MarekZidlicky

 

Two freshly signed veteran defensemen who could help your squad next season.

 

When building our fantasy teams we tend to be drawn to the more appealing names. These typically include young players with high-end potential or at least guys that have many productive years ahead of them. Meanwhile, there is a stigma associated with players getting old that trickles into our fantasy decisions. While hoarding players that are nearing retirement is neither appealing nor smart, there are certainly circumstances where it makes sense to add a good reliable veteran player to your roster.

 

For starters, it is worth stating again that older players tend to be devalued to the point that they are completely avoided by some managers. One sound strategy is to take advantage of this opportunity and strike where your opponents may have a blind spot.

 

Not only can you have access to some good, reliable veterans with a proven track record of fantasy-relevant production, you will even be able to acquire them on the cheap in many instances. In your keeper league there will be some sitting on the waiver wire waiting to be picked up. And in your one-year draft next fall you will be able to select some later in the draft. If your budget and roster requirements support the acquisition, adding a proven performer can make a huge difference in your final results.

 

Two examples of productive veteran defensemen that may be overlooked are 37-year-old Marek Zidlicky and 39-year-old Kimmo Timonen who both signed one-year bonus-heavy deals that will cost $4 million apiece in most cap leagues. While their names are not very appealing these days due to their lack of being long-term building blocks on a fantasy roster, the numbers show that across many formats both defensemen remain very capable of being plugged in and producing strong numbers.

 

In order to show their value in different scoring setups, we will use the following leagues and obtain their rank among defensemen for the 2013-14 campaign from Fantasy Hockey Geek:


Points-only

Yahoo Standard (G, A, +/-, PIM, GWG, PPP)

Dobberhockey Experts League (G, A, +/-, SOG, PPP, Hits)

UHL Dynasty League (G, A, +/-, PIM, SOG, PPP, SHP, GWG, Hits, Blks, FOW)


Name

Points-only

Yahoo Standard

Experts League

UHL Dynasty

Average Rank

Zidlicky

20

20

28

26

24

Timonen

35

27

31

32

31


Marek Zidlicky


Zidlicky stands out as the slightly better of the two defensemen based on last year's stats alone. However, when looking a bit farther into his past, it is clear that he is the riskier of the two to own. Prior to last year's 42-point output, he had failed to even crack the 25-point mark in three straight seasons. But as long as the Devils are weak on defense and their young up-and-comers remain unproven over the full schedule, Zidlicky will continue to get opportunities to put up points.

 

The more underrated part of Zidlicky's game is his physicality which has led to some nice PIM and totals over the years to compliment his offensive numbers. His only real weakness is his plus-minus which has been a negative in each year since 2007. Despite this one weakness, Zidlicky is a very good all-around fantasy contributor.


Kimmo Timonen

 

Timonen has long been forgotten in cap leagues after carrying a cap hit of $6 million or higher in each year since the summer of 2007. While his cost has now dropped to $4 million, it is not because of a decline in production. This provides a boost to his cap-league value.

 

Helping Timonen's cause is the Flyers' lack of puck-moving defensemen beyond Mark Streit. This gives Timonen plenty of opportunities on the power play and in offensive situations. Barring any drastic changes (not uncommon in Philadelphia) there is no reason to believe that Timonen will not enjoy another productive fantasy year across the board.


Closing thoughts

 

There are many ways to build your fantasy team and plugging holes with players that others are overlooking can help make your job easier. Your core does not have to peak all at the same time for you to win a championship. Take advantage of your league rules to protect yourself against one of your rising young players falling short of expectations. Not only does it add a reliable player to your roster, it also improves your overall depth as your young player now becomes quality depth. Injuries will strike your roster so you will need all of the depth that you can get your hands on.

 

If your keeper-league team has a hole on defense, Zidlicky and Timonen are proven options that can give your team a short-term boost and will not cost you top assets to bring into your fold. Meanwhile, by next summer it is very possible that you acquire a more permanent fix. Buying time is a useful team-building strategy that you should use to your advantage.

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