Welcome once again to “An Expert’s Audit”. This audit will be posted here as well as on my fantasy hockey blog at www.fantasyhockey.hockeyanalysis.com . I also do weekly reviews of teams for people who email in to me for a look-see. These audits will continue to appear here monthly and if you’re interested in having your keeper team “worked over” then you can begin by emailing Dobber (contact link at bottom of website) about it. But send it in by the 15th, as I will be starting on my next one at that point.
Sit up, turn your hat back around and pull your pants up from below your crack you young punks, I’m about to introduce you to an actual woman who plays fantasy hockey. She wants some anonymity so I’ll simply call her Gretchen but there are so few women playing this fantasy thing that you have to stop and take notice whenever one comes along. Seriously I think this is the first audit I’ve ever done where someone with a different chromosome has asked for some help with her team. Gretchen is a Kings fan so she’s pretty happy with the progress of her team so far this season and her own fantasy team is in decent shape too.
Gretchen plays in a 14 team H2H with the following cats: G, A, +/-, PIMs, PPG, PPP, GWG, W, GAA, SV%, and SHO. That’s a lot of categories and you’ll want to always have an eye open to land goal scorers over assist guys if you have a choice.
Let’s take a look at Gretchen’s Kings.
C Nicklas Backstrom WAS – the new Adam Oates in Washington. Nickl-Back’s a prototypical assist guy. I almost went with Craig Janney in that analogy but Backstrom has more skills than Janney ever did.
C Patrice Bergeron BOS – his stat history when not injured has been as a SOGy guy and that continues to be the case. With injuries to Savard and Lucic and the disappointing starts to Krejci and Wideman then it has been Bergeron who has been leading the way for the B’s. He’s well worth keeping around.
LW Andy McDonald STL – people really underestimate McD’s abilities in the fantasy game. He’ll never be a big goal scorer but he’ll put up points as guys like Boyes and Perron find the twine.
LW Patrick O’Sullivan EDM – I’ve been waiting for him to break out ever since he was a member of the Wild, and I think that finally he might be in a situation where he can truly contribute over the course of a season. He creates offense and he just needs to be teamed up with a finisher.
RW Phil Kessel TOR – he returned near the end of our month long discussions of your team and he’s a welcome addition since your league is weighed more toward goal options. He’ll contribute plenty for you from here on out.
RW Danny Briere PHI – this guy fell so far in drafts this year that we were both thrilled to get him late. If he’s healthy I really like him but this year is beginning to look like a continuation of last year, and if so then you’re in trouble for this slot. Don’t just drop him though, he still has a lot more value than that although trading is also probably not an option while he’s hurt either. You’ll just have to wait out his health troubles and then shop him around when he returns.
D Nicklas Lidstrom DET – the Wings had a horrid start but just realize that this isn’t some pushover squad and there are still a bunch of guys over there that can hurt you on the scoreboard. Their captain hasn’t really shown up offensively yet but the +/- is already doing well and you just know he’ll burst out for a bunch of offense at any moment. If he isn’t top 5 of D offense by season’s end then … well there’s no threat to make because it’s definite that he’ll be top 5 by season’s end.
D Jay Bouwmeester CAL – I think that Dion Phaneuf saw how quickly J-Bo got out of the blocks this season and he decided that he’d show the new guy just who leads the D in Calgary. To me, it doesn’t matter because both guys are elite D who contribute across the board.
D Ryan Whitney ANA – wow, we’re 3 deep into your D and you still have potential 40 pt guys to roster. Your D options are phenomenal. People forget that Whitney has a 50 pt season to his credit in Pittsburgh and last year he got 23 pts in 48 games. The Ducks knew they would be losing Pronger so they replaced his game with Whitney and Wisniewski, that means some great opportunity for Whitney again. I can see 40 pts for Whitney this season if the opportunity remains the same.
D Erik Johnson STL – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I heart EJ. He’ll take the next step this year and enter the upper echelon for offense amongst D.
Util Kyle Okposo NYI – the Isles have gone 6-3-2 over the last three weeks and that’s a far cry from what I figured would be happening on the Island this year. Much of their progress so far has to be linked to a young attack led by OH-poso, JT, and the surprising Tambellini and Moulson.
G Ryan Miller BUF – he had 40 wins for the Slugs 3 seasons ago and many thought he had a bit of a down year last year yet he still brought home 34 wins. That’s elite production that you don’t have to take in the first run on goaltending in any draft. He just doesn’t get enough elite chatter in fantasy circles but I see a return to the 40 win plateau this season.
G Pascal Leclaire OTW – the Sens believe they’ve found their goaltender for a lot of seasons ahead and if he can keep his legs healthy then, they have. He’s got the sort of game to be elite but he just needs to stay healthy.
