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Welcome to “An Expert’s Audit”. I’ve been writing these sorts of things for several years now, previously at another website and most recently at my own Blog . I approached Dobber about doing this sort of thing and submitting it for posting and he ran with it. I’m grateful for the opportunity. My name is Ian Fergusson and I post similar types of audits on my fantasy hockey Blog, shallowfrozenwater.
When Dobber announced this upcoming feature we were flooded (literally flooded) with requests for an audit, which of course is really gratifying and I give Dobber all the credit for running such a superb hockey site that something like this can take off so easily. Anyway, I sorted through the submissions and selected one that hit close to home. I picked a Winnipeg boy. I’m a Winnipeg boy and in his request for an audit he opened with a Go Jets Go … so I was hooked...
Let me introduce you folks to R.J. Pangman, or "the taxman" as I call him. RJ works for Revenue Canada and I couldn’t resist the idea of doing an audit on a taxman. Besides, if I pull this off then it never hurts to have a taxman in your corner, particularly if he owes you a favor, and you do RJ!
RJ manages the New Jets in a 12-team roto keeper league at CBSSportsline. I don’t know if you’ve ever checked out the game engine at CBSSportsline or not but I mostly like it, it allows for some options that you can’t get in other engines that I’ve looked at. It’s actually quite accommodating for keeper leagues.
RJ’s league has 35 man rosters including minor leagues and they keep 25 players from year to year. There’s no waiver wire to speak of, unless a person is drafted and then dumped to waivers in which case he becomes a free agent that can be claimed. Instead of having waiver wire/FA pickups they hold two mid season drafts that are essentially waiver adds. If you were to lose a player to injury or if he returns home to live with mommy or something then the only ways to get replacements are by adding a FA (that would be a guy that one of your competitors drafted and later dropped), trading, or by getting and using picks in these two midseason drafts.
The categories in his league are: FG, FA, DG, DA, +/-, PIM, special teams points, and GoaliePTs (I like to call this category WOTL since it’s ((Wx2)+OTL) but goalie points sounds less confusing). I find it interesting that the league separates goal and assist categories into forward and defensemen. This gives a lot of extra value to defensemen across the league since you can’t just rely on guys up front to carry your offense, you have 24 roto points waiting to be divvied up for offensive contributions by defensemen; to say nothing of the roto points that D already provide to the +/- and PIMs categories. In this league defensemen become a key to winning, particularly goal scoring defensemen because they’re more rare.
The league starts 5C, 3 LW, 3RW, 6D, 2G and they have weekly roster changes available. RJ drafted fourth overall this season and when I came on the scene he sat in sixth place. The top four teams win some cash which I’m sure will be declared on his income tax when he gets there, although he has never had the opportunity to wrestle with the idea of whether or not those funds should be claimed since … he’s never finished in the money.
A league like this is designed for trading; it’s the only real way to get replacements for your roster. At the same time RJ, you trade too much. You’ve made 15 transactions involving 37 players since your draft this season and it has become obvious to me that you just love to make moves. Your team has had Sidney Crosby, Tomas Vanek, and Martin Havlat on it at some point in the last 12 months and I personally can’t see a situation where you’d trade away those names and not get all the world and somebody’s kitchen sink back in return. This isn’t something I haven’t already told you. In my experience, trading lots dilutes your team and if you’re in a keeper like yours the only diluting should happen is when you’re on the threshold of a championship.
Let’s take a look at the roster, I’ve marked those that I think should be your keepers with a (*).
C Rod Brind’Amour CAR (*) – the oldest guy on your team but can still contribute.
C Mike Ribeiro DAL (*) – really surprised this season but should maintain pace.
C Derek Roy BUF (*) – when all are healthy in Buffalo you’ll love his production for your team.
C Paul Stastny COL (*) – absolutely LOVE him. He’s dreamy.
C Cory Stillman CAR (*) – another Cane geezer but that’s ok, he’ll still help.
LW Andrew Brunette COL – the production vs age isn’t enough. You can try and get him back in the draft though.
LW Martin Erat NAS (*) – young guy, solid production.
LW Alexei Ponikarovsky TOR (*) – ditto Martin Erat.
RW Alexei Kovalev MON (*) – enigmatic but definitely skilled.
