Sunday, 18 January 2009

Fantasy Hockey Update

I didn't have time to finish the book I am reading today, so the Teebz's Book Club entry will have to wait. However, it is a good time to look at my fantasy hockey team as we approach the All-Star Game. I haven't paid much attention to it aside from setting the lineups weekly, but a few transactions I have made have paid off in spades.

I've been at the top of the league standings for the last few weeks after getting off to a horrible start, mostly due to goaltending and defencemen. However, as it stands today, I sit five points ahead of The Schultzinator. You know him better as Kevin from Barry Melrose Rocks.

My records are as follows right now, and I want to improve on a couple of these:

Goals Scored: 7-6-1 (5th) with 135 goals scored (3rd). This record needs to improve.
Assists Scored: 10-4-0 (tie-1st) with 246 assists recorded (1st). When you lead the category, no complaints.
Points Scored: 8-5-1 (4th) with 381 points scored (1st). I need this record to improve as well.
Plus/Minus: 9-5-0 (tie-1st) with a +80 total rating recorded (1st). Again, when you lead the category, no complaints.
Penalty Minutes: 11-3-0 (1st) with 333 total minutes in the box (6th). These are great results for me.
Powerplay Points: 5-8-1 (tie-8th) with 129 points on the man-advantage (6th). This is horrendous, especially considering some of my players.
Game-Winning Goals: 3-8-3 (11th) with 21 game-winners (5th). Second last? Brutal. I guess this reflects my goal-scoring record.
Shots on Goal: 9-5-0 (tie-2nd) with 1238 shots on goal (3rd). Not bad, but could be better.
Goaltender Wins: 6-4-4 (tie-4th) with 31 wins on the season (tie-7th). I had no clue my record was this good after my goalies started the season horribly.
Goals-Against Average: 9-5-0 (tie-1st) with a 2.89 GAA (10th). Wow. I am absolutely shocked to be tied for 1st.
Save Percentage: 9-5-0 (tie-3rd) with a .900 save percentage. Again, having a record this high with my goalies is baffling.
Shutouts: 2-2-10 (tie-6th) with three shutouts on the season (8th). No surprise that I'm getting hammered here.

Let's take a look at the roster I put together in this draft. It's not the greatest, but it has carried me to first place thus far. Click here to see my roster.

Joe Pavelski was a mid-season pick-up from the waiver wire. To obtain him, I dropped Daniel Carcillo. I originally had thoughts of Carcillo helping me win the PIM category week in and week out, but his minus-rating was killing my plus/minus record. Pavelski has been a solid pick-up for goals, assists, points, plus/minus, and the odd powerplay point.

Sidney Crosby was my first pick in the draft, second overall. He's the leading scorer on my team, and has certainly done me a couple of favours this season. His 21 penalty minutes against Atlanta a week ago was a solid boost since he nor any other Penguins were scoring. He needs to be a plus-player, though. Scoring and being a minus hurts.

Markus Naslund has been a decent player this season, but his -11 rating overall is hurting. Naslund needs to be a better player in both ends of the ice for the Rangers to continue their strong play. And it would help me a ton as well.

Every week, I hope and wait for Erik Cole to turn it on for the Edmonton Oilers. He had a pretty good run playing alongside Sam Gagner, but his 21 points is still less than what I would like him to have. However, he plays decent hockey, and hasn't hurt my team to date. His versatility as both a left and right winger in Yahoo's classification also makes him fairly valuable.

The shortest player in the NHL is having himself a dandy season thus far. Brian Gionta seems reborn alongside players like Elias and Langenbrunner, and he's really done wonders for my team. 38 points thus far puts him on pace to come close to his career high of 89 points. Those are stats I can use.

Petr Sykora is one of those players who seems to go as his team goes. His 32 points thus far are decent, but if Malkin is in a slump, so is Sykora. His work on the powerplay, however, can't be overlooked. He needs to go to the net more with the man-advantage to pot a few more powerplay markers.

Jaroslav Spacek was a recent pick-up to replace the outgoing Philippe Boucher. Boucher was originally brought in to replace Mattias Ohlund, but neither of them worked out very well. As long as Spacek keeps playing well, he'll fit in fine on this team. The Boucher experiment was a bust, and Mattias Ohlund did absolutely nothing for me.

Duncan Keith is having a great season for me, albeit quietly. His +23 rating has done wonders for my plus/minus record, and his five goals and 21 points certainly help from the blueline. No complaints with Keith's play this season from this writer.

Michal Rozsival was a tough choice for me. I know he has confidence issues when he's playing poorly, so I was hoping that the Rangers would continue their strong start in order to keep Rozsival from regressing. However, like Naslund, his -9 rating doesn't help me. His seven goals and 23 points do, though.

I originally drafted Sergei Gonchar to be one of my defencemen, but his knee injury forced me to make a waiver move as I looked for a replacement for the Russian. I jettisoned Gonchar for Ottawa's Filip Kuba. Kuba has made huge differences when he's been in the lineup. His 23 assists have been monsterous, and his 24 points are way ahead of his career average at this point in the season. As long he gets back into Ottawa's lineup, he'll help my team as well as the Senators.

Marty Turco
. Oh, Marty Turco. Why did you let me down early on in the season? Your average of 40-wins-per-season looked so promising. Marty has bounced back to become a decent goaltender once again, posting a respectable 18-15-7 mark this season with one shutout. However, his 3.13 GAA still needs much, much improvement.

On the other hand, I wanted Ilya Bryzgalov to continue his solid play for the Coyotes, but he's been rather average this season as well. He's gone 17-14-4 this season with two shutouts. His 2.69 GAA and .915 save percentage have been steadily improving, and both the Coyotes and myself need that to continue.

Saku Koivu was one of the guys contributing to my strong record before he got hurt. 22 points in 28 games, but I'm really starting to think he might be stuck to my bench for the rest of this season with all his setbacks. I'd really appreciate him making a return sooner than later to the Montreal lineup. I'm sure Habs' coach Guy Carbonneau and GM Bob Gainey feel the same way.

Another New Jersey Devil is doing wonders for my record. Zach Parise has been lights-out alongside Patrik Elias. His 52 points this season is only 13 points off his career-high 65 points for an entire season. Parise would be my choice of team MVP... if my fantasy team actually took to the ice.

Another guy who is having a solid season is San Jose's Patrick Marleau. Marleau has already surpassed the 48 points he scored last season, and his play alongside Joe Thornton have lead the Sharks to the best record in the Western Conference. A huge season from Marleau has really helped me and the Sharks immensely.

The last guy who is on the Mascots-R-Us roster is Philly's Kimmo Timonen. Timonen is on pace to score another 50 points this season, but he's up and down on the plus/minus scale all the time. A little consistency would help both the Flyers and my team.

All in all, my team has been performing fairly well so far. I may not be the Boston Bruins of the Yahoo Fantasy Hockey League, but sitting in first place as we approach the All-Star break isn't all that bad. If you think there's anyone I should replace, let me know!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Chris Kontos said...

Don't look now, but The Anze Fever is rising up and coming after you!

Teebz said...

I love it, Chris!

There's a 19-point gap between us right now. I say "Bring It"! LOL

In all seriousness, well done with your team! You've been near the top of the standings all season long!

Chris Kontos said...

Well, I've had a steady climb after a few tough weeks to start. I'll be making up those 19 points soon!