Welcome back to An Expert’s Audit. Every month we’ll take a look at a reader’s keeper league team in the hopes of helping him toward a championship. If you’re interested in getting an audit for your own keeper team you can begin the process by emailing Dobber about it.
Tysen Leblanc is the reigning champ of a 14 team H2H keeper league with weekly settings that keeps 5 options from year to year. The stat options for this league are: G,A,P,+/-,PIM,PPP and W,GAA,SV which is a pretty standard setup that I like with one exception; I don’t like the idea of tracking points after already tracking goals and assists. Everyone should just learn to ask me about these things first though, it really is all about me.
At any rate let’s take a look at Team Ramrod. I’ve put an * to denote the five keepers for this year.
C Nicklas Backstrom* WAS – he sometimes gets lost in the shuffle in discussions of fantasy projections but he just might be the best disher in the league and definitely on the Caps. I can’t help but think that AO is not as successful from year to year without Nickl-Back.
C David Krejci BOS – I don’t get how the Bruins can use terms like “mild concussion” here because as far as I know there’s no such thing as a MILD concussion. “Yeah doc no worries, my brain only rattled against the inside of my skull once or twice, so things are pretty mild.” If Krejci has “recovered” from getting rocked then maybe you shouldn’t be using the word concussion in the first place. Needless to say, I’m a bit worried about this situation.
C Patrick Marleau * SJ – the usually great +/- hasn’t been there for Marleau so far this season but that’s bound to turn a corner soon. I have no concerns that he’ll return to stellar stats across the board and he’ll be his usual monstrous self by season’s end.
LW Simon Gagne TB – when I came on the scene I was very concerned about your LW situation because Gagne is just so brittle from year to year. We weren’t far into the month working together before Gagne was put on the IR. If you get any real value out of him this season then I’ll be happy for you and also pretty surprised.
LW Andy McDonald STL – he’s on pace for a 35 pt season and I sure hope things improve by leaps and bounds for him yet this season. Quite frankly he’s disappeared from their offense far too often to be of much value to a fantasy team. This just adds to my ongoing concern for your LW situation.
LW Mason Raymond VAN – it’d be nice if they stuck him with the twins on a regular basis but I just don’t see it happening. He’s still a nice 2nd line compliment to their offense and I figure anywhere between 25 and 30 goals on the season would be a phenomenal target for him this year.
RW Steve Downie TB – before the season began I figured it’d be either Downie or Avery with the best combo of PIMs and points this season, actually I said it was going to be Avery. Well, it seems that I was wr ... , wro .... , well, I’ve had better predictions come through for me. If Downie is healthy he’ll be the best power forward option in the league this season.
RW Dustin Brown LA – if your league tracked hits as a category you’d find that Brown was among the best in the league. It’s that hard-nosed approach that adds some extra value to a fantasy team and as a RW3 you can do a lot worse.
RW Marian Hossa * CHI – I was projecting him to return to the top 25 in scoring this season if he stayed healthy and he jumped out doing just as predicted. He missed about a week of play and he’s been cold since returning but I still see return to a 40 goal season here.
D Shea Weber * NAS – you have some high scoring D on your team this season already but Shea will definitely be your king on D. He does everything and he does it well, when the rest of the Preds offense catches up and produces like they can then the numbers across the board will be there for Weber too.
D Alex Goligoski PIT – we knew he was going to be good, and he is. Look at the ratio of PPP to P and you’ll see that he’s capitalizing on opportunity with some fantastic options with the man advantage. If you can find any of the PP1 options for the Penguins you’re bound to end up with a plethora of PPP.
D Paul Martin PIT – I’ve never been a fan of the former Prime Minister, didn’t vote for him either. Take a look at the ratio of PPP to P and you’ll see that he’s getting significant production at even strength and that’s just a gift to your team. I expect decent production in that offense all season but just imagine what it’d be like if he could unseat Kris Letang on the man advantage?
Util Brent Seabrook CHI – I think he’s an excellent compliment to Duncan Keith and he gets extra stats just by being a bit of a defensive conscience. I also think his value takes a hit with the return of Brian Campbell to the lineup. Maybe it’s a personal thing but NEVER play a D at Util in a league with weekly settings; I just think you can find better production out of a forward.
BN Jiri Hudler DET – sigh. Hudler can’t crack the top 6 on the Wings and he’s getting no help if he keeps lining up with plumbers. If he doesn’t break into some ice time with the big boys you’re going to need to cut bait here. You have some depth at RW so it wouldn’t be a complete and total loss if you had to turf him.
BN David Clarkson NJ – the Devils are playing like crap right now and there has been little offensive production out of Clarkson this season. Nevertheless, there are few guys in the entire league that are capable of 30 pt/175 PIM production while Clarkson has just missed the grade twice in his career. He’s had problems with his legs in past seasons but I’m telling you this guy has significant value in any league that tracks PIMs since he can also produce offensively.
