|Mining For Gold Out West||Tweet|
|Written by Ryan Ma|
|Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:30|
Sifting through the players in the Western Conference, Ryan Ma comes up with some suggestions for hidden gems.
Is there a goalie controversy brewing in the Windy City? Ray Emery has posted a 3-0-1 record along with a dazzling 1.57 GAA and .943 SP during his last four appearances, while Corey Crawford has posted a 2-1-0 record along with a not so great 3.77 GAA and .886 during the same span. The Blackhawks are the only team in the league that currently possesses four point-per-game players (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp). Given the amount of TOI that each of them are receiving, I wouldn’t be surprised to see all four finish on this pace. Brent Seabrook is on pace for less than 30 points. I don’t understand why he’s still 66 percent Yahoo! owned in standard setting leagues.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings
I’m still sitting on the fence regarding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins status for the rest of the season. Part of me thinks that it’s just a matter of time before he hits the perennial “rookie wall”, the other half thinks that he can definitely keep up his pace given that he’s leading the team in PP TOI. What do you think? Sam Gagner has 10 points in his last 10 games. If he can ever stay healthy he could be a real force in the second half. Ryan Whitney has never been a big shot taker, but registering goose eggs in nine of 13 contests is a bit over the top.
Los Angeles Kings
The biggest news coming out of LA is the firing of Terry Murray. I didn’t even think it was that bad until I looked up the stats and was shocked to notice the Kings were dead last in terms of goals scored per game (2.21). Now might be a great time “buy low” on underachievers like Dustin Brown, Simon Gagne and possibly Drew Doughty. A player that might be hurt by the firing is Jon Quick. Thanks to Murray’s defensive system, Quick was ranked 10th and eighth respectively in terms of GAA and SP. John Stevens won’t be as heavily defensive-minded as Murray, so expect the peripherals stats to take a bit of a dive.
I always love a good bet. This one by “Craig Bernes” from last week’s comments should be a doozy. “If any of those 3 guys have better all-around stats than Doughty at the end of the year I will eat dobber's shorts. With lots of mustard, but still.”
We’ll make sure we keep track of this one throughout the year.
After starting the season with a 12-4-3 record along with a 2.13 GAA and .935 SP, Mike Smith has returned back to Earth with a hideous 1-4 record, a 4.38 GAA and atrocious .860 SP in the month of December. He has never played more than 40 contests in a season, so as an owner I’m a bit wary about his current heavy workload. Martin Hanzal’s current 86 HITs ranks tied for ninth overall. He could very well finish with a line of 50 points, a plus 20 rating, 60 PIMs, 250 HITs, 50 BS, 750 FW and 200 SOG for those playing in peripheral-heavy leagues. Radim Vrbata is currently connecting on nearly twice his career shooting average, so look for that to adjust itself in the second half.
San Jose Sharks
The biggest problem with the Sharks current slump is their inability to connect on the power-play. They’ve scored just once in their last 28 chances. If you can remember back to last year, they had a similar slump in early January where they lost six consecutive contests, and then followed that up with nine victories in their next 10. The Sharks are just that type of team, when they click things can happen in a hurry. Dan Boyle’s current shooting percentage is six percent lower than his career average and is a massive “second half” buy-low candidate.
St. Louis Blues
The goalie battle in St. Louis is probably exactly what Ken Hitchcock ordered, both goalies trying to outplay each other to earn their playing time. Here’s the breakdown of the stats since Hitch has taken over.
I can picture this situation becoming more 50/50 as the season rolls along. There’s no point in me beating a dead horse. The Blues offense is shaping up to be “offense by committee”, where I don’t really see any one player standing out from the rest, but if you were to ask me who’d I choose to come out on top of the pile, I’d have to go with T.J. Oshie. He’s playing with a bit more oomph and is a tad more noticeable than the rest.
The Nucks are now streaking with nine wins out of their last 10 contests. After starting 2011-12 in nightmare-ish fashion, Roberto Luongo is rounding the corner with an 8-3 record along with a respectable 2.16 GAA and .922 SP in his last 11 appearances. Luongo-owners can now breathe a sigh of relief. Alex Edler’s 13 PPP ranks second behind only Brian Campbell amongst all blue-liners. Christian Ehrhoff who? With David Booth’s injury a top-six spot opens back up for Mason Raymond. He has three points and six SOG in four contests since his return. If you’re looking for a roster replacement, give Raymond a go.
Questions or comments? As always I’ll discuss them in the section below.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 11:10|