Kopecky

 

This week, I thought I’d take a look at 10 hot starters from the West and give my prediction/analysis on whether or not their production will be sustainable for the duration of the fantasy season. (Thanks to Mike Hess for suggesting this idea in the comments section of the daily ramblings Monday)

 

Matt Cullen - C – Minnesota Wild

 

Cullen was acquired via free agency, in the off-season, and has certainly paid dividends for the Wild with six points in four contests. He’s pretty much stepped right into the second line C slot alongside a pretty good energy line of Martin Havlat and Cal Clutterbuck. What’s also a big boost is that he’s seeing 5:07 per contest on the Wild PP, (76.56 percent). Spending that much time with the man advantage and you’re certainly going to put up some nice numbers. Cullen is a career 0.53 point, 0.15 PPP and 2.00 SOG per game player, so don’t expect huge overall numbers from him. If you keep your expectations in check for a 55-point, 20 PPP, and 175 SOG season, that’s still pretty fantasy worthy in many leagues.

 

Itch Factor: High Flier

 

T.J. Oshie – C – St. Louis Blues

 

Young Mr. Oshie is off to a flying start, with a point-per-game pace in his first five contests of the season. The bonus that also comes attached with Oshie is the seven hits and eight blocked shots, (if your league counts those stats), that he also contributes towards the peripheral stats. The downside is that if you’re in need of FW, he won’t give you very many, (three). For me the problem with Oshie is the distribution of ice-time in St. Louis. They have a top-six breakdown of 21:10, 19:40, 19:24, 19:09, 18:40, and 18:31, which isn’t exactly ideal for fantasy purposes. According to my projections article, earlier this summer, his current stats, (18:40 and 2.00 SOG per contest), would pro-rate more towards a 55-point pace than a point-per-game pace.

 

Itch Factor: Faller

 

R.J. Umberger – C – Columbus Blue Jackets

 

With all the hype that has come attached with Nikita Filatov, it’s actually Umberger that’s really flown under the radar in Columbus. In four contests to start the season, he has four points, two of which have come short-handed, along with a plus four rating. The numbers this season, (17:40 and 1.5 SOG per contest average), aren’t as good as last year’s, (19:10 and 2.70), but his play hasn’t dropped off all that much. If you pro-rate his peripheral numbers, they would actually look like 41 PIMs, 123 HITs and 184 BS. I know there are plenty of Filatov owners out there who’ll debate me on this statement, but in terms of fantasy impact, Umberger has much more upside than Filatov for 2010-11.

 

Itch Factor: Decent Flier

 

Tomas Kopecky – RW – Chicago Blackhawks


There have been plenty of threads on the forums regarding Kopecky and whether or not he can keep up this blistering pace, (eight points in seven contests). The fact that he has spent 74.31 percent of his overall ice-time alongside superstar Marian Hossa should present pretty firm evidence to support his case. Another factor that Kopecky has going for him, is that he is a product of the Red Wings draft/development program. Generally speaking, I’ve learned throughout the years to never doubt the Wings’ drafting ability, (Thomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Jiri Hudler, Tomas Fleischmann, Valtteri Filppula, Jon Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Kyle Quincey, and Johan Franzen), so I mean their track record has been pretty darn good at finding hidden gems. He hasn’t exactly lit up the NHL, (61 points in 264 career contests), but he has had a 72-point season in the AHL back in 2005-06, which does show that he has some offensive upside. The deal clincher for me is the lack of competition in the Hawks’ line up against Kopecky’s top-six roster spot. Currently there’s only Bryan Bickell (13:59), Troy Brouwer (13:57), Fernado Pisani (13:08), and an underachieving duo of Jack Skille (9:27) and Viktor Stallberg (9:15) to really compete with Kopecky, none of which have impressed enough to remove him out of the top-six.

 

Itch Factor: High Flier


Chris Stewart – RW – Colorado Avalanche


Stewart popped another two last night, to give him five goals on the season. Big bodied physical players tend to take a few years to develop into quality NHLers, but it appears that he has accelerated the development curve. What’s also interesting is that he’s had the reigns pulled on him, as he’s averaging just 16:57 per contest, (15:40, 16:51, and 11:22 the last three contests, btw two game-winners*). Imagine what totals he would be putting up if he was picking up closer towards what Paul Stastny, (22:00), is averaging. Avs coach, Joe Sacco, does tend to have his favourites as well as his dog-house candidates, let’s just hope that he’s not going to be a later candidate.

