Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Higgins at the Toronto Sun,
We’re four weeks in. You’ve managed to resist trading away the Luongos and Lecavaliers of the league that were killing you out of the gate. With a little luck, your core is slowly, but surely, taking hold and giving your group the traction you’ve been waiting for. Cool like the cucumber, you didn’t dump Doan (2 points in the first 5 games, 8 in the next 5) in order to covet Captain Tkachukles (6 points in his first 3, 2 in the next 6).
And despite wanting both badly, you’re thankful now that you didn’t get your paws on contract-year juggernauts Marc Savard and Ilya Kovalchuk.
This is my favorite time of the fantasy season, when we get to eagerly watch the wire and see who boils up to the top, itching to snatch up that next great unheralded player before the next guy does. How soon you pull the trigger can make a big difference in how effective your strategy is; it’s important to wait a few games on a guy you might suspect is a good value to see if it isn’t just a fluke. Also, it’s critical to make sure you don’t drop someone off your roster to make room that even though may be starting slow will ultimately outperform whoever you replace them with.
Juggle the stats, see who’s on the powerplay that wasn’t before, take a look at the line combinations (Yahoo’s team review articles are great for this) and see who’s on the top lines, and watch a game or two of a player you’re interested before you grab them. Below are a few guys who didn’t get drafted in my league that are getting picked off the wire as we speak.
This might be the deepest rookie goalie year I’ve seen in my entire hockey watching career. If you’ve played fantasy hockey for the last five years you’re all too aware of how shallow the talent pool has been. This is all about to change thanks to a few folks who are about to become household names.
If these people aren’t in your league yet, you should consider getting them in quick. Come with me, on a journey of bad rock set to film student montages, will you?
Ahh yes, here comes the next phase of fantasy hockey goodness. The draft is over. You can breathe easy a bit. Now watch who boils up through the cracks.
As I see it there a three primary shifts of mass psychology in a fantasy hockey season. The first is the season of panickers. Folks in your league will undervalue core guys and covet the shiny. This, the next four weeks, is your time to take advantage of these fools. Propose trades. Watch the waiver wire as valuable talent hits the cutting room floor and scoop it all up.
The NHL 2K10 hockey moms want answers, but Ryan Kesler is too busy playing video games.
Personally I don’t believe the sleeper crop this year is that large. I just don’t see a lot of people proving themselves this season who didn’t in the last. There are always a few guys who really stand out at the end of a season and make it obvious they’ll rock the next. After doing some homework I realized all those guys were goalies, so that’ll be another post. This post will be about the youngsters who didn’t prove a damn thing last year but will this one.
What I really liked about this batch is that all of these guys are in the six foot club. They’re big boys, they play hard, and because of that, as they fill out their frames in the best damn professional league in the world, they’re going to become dominant players. If you’re in a long-term keeper league, these are the guys you’ll want to draft. If not, pick them up as last-round picks or pluck them off the wire when the first guys on your team start to falter.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It isn’t just that youth is being served. Youth has come in and wrenched away control. Where teams in the past were reluctant to push teenagers into the NHL, nowadays it is almost a given that teams are ready to provide on-the-job training if a player has the skill set to make the leap from junior.
Last year, 109 players scored 50 points or more, but it took 75 points to crack the top 25 in scoring….
The following is our annual exercise in hockey pools for dummies, a projection of how the top 20 scorers in the NHL will unfold:
199. Marek Svatos, Colorado
200. Jussi Jokinen, Carolina
Perhaps one of the most valuable bits of knowledge to be armed with going into your fantasy hockey draft is a clear idea of who the talented players will be this year that did not produce last year. This can be due to season-hampering injury in the prior year, or because a player is a rookie just beginning to ramp up their production. Knowing who isn’t showing up in your auto-ranked draft list can yield you some great mid to late round steals.
Today we’ll look at 20 of the most promising producers this year who weren’t even on the radar statistics-wise last year due to injury.
from Rob Higgins at the Toronto Sun,
So now what??
Well, you’ve survived the first hour without blowing it and Rounds 4 to 23 are where you win this thing. So focus. Remind yourself that the 30 best plays from last season came from only 15 teams, so be selective. Remind yourself that goal scorers and goalies dominate more than a category or two and that Talent, Opportunity and Context are the 3 words that need to come to mind when considering any type of transaction. You can do this.
Get down on your knees and thank the Mighty Queue for allowing Blackhawk Jonathan Toews to slide into your grubby little hands at the top of Round 4.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com