The Contrarian selects his all value team, and his all duds team at roughly the NHL season's midpoint.
Happy New Year! It is about the halfway point of the NHL season and already we have some articles written about the stars and goats of the first half. This week I take a look at Joel Colomby’s January 4, 2014 article in the Toronto Sun, “Fantasy Fare: Halftime NHL studs and duds”.
Following what he did we first look at the All-Value team players that he wrote about and the ones that he missed.
Victor Hedman: We agree that he is a pleasant producer but we disagree that it was unexpected. In the Hockey News Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide for 2013-14, Hedman is listed 130th overall in points. His current production rates him 150th but his pace puts him at 133rd at the end of the season.
I would rather have seen Duncan Keith, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Dustin Byfuglien, Kevin Shattenkirk or Niklas Kronwall as part of the team.
Duncan Keith: In the same guide, was projected for 173rd place overall with 42 points. He currently has 42 points and is ranked 13th overall, with a pace to be 20th by the end of the season.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson: Projected with 38 points and to be 217th overall, now has 22 points so far and is 141st overall. His current pace would place him 138th in the league.
Dustin Byfuglien: Was rated to be 103rd overall with 53 points. He has earned 31 of those points so far and is sitting 55th overall. His projected pace at the end of the season would, however, rank him 67th in the league.
Kevin Shattenkirk: Projected to be picked 191st for 40 points. Currently has 29 and is ranked 71st. Is on pace to be 59th overall in the league.
Niklas Kronwall: Doing a good job considering his task is impossible: replacing Niklas Lidstrom. Kronwall has 28 points in 40 games which places him 78th overall. He was projected for 48 points and to be 140th overall. The way he is playing would put him 77th overall when the season finishes.
Considering their projected places in The Hockey News guide, these were good value pickups. And I feel that more would have been gained. Better than a Hedman selection.
Onto the forwards.
With one exception, I do not disagree with his selections for the all value team and the also rans. The exception is James van Riemsdyk.
Alexander Steen, current rank 18th, projected pick 119th.
Ryan Johansen, current rank 43rd, projected pick 210th.
Dustin Penner, current rank 112, projected pick NR. (That is because the guide was printed in the summer and he was still a free agent. Guess whose guide is up to date right up until the start of the season?)
Similar values for the also rans except for van Riemsdyk.
James van Riemsdyk: was projected to get 62 points this year and thus was ranked 55th. He currently has 30 points in 40 games and is ranked 59th in the league. By the season’s end he’s expected to be 61st overall with 60 points. I'm not really sure how he came to be considered for an All-Value team spot...
Other guys we thought could have made that list were, Joe Thornton 5th/34th (current rank /projected guide rank), Joe Pavelski 16th/80th, Marcus Johansson 87th/172nd, Frans Nielsen 45th/154th, Chris Kunitz 4th/56th, Jamie Benn 26th/77th, T.J. Oshie 32nd/98th, Bryan Little 37th/94th, Martin Hanzal 82nd, 221st and Mikkel Boedker 100th/228th.
There are a lot of good value forwards to choose from.
For the All-Dud defense, we disagree with his selection of Zdeno Chara as first team All-Dud selection and of Jack Johnson as an also ran.
Zdeno Chara: Was projected to be 203rd for 39 points to which he has 18 of those already so he his slightly off pace but only slightly. He is currently ranked 194th and has very similar expectations and output as Dan Boyle. While both have hit the 50 point range before, they were not reasonably expected to do so this year. This is why I feel Chara should not have been even thought of as an All-Dud.
Jack Johnson: Similar but slightly different. Projected to be 270th with 32 points. Currently ranked 330th but I feel could have knocked him off this list.
The two defensemen that I would have voted for are Kris Letang and Mike Green.
In his article, Joel Colomby, says: “Discounting anyone who has lost significant time through injuries”, I still feel Letang merits consideration because he was not playing very well and he would have been a high pick in most one year leagues. Thus if you took him, you dug yourself a big hole.
Kris Letang: Projected to be 88th with 55 points. Currently has 11 points in 24 games. This places him 318th overall. Not good for what would have been a first defenseman selection of a fantasy roster.
Mike Green: Projected to be 73rd with 58 points. Currently has 19 points in 38 games. Granted he has a history of injury but he would have been an enticing second defenseman if not first round defenseman.
If you do not like my selection of Letang because of the injury aspect of it then I submit that Dion Phaneuf could have made the list. He was ranked 148th with 46 points. He is currently ranked at 210th and 17 points.
For the forwards it was very similar to the All-Value team, plenty of selection. I would have not given Steve Ott a spot though.
Guys I would have considered, Dustin Brown, Stephen Weiss, Tyler Ennis, Cody Hodgson, Nazem Kadri, Martin Erat, Evander Kane, Milan Michalek, Brad Marchand, Jason Spezza, Ray Whitney, Jakub Voracek, Daniel Briere and Tomas Fleischmann.
From those and the guys listed in Joel’s column I would have my first All-Dud forwards selected as:
Dustin Brown: Projected 96th with 53 points. Currently ranked 273rd with 13 points. Certainly not what was anticipated from a highly dependable player.
Jason Spezza: 30 points so far in 39 games places him 62nd overall in the league but he was projected for 78 points and to be ranked 15th best since he would be playing with Bobby Ryan.
Martin Erat: A new season and looking good to be playing with some star players but with 15 points in 38 games he is a dud. Projected for 62nd and 61 points, he is currently ranked 250th in the league.
Here is hoping that if you have any duds, they can find some magic in the second half so they can be considered for the All-Value team, or at least to remove themselves from consideration on the All-Dud ballot.