Welcome once again to “An Expert’s Audit”. This audit will also be posted here as well as on my fantasy hockey blog at www.fantasyhockey.hockeyanalysis.com . During the season 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 about it.
Gordon Bell is Quebecois. I was thinking that it must be a pen name or something when an obvious Francophone (by writing style) had an Anglophone moniker attached but it turns out that I just shouldn’t go around making assumptions. The pen name that he wanted to go with turned out to be “le prez” and so … let me introduce you to The Prez as I call him. He’s a Scottish heritage francophone living in Quebec City. We first had real contact during the World Championships in QC this spring and I was jealous that he got seats to any such thing.
Prez plays in a 10-team roto keeper league. It was a 12 teamer last year but two guys packed it in and they had to run a little dispersal draft. My first thought was, “COOL, a dispersal draft”. I won’t bore you with many details except to say that Prez somehow got his hands on the 3rd, 5th, 14th and 19th picks so he added Henrik Lundqvist, Andrei Markov, Tomas Kaberle, Chris Osgood, and Derick Brassard. I didn’t realize how significant that Brassard pick was until we came to keeper options.
Everyone in this league keeps 5 forwards regardless of position, 3 defensemen, and 2 goalies plus everyone gets to keep 3 rookies for two years max on top of the other keeps. Getting Brassard in the dispersal draft was HUGE for your team next year when I expect him to contribute big for the Jackets.
This league counts points only for skaters and gives 2 pts for a goalie win, 2 more for a shutout.
Who to keep
Your roster looks like this (keepers are signified with an *):
* Vincent Lecavalier – guys have been down on him a bit but I expect a big bounceback to numbers not unlike 2 seasons ago.
* Martin St. Louis – the Lightning aren’t going to stink any more, they’ve been signing offensive options out the wazoo and they hope that Matt Carle becomes who he’s supposed to become.
* Marian Hossa – lots of fantasy guys are all abuzz with the idea of Hossa lining up with Datsyuk/Zetterberg. Yes please.
* Zach Parise – if the reins come off him a little bit more then I see 40 goal seasons for a decade or so. If he were in Philly he’d be better than Daniel Briere.
Daniel Briere – if he were in Jersey … he’d have to play with John Madden or something. I still don’t see the production anytime soon in Philly that he put up during his last season in Buffalo.
Simon Gagne – risky but high reward too.
Patrick Marleau – less reward than Gagne but less risk too.
* Nicklas Backstrom – me likey, especially in a keeper league. I realize he was a rook last year but you actually kept him 2 years ago so he doesn’t qualify as a rookie keep this season.
Tuomo Ruutu – just not a fan. I can’t believe that Carolina is banking on big numbers out of him, I just don’t see it happening.
* (r) Derick Brassard – the Jackets offense is going to be SCARY. Soon.
* (r) James Sheppard – maybe one day he can be Zach Parise but I don’t think you want to wait as long as it’ll take before he has enough value in a 10 team league.
Igor Grigorenko – upside, sure but can you wait how long it’ll take before you get to see it? I can’t.
Joe Corvo – some are very high on him putting up really big numbers in Carolina but you only get 3 D keeps and he doesn’t make the cut.
* Tomas Kaberle – I’m a Leaf fan so remember that but I also think that he’ll be a top 3 option for your D next season.
* Brent Burns – I’d just plain keep him around the roster forever … or a decade … whichever comes first.
* Andrei Markov – the Montreal PP didn’t miss a beat after shedding Sheldon Souray because Markov played off so well against some significant talent up front. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Ian White – yeah … uh, no.
Ryan Whitney – I’ll probably catch it a bit from guys reading this because Whitney is just plain skilled but I’m not as high on him as others are and I think he’ll be great trade bait for you to upgrade your keepers elsewhere.
* Roberto Luongo – yeah, this is a pretty good keep. Duh.
* Henrik Lundqvist – I can’t believe that you have arguably the 2 best keeper goalies in the game right here on your roster.
Chris Osgood – you only start 2 goalies so I’d actually look at shopping him pretty hard before you have to submit your keeper list.
* (r) Josh Harding – I think he steals the job away this season and within a couple years he might be the next great goalie keep.
