One of the classes I remember most from college (and I don’t remember much) is Economics 101. The highlight of this course always seemed to be the section on Supply & Demand, and that folks is why I took a hiatus from DobberHockey.com in the first place. I needed to create a demand for my column … I needed to feel the love of the Dobber minions in order to satisfy my ego … and my wife stopped believing that drinking a case of beer was “part of the creative process”.
While I’d like to believe that the recession has not ignored the fantasy hockey world, and that Dobber called back his “Ace” in order to stop the hemorrhaging, the fact is that I just felt it was time to return with a weekly column because SOMEBODY needs to be on board who can make you spit coffee and wet your pants before even brushing your teeth (or tooth) in the morning. Time to start looking forward to Wednesdays again boys (and girls if by some miracle there are any that visit this site)
In keeping with the Economic theme, I’d like to take a look at some players who have been top 20 fantasy picks for the past decade, but seem to me to be entering the danger zone. I’m not talking the Mark Recchi types here, but rather the players who could very well have a few more great fantasy seasons in them … but I just really doubt it.
CHRIS PRONGER – The game has changed and Pronger hasn’t. The league has made his punishing (dirty) style of play a thing of the past and at 36, the average- at-best speed he once had is now dwarfed by the warp speed play of the young stars. Add in the fact that he is 6’6” and only 205 lbs. and you begin to understand why his injury flea has become a full grown injury bug. Fifteen-plus years of pounding on his rickety frame has added up, although I would still take him as my main d-man in the playoffs over any other.
MARTIN BRODEUR – You don’t set every major goaltending record of the modern era by not playing in a sh**load of games, and I for one feel that all those 70-plus game seasons are beginning to take their toll. Add in the fact that the Devils are a team without an identity (are they still kidding themselves that they are a defense orientated team after spending 1.5 Billion on Kovalchuk) and I begin to see a pattern of nagging injuries, weak support up front, age, and a transition at some point to the goalie of the future. Based on this I would bet good money that Brodeur doesn’t see another 30-win season.
JAROME IGINLA – He shoots when he should pass, he passes when he should shoot, and he no longer has the size/speed combination that made him so dangerous in the past. He seems too young to be past his prime, but for some reason he has not flourished in the new style NHL. Perhaps he is just sick of facing those bitchy faced Sutter’s every day, but something is missing from his game and I’m not sure there is enough time left in his career to find It again. Perhaps a move out of cow-town would re-energize him for a few more years, but at his current numbers, he just isn’t worth a top round pick anymore.
VINNY LECAVALIER – The passion is gone. Perhaps playing in front of friends and family every home game has taken its toll on the once uber-productive pivot, but he has put up declining numbers the past three years despite playing with some excellent young talent. This kid NEEDS to be traded to Montreal, because I think his heart and his head moved there a few years ago when the trade rumors were swirling. He is just too good to be on a 60-point pace, but something is not right. Unless Tampa can get someone to take his disgusting contract and cap hit ($10,000,000), I would stay away from the big guy, perhaps permanently.
JASON SPEZZA – He is one of the most talented players in the league however he is also one of the most frustrating. Here is another young player with tons of skill, who seems to have been born without a heart. He will put up four points effortlessly one night and then be invisible for the next four games. This is also a situation where he just wants out of Ottawa and also isn’t blessed with a ton of talent around him, but you can’t teach passion and I just don’t see it in him. I can honestly see him just collecting a paycheck for the next six or seven years and then retiring in his mid 30’s.
I actually need to stop writing this article now because it is depressing. All five guys on my list are Canadian, all five show every indication that they are losing the physical or mental ability to play at an elite level, and all five have (or had been) no brainer picks for the last decade. Now I’m going to get into the whiskey and when my wife comes home at midnight from work I’ll be a blubbering idiot about the state of Canadian hockey. Dobber … you may not have to pay me … but you damn well better have a good benefit plan to cover my liver transplant.
I appreciate all the comments and love it when you Fantasy Geeks “talk nerdy to me”