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An Expert’s Audit - February, 2008
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Kristian Huselius

 

Welcome once again to “An Expert’s Audit”. This audit will also be posted here as well as on my fantasy hockey blog at www.fantasyhockey.hockeyanalysis.com . I also do weekly reviews of teams for people who email in to me for a look-see. These audits will continue to appear here monthly and if you’re interested in having your keeper team “worked over” then you can begin by emailing Dobber about it.

 

This month’s audit goes to the team of a Brit. I picked him because his team and league interested me, and I haven’t met any puckhead Brits before. I also figured I might be able to help. But do we really speak the same language?

 

I’ve read Shakespeare and I’m not sure we do. James Nickerson, or Shakespeare as I call him, is in the second year of a 12-team keeper league that he got into through another site. His lineup, when everyone is healthy, is decent but he’s had to suffer through injuries to Cory Murphy, Kevin Bieksa, and finally Sidney Crosby.

 

When he contacted us for an audit he was in 11th place and he had scraped his way up to eighth when the truly unfortunate thing happened, Sid took an unwanted holiday.


Shakespeare’s league has these categories: G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHP, GWG, SOG, W, GAA, SV%, and SHO. In terms of stats accrued, his team is middle of the road but he has been really hurt by injuries.

 

Let’s take a look, I’ve marked his keeper options with an * (you can keep 18 max):

 

C Saku Koivu MON – very nice trade bait for a team that’s selling.
C Christopher Higgins MON * - he’s a nice special teams option. He shoots some, gets PP exposure and has 3 SHG each of the last two seasons.
C Jordan Staal PIT * - he’s disappeared for most of the season after having a very noticeable rookie year. With Sid injured he’s come to the fore more and he’s a solid keeper selection.
LW Vaclav Prospal TB – in order for you to hang on to some younger names you’ll either have to shop this guy around or leave him unprotected.
LW Alexander Semin WAS * - consider this year an injury blip. He’s a 40 goal guy for the next decade.
LW Ryan Malone PIT - some are very high on him … not me. He has some PIM value that maybe you can parlay into something worth keeping.
RW Dustin Brown LA * - I wasn’t expecting him to be this good this season but he’s definitely a keep. Hard-nosed, PIMy, and goals galore.
RW David Vyborny CBS – the time to trade him was after last season when he put up all those assists. I’d doubt you can get enough back if you moved him unless you just include him as a throw-in on an offer.
RW Jarome Iginla CAL * – he’s very valuable to the Flames but believe it or not he’s MORE valuable as a fantasy hockey player than he is as a real hockey player. Keep him forever.
W Patrick Kane CHI * - I’m astounded that you have some significant names for keeper options. Another forever keep, I just hope he bulks up a bit so that he can last.
F Petr Prucha NYR – I thought he was going to be a great goal scorer but he’s … gone MIA for most of this season.
F Nathan Horton NAS * - I’d certainly trade him if the right deal came along. The fantasy hockey community has waited a while for him to make good on all that promise. 30 goal seasons are nice but I want to see a string of 40 goal seasons and I’m not even seeing that it’s possible right now.
D Tom Gilbert EDM * – good and young and will get opportunity as long as Sheldon Souray struggles with his health, which will be forever. He’s on the bubble as a keep.
D Alexei Zhitnik ATL – old, past his time, plays like Zhitnik.
D Ryan Suter NAS * - on the cusp of very goodness (not greatness mind you).
D Adrian Aucoin CAL – in a H2H league where Calgary has 15 games during your H2H playoffs then I would imagine you can get a decent return by offering him up to anyone trying to make a run at the title.
D Joni Pitkanen EDM * - somebody has to man the point and although I’m not a huge fan of Pitkanen’s he does a serviceable job and has a history of offensive output.
D Cory Murphy FLA * - when he’s been healthy he’s definitely shown that he can do the job. You have yourself a very solid and young D corps at your disposal, although without a superstar (yet).
G Miikka Kiprusoff CAL * - the guy’s 3rd in Wins in the league, what exactly is there to complain about here?
G Chris Mason NAS * - I just can’t stand this guy. He’s always been a backup in my eyes and I don’t see my opinion changing anytime soon. He was drafted insanely high in fantasy leagues this year but people didn’t realize that the Preds were and are a very different team. Do you think maybe I want you to trade him?
BN Jason LaBarbera LA – he’s a G3 and you have him in the right spot in your pecking order.
BN Tomas Fleischmann WAS – short term bench option who’s getting more ice ever since Nylander went the way of the boo-boo.
BN Matthew Lombardi CAL – another Calgary guy who may have some value as trade bait for the H2H playoffs. I think the 20 goals he put up last year is his ceiling.
BN Daniel Carcillo PHX * - I actually saw him play in an exhibition between the Leafs and Yotes in the preseason here in Winnipeg. I added him to my team the same night. He gives energy to the lineup every night.
BN Kristian Huselius CAL * - maybe your best trade bait for keeper options. I say he’ll sign elsewhere in the offseason and will never return to the offensive levels he put up as a Flame.
BN Bobby Holik ATL – I’m not a fan except if your league has Takeaways as a category. He’s pretty good in takeaways minus giveaways, but for some odd reason it’s not correlated in his +/-.
BN Brandon Bochenski ANH – ice time will drop to virtually nothing now that Teemu is back.
BN Tom Poti WAS – he was to be the PP QB in Washington but he just got his 1st goal of the season and we’re heading for the home stretch. Ugh.
BN Michel Ouellet TB – showed promise at one time but it looks like greatness has passed him by.
IR Sidney Crosby PIT * - the best player on the planet.
IR Kevin Bieksa VAN * - he contributes across the board in every category. This has been a lost season for him though.