RW Miroslav Satan NYI – is among your older set and just doesn’t produce as much as the others so he isn’t a keep.
RW Nikolai Zherdev CBS (*) – after last year there was no way I wanted anything to do with him but he’s showing quite a bit more this year.
D Tobias Enstrom ATL (*) – he’s surprisingly helped your DA category more than anyone else this season. Don’t trade him.
D Ron Hainsey CBS (*) – serviceable but I’ve never really liked him.
D John-Michael Liles COL (*) – he’s supposed to help anchor your DG category but not really doing much of that so far.
D Shane O’Brien TB (*) – PIMs.
D Chris Phillips OTT – character guy to have on a REAL hockey team but adds less to your fantasy team than he does to the Sens.
D Craig Rivet SJ – you like this guy. I don’t.
G Miikka Kiprusoff CAL (*) – one of the best tenders in the game.
G Ray Emery OTT (*) – eventually he’ll run with the job.
BN Kyle Okposo NYI (*) – they’re calling him a mini Iginla. Yes please.
BN Andrew Cogliano EDM (*) – upside might be a Daymond Langkow type.
BN Mathew Lombardi CAL – I think he’s reached his upside.
BN Travis Zajac NJ (*) – young and if he gets more opportunity then he’s worth keeping around.
BN Ales Kotalik BUF – he’s helping you in special teams but you could always get him back in the draft next year too.
BN Marc-Andre Bergeron NYI – I wanted to include him amongst your keeps but defensive problems have followed him his last two teams. At the same time, despite his numerous healthy scratches he’s your only D scoring goals right now. I’ve waffled on his keeper status all month.
BN Nick Boynton PHX – PIMs and nothing else.
BN Trevor Daley DAL – no real fantasy value at all.
BN Kent Huskins ANA – ditto Trevor Daley.
BN Jordan Leopold COL – used to have value, now not so much.
BN Nathan Paetsch BUF – Dobber loved this guy to start the year but it hasn’t really panned out yet. I’m sure lots of guys followed Dobber’s advice on him, I did too.
BN Keith Yandle PHX (*) – you’ll love this guy within two years, maybe even one.
BN Martin Gerber OTW (*) – if he gets traded elsewhere in the next year you’ll be in even better shape here.
BN Peter Budaj COL (*) – your G4 and one reason why you can afford to trade Kip if you like.
BN Jimmy Howard DET (*) – I see him as the starter for the Wings perhaps as soon as next year but two is more likely.
BN Mike Smith DAL (*) – should be the starter for the Stars in a couple seasons too.
Inj Kevin Bieksa VAN (*) – he’ll help your DG and PIMs a lot when he’s back.
Inj Jason Williams CHI – he was useful before getting hurt.
I don’t want to be rude here but it looks like your team is living off of surprise stories this season. In my opinion Brind’Amour, Erat, Ribeiro, Stillman and arguably Kovalev weren’t supposed to contribute like they have this season; your defensemen don’t score much but they’re adequate in other areas of the fantasy game and your goalies are the best part of your team. Unfortunately, you only count one goalie category in your pool so that devalues goalie stats considerably.
In looking at your league standings it seems apparent that the only way for you to make up the 10 roto points you need to solidify into the money spots is by improving in DG (defensemen goals). If you can find 10 more goals above status quo (what you’re producing now) then you’ll gain seven roto points in DG alone including two-point swings as you pass the first and fourth place teams. If you can find those 10 roto points, you’ll be in the money.
Waiver Wire Options
You don’t have a waiver wire per se to go out and get a guy for your team, you have a mid-season draft to prepare for though. Your team is too old and you need to figure out ways to get younger with more talent, if you want to succeed next year. You had an immediate option of picking up Ilya Zubov as a FA since he was drafted to start the season and has since been cut loose. It only cost you a low end D man (Trevor Daley) that you had no plans for anyway so you picked him up. Zubov is listed in 17th on Dobber’s most recent Prospect’s report with an 85-point ceiling. It was a free move and gave you an option down the road so that was our first decision. In order for you to get a replacement for your roster you need to acquire a draft pick for the mid-season draft. You’ve previously traded away both of your mid-season draft picks. Draftable names who can help you include Dustin Byfuglien, Tom Gilbert, Matt Niskanen, Daniel Girardi, and some young kids like James Sheppard, TJ Oshie, and Patrick Berglund.
