Zach Parise played his first game against the Devils yesterday, the team he left after signing on in Minnesota for $98 million over 13 years. It’s hard to blame Parise for leaving, he had earned the right to enter unrestricted free agency and negotiate the best possible deal for him and his family.
From a fantasy hockey perspective, the move has been a negative one thus far. I doubt that he really took his fantasy owners into account when choosing a city – Minnesota has long been considered one of the more defensively minded teams in the NHL.
The Wild are currently 21st in the league for goals for, averaging 2.43 per contest. In 2012-13 they finished the season at 2.46 goals per game, good for 22nd overall. If we go back to 2011-12 the results are even more bleak, Minnesota scored only 2.02 goals per game, the lowest total in the NHL by a significant margin.
What does this mean for those that drafted Parise?
Well, let’s start with the good news – Parise is still only 29 years old. I’ve seen a couple games this year and he appears to be skating well and getting his chances to produce. He’s been lauded in the past for his commitment to the game and attention to detail. It is conceivable he could be a productive fantasy asset into his mid 30s.
On a team like the Wild he’ll almost certainly be the focal point of the offense the next 4 or 5 years. Even if Granlund emerges he’ll still need someone to pass the puck to and that will be Parise.
What about the bad news? In New Jersey Zach had established himself as a reliable point per game player with over 340 shots and near 30 power play points. In my keeper league he was taken 5th overall 5 years ago, behind only Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby and Getzlaf. During Parise’s most productive seasons between 2008 and 2010 the Devils finished 14th and 19th in goals per game.
You may not think that is a massive difference to the situation he is in today, but it is enough to have an impact. Parise’s numbers now appear to have settled into the range of 65 points, 15-20 power play markers and 300-320 shots. Those are more than respectable numbers and warrant a top 35 selection in the majority of formats.
Nothing about Parise’s game seems to have changed, but his new surroundings will make that uber elite, top scoring winger a thing of the past. What is required is that we all re-think how we value Zach and accept that he may have shifted from ‘great’, to merely ‘very good’ in the world of fantasy.
Onto today’s daily dosage...
A quick note before we get into the details. Last week I experimented with providing the key 7 things you need to know from last night’s games. This helps me avoid getting lost in the minutiae of each game and instead allows for a greater focus on the key facts that can hopefully help you and your fantasy team.
7 Things You Should Know
1. Jason Spezza continues to be elite despite being yo-yo’d throughout the lineup
Spezza has come under fire for his defensive play, or lack thereof, resulting in his temporary demotion to the third line to play alongside Chris Neil. Fear not, it didn’t stick, as Jason ended the game against Dallas with over 3 minutes of power play time and 20 minutes total. He added a goal and an assist giving him 14 points in 13 games. If he can stay healthy (granted, that’s a big "if") I fully expect Spezza to post 80 points and over 220 shots.
2. Nichushkinnnnnnnnnn scores his first goal of the year
Ok, he didn’t necessarily bust out per se, but at least the 18 year old rookie finally netted his first goal (of what will be many during his career) of the season. It’s a step in the right direction for Nichushkin even though he hasn’t been fantasy relevant thus far with only 3 points and 15 shots in 13 games. In one year pools I would shy away from adding him, in keeper pools he’ll likely be a star in 2-4 years, if you can afford to wait.
3. Never discount draft pedigree – Kyle Turris adds another 2 assists
Turris has found immediate chemistry with linemates Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan on what is being called Ottawa’s "first" line by some. Kyle is now up to a point per game with 14 in the first 14 games. The most encouraging sign from my perspective is the shots on goal; he has 44, an 82 game pace of 257. To put that in perspective he was only on pace for 201 during the lockout shortened season.
4. Swiss goalie Reto Berra makes 42 saves in Calgary's win over Chicago
Who? That's what I said this morning. It was Berra's first ever start in the NHL, having played professionally in Switzerland up until this point in his career. The Flames have used a number of goalies this year, including Karri Ramo and Joey McDonald. It's hard to predict exactly how many starts Berra will see, but if you're desperate for goal-tending help he may be worth a look this week.
5. Patrick Kane is now 7th in goals
I remember at the start of the year some poolies were considering moving Kane on account of his slow start. He posted another goal and assist last night to go with 5 shots. That gives him 13 points and 51 shots on the season. In keeper leagues I would be hesitant to move Kane unless it was the perfect deal. A 24 year old winger capable of posting 80 plus points and 260 shots - there are so few players with his mix of youth and production.
6. Welcome to Pominville
He added another goal and an assist in a 4 to 0 win over New Jersey. Pominville is now up to 10 goals on the season, 3rd most in the league. I think he can keep it up, given the opportunities he's receiving alongside Granlund in the top six. However, if the right offer comes along he's becoming a possible 'sell high' candidate in your pool. Interesting aside from that game, Nino Niederreiter (yes that Nino Niederreiter) produced 3 assists. He now has 9 points and a respectable 36 points. Most of you know by now I absolutely love draft pedigree - Nino was taken 5th overall in 2010.
7. The Wild's goal-tending situation gets murky with a Harding shutout last night
Harding made 19 saves for the shutout win against New Jersey and now has an incredible 1.10 GAA and .950 S% on the season. I still believe that Backstrom will get his chances to reclaim starts over the course of the season, although it is hard to ignore how spectacular Harding has been. Ideally you can acquire both tenders and have the hand cuff just in case.