Goncharov

I am in a 22-team keeper league, and for years I drafted guys based on their highest projected upside because I was trying to build a championship team.

 

The strategy worked as I was able to collect a stable of prospects that helped form the core of my team last year. I was also able to trade some of them for immediate help or upgrade at a few positions. Long-term, those trades weren’t wise, but in my league – which has carry-over statistics – the price for talent at the trade deadline is high, especially for goalies. (Note: carry-over statistics means you acquire a player’s previous stats when you trade for him). You need to put a lot of assets on the table to get the horses you need to win. Sometimes, a player’s NHL readiness will trump the higher upside of a player who’s further away from making it.

 

Last year, when I was close to contending, and this year -- when I’m trying to defend my title -- my draft strategy is different. Long ago, I learned the lesson about drafting for need (Thank you very much for stinking it up, A.J. Thelen) and always try to collect the best asset. For a building team, the player with the highest upside is always the best pick, but that’s not necessarily the case for a GM who is near the top.

 

The reason the prospect with the highest upside isn’t necessarily the best asset in my league is that some GMs in my league don’t value young prospects the same way as others. We can draft anybody – even before the NHL drafts him, so it forces you to do your research on young players. This can be a lucrative strategy if you’re patient, but many GMs are only interested in NHL prospects or young players that are establishing themselves in the NHL or lighting it up in the AHL. It’s not a wise strategy if you’re hoping to parlay those draft-day treasures into veteran help at the deadline.

 

As Jeff Angus and Mike Colligan wrote, you need to know the mentality and preferences of the GMs in your league. There is no point trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. Another factor at play, as Jeff mentioned in his column in this year’s guide, is that “proven players have significantly more value than unproven players.” That’s a fact of fantasy hockey that you have to accept if you’re going to trade prospects.

 

Last year, I found the market for Eric Tangradi was soft because he wasn’t tearing it up in the AHL as a rookie. This year, he’s expected to earn a spot with the Penguins and I’m happy to have him. Last year was a good time to buy low on Tangradi, but that time might be over. He was a good pick for me in a keeper league, but not a one-year league.

 

With that in mind, here is Part II of Making the Jump. See Part I here for some sleeper picks in the Western Conference who can step into your lineup this year.

 

I’ve left out some of the high-profile prospects that most people should already be aware of such as Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Jonathan Bernier, Magnus Paajarvi, and Mikael Backlund. Here are a few players that I’ve targeted for my watch list and I will be watching them closely during training camp to see if they can help me this year or become easily tradable assets this year.

 

Anaheim – I like the big centre from Boston University and his clutch play, but his skating will hold him back a bit. Since he made his NHL debut last year, though, Ryan Getzlaf’s ankle has healed and Saku Koivu has re-upped for two years with the Ducks. I like Bonino’s chances as a pro, but not so much with the Ducks unless he changes position. The former Sharks pick stands a better chance as a winger, so if it looks like he’s getting an audition in the top six on the left side, that will boost his value.

 

Calgary – My colleague Justin Goldman is high on Henrik Karlsson and so am I. While I don’t expect him to beat out Miikka Kiprusoff, he is an injury away from a No. 1 role. I think Calgary would like to use Karlsson as a backup because he’s a more seasoned pro and that would allow them to leave Leland Irving in the AHL and get No. 1 minutes. At 26, Karlsson has lots of pro experience in Sweden and makes an intriguing sleeper pick if the NHL’s most durable goalies gets injured. With at least 74 games played in each of the last five seasons, it’s also possible Calgary might want to dial back Kipper’s playing time to keep him fresh in case they make the playoffs.

 

Chicago – I’ve written about him earlier this summer, but I’m keeping my eye on d-man Brian Connelly. Chicago gutted their roster during the offseason to get under the cap and they are looking for cheap solutions everywhere. Also, keep an eye on Bryan Bickell in training camp. Kyle Beach is the more highly-touted left wing prospect in the Chicago system, but they might prefer to keep the former first-rounder in the AHL for some seasoning. According to CapGeek.com, Bickell’s cap hit is $541,666 – that’s less than half of what Beach’s is at $1,170,833.

 

Minnesota – Casey Wellman garnered a lot of attention from teams last spring when he was a free agent coming out of the University of Massachusetts after he scored 23 goals and 45 points in 36 games. The right-winger played 12 games for the Wild last season and is a Martin Havlat injury away from a role in the top six. Long-term, the skilled finisher has some good upside, too.

 

Phoenix – Most know about Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and he’s a good guy to go after, but I don’t expect him to get a lot of chances to produce as a rookie under Dave Tippett. The ability and the upside are there, but you’ll need to be patient. Maxim Goncharov is less well-known, but is also promising. He’s also two years older than Ekman-Larsson and might have the edge in experience that will get him into the lineup sooner. He’s played three seasons on Russia’s top league compared to Ekman-Larsson’s two years in the Allsvenskan -- Sweden’s second-tier league.

 

San Jose – The Sharks have developed a trend of easing a guy into their lineup for half a season to groom him for a full-time spot the next season. Dobber predicts this year that guy will be Cam MacIntyre, and if the burly right-winger can stay healthy, he’s a good fit because he provides some of what San Jose is missing. Other candidates include Steve Zalewski and Benn Ferriero. Ferriero started off with a bang last year before fizzling. He notched 50 points in 58 AHL games and his versatility will help him. Zalewski produced in the AHL, too, but the Sharks are running out of room to put all these guys they’ve graduated to the big club (Bernier, Pavelski, Setoguchi, McGinn, and Couture). A nice darkhorse pick on defence could be Justin Braun. The UMass graduate had 31 points in 36 games last year and the Sharks have shown they’re not scared to play a young kid on defence and give them prime minutes. He’ll have to bump out a guy like Jason Demers, but it bears watching.


