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.
Perhaps you’d prefer this article “en francais” like this . Much thanks goes to Steve Rodgers for his efforts in translation of this article. I know I couldn’t have done it. (Cliquez ici pour la version française )
I’d like to introduce you to Steve Rodgers. He’s a Gatineau boy and since we grew up on opposite edges of the Ottawa Valley I figured his situation is well worth looking at. He plays in a 10 team league that counts goals and assists only while giving a goaltender two points for a win and three pts for a shutout. They also have an obscure option where you can roster an NHL team and that roster slot earns you two pts for a win and one pt for an OTL. Interesting, n’est ce pas? They have 15 roster spots, one of which is your team option and one is a goaltender slot. It is not permissible to have more than one goalie or more than one team option on your roster. There is also a three-man reserve list which is usually occupied by non-NHL prospects and after every season five players have to be turfed back into a draft, reserves are automatically kept. Few teams roster a defenseman of any kind since it isn’t required and isn’t necessarily beneficial anyway.
There is a quirky thing about your league, the bottom three point tallies on your roster (excluding the reserve) do not count for your total tally. So, in reality 12 players count toward your point total at the end of the year. I should also take this moment to point out that Steve and I made contact a mere four days before his trade deadline. Time was short, very short, and there was work to be done.
Let’s take a look. I’ll grade your team for you and I’ll discuss your keeper options further below:
Henrik Sedin VAN (A-) – one of the best pure assist guys in the game. He might be Adam Oates good eventually, he might be that already.
Paul Kariya STL (B-) – I’m still hoping he shoots more, he scored at least 40 in two of his first five full seasons and now he’s in a dogfight to get 20. It has certainly been noticeable how much he doesn’t shoot anymore.
Jonathan Cheechoo SJ (C-) – I was one of the few who said that one day he’d return to 80 pt status when Dobber asked about it in a recent poll. He’ll play with Big Joe and he’ll score again.
Alexander Radulov NAS (B+) – like many folks at dobberhockey I love the idea of having Rad in a keeper league. Keep him forever. He’s just broken into some significant ice time for the Preds and only 6 of his 51 pts have come on the PP. What’s going to happen when he gets the power play time he deserves? He’ll explode for stats.
Rod Brind’amour CAR (B) – his injury and the fact you can’t replace him drops his value. When healthy he’s a very good but old option in this league.
Daniel Sedin VAN (A-) – the slightly better twin for overall play if you ask me. Since you only count points I see no discernable difference between them. We’re not supposed to see a difference though, they’re twins.
Simon Gagne PHI (D) – I have real concerns for his career after another concussion ends his season.
Teemu Selanne ANA (C-) – if he had started the season earlier he’d have a lot more value for your team. Right now I don’t see him making it to your top 12 scorers and I don’t see the sense in keeping him for next year either since there’s a good chance he won’t play.
Olli Jokinen FLA (A-) – you don’t count +/- so Olli is golden here.
Andy McDonald STL (B) – he needed a sniper when he was in Anaheim and Teemu was vacationing, then he got sent to St Louis and he found Brad Boyes. The chemistry will continue to develop and it might turn into a really good pairing over the next few years.
Pavol Demitra MIN (B-) – is 60 pts a season the top end? Given his injury history I’ll say yes.
Nik Antropov TOR (B-) – I’ve never been a believer, and I’m a Leafs fan, but this season he’s camping in front of the net more and he’s gotten pretty adept at the tip. I see a bunch of seasons of garbage goals and he could end up being Dino Ciccarelli without the grit (think 30 goal upside).
Milan Michalek SJ (B) – he only had seven goals at the beginning of December and he’s now into the 20’s. He can go on streaks and having a great passer like Joe around is always valuable.
Miikka Kiprusoff CAL (A-) – you only count wins and shutouts so his lack of shutties this year hurt your stats a little but still, he’s a top 5 goalie.
Anaheim (B+) – good pick, although to select them knowing they wouldn’t have Niedermayer or Selanne for a while was a pretty decent risk.
Res – Peter Kalus MIN (na) – 57th ranked Dobber prospect. He was drafted in 2005 and I would think will need to break into the lineup this fall or maybe never will.
Res – Brett Sterling ATL (na) – 42nd ranked Dobber prospect. I wonder if there’ll be room for him in ATL anytime soon since they got so many young names in the Hossa deal this month.
Res – Jiri Hudler DET (B-) – why is he reserved? He’s coming into his third season next year and I wouldn’t be surprised by continued growth and an upside of 50 pts next year.
Now you have to throw five names back into the draft next year and reserves are exempted from this decision. Two options jump out at me as easy choices, your team option, Anaheim, and Teemu Selanne. You can easily replace your team option in your draft, in fact New Jersey and Dallas weren’t claimed THIS year so you’ll be fine with having to select a new team option next year. I have doubts that Teemu is going to play next year at all and actually since the bottom 3 players on your roster (excluding reserve) don’t earn you points toward your total, Teemu probably shouldn’t be on your team this year either.