 

That’s only 17 keeps, but that’s ok because I’m not crazy about Chris Mason as a keeper option and we both seem to be pretty keen on moving Kristian Huselius for some young studs since we aren’t big believers in what he’ll be able to do outside of Calgary next year, and he will be outside Calgary next year. We just have some work to do is all.

 

the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (Hamlet 3.1)

 

Anyone in a keeper league wants to have Sid the kid as his cornerstone and when I came on the scene James and his UKflames were on the brink of a playoff spot in his H2H league. He was trying to decide if he was a “buyer” or a “seller” when an arrow took out his franchise player in the form of a high ankle sprain. Needless to say, he became a “seller” as all of his hopes for a championship this year went down the tube.


what light through yonder window breaks (Romeo and Juliet 2.2) - waiver wire options

 

James had been streaming up to four players into his lineup daily in order to maximize his stats on a given week; that changed as soon as he became a “seller”. His goals became; solidify his keeper list for next year, and get younger through waiver and through trade. We each sorted through Dobber’s prospect list for available guys that weren’t rostered and we shed guys from the lineup who were not keeper candidates or had trade value in the league.


Ilya Zubov – 18th ranked prospect on Dobber’s prospect list. I believe that Ottawa will have room for him, perhaps as soon as next year, as they won’t be able to re-sign all of their bigger names.
Torrey Mitchell – graduated as the 14th ranked prospect on Dobber’s prospect list. I think he’s getting a really nice tutoring as viable secondary attack in San Jose. He’s got the ability to be a solid NHL’er, maybe very soon.
Aaron Voros – I see some really big things for Voros down the road but since you already have Carcillo kept for next year there’s little need to keep essentially the same style of player in Voros.
Steve Ott – see Aaron Voros.
Niklas Bergfors – 46th ranked Dobber prospect. I’m not a huge fan but the pickings are also getting slim on your FA list and he’s eligible at RW which helps his value in your pool.
Tyler Kennedy – 45th ranked Dobber prospect. He’ll be a decent option but things are fairly crowded in Pitt too.
Cody Franson – 97th ranked prospect but the top ranked D prospect available in your league.
Ryan Shannon – 34th, I saw him pull this really nice spin-o-rama during the AHL skills competition when it was here in Winnipeg a couple years ago (and he reprised it in a shootout against Chicago this week). He’s small and fast but I don’t think his upside is as high as others do.
Nick Foligno – 36th ranked prospect and the highest ranked LW prospect option available on your wire.
Dustin Boyd – 25th ranked prospect but he doesn’t look to be getting enough opportunity to be of much use anytime soon. He should be fine in a couple years, I just hope he doesn’t become everything that Chuck Kobasew was for the Flames before getting some notoriety somewhere else.
The options that you chose to go with were Ilya Zubov, Torrey Mitchell, and Niklas Bergfors, while you parted ways with Poti, Bochenski and Holik. All three of the adds you made could have a shot at keeper options and your league is also in discussions about adding a 5-man minor league bench which would certainly help your keeper options down the road.