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Ryan Van Horne said:

Scribe
... Irvin, upon further reflection, I would put Upshall as a tweener. He could be a keeper, or he could be trade bait. He had a great start with Phoenix last year before he got hurt. He seems to be in a good place with Tippett. Your call.
September 12, 2010
Votes: +0

Irvin Penner said:

preacher0072007
Thank-You Ryan: Thank-You so much for the information, I am looking to become a dynasty league champ some day, but to get there I need to be asking the questions and learning from every move and answer I get. You have been a great help!! Thanks again ;-)
September 11, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Van Horne said:

Scribe
... Irvin, I'm a huge Tyler Ennis fan. Resist all requests to trade him. He's a guy you should be building around. Also, I like Ryan O'Reilly and have since I interviewed him when he was 15. The kid is a rink rat and has spent a lot of time playing the game at a relaxed level that builds muscle memory. He's from a small town in Ontario and he had access to the rink at lunch time and after school. He used his ice time wisely. There's some offensive upside there and he can pull a move out thin air.

Guys like Shawn Horcoff, Andy McDonald, Clarke MacArthur, Benoit Pouliot, Joffrey Lupul, Antero Niittymaki, Pascal Leclaire, should all be trade bait for you this year. None are long-term answers for an expansion team. If any of these guys get off to good starts, I'd trade them and get younger, or more reliable assets.

Guys like Drew Stafford, Rene Bourque, Blake Wheeler, Scottie Upshall, Paul Martin, Cam Barker, Jason Demers, Jeff Schultz, Tom Gilbert, and Ondrej Pavelec are all keepers for you. They're all young enough that they will still be in their productive stage in three years.

September 11, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Van Horne said:

Scribe
... Karbinkopy, Phil McRae and Ian Cole stand a good chance of getting a cup of coffee in St. Louis, but the Blues depth at forward will prevent McRae from getting much more than that this year. As I wrote in the Prospects Guide, I think McRae will need two years in the AHL. I'm not a fan of Ian Cole as a fantasy asset. By all accounts, he's a great kid and will be a rock on the blueline, I just don't think he has much offensive upside. I'm not saying he will never succeed, he's just not a recommended buy.

As for Goloubef, he just turned pro and will need some AHL seasoning. Hard to say if new coach Scott Arniel will give him a shot -- Ken Hitchcock surely wouldn't have -- but players such as Kris Russell, Anton Stralman and Fedor Tyutin will soak up most of the power-play time and offensive role for the Blue Jackets. I think Goloubef is more talented than his numbers at Wisconsin indicated. I'll watch his develop in the AHL this season with great interest.
September 11, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Van Horne said:

Scribe
... Shoeless, my league is a 22-team keeper league and each year we go into our seven-round draft with a roster of 17 plus 10 farmers. Every year, when the NHL holds its draft, about two-thirds of the players are already drafted in our league. One of the ways to working around that is keeping a close eye on the late bloomers.

If you say these guys aren't relevant in leagues that you're in, I hear you. I'm trying to provide a nice complement to fine work Jeff Angus did when he ranked the top 10 fantasy prospects at each position. If there's something, or some prospect, or some group of prospects that aren't getting enough ink here at Dobber, then I want to hear about it. I'm sure Jeff and Dobber will agree that we try to cover a wide range of leagues here on the sites. Fantasy hockey is so diverse that you get everything from straight-points, one-year leagues, to deep keepers with salary caps that count faceoffs and blocked shots.

Also, I'm trying to follow Dobber's lead and write about some of the more obscure guys. In the past, I've written about some of the high-profile guys and I'm trying to mix it up. Always open to suggestions though.
September 11, 2010
Votes: +0

Irvin Penner said:

preacher0072007
Dynasty League Expansion Team I am in a 16 team dynasty league and I am an expansion team. My players are Tyler Ennis, Peter Regin, Rich Peverley, Shawn Horcoff, Ryan O'Reilly, Andy McDonald, Zach Boychuk, Clarke MacArthur, Benoit Pouliot, Joffrey Lupul, Drew Stafford, Rene Bourque, Blake Wheeler, Scottie Upshall, Paul Martin, Cam Barker, Lason Demers, Jeff Schultz, Tom Gilbert, Ondrej Pavelec, Antero Niittymaki, Pascal Leclaire, and Josh Harding. I would be willing to accept any advice on who you out there might believe is not worth keeping for the next three years.
Thanks
September 11, 2010
Votes: +0

Karbinkopy said:

Karbinkopy
... I'm in a 14 team stupid deep keeper league and many of the players Ryan has written about in his two articles are already owned, and have been for a bit. Of the others, I know I've had my eye on a couple since last year, and I'm sure I'm not the only GM in my league. Delving the obscure prospect pool helped me win my league within 2 1/2 seasons of joining my league. I love articles like this one. Keep up the good work Ryan. A couple of questions... Phil McRae and Ian Cole in St. Louis, do you think either of them will get a cup of coffee this season? What about Cody Goloubef in Columbus?
September 11, 2010
Votes: +1

Shoeless said:

Shoeless
sigh! Ryan, I read your stuff because I enjoy how you write - thoughtful, readable stuff. But sadly, my leagues aren't deep enough to consider any of these guys. I'm curious as to how deep your leagues are that these guys could be a factor this season.
September 11, 2010
Votes: +0
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