 

Itch Factor: Push (Massive High Flier if he picks up 18+ mins)

 

Steve Sullivan – LW – Nashville Predators

 

A goal-per-game pace is a pretty good feat especially for a 36-year old. Sullivan has scored 260 career NHL goals, so he certainly does know how to deposit the biscuit in the net. He did have a 1.02 point-per-game average between 2005-07, which really isn’t all that long ago. At just 40 percent Yahoo! owned, he’s a pretty solid pick up as a temporary roster boost, but I wouldn’t expect mind-blowing numbers from Sully all season long.

 

Itch Factor: Faller

 

Patrick Kane – RW – Chicago Blackhawks

 

I’m probably going to cop a lot of flack on this one, but I’ll repeat pretty much what I mentioned last week. Marian Hossa’s full-time inclusion to the Hawks line up will negatively affect Kane’s fantasy production. Just comparing both of their current fantasy lines, Hossa, (11 points, plus five, six PIMs, and 20 SOG), vs. Kane, (six points, minus five, zero PIMs, and 14 SOG). Jonthan Toews has also spent 65 percent of his overall ice-time alongside Hossa compared to just 27.81 with Kane. I’m not saying to go out and drop the guy, but what I might do is secretly “test the waters” to see what you can fetch. A dual eligibility return in say Bobby Ryan, Patrick Marleau, or Ilya Kovalchuk might actually be a pretty solid return for Kane.

 

Itch Factor: Slight Faller (for those that were thinking 100+ for Kane this campaign)

 

Dustin Brown – RW – Los Angeles Kings


As promised, Kings’ coach Terry Murray has stuck to his word in the pre-season of keeping Brown and Anze Kopitar together, (72.32 percent). The combo seems to have paid off as they’re off to a pretty hot 3-1 start to the 2010-11 campaign. His current 3.00 SOG per game average is right along the same lines as his 2.69 career average. He’s also averaging 20:16 overall as well as 2:48 on the PP. If he keeps up those numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish the season with a point-per-game pace as well as 300+ HITs. I still don’t understand why Yahoo! had him originally ranked as the 179th player. Well, if you took a late around flier on Brown, you should enjoy the great returns.

 

Itch Factor: High Flier

 

Alex Steen – C – St. Louis Blues

 

Steen’s still averaging a remarkable 7:28 on the PP, which has translated into a whole ton of SOG, but only just one PPP on the scoresheet. If you look at the ES ice-time breakdown, it’s pretty even across-the-board, (13:36-12:44 between the top-eight). Steen is really gaining the extra boost in ice-time because of the PP time. At an efficiency of just 16.7 percent, the Blues are going to have to change it up, which might cause Steen’s status to change dramatically. I mean, coaches just can’t keep going to the same well if it’s empty, right? If you’re picking up Steen for his 0.6 point-per-game pace, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t expect anything more.

 

Itch Factor: Push

 

J.M. Liles – D – Colorado Avalanche


If you told me that about 10 days into the 2010-11 campaign, Liles would be sharing the leagues’ assist list with Brad Richards, I would have told you to pinch yourself because you’re dreaming. Well that’s exactly what’s happened, so what should we make of it? Liles was a major part of Sacco’s dog house, which probably would explain the lack of quality stats from the Indiana-native last season. This year it appears that the situation has turned a full 360, and he’s the favourite son for the temperamental coach. Liles’ current 22:00 per game ice-time average is a huge upgrade compared to 18:27 that he averaged last campaign. What’s more important is that he’s the “go-to guy” on the Avs number one power-play unit unseating Quincey. Obviously, I’m not stupid enough to think that he’s going to finish the season with 109 points, but with his hot start, 50 isn’t out of the question.

 

Itch Factor: High Flier

 

Other Notables:

High Flier

Push

Faller

James Neal

Brad Richards

Todd Bertuzzi

Brendan Morrow

Ryane Clowe

Ryan Smyth

Rick Nash

Shawn Horcoff

 

J.P Dumont

Alex Tanguay

 

Matt Stajan

 

 

 

Questions or comments? Or Fliers/Fallers of your own? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below. See ya next week.

 


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Comments (20)add comment

david said:

tripel
... thanks, going to stick with my guys for now
(plus the other guys is a huge Kessel freak)

Do you think Butler will take over from Leopold as the #2 guy in Buff? Got lots of PP time last night and produced, after JL jumped out to a fast start there..

cheers
October 21, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Trade

I would if you're looking to win for the next 3-4 years... I've watched Kessel quite a bit this season and the more I watch him the more I see why the Leafs paid so much to get him.

I still wouldn't give up what they did to do so, but now it looks much more justified than it was 12 months ago.

MSL (I'm assuming is Marty St. Louis) still has a bit of gas left in the tank and TB looks like they'll be a good 1-2, possibly great team in 3-4 years. The thing is he's winding down his career, so I wouldn't expect 90 points from him, but more like 80, 75, 70, 60... as he winds down his career.

