This week I need to ease myself back into the column writing thing in order to avoid an upper-body injury, so I am going to give you a boatload of thoughts, musings, snippets, tidbits, oddments, morsels, and crumbs heading into the second half of the season. I originally had scheduled Peter Forsberg to write a guest column in my absence, but he fell victim to a massive concussion while cleaning his ear with a Q-tip. I know that Dobber loves to refer to Forsberg as a Band-Aid boy, but I say we call a spade a spade, and refer to him as a complete pussy from now on.
Something is happening in Phoenix right now and it is resulting in many of the Coyotes becoming fantasy worthy again. Nagy and Doan are no-brainers, but my pick for most valuable Coyote in the second half from a fantasy perspective is Yanic Perreault. Since being signed, he is averaging almost a point a game, as well as getting a ton a power play time, and for those pools with Face-off wins as a category, he is the league’s best gunslinger when taking the draw. Oh, by the way, he is also one of the team leaders in plus minus. I guess my question is why is this guy always a last minute signing, especially in the offense heavy NHL of today?
For the sake of hockey in general, I would love to see what Havlat and Gaborik could do if they could play a full season. Both of them came back from a lengthy hiatus and looked like they were never gone. Fantasy wise, I would put these two guys just behind Crosby, Ovechkin, and Jagr in terms of fantasy value, assuming they could be depended on to play 75 games or so.
A lot has been said about Jonathan Cheechoo’s career surge being directly related to the arrival of Joe Thornton last season, but after digesting the state of affairs in San Jose recently, I have come to the conclusion that the Cheechoo train had an almost equal impact on the career year of Big Joe. With Cheech having a sub-par season, it has had a direct impact of Thornton’s production, and in fact put the big center on pace for less than 100 points and a minus ranking. Unacceptable if San Jose hopes to challenge Anaheim for the Western Conference.
At this point in our fantasy seasons, the big name players pretty much balance each other out, and the lesser name guys who have break-out second halves are what make the difference for most pool champions. Here are my predictions for the top ten players to covet in the second half of the season:
1) Jozef Stumpel
2) Kristian Huselius
3) Pierre Marc-Bouchard
4) Andrew Brunette
5) Tomas Holmstrom
6) Johnny Pohl
7) Chris Kelly
8) Scott Walker
9) Yanic Perreault
10) J.P. Dumont
Perhaps the most intriguing here is Pohl, who has 12 points in his last 12 games. Also note that I have not put these guys in a specific order of projected value, but rather given a general list for you to apply to your waiver wire. If any of these guys pop up, grab ‘em and thank me later. There are also a few stars who should turn it around in the second half, yet whose stock may be low in regards to trading for them at this point. I say Doan, Prospal, Datsyuk, Naslund, Demitra, Arnott, and Redden fall into this category. Take a half-assed shot at these guys and you may just land a couple for very little in return.
Also remember that we are entering the “dog days” of the pool season. Many people become distracted from their team over the holidays, and never regain interest. In addition, many guys whose teams no longer have a shot at winning will also become complacent when keeping on top of things. A successful poolie will extort these people and make them pay for their lackadaisical approach. Be one of the latter people and you will find yourself in the thick of the battle up until the end of the season.
Next week I will do an in depth analyses of how you should approach the remainder of the season when involved in a keeper league. I will explain how to make a strong final run if you are in contention, and how to best prepare your team for next season if your not. You will be surprised at how much more you can improve next year’s team now than if you wait and try it at season’s end or prior to next year’s draft.
It’s great to be back