The other three non-keepers are dependant on other issues. Is Rod Brind’amour going to return next season and be healthy given his age? Will Simon Gagne return to 50 goal form or will he be plagued by concussions for what could be a short career from here on out? What about Pavol Demitra? Is he ever going to have a healthy season? What sort of seasons can be expected out of Nik Antropov, Milan Michalek, Andy McDonald, and Paul Kariya in the future?
As for the five names in question, it’s tough to make a call now and ideally you should wait for September before making your decision but right now I think the guys should be: Anaheim, Selanne, Michalek, Demitra, and I hate to say it but, Gagne.
Waiver Wire Options
Actually there are no options for waiver adds. An injured guy sits on your roster unless you’re at one of two times during the season when your roster can be adjusted. The next time that your roster can adjust is in September 2008, so there won’t be any waiver suggestions for you.
Luc – Trading Targets: Patrick O’Sullivan, Brad Boyes, Peter Mueller. He has some nice young guys to go after and he sits in 2nd place. He wants to make a run so it might be feasible to offer a few more points for a young guy who’ll score less this year but be a monster in the future. Antropov and a pick for O’Sullivan and a pick.
Joel – Trading Targets: Martin St. Louis, Rick DiPietro, Patrick Marleau. I’m going to have you target all 3 of these guys actually and you have Kiprusoff that you could use as bait to help get this done. In a keeper I think the window will close soon for acquiring an elite young goalie like DiPietro. Kiprusoff/Michalek/Antropov for St.Louis/DiPietro/Marleau.
Alain – Trading Targets: Kyle Turris, Patrick Berglund, Jakob Voracek, Bobby Ryan, draft picks. Alain is in 10th and will most likely finish in last this season. He’s rostering a very young squad already and might be tempted by getting a bit older. Berglund/Voracek/2nd round pick for McDonald/Antropov/1st round pick.
Pierre – Trading Targets: Mike Cammalleri, Jason Pominville. I don’t see very much that is feasible here but Cammalleri has a bit of an injury history that might make him easier to trade for. Demitra for Cammalleri.
Denis – Trading Targets: Justin Williams, Ryan Smyth, Dustin Penner, Tomas Plekanec. You’re not winning this year so why not try to get an injured guy off someone else so that he has a shot at something with a healthy player (since he can’t replace an injured guy on his roster anyway)? Antropov and McDonald for Williams and Smyth.
Jean – Trading Targets: Alex Semin, Tomas Vanek, Nik Zherdev, Jeff Carter. Jean has Semin on his reserve list so he isn’t earning any points for him. That may mean that he can be obtained by trade. Antropov for Semin.
Guy – Trading Targets: Derrick Brassard, Sergei Kostitsyn. You tell me you’ve tried to get Brassard in the past but we’ll try again. Antropov and Sterling for Brassard and S. Kostitsyn then offer up picks as needed to get this done.
Nobody bit. I couldn’t believe it actually. We must’ve put 20 trade offers out there and ended up with about 2 counter offers that were not appropriate given the team needs down the road.
None of the teams with a shot at the championship this year were willing to discuss options, they preferred to stick with their own roster. Luc indicated that he might trade Brad Boyes for Nik Antropov and a swap of picks … and then nothing happened. Discussions with Joel proceeded until he requested Kiprusoff and both Sedins in exchange for DiPietro, St. Louis and Marleau which didn’t seem like a viable deal when Marleau may not be kept by either guy for next year. Joel should’ve taken the offer of Kiprusoff/Antropov/Demitra for DiPietro/St.Louis/Marleau that would’ve been good for him.
None of the teams near the bottom of the standings wanted to discuss trading reserve roster guys either, they preferred to wait until reserves could develop. Our discussions with Guy for Brassard went nowhere, he didn’t even return the email before the trade deadline came upon us.
We felt like the Montreal Canadiens at the real NHL deadline; we thought it best to stick with what we had rather than make a bad trade. Bob Gainey said it best on deadline day, “Si j'avais fait l'échange, je serais plus dans le pétrin que je le suis devant vous actuellement” or if your French isn’t better than my grade 10 french, “if I had accepted the trade, I would be in more trouble than I am before you today” (actually Steve translated that for me).
Trading is hard and guys don’t see things the same way. It truly is best not to accept a bad offer just so that you can say that you got something done. There will be other days, other chances and other offers to make. Your work isn’t done and I suspect that you and I will discuss your options again when it comes time to make your keeper picks. In the meantime, good luck my francophone brother.
If you are in a keeper league and need a strategy heading into the summer, let Ian spend a month working with you! To get started, email Dobber - (dobber(at)dobberhockey.com)