Welcome to the final audit of the 2008-09 season for Dobberhockey and for my fantasy hockey blog over at Hockey Analysis. We’ll be picking this up again soon though, I just don’t think that there’s going to be anything until after June’s draft or so. For the most part the audit for this month only answers one question, who do you keep?
Robert Wilson (his buddies call him Bubba) lives in the Ottawa area and plays in a 12 team keeper there. Bubba caught my eye this month because he titled his email “Next year I want to beat Russ Miller”, and I certainly get that. It looks like Russ Miller (or Comish as he’s known at Dobberhockey) will finish in front of me too in the Expert’s League this year even though I did manage to lead the pack for 2 months or so. Comish is a bit of a magician with this fantasy hockey thing so I feel your pain here Bubba.
Bubba didn’t want any help with his team this year, the season’s already over for him, the question of the month was, who does he keep for next year? He gets to keep 10 options at any position and 2 rookies at any position. There are some obvious selections here and quite a decision when it came down to crunch time.
The scoring categories in his league are: G, A, PTS, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG, W, GAA and Saves. Let’s take a look at Bubba’s Boys.
F Mike Richards PHI – some have been touting him for the Selke and I think he’ll be a finalist but not the winner. He’s a really nice option in a league like this.
F Dany Heatley OTW – well, he won’t get the 50 goals I was expecting this year but if the Sens play next season like they have since February then he’s got a decent shot at returning to 50 soon.
F Ales Hemsky EDM – he’s worried he’s turning into a checker, but defensively responsible doesn’t mean you’re a checker. He’ll be fine and he’s a nice keep.
F Andrei Kostitsyn MON – I haven’t seen the sort of growth I was expecting from him this year and he’s on the bubble as a keeper for me.
F Alex Tanguay MON – since returning he’s been integral for the Habs. I like him as an important secondary scoring option.
F Patrick O’Sullivan EDM – he’s another smallish forward amongst smallish forwards in Edmonton. I’m not sure this move will be good for him for the next couple years, and I don’t care if he gets to line up with Hemsky the whole time.
F Steven Stamkos TB – over the long haul this is the rookie who’ll have the best career. He’s obviously not winning the Calder though.
F Michael Frolik FLA – there’s very real upside here and he’s a definite consideration as a rookie keeper.
F Kyle Turris PHX – he doesn’t have the most points of the rooks on your team but his talent level is up there with any of them.
F Loui Eriksson DAL – he’s for real. I don’t see stats decreasing with Morrow around again next year.
F Mikkel Boedker PHX – if only you could keep rooks for several years. Eventually he’ll be a star but not soon enough to really help you.
F Nikita Filatov CBS – he’s going to be really special, but when?
F Mikael Backlund CAL – I think that he could eventually be to Iggy what Backstrom is to Ovie. I don’t know that you can afford to wait for him though.
F Cody Hodgson VAN – the next Trevor Linden? Only better. What? I said it.
F Claude Giroux PHI – people are REALLY high on this guy but I wonder what room there really is for him amongst those forwards in the short term.
F Ville Leino DET – not enough info on him to make him a keeper consideration just yet.
F Sam Gagner EDM – I’m assuming he was a rookie keep last year … and I’m betting that hasn’t exactly panned out for you this year.
D Tomas Kaberle TOR – are professional athletes really supposed to have a double chin? Well anyway, he can play so keep him around.
D Erik Johnson STL – I just hope he doesn’t go golfing again soon. If healthy he’ll anchor the backend for the next decade.
D Ryan Whitney ANA – opportunity looks to opening up for him in Anaheim as it looks like Nied’ll retire and I suspect they’ll trade Pronger this summer.
D Mark Streit NYI – at the beginning of this season I didn’t believe he could do it but he set me straight pretty quickly.
D Niklas Kronwall DET – I’ve been singing this tune for years now. I think he could be the return of Vlad the Impaler to the Wings blueline but he’ll have a lot less edge.
G Roberto Luongo VAN – for many he’s untradeable and for you … well, he’s untradeable. I still think it’s silly that they “informally” made him captain though.
G Tuukka Rask BOS – uh, no. I’m not even sure he’ll be up with the big boys next year.
I should add immediately that I LOVE your D setup! You’ve cornered the market on 5 upper echelon D who can all provide 40 pts for you next year. I’m going to suggest that you keep all 5 of them around for next year. It also looks like you cornered the market on any young forward you could get, and it might work out for you. You’ll get to keep 2 of them anyway since you can keep 2 rooks for next year, maybe more if you figure they’ll be better options than some of the vets you list here. First things first though, let’s look at the waiver wire.
