Originally Posted by bizzl
I'd happily move Carter and Smith or Kulikov for Ekman-Larsson. If given the choice between moving Kulikov or Smith I'd move Kulikov.
Have you given any thought to shopping Halak and keeping Backstrom? I know it sounds crazy and it's not what you asked in the first place, but it's something to think about. If GAA and Sv% were included I'd never even think about it. With your categories Backstrom scored 489 points last year to Halak's 701. A 212 point difference. They both played the same amount of games (46), facing an average of less than 30 shots per game (28 per for Backstrom and 26 per for Halak).
Here's my reasoning: the Wild's team defense will improve with Parise, Suter and Granlund in the fold, and so will their offense. That means that they'll be giving up fewer quality chances and scoring more, and will therefore win more games. Barring injury, Backstrom will also start more games than last year, meaning still more points. The last time Backstrom played more than 70 games he was almost a 1000 point player with your set up. His wins weren't great last year, but his Sv% and GAA were the best they've been in the last 3 years and they've been trending up. I think it's only a matter of time until his other numbers start to reflect that.
Halak, on the other hand, is in a pontoon situation and will probably end up around the same GP totals as last year. I'd say he's a pretty solid bet to finish around where he did last year points-wise, but unless he starts 60+ games I'd be surprised if he could do much better. Because his GAA and sv% were so awesome I think there's a general perception that Halak is more valuable than he is in reality. Especially in a league like yours he's probably more highly thought of than he should be. If the Elliott owner needs nother goalie I think that's a great opportunity to upgrade elsewhere. At the very least I would shop him around and see what's out there.
It's definitely a risk, but I think it could pay off huge if I've read the tea leaves correctly.
I wouldn't necessarily disagree with this strategy, however:
1) Backstrom is a well-known band-aid boy, and his particular injuries, mostly groins, terrify me since goalie groins get a lot of work (in games. They get a lot of work in games. Stop it.). Plus, he's going to be 34 this year. I don't trust him very much.
2) I'm not sure I understand the hockey world's complete reversal of opinion on Brian Elliott. He was mediocre at best prior to last season, had his magical year, then resumed mediocrity in the playoffs. I don't buy it. People will reference Hitchcock's system, but that conveniently ignores the beginning of Steve Mason's collapse, which happened during Hitchcock's final season in Columbus. The system helps, but you don't go from a .900 SV% to a .940 overnight, I don't care who your coach is. I'm not buying it, which means I'm putting Halak down for 55+ starts this year. Am I wrong? Possibly, but the data I have show Halak to be a better goalie than Elliott.
3) This is where knowing whether the league is a daily vs. weekly lineups might be important. If it's daily, you can swap out Halak when he doesn't start for a goalie who may have slightly less value than Backstrom would in the same situation. But if you're a believer in Backstrom's health and are in a weekly league, then that extra start per week would probably make it worthwhile to keep Backstrom.