You will have three priorities for the remainder of the season.
1) trade for at least one goal-scoring defenseman.
2) trade for at least one mid-draft pick to secure some more youth for your team.
3) trade some of your goalie depth preferably for a front line forward and a goal scoring defenseman (if you can get that)
We first had to decide which defensemen could be acquired, obviously we couldn’t go after anyone that his owner had no interest in moving. We targeted Sheldon Souray, Sergei Gonchar, Matt Green, Joni Pitkanen, Cristoph Schubert, Filip Kuba, Michal Rozsival, Mark Streit, and Sami Salo in various offers and none were successful although we’re still working on some offers there. We also have to target for some draft picks for the midseason draft since there are some decent options for DG that you could pick in that draft that might serve as solutions to your problem. In our discussions we suspect that Buff-lin will go with the first pick in that draft even though there are some prospects still unsigned and still sitting in your FA pool. In terms of long term potential I could make an argument that TJ Oshie will be better than Bfugly (as I call him), and Patrick Berglund or James Sheppard could arguably be better long term options than any of the D presently sitting undrafted in your league. These are not the names that belong undrafted in a keeper pool.
To try and accomplish our goals we started firing off trade suggestions. Our priorities were a goal scoring defenseman, at least one mid draft selection, and to deal from goalie depth for a front line forward and goal scoring D preferably.
Some examples of trade offers sent are:
- Mathew Lombardi, Chris Phillips, and a 5th round entry pick for Mike Green, Joni Pitkanen and 1st and 2nd round mid draft picks (essentially waiver picks). At the time we made the offer Green hadn’t taken off like he had, he’s scored six goals in the last month to double his production. Nothing happened with this deal and nothing’s likely to happen now that he’s become a goal-scoring monster.
- Miikka Kiprusoff and Craig Rivet for Daniel Alfredsson and Sheldon Souray (I thought that one was going to fly). This offer began when the other owner initially offered Alffy and Keith Tkachuk for Kipper, so it isn’t a big stretch to go to something like you suggested.
- Chris Phillips and Craig Rivet for Michal Rozsival. For PIMs and +/- this was a decent offer but the other guy didn’t respond in any way.
- Miikka Kiprusoff for Daniel Briere and Joe Corvo. In many leagues this flies easily but in this one, there was no response and no counter offer.
- Chris Phillips, Craig Rivet, 9th and 10th round entry picks for Mark Streit. What amounted to four players for one player? No response.
- Chris Phillips, Craig Rivet, 9th and 10th round entry picks for Filip Kuba and 1st round mid draft pick. There’s certainly room for negotiation here but again, nothing happened.
Some leagues just don’t want to trade their guys to someone on the cusp of the money, and in a month of firing off trade offers, nobody bit. There were a couple counter-offers but nothing that went anywhere. One trade offer sent out has sat on the trade table for going on three weeks now, unaddressed. I can’t tell if this an “I’m too busy to answer you” response or a “that’s a brutal offer and I’ll just leave it on the table” response. Some traders take offers very personally and let me just say, an offer is just an offer. If you see something you like then pursue it, if you don’t see anything then find something you do like or just respond with a “no thanks”. A first offer that you hate is only a first offer and in a keeper league one never knows what an owner’s intent is when he makes a deal. I’ve seen trades made that shouldn’t have been made but for some reason a guy wanted it so it was done.
Keep trying taxman. You have your trading priorities in front of you and you’re going to want to get moving on it very soon before the other teams leave you in the dust in DG. You know the game plan, you know what you need and you know that the way to do it is by continuing to offer trades to get to that end. You’re not being unreasonable. You do need to move a little in the other guy’s direction in order to get something done but you’re not really getting the chance to do that yet. Eventually, you’ll get there. If you can find those few DG that you need then you’ll have enough to get to the end.
An Expert’s Audit will be published monthly both on DobberHockey and on my blog at www.fantasyhockey.hockeyanalysis.com . The next Dobber Audit is due near the middle of February 2008. If you want your team to be considered for an audit submit your request to Dobber now so that we can start sorting through the candidates.