack, which is currently last in the NHL in offense. During his February win streak, Smith has a 0.99 GAA and .968 SV%, and the Coyotes will continue to start him as long as they are within reaching distance of a playoff spot.
Christian Ehrhoff, D, BUF – start/trade for
Ehrhoff has not gotten off on the right foot in his first season of that lengthy contract with Sabres, if you consider both his point totals and his recent rib injury. But since returning from injury, Ehrhoff has seven points in 11 games, including three assists against Pittsburgh on Sunday. If the Buffalo power play ever moves in the right direction, Ehrhoff could be great buy-low candidate before your league’s trade deadline. As well, he should be in your lineup on Tuesday against an Islanders team that will be playing its second of back-to-back games after being hammered 6-0 against Ottawa on Monday.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, LW, NJ – add/start
Fantasy irrelevant for nearly two seasons, Ponikarovsky has nine points in 12 games since joining Jersey, including eight points in nine games this month. He has mainly been stuck on Devils’ third line since being acquired from Carolina, but he logged 16 minutes of icetime on Sunday against Montreal. He was hanging by a thread on another keeper league team (not the one listed above), but he has made it worth my while to finally insert him into the starting lineup of this fairly deep team.
Victor Hedman, D, TB – add/start
Hedman has four points in six games since returning from a concussion, including three assists against the Sharks on Thursday. Defensemen usually take longer to develop than forwards, so the second overall pick in 2009 could finally be coming into his own. At 6’6”, 220 lbs., Hedman possesses tremendous upside and is still only 21 years old, so he especially deserves consideration in keeper formats.
Jeff Petry, D, EDM - watch
Sixteen points and a (-10) in 51 games doesn’t look sexy at any position, but Petry has five points in his last six games. The son of former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dan Petry, the Oilers’ blueliner is logging over 20 minutes of icetime for an inexperienced Oilers defense. The Oilers have nothing to lose by playing Petry, since they are long since out of the playoff race.
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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.