G Martin Brodeur * NJ – some point to the Devils poor start and then say that the day of Marty has passed by, but let me assure you that it has not. Marty Brodeur is still a monster keeper goalie who can and does carry a team on his shoulders every season. The Devils have their problems this season but none of those problems are in goal.
G Tim Thomas BOS – where did this guy go eh? Some are saying that he has taken the job back but the B’s sure seem to want give both their goalies as many chances as possible. Whoever is running hot will get the lion’s share of starts and right now, that’s Timmy T. The risk you took in drafting him has been well worth it so far, but it can also turn on a dime so watch carefully.
BN Carey Price MON – ok, props to the Habs so far this season. I am NOT a Habs fan and I thought they made a huge mistake in moving Halak instead of Price in the offseason. Carey has more than done the job for them this season and he doesn’t look at all like the imploding fool that I was expecting to see in that hockey environment. Good drafting.
Your weak spots on your team were in some depth at LW and D4. Your bench is limited so you can’t stash a bunch of potential there, whoever you roster will need to be played at some time. Your team is very strong in goal and you have PIMs coming out the wazoo.
Waiver Wire Options
Nik Antropov ATL – Gagne got injured so you moved Marleau to LW and Antropov moved into your roster at C. I’m still very hopeful that he wakes up a bit more and produces like he should be able to this season. He should be the best C option for the Thrashers and he definitely is not playing like it so far.
Nikita Filatov CBS – some comparisons have been made to Ilya Kovalchuk but I’m not seeing much of that so far this season. Despite that he was considered for filling the hole in your lineup caused by the Gagne injury.
Jussi Jokinen CAR – he was another serious consideration to cover for Gagne while he’s on IR but he fell just short in value behind Antropov in my mind. In looking at some stat lines for the last couple weeks I’m confident we made the right choice.
Matt Taormina NJ – if your league rostered more defensemen then he would need to be on a team but you only have 3 D slots and a util so he’s just not a better option than any of the guys you already have. He’s definitely worth keeping on your watch list though, I have Taormina on my Expert’s League team here at DobberHockey.
If you read the draft kit for DobbeHhockey this season you would’ve perused my incredibly well written article on PIMy options that can help your fantasy team (you guys can’t see my tongue planted firmly in my cheek). Let me just say this then, I’d rather have a 30 pt/175 PIM forward on my team than most 60 pt/40 PIM guys. In scenarios like that Steve Avery is more valuable than Loui Ericksson; Steve Downie over Patrick Sharp and David Clarkson over Travis Zajac.
You had an abundance of PIMy options on your team so we decided early to put Clarkson on your trading block ... and all we heard were crickets from the rest of your league. Well perhaps it’s too early in the season and guys just need a little more time to see what they have available to them. It could be that someone will get some interest in Clarkson as the season wears on and the Devils pick up their play in general.
Some trade suggestions we made that went nowhere:
Brent Seabrook for John Carlson or Alex Edler or Brian Rafalski – I suggested that a conversation with the guy who had all 3 of these guys would be advantageous to you and it seems that he wasn’t interested in any of those deals. Seabrook has going for him some PP opportunity, and what will be more than decent +/- on the season but nevertheless, this was a no-go.
Brent Seabrook for Stephane Robidas – I think these 2 guys are very similar fantasy players with Roby having a bit more of a mean streak. Again, the other guy wanted no part of this.
Mason Raymond for James Neal – I was suggesting that we try to create a little more depth for you at LW and this suggestion came out of the fact that they had very similar stats last season but I expected that Neal would get more opportunity for production than Raymond will. I realize that Raymond will get some face time with the twins but the 3rd guy on that line changes so often in Vancouver that I thought it’d be best to see if something else could be done here. I ran this trade idea past a Canucks fan friend I know and he thought I was completely insane for suggesting it. In the end I think that you’ll find Raymond in a pecking order crunch and Neal about to burst onto a big season.
I’ve gotta be honest, the first month of the season is always hardest to make a deal because most guys wait to see what sort of team they have before they start to make serious moves. That’s exactly what has seemed to have happened to us this month. If I were in this league and I had seen David Clarkson go on the block then I would’ve been interested in a trade but I fully realize that I have PIMy shaded glasses when I play fantasy hockey. Having said that there are moves that you can make to help yourself and I’m sure that you’ll settle on something reasonable as the season wears on. The areas you should be looking to help yourself are at some depth at LW and as a bench D, with the more important move being the depth LW one. There are definitely some reasonable options for you to go after in your league.
I want to point out that I’m available for any hockey advice you want as the season wears on too. You’ll probably have to give me the particulars of your team again since I look at dozens of teams every year and I won’t remember what it is that your team needs. I’m sorry that there is so little product from our month of working together on this but I’m also hoping that a little breakdown of guy’s fantasy value is of some value to you too. In the meantime, I’m just an email away. Good luck Tysen.