Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at TSN,
Ryan Kesler has been on quite a roll of late.
At the recent Olympics, he scored in the men’s hockey final and emerged with a silver medal as part of an impressive young U.S. team. Since returning to the Vancouver Canucks, he has three goals in four games—with two of those goals coming in Detroit near where he grew up in Livonia.
And now the 25-year-old can celebrate being the cover athlete for the NHL 2K11 video game, following in the footsteps of Alexander Ovechkin, Rick Nash, Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton, Marty Turco, Martin St. Louis, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Drury and Brendan Shanahan.
Kesler calls it the “icing on the cake” after his Olympic experience.
from Rob Higgins at the Toronto Sun,
With Del Zotto racking up more minuses than points, Varlamov on the shelf, and van Riemsdyk toiling on the third line, a new crop of freshman has taken over the month of December. Steady-as-she-goes seasons by John Tavares, Niclas Bergfors and Tyler Myers aside, there are some new faces making noise this month that should be on your fantasy radar.
HIGGINS FANTASY INDEX: Rookies
(December 1 - 14, 2009)
1. Dan Sexton, F, Ana : 2.9 HFI
2. Nathan Gerbe, F, Buf : 2.8 HFI
So I found myself short a fantasy hockey player after I finally dropped Ales Kotalik’s lazy ass to the wire. He did so well in the early going there, it was tough to do. Then I took to finding who’s next on the free agent list that I wanted to pick up, and I found myself in a troubling position. In a league that allows 3C, 3LW, 3RW, 6D, and 1G to start any given day, I have 7C, 5RW, 5LW, 3D, and 3G on the team, one man short. (I counted a couple of C,RW players twice there.) So what’s an armchair manager to do? My experience is having 6 of any wing position is just too crowded for the average NHL schedule. More than 6 C’s and you’re definitely not rolling one or two guys on big game nights. The 3G’s is plenty. I run a short bench on the D position simply because most D men can’t put up forward numbers and a forward who gets 60 points and plays 2/3 of the time is more valuable than a D man who chips in 30 points.
So my question to you is, what to do? How do you balance your roster? Help me pick a guy off the free agent list. I’m just crazy enough, after a couple of days of your suggestions, I’ll pick up your top vote.
After posting my last entry on right wingers, I discovered a couple of folks are in deep enough leagues where finding talent at left wing is also a challenge. With that in mind I’m going to assume your league has already snapped up those left wingers whose unexpected rise from obscurity has already been noticed and find out what other wire bait might be useful to your team.
Let me guess—your fantasy team is weak at right wing. Everyone’s is; it seems like every three years or so strength from one wing vacillates over to the other as coaches and general managers load up on the other wing to compensate for shortcomings on their respective teams. What was a blight in left wing a few years ago is now a glut, with promising young talent like Matt Moulson, Loui Eriksson, Wojtek Wolski, Ryan Malone, Mason Raymond and so many more boiling up on the left, we’re left wondering what happened to all the guys on the right.
This article will attempt to find a few up-and-coming promising players on the right wing that are either buy-low’s or may still be on your wire. Don’t fool yourself, there are no easy options here, but by examining trends, impending line combinations, playing time, who’s getting hot, and who could eventually continue a trend they started last year, perhaps we can find a few gems.
Scott Cullen of TSN answers some fantasy hockey related questions…
Scott, Trying to decide who to pick up off the waiver wire? Among the players I am leaning towards considering are:
Our categories include G, A, PIMS, SOG, +/-, SHP, PPP
A: I only have moderate hopes for Byfuglien and Benn may already be slowing down, so I would look in the direction of Tim Connolly—for as long as he stays healthy—or David Perron, who is really talented and seems to be on track now.
Well I just wrapped up bottling my hyper-experimental espresso-oatmeal stout (I’m calling it “Breakfast”), and as a result am wired at midnight. The mixture of suds and caffeine is giving me an itchy trigger finger on Yahoo and I figured I’d write another article to boot.
So the season is just over a month old and after 15 or so games in we’ve finally got enough data to see who look to be top producers this season, and who are dropping like stones. I polled my own fantasy league to find out what our armchair GMs thought about their most disappointing players; how did that early-round draft pick turn into wire-bait? Will they bounce back? Voice your own frustrations and prognostications below.
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org