Waiver Wire Options
Andy McDonald – McD just shouldn’t get waived in any 12 team league. He quickly joined your team and became a viable keeper option. His biggest criticism is +/- but I don’t see that continuing next year.
Mikko Koivu – someone waived Koivu too? I don’t get this. He’s a keeper option too.
Who do you keep?
Bubba and I talked about this a lot and I had my opinions but in the end I decided to get different opinions on the question. There are some absolutes in this question and we quickly whittled the choices down so that 9 slots were filled quickly. You should be keeping Luongo, Richards, Heatley, Hemsky and all 5 rostered D (Kaberle, E. Johnson, Whitney, Streit and Kronwall). Unfortunately that only left one keeper slot and 2 rooks to decide on. Now it could be that you could use the last keeper slot for a rookie, that’s also permissible, but is a rookie a better keep than a 30 goal vet? Let’s see.
I sent your question to some fantasy experts on your behalf.
Joel Stainer – doulos on the Dobber boards – “He has some very tough choices ahead of him. It's between Eriksson and McDonald to me. Even though I am quite high on Eriksson I think I would opt for Mcdonald”. He also adds, “As for the rookies, Stamkos is an obvious first choice for me. After that it's a toss up between Turris and Filatov (a nice choice to have). If he has realistic chances of winning next year then I'd take Turris, because who knows where Filatov will get his chances next season with Hitchcock.”
Matthew Thompson – ultra whiteness on the Dobber boards – “Well, everyone knows that I'm a builder. I would go with the 3 names with the brightest futures, and those are Stamkos, Filatov, and Rask in that group. Kostitsyn or McDonald would be the guys I would try my best to redraft early to help his cause for the upcoming season.”
Tim O’Brien – lanky on the Dobber boards - My gut tells me to keep: Luongo, M. Richards, Heatley, Hemsky, E.Johnson, Streit, Whitney, Kronwall, McDonald, Gagner, Hodgson, and Giroux. I would try and trade Kaberle as he and Kronwall are very similar in what they offer but Kronwall is on the better team. Also I don’t think you really need to fill all 5 of your defender slots with keepers when there doesn’t appear to be bonuses for defensive scoring.” To be fair, Tim admits he’s thinking longer term than I am.
Rick Wakeman – Shoeless on the Dobber boards - I think this is a simple problem. When you keep 120 players and 24 rookies in a league - other than D guys you keep 80+ point players or guys with near future upside of greater than that. I think Stamkos, Filatov and Giroux are the only 3 of the remaining choices that meet that criteria. Others are not clearly meeting the criteria due to lack of upside or the potential of meeting that upside shortly.
Ryan Ma – author of The Wild West – “I would keep McDonald from the list … and then for me it comes down to Stammy, Frolik and Giroux.” He breaks it down further but he took a page to do so … so let me just say that I can forward you his email and he wants you to keep Stamkos and Giroux. We columnists can get a bit wordy sometimes.
J. Stettes – author of the Status Report and editor of Dobberbaseball.com where you’ll also see Expert’s Audit monthly for baseball too (he says pimpingly) – “So you are forced to keep all those D? It doesn't seem Whitney is worthy. I would keep Eriksson, Stamkos and Giroux.” He later went on to say that instead of Whitney “I'd go Frolik myself but could see taking a flyer on the unproven but extremely talented Turris as well.”
Darryl Dobbs – you don’t need an intro to him do you? uh, he’s the MAN – “I would keep Stamkos, Filatov and Giroux. Rask will be a couple more years, otherwise I would have said him.
Furthermore, I would strongly consider not keeping EJ, who looks very promising as a future Band-Aid Boy. Keep Frolik. Of those four players I named, you will have three of them get at least 60 next year with a long-term upside approaching 90 or more. Filatov won't get 60 next year, but he has the highest upside of them all.”
Well, you have a whole whack of opinion there and you can choose whose advice you want to follow. My choices for the last remaining keeps would be McDonald, Stamkos and Turris but this discussion with others has caused me to question why you wouldn’t keep someone like Frolik or Giroux instead of one of those D. We did discuss the idea of moving 2 of your D, say Whitney/Kaberle, for a high end forward, perhaps someone as high end as Jeff Carter perhaps; and I still think that’s a great idea for this summer. Your keeps don’t have to be announced until just prior to your draft in September so you have a good deal of time to chew on the decision and try to make a move.
I want to think all the guys who helped me write this one this month, I really do appreciate it. With that, I’m out. No audits for a couple months anyway until we hit closer to draft time. Thanks again.