What to do, what to do
So the argument here centers around who doesn’t make the cut. Whitney, Briere, Gagne, Marleau and Osgood can all be decent keeps for their own sakes. I’m going to argue that you can move some of these guys for upgrades elsewhere. So … does the Prez trust his advisor? Hey, it’s your team man and the final decision is going to rest on you. Just stay away from the little red button, we don’t want an international incident over Whitney vs. Kaberle.
Ok, so let’s see if we can upgrade. I’d like to upgrade your rookie keeps if possible, see about upgrading your D options and shop around for any interest in your non-keeper guys.
Whitney/Kaberle/Parise for Brian Campbell and Alexander Radulov – you began by offering up fringe keepers in order to get an upgrade elsewhere and this is how things came to be. In a keeper league I love this deal and I was surprised that it actually happened. It should be noted that this happened before the Radulov “incident” signing in Russia although there was all the talk of various NHL guys moving to Russia. That incident still hasn’t played itself out at the time of this writing so in the end you may be keeping Radulov if he’s playing in North America or you just overpaid for Brian Campbell by a pretty severe margin.
Markov/Marleau for Sergei Gonchar and Michal Rozsival – you weren’t keeping Marleau anyway but this deal helps your D immensely so that you now have decide between Rosie and Burns for your 3rd D keep. My choice is still going to be Burns.
Briere/Osgood for Ilya Kovalchuk – this never went anywhere but it was a decent offer given the league parameters.
Briere/Corvo/St.Louis for Sidney Crosby – Sid’s owner might’ve put him on the table but nothing ever came of this offer. If I had received it I would’ve declined it too but it was still worth a shot.
James Sheppard and Simon Gagne for Patrick Kane – on face value that can work but because you keep rookies then you have to offer up a rookie to get one back. In the end this idea didn’t fly.
Players going out – Tomas Kaberle, Ryan Whitney, Zach Parise, Andrei Markov, and Patrick Marleau.
Players coming in – Brian Campbell, Alexander Radulov, Sergei Gonchar, Michal Rozsival.
Keepers – Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Marion Hossa, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Radulov (or Daniel Briere if Radulov is in Russia), James Sheppard (rookie), Derick Brassard (rookie), Brian Campbell, Sergei Gonchar, Brent Burns, Roberto Luongo, Henrik Lundqvist and Josh Harding (rookie).
Rostered but not kept for next year – Daniel Briere (or Alexander Radulov if he’s playing in Russia), Simon Gagne, Michal Rozsival, Tuomo Ruutu, Igor Grigorenko, Joe Corvo, Ian White, and Chris Osgood.
Well, you upgraded your forward keeps from Zach Parise to Alexander Radulov and the hope is that he plays out his contract in North America. This move would’ve helped if Radulov plays in Nashville because of the system he plays in as opposed to the system Parise plays in. You took a chance on this move and it could very well be that it bit you on the butt. Again, if Radulov is playing in North America then this is still a very nice move for your team, if he’s in Russia … not so much.
You also upgraded your D keeps from Kaberle/Markov/Burns to Campbell/Gonchar/Burns. With Campbell leading the way from the back end in Chicago he’ll undoubtedly have more to work with than Kaberle will in Toronto. The Habs PP will still have to be feared and Markov will have a good chunk of the reason for that but when it comes to pure PP offense from the rearguard then there are few better options than Sergei Gonchar anywhere. Burns continues as your third keeper and I see him as a young upside option for the next decade and a better long term option than either Joe Corvo or Michal Rozsival will be.
It’s a shame that we couldn’t find a taker for Chris Osgood. In a league like yours that counts wins and shutties then who wouldn’t want the starting goalie for the Stanley Cup champions? I’d advise you to keep him yourself but you need to think a bit more down the road in that situation. It’s too bad really.
Prez and I both agree that the biggest crime in this whole experience is that we couldn’t work Briere into a deal and now he has to lose him for nothing. If Radulov isn’t a keeper then Briere resumes his keeper slot though and otherwise you can go get Briere back in your September draft.
It was a pleasure to work with you Prez, all the way from a dispersal draft through maximizing your keeper options. May your approval rating always be going up.