BN Andrew Brunette MIN – I don’t have much confidence in the offense in Minny. I don’t believe that Havlat is a stable option and Koivu can’t do it alone. Brunette is the next best option for the Wild and although that provides plenty of opportunity I don’t think it bodes well for the Wild offense in general since he’s just not star goal scoring calibre.
BN Dustin Byfuglien CHI – Byfugly (I call him Byfugly, I mean have you looked at this guy? Wow dude, wear a hat … or a paper bag or something) is well liked for his game around here. He plays with an edge and he goes to the net. He shares the team lead in goals and you need him to continue along at the pace he’s going. He’s good secondary scoring for your team.
BN Francois Beauchemin TOR – this is the worst D on your roster, by far. He got opportunity in Anaheim when guys were injured or when Nieds was thinking about retirement but as soon as everyone was back in place then Beau lost almost all opportunity. He plays a decent all around game but in terms of fantasy potential there isn’t much here to pursue.
BN Alex Goligoski PIT – Good GOLI! This kid is presently 6th in D scoring this season. He’ll produce plenty but I don’t see him staying top 10 in D scoring on the season so if there’s a move that we like then we can consider something involving this kid, and it turns out there indeed WAS something that we liked.
BN Jose Theodore WAS – I like him as a G3, particularly in a 14 team league where guys might be searching for some tender help. I still argue that Varlamov will be more of a factor for the Caps this season but Propecia-boy here is still on the scene.
IR Valtteri Filppula DET – this injury late in the month hurt your depth but when he’s back I expect he’ll really help your depth options this season. The Wings need him back with both Franzen and now Williams on the shelf too.
IR Ilya Kovalchuk ATL – rumour is that he’ll be back before this article is put up on the site, and you really do need him. I got him in the Expert’s League draft in the 2nd round, 17th overall and was thrilled to get one of the best goal guys in the league at that stage. In this league setup you really need him back and contributing.
IR Rick DiPietro NYI – will this guy ever be healthy again? His fantasy value is pretty much nil and I have little confidence that he’ll contribute much of anything to your team this or any season.
My first reaction when I saw the team was that it was a very solid squad, but then the injury to Kovalchuk happened and your need for another goalscorer came along. Fortunately you had Phil Kessel waiting in the wings and eventually Kovy and Kessel will be anchors for Gretchen’s Kings. I LOVE your options at D, that’s a very real strength and your goalie options in a 14 team league are really solid too. I think you’ll need to go after another decent goal scorer up front and it’d be nice if we can also add a fave player to your team’s mix, that may mean losing a bit of your D depth though so be prepared.
Waiver Wire Options
Sam Gagner EDM – there has been a shuffling of the deck in Edmonton this month (and sometimes that really hurts … the shuffling I mean) and Gagner was given more opportunity. The extra opportunity hasn’t really shown up much on the stat sheet but I’m still confident that it will, in fact I just added him to my Expert’s League team myself.
Mike Fisher OTW – Fish had a significant role in the Sens attack when Spezza was shelved. This was a good add at the time and Fisher continues to have good value as a fantasy option.
Antoine Vermette CBS – the entire Jackets attack has surprised and even “hands of stone” Raffi Torres has 8 goals on the season. If wingers are scoring it’s because centers are getting them the puck and in this scenario Vermette and Brassard are doing a really good job to start the season.
Steve Bernier VAN – we discussed Bernie as an add and my gut just said, don’t bother. I just didn’t think he’d really jump into the offensive void created by the loss of Daniel Sedin in the attack. It turns out that Bernier did indeed flop over the course of the month and I still don’t see him with much fantasy value from here on out.
Traded Alex Goligoski and Jose Theodore to He ain’t heavy, he’s my Brodeur for Drew Doughty and Teemu Selanne – this was a freaking steal and you managed to land a real King for your squad without it costing much of your D depth. It did cost you in goalie depth but you have a couple strong options anchoring you there. If you’re the praying sort though you might want to fire a couple prayers up for Leclaire’s legs since they generally get him into some trouble over the course of the season. By doing this deal you took advantage of someone else’s goalie need while landing a goal scorer. You also upgrade at D although anyone can easily make an argument that the D swap is a wash.
Well ok, that was fun eh? I’m most pleased by the additions of Gagner (who’s about to break out), Selanne (he’s loved here in Winnipeg where I am, by the way) and Doughty (a fave of yours). That’s a good month’s work right there. I know it’s a stretch to add a Duck like Selanne to the roster of a Kings fan but you already have a Duck on there anyway and you need the goals.
All the best to you and yours Gretchen. Your Kings and the real Kings are off to a great start and I don’t see that changing all that much this season. Good on you.