Carter is a RFA at the end of the season, but Philly is in a tough place. They don't really need him nor do they have the cap room to give him a significant raise. The problem is whether or not there is a team out there that would want to poach him at the price of 2 1st's, a 2nd, and a 3rd...

In this day and age draft picks are valuable, and high priced under-achieving contracts are not... Look at the situations of Souray, Redden, Nylander...

If he stays in Philly, he'll be buried with the depth of talent there, and his production will suffer. If he moves then his value could increase, but that's a lot of what if's for my liking.

Fairly close deal, but I think I might be slightly towards the Kessel/MSL side than the Vanek/Carter side.
October 20, 2010
Votes: +0

david said:

tripel
... yep, that's where I'm at

of course I just acquired E Staal this offseason too!! (arg) deal was Weber/Lidstrom for Staal/Enstrom ...still think I did ok

cheers

qustion -- would you do Vanek/Carter for Kessel/MSL?
October 20, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Vanek

Yeah I dunno I'm not a fan of him. He reminds me a lot of Eric Staal. One good season and we just keep going back to the well thinking this is the season he gets back to it... year after year we just keep reaching.

The thing is the year that he picked 84 points he had a pretty solid linemate of Danny Briere feeding him the puck and he also had Afinogenov too. Now it's Connolly and Roy and throw ins like Pominville, Stafford...

Vanek is a sniper... the problem with snipers is that they go on season long "hot" or "cold" streaks. Or even 3-4 seasons at a time. Look at Cheechoo, the year he won the Rocket Richard, he connected at 17.7 percent... 5 years later and he can't even get an NHL gig. IMO a lot of it comes down to confidence, some players find it back, some don't...

The few Sabres games that I have watched it just doesn't seem like he's the confident sniper that he was 3-4 seasons ago. He's turned more of a banger, front of the net presence, than the sniper he once was.

The beginning of the season would have been an ideal time to deal him cause he still does have the "big name" attachment with him. Now his value is rock bottom, if you're looking to move him you won't get equal value for him. Best case now is probably just hang onto him and hope that he bounces back.
October 20, 2010
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Richards/Liles for Malkin

I think I might be against the majority here and say no...

I'm not a big fan of Malkin, I have a feeling that last season wasn't just a "down" year... I wrote it in the forums before, that it's only 1 outta the 4 seasons that they've played together and both surpassed the 100 point mark.

I just think Liles and Richards are both gonna have big years...

I'd pass

October 20, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Dennis

I'd swap Hudler for Brown. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen are going to be the go to guys. I don't think there's a lot of room for Hudler to put up bigger/better numbers than Brown.

I also like Stewart over Wolski. The Yotes are a very defensive team. They'll win a lot of 1-0, 2-1 games, so the offense won't put up a lot of points. Stewart should see a higher production than Wolski, IMO.
October 20, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Brown

I don't think they're going to be together all season long, but 5 games in and they're still together is a good sign. They should more chemistry together than Jokinen and Iggy, so I think they'll stick for a bit longer.
October 20, 2010
Votes: +0

david said:

tripel
... thanks very much -- good points, all
I grabbed Cola & Berglund on the wire, so no worries (though have a secret hope for Berg to blossom into an 80-pter), but did draft Huse in the 1st round of my supplemental draft, so bit worried there. I took him above the likes of Bernier & Bogo (but needed wingers more ..have Luongo & Brodeur, grr ..and have Enstrom.) Not too worried, now if I can just get my damn team Canada goalies to stop playing like team Kazakhstan...

ps, I know this is West-focused, but what do you think about Vanek? He was supposed to be my #2 W after Parise, but is way down the list with his bum-like play .. the worst is I had a chance to trade him for Marty St Louis, but passed due to the age. It's feeling like 60pts is a stretch for this floater...

cheers
October 19, 2010
Votes: -1

LuckyLuke said:

LuckyLuke
Richards and Liles for Malkin In my keeper league I took advantage of hot start and gave up Brad Richards + Liles for Malkin. Do you think it's good move?
October 19, 2010
Votes: +1

Dennis said:

Grapes
The Brown, Kopecky, Stewart trifecta Great info Ryan. 1yr pts only, would you replace any of Hudler, Sharp, Duchene, Wolski for any of Brown, Kopecky or Stewart ? Cheers Grapes
October 19, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Stewart

A lot of people thought a regression on his part, or only a slight improvement (70-75 points).

