The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 02/07/12 at 12:43 AM ET
Can fantasy hockey players learn something from the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory? Absolutely!
The football Giants were not exactly overwhelming during the regular season, becoming the first 9-7 team to ever win a Super Bowl. The Giants were also the last NFL team to clinch a playoff spot, needing a win in their final game against Dallas to get in. None of that mattered to the Giants, who knocked off opponents who clearly appeared to be better on paper.
In fantasy hockey head-to-head leagues, it doesn’t matter whether you are the first team or the last team to clinch a playoff spot. Some league reward the top two teams with first-round byes so that they face less competition, but after that there is no home field advantage for the team with the better record. Once you get into the fantasy playoffs, then all bets are off. You can never guarantee victory, but you can continually be looking for ways to bolster your team through trades and waiver-wire adds. I prefer the waiver-wire adds myself, since I control the entire transaction and don’t have to negotiate with another owner who could be looking to gain the upper hand in any deal.
Focusing on the here and now, Tuesday features 11 NHL games, which is a typical schedule for what is usually one of the league’s busier nights (Thursday and Saturday are the two other busy nights). We’ll start off with two names that should be gimmes for fantasy teams, but some recent numbers should reinforce why they should be in starting lineups.
Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, NJ – start
Kovalchuk fell out of elite status after last year’s first-half Devil of a disaster, but he appears to be rubbing shoulders with the top left wingers in fantasy once again. He has ten points (3g-7a) in his last four games, along with point-per-game numbers (50 points in 47 games) this season. Maybe his triple-digit contract won’t turn out so terribly after all, although Devils fans will beg to differ if Zach Parise is not re-signed.
Ryan Kesler, C, VAN – start
Following offseason hip surgery, Kesler isn’t having his strongest season offensively (16 goals and 36 points in 47 games). However, he is currently on a three-game goal streak and a five-game point streak. His fantasy owners will definitely want him to in the starting lineup Tuesday, when he faces a Nashville team that he owned during last year’s second-round playoff series (11 points in 6 games). For argument’s sake, however, he did not score a point in his only game against Nashville this season.
Clarke MacArthur, LW, TOR – add/start
How’s this for a streaky player: MacArthur put together a seven-game point streak during the holidays, then ran up eight consecutive games of goose egg points, but is now on a five-game point streak. In the Leafs’ reshuffled new lines, Mac is now playing alongside leading goal scorer Phil Kessel and the red-hot Mikhail Grabovski. Offense has been more plentiful in Leafland this season, so feel free to park MacArthur in your starting lineup Tuesday against Winnipeg.
Mike Fisher, C, NSH – add/start
The Nashville Predators boast a strong offense. No, I am not crazy for saying that. The Moneyball Preds’ 146 goals places them ninth in the NHL, while their power play is second in the NHL, only 0.1 percent behind league-leading Vancouver. The two leading power plays face off on Tuesday night in the Music City, where the Preds could take advantage of a Canucks team that has uncharacteristically given up 89 shots on goal in its last two games. The guy better known as Carrie Underwood’s husband by the locals has made some music of his own recently with points in 10 of his last 13 games. Numerous other Preds could be interchanged for Fisher here, as nine Preds have scored at least ten goals this season – a feat matched only by two other teams this season.
Ray Emery, G, CHI – add/start
I came that close to dropping Corey Crawford in one league. That’s right, the goalie that was assumed to be taking the next step by being a starting goalie for an entire season. Crawford is slowly losing starts to Emery, who is the confirmed starter against Colorado on Tuesday (Tracey Myers). Emery, who relieved Crawford in mop-up duty in Thursday’s 8-4 debacle in Edmonton, started the next night in a 3-1 loss down the road in Calgary. It’s difficult to say how the Chicago goaltending situation will play out, but the Hawks will need to improve on their team 2.87 GAA (24th in NHL) in order to have any hope of winning the Stanley Cup.
Scott Gomez, C, MON – drop
You’ve probably heard of Gomez’s goalless drought 100 times by now, but it’s gotten to the point where 1) it has gone on for one calendar year; and 2) someone has taken the time to create a website called Did Gomez Score. On Sunday, Gomez “almost” scored on a deflection, but the goal was awarded to Tomas Plekanec after what must have been painstaking review. Since Gomez isn’t even raking in the stat category he specializes in (seven assists in 22 games), his fantasy value is virtually zero. Expect the hockey world to be some kind of happy when he does score, even if he earns insanely more than you and I do ($7.8 million per season).
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Tags: clarke+macarthur, fantasy+hockey, ian+gooding, ilya+kovalchuk, mike+fisher, pick+six, ray+emery, ryan+kesler, scott+gomez, the+goods
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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.