In these dog days of August, as teams gear up for training camp, not much excitement is being generated in the hockey world. Free agents, for the most part, have signed with their respective teams. At the same time, it is too early to determine how top prospects will fair. Yet, it is now that the fantasy hockey owner must diligently prepare for his or her upcoming draft. The attentive consideration and effort one puts in now, will go a long way in determining who will be raising the championship hardware come April.
Fortunately, many fine hockey writers do not lay down their pens during this canicule. By gleaning the abundant wellspring of information they provide, one may discover that golden nugget that can potentially make the difference between victory and also-ran. With this in mind, here are a few links that may help you, the fantasy hockey owner:
Fantasy Hockey Blog at Razzball.com- DC
The denizens at Razzball have done an extraordinary job opining daily about fantasy baseball since October 2007, fantasy football since July 2009, and fantasy basketball since August 2010. And now, this month, with the same wit and wry sense of humor, Razzball introduces its daily blog by DC, dedicated to fantasy hockey. DC starts preparing us for the draft with a three-day series, 2011-12 Fantasy Hockey Top 30 Rankings. In a subsequent post, he posits his "Draft Strategery" with uncomparable tips such as "The Setoguchi Effect" and "Don't Blame Me, Stupid." Currently he is examining, "The Best of the Rest: Goalies." Go over there. You will appreciate DC's hockey advice and savor his levity. For example, this is what he has to say about Mikka Kiprusoff: "He also makes me think of....... Yawnstipating. I know he’s better than that, but if you take him as your #1 goalie there’s nothing to get excited about. It’s like going to a top notch steak house and getting a sirloin."
Down Goes Brown- Sean McIndoe
With many rosters locked as training camp approaches, Sean gives us his buyer's guide to some one-time star free agents who may have difficulties finding work. For those of us who are thinking sleeper picks, the guide includes for each player the good, the bad, and where he'd fit. For example, the good for Pascal Leclaire: "Every NHL contract he has signed so far has, eventually, expired." Or the bad for Brett Lebda: "Struggled so badly last year that he was occasionally referred to as 'The poor man's Brett Lebda'." And where Sergei Samsonov may fit: "On your fantasy team as a 'sleeper pick' based on name recognition, then on the waiver wire by mid-November, just like every year." Down Goes Brown never fails to give us a good read and a good guffaw.
Puck Daddy- Greg Wyshynski
There has been much concern over the long lingering side effects of Sidney Crosby's concussion. Crosby and the Penguins are still waiting word from medical specialists in Georgia and Michigan to prescribe a treatment regimen. "They'll give us the advice on what he should do with his training and going into training camp," GM Ray Shero said. Until he is symptom-free and gets clearance from his medical team, Crosby will not be allowed to have contact in practice or play in any games. So Greg asks the obvious question, "Would you still take Sidney Crosby in your NHL fantasy draft?" Jay's August 25th post here at FHS, Thursday's Daily Dosage- Top Five Players, generated a lively discussion in the comments section as to where in the draft Sidney should be chosen. In a standard 12-team league, Jay and jsuites would select him 5th. Michael and Slicktee would not have him in their top five. Greg at Puck Daddy asks Scott Pianowski, editor of the Yahoo! Sports blog Roto Arcade and Darryl Dobber of Dobberhockey.com for their advice. Scott would pick Sid the Kid "2nd and hope," whereas Dobber would not select him in his top nine if the draft was held today.
Dobber Hockey- Prospects to Avoid- Stu McDonald
With the draft in mind, Stu gives us seven prospects who he feels will not produce during the 2011-12 season. He believes Jonathan Huberdeau will not see more than nine games this year because the Panthers are stacked at center and will avoid putting him on the wing. Similarly, Ryan Ellis won't see a lot of ice time because Nashville has too many offensive options at the blue line (Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Jonathon Blum, and Roman Josi). Adam Larsson is a complete defensive defenseman and will likely make the Devils this season. However, Stu questions his offensive ability and doubts he can register fantasy worthy numbers. Stu does recommend drafting Huberdeau, Ellis, and Larsson for keeper leagues. On the other hand, he warns us against drafting at all cost Nikita Filatov, Zach Hamill, Luca Caputi, and Jordan Schroeder until they can prove to be legitimate prospects again. Stu makes a special case for Anders Lindback, who he considers an underrated prospect. If Pekka Rinne gets hurt or traded he can very well become the number one goalie in Nashville. Hockey Prospectus writer Matthew Coller also believes Lindback will play 20 games this year based on his .915 save percentage last season.
Hopefully these links will provide insight as you prepare for your drafts. I will continually keep you up-to-date on blogs, articles, websites, publications, etc. to make your fantasy hockey experience as enjoyable and enlightening as possible. Please feel free to offer any suggestions in the comments about content that you feel would be of interest to the fantasy hockey community.