As mention in the article he's doing pretty well on just 17 mins of ice-time per game. If that bumps up to 18+ or 19+. Plus more PP time (only 2:46 atm). I wouldn't be surprised for point per game maybe even 85 points by season's end.
October 19, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Colo/Berglund/Huse

I've always like Colo, and he'll always steal some time away from EJ just cause he is a offensive D. The problem for me is that he's not a shooter, so all of his points are going to be assists. So when it comes to the PP you might see him produce in spurts (unlike Doughty, Green types). If he happens to touch the puck before the puck goes in well he'll pick up points, if they decide to cycle down low he'll miss out on the points. So his upside is always going to be limited compared to the "big namers" who generate their own offense.

Berglund - as mentioned in the article I think ice-time is the main problem. They just have too much depth there for great fantasy values. When the ice-time/production is spread out that much you're just going to see everyone around the 45-55 point mark and nothing really all that spectacular. I just don't think that he'll hit 60 this season nor any Blue for that matter.

Huse - With Huse you have to keep in mind that he's the streakiest player in the NHL. He'll go on a point-per-game tear then disappear for 5-6 games at a time with gooseeggs. So him starting off point-per-game doesn't mean much. The benefit that he has had the last few years is that there wasn't a lot of competition, so when he slumped he had the opportunity to get out of it. Now with Filatov chomping at the bit and Umberger buried, there's much more opportunity/competition for Arniel to move one of those guys and never look back (if they click). So I'd stick a huge buyer beware sign on him. Not a lot of upside, but a whole crapload of room for error.

October 19, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Hossa

I wouldn't cement him in for 100 just only because there were only 4 players that actually hit that mark last season. Does he have the skill to do it? For sure! But the way that I see it is that the 100+ point guys are generally the guys that pile up the assists like 70+... Hossa has never been a big assists guy. The year he had 57, he had Kovalchuk on his wing. He's more of a 35-45 assist guy, and I don't really see him potting 65-55 goals...
October 19, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Sykora

Yeah I knew there were two of them, I couldn't dig up any info as to which was drafted by the wings and which one was the flop...

Great dig up Sentium!
October 19, 2010
Votes: +0

Derrek said:

TangerineDreamTeam
Thx Don I just went and picked up Kopecky cuz of this article and Don's comment about the eligibility. Cheers
October 19, 2010
Votes: +0

DonCoburleone said:

DonCoburleone
Kopecky more valuable Kopecky just gained LW eligibility in Yahoo leagues, so now he's got the awesome LW/RW designation. I'm hanging onto him until he gets hurt or goes on a prolonged slump... This years Patrick Sharp!
October 19, 2010 | url
Votes: +1

Jon Dey said:

Sovereign
My two cents... Kane will maybe take a 5 point dip overall due to Hossa. He is his own star, which has been evident since his rookie season. For the record, I like Kane but am not a "fan", as I like intangibles and cluth-ability in my guys, i.e. Toews. I would not sneeze at Kane in any respect. Hossa is just living up to what he should have been. Reclaiming lost glory - and he is getting there because he is getting icetime that he did not get last season on a deep team full of Byfugliens and Versteegs etc etc. Ice-time=production.


Stewart should have been on everyone's radar. He and Downie were the two big multi-cat guys to break out last year.

Brown is a blip - historically he and Kopitar don't mix well. I would not expect the pair to remain together indefinitely, and each break the 100pt barrier.

FYI, doubting the RED WING's scouting department is like doubting Martin Brodeur. Seems correct since they draft so low, and Marty plays himself out of his legend. Then just when you have given up a 7th rounder becomes a 75pt player and Marty single-handedly saves another Devil's season, and makes an ump-teeth appearance in the playoffs.
October 19, 2010
Votes: +0

david said:

tripel
... Great article, really interesting takes, thanks.
Couple guys I wonder about --
Colaiacovo? Pretty hot to start -- will he keep it up and push EJ for PP QB? can he get 45-50 pts? I'm hoping he's a high flier, but will settle for decent flier. If not I may try to sell high..
Staying w the Blues -- Berglund? 3 pts in 5gp is nice, but the 17:40 TOI up from 13:30
and 4:20 pp TOI/gp up from 2:16 give one hope for solid returns this year. Can he get 60pts? Decent flier?
Huselius? Ice time about the same as last year, but new coach and so far PPG ..do we think he can hit 70?

cheers
October 19, 2010
Votes: +0

sentium said:

Dakkster
... Just a small note about the Wings' drafting. The Petr Sykora they drafted is not the Petr Sykora who has had a bunch of success in the NHL. It's a completely different Petr Sykora who has done exactly nothing in the NHL.
October 19, 2010
Votes: +1

Zacharias said:

BabyElias
Hossa? Very good article, thanks!

How about Hossa - do you think he will continue the torrid pace? Can he crack 100pts?
October 19, 2010
Votes: +0
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