For years, Detroit has been a powerhouse both in the NHL and in fantasy circles.
Offensively, defensively, between the pipes, up front and along the blueline, the Red Wings are in demand.
(Originally published by The Hockey News February 4)
When was the last time Nicklas Lidstrom wasn’t a top three pick amongst defensemen in your league? Other than his one 38-point slip in 2003-04, he has been consistently above 56 points over the past 12 years. The 37-year-old is not slowing down any, either. He has 10 points in his past six games and is on pace to surpass 75 points for the second time in his career.
And if it’s not Larry Murphy by Lidstrom’s side, it’s Mathieu Schneider. If it’s not Schneider, it’s Brian Rafalski. Put a quality offensive rearguard at Nick’s side – it doesn’t seem to matter whom – and he boosts their production by a good 20 percent.
Up front, Red Wings management has seamlessly made the transition over the course of a decade from Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, Brett Hull and Brendan Shanahan to Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Cleary, Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula. Try picking up one of those players in a keeper league – you will find it just as difficult to do now as it was 10 years ago.
Detroit ranks first in goals against, so those leagues that require a “team” goalie as opposed to an individual one once again has them in high demand.
As far as Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek are concerned, therein lies the one problem from a fantasy standpoint – the games are being split.
Each netminder has played 28 games this season and while Osgood’s numbers are far superior, the team plays much better in front of Hasek. Despite practically equal minutes played, the Dominator has faced 587 shots to Osgood’s 686.
If the team could decide on one full-time goaltender, that man would be the top-ranked goalie in the league.
With Osgood signed on for next season and Hasek contemplating retirement after this season, that problem may solve itself.
You may find that Fantasy Pool Look has at times been lacking in Red Wings’ content over the years, but that’s giving a nod to a truly great organization. Advising readers to pick up a Detroit player is simply stating the obvious. It’s also stating the impossible, since poolies who own them are reluctant to let them go.
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: Colorado’s Paul Stastny (appendectomy) is expected back in the lineup this week…Winger Maxim Afinogenov re-aggravated his groin in practice Monday, mean he won't return to the Sabres lineup this Tuesday as expected…While Atlanta star Ilya Kovalchuk is out with a knee injury, keep an eye on rookie Brett Sterling, who was recalled to replace him. He didn’t see a lot of ice time Saturday (10 minutes), but Atlanta only had one power play. When they get five or six power plays in a game, Sterling will see lots of ice. Kovalchuk will likely only miss a couple more games, however, so Sterling’s opportunity will be short.