Here is a strategy that was so brilliant, I had to share...

As most of you know, I am in the Talented Mr. Roto's ICE experts league. Here is a brief summary:

Participants are Darryl Dobbs (The Hockey News), Scott Cullen (TSN), Jan Levine (Rotowire), Michael Finewax (Rotoworld), Gus Katsaros (McKeen’s), Pete Becker (Rotopass.com), Eric Maltais (the Talented Mr. Roto), Christian Peterson (Fanball), Matt Romig (Yahoo), Dan Dobish (CBS Sportsline), Ray Flower (FantasyHockey.com), and Roy Aquino (Sportsblurb).

Rules: Leader in a category (G, A, PPP, +/-, PIM, SV%, W, GAA) gets 12 points (bottom gets one point). 3C, 3RW, 3LW, 6D, 2G, 5 bench.

Anyway, I was first throughout October and two weeks of November. I was then slammed by injuries (Hemsky, Doan, Zubrus, Sopel, Van Ryn), but I made a nice recovery by plucking Brunette, Cleary, Recchi, and Koivu off waivers. Cleary was valuable because he could play LW and RW in Yahoo. Zubrus was similarly valuable because he could play RW and C. Because I had Zubrus, Koivu, H.Sedin, Savard and Yashin all at center, and was hurting on the point, I offered McKeen's Koivu for Boyle. He was weak at center. He wanted Yashin, so I did the deal.

We all know what happened to Boyle and Yashin after that. It launched me back into first place by mid-December and I stayed there until the beginning of February.

It has fallen apart and I have fallen to third. There is not a lot I can do. The waiver wire is plucked clean.

The reason for the drop? Marty Turco has hit the skids. Rick DiPietro has slipped as well - his team hasn't been getting him the W's. I owe much of my success to these two - absolute steals in the rounds that I got them in. I got them because I knew they would play 70 games, and whether they suck or not - 70 games from a goalie is good. I also have Martin Biron as my No. 3 goalie, waiting on a deal so I can make him my starter.

Anyway, that's the background. My goalie categories have cost me first and I am now third, yet my goaltending is solid and could get hot at any moment - so my hands are tied. Right?

Wrong.

Usually I would agree, but suddenly a goaltender has appeared that could save the day - Jaroslav Halak of Montreal. As you can imagine, a pool full of experts has sucked all the decent goalies off the waiver wire. Your choices are limited to J.S. Aubin, Mathieu Garon and the like. Hell, even Sean Burke is unavailable!

So Halak comes along and has won two in a row. He could be nothing, but Montreal is ahalak team that seems to have a goalie pop up every 10 years and drive them forward. Some of them fizzle the next season (Steve Penney) and some of them push them into the playoffs (Cristobal Huet and Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden). Either way, it is only a one season pool so I don't care if they fizzle in the playoffs or in the following year.

I don't need a goalie, but Halak potentially could be the best commodity out there. I have to have him.

This is how our waiver system works. We have a $100 budget and you submit a blind bid to the commissioner. By January, I had spent $39 on Brunette, Recchi, Koivu, Cleary, Klesla, Giordano...and one or two others (can't remember). The $61 I had left put me about 8th in terms of budget. Since then, I haven't spent a cent (actually - Giordano cost me $1, but that's not the point - he's dropped now anyway).

I need defensemen. If I can get Halak, maybe I could trade TURCO. What would Turco bring me? A premium defenseman. What would I do about goaltending? Well, Halak could pan out, and if not maybe Biron will get moved. Either way, the only time to get Halak is NOW.

I bid $23 because the highest bid I had ever seen was $21. I overbid for him because goalies come along once every...well, never. I will drop Cleary. Zetterberg and Datsyuk are getting all the points now in Detroit, so Cleary is gone. He's still a 50-point guy I think, but that doesn't help me and he's on my bench anyway.

My defensemen - Van Ryn won't pull out of his funk, Bouwmeester is a little...so he's okay, Klesla is not doing THAT bad, but Pronger, Boyle and Sopel are carrying the D. Spacek is on IR. So I need to move Turco and pick up a top rearguard.

So I guess all this yacking tells you this - I grabbed the best player available, overpaid for him even though it is in a position that I am strong in, so I can leverage a trade to address my weakness. Hope this helps guys.


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