Archive for the ‘Draft Advice’ Category

I’m Late, I’m Late, I’m Late

September 29, 2008

Fantasy shit is happening.  I’ve been busy.  Blame my wife; she feels compelled to celebrate our anniversary…don’t ask me why.  

Only a few mysteries as far as the the Senators are concerned.  Let’s start with what you know.  Heatley will be a top 5 pick in every league.  If he’s not in yours, rectify the situation.  Spezza will go late in the first round or early in the 2nd.  Alfie is a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.  After that, it get’s interesting.  There’s not much formula for any of the other guys.  I think the Sens will challenge for the division…admittedly, I’m a partisan.   

There are certainly chemistry issues to start the season; don’t panic.   I would give Gerber a very good chance at 40 wins with a GAA of 2.5 and sv% of .910.  The defense is a big question.  You have Volchenkov and Phillips with virtually no fantasy consideration whatsoever unless you’re desperate for plus/minus but they’re integral to Gerber’s success.  Then you have Jason Smith (another fantasy non starter) and Kuba.  Kuba is likely to get first nod on the power play.  He’s not a top notch PP guy, but he’ll get some points to start and he likes to shoot the puck. 

The rest of the D is a work in progress.  Everyone wants Brian Lee to step up and be the puck mover we so dearly need.  It’s not out of the question and I give him a 10% chance of being that guy this year.  I’m not drafting him, but I’m keeping a keen eye on the situation. 

Schubert is the guy that may be on tap to reap some PP rewards.  The biggest thing that concerns me about Schubie is that he falls down a lot.  No really…it would be funny if he weren’t on my team.  He just falls down.  He’s got a shot that goes through community centers and maims 70 year old knitters, but he’s Harold Lloyd on skates.  (old reference, lost on young readers I’m sure….how about, oh say….Kristie Yamaguchi)

Chances are probably pretty good that Alfie will play the point on the power play, which leaves only maybe one other Senator as a really good play from the blue line.  Pick him out early and you may benefit nicely.  Schubert, Kuba and Lee are the prospects. 

Vermette, Winchester and Neil are the other obvious fantasy plays on the team.  I’m not touching anyone else.  Winchester is currently slated to play with Spezza and Heatley.  This could easily change but it’s perhaps worth a late round flyer to see how this pans out.  There are always waiver plays to fill in the spot if he crashes.

Vermette is likely to have a spot on a line with Alfie, so if they develop any kind of chemistry, ‘Toine could very nicely improve on his 50 points from last season.  I think he’s keenly aware that there are some eyes on him this season. 

Neil will get his 30 points and 200 PIMs again.  That’s worth something in most leagues.

Oh Garsh Golly Gee 

Here are some sleeper picks; don’t let them slip by you:

Joe Sakic; he’s going very late for a hall of famer and a point/game guy, in most leagues.
Todd Bertuzzi:  Love him or hate him, he’s currently on a line with Iginla and Langkow and he’s got the skills to be a monster.
Shea Weber:  Probably my best sleeper pick.  14 points last year (or something like that) because of injury and this guy is Dion Phaneuf Jr; and a better defensive player than Phaneuf.   I really like everything about him. 
Kevin Bieksa:  Don’t forget about a guy who had 40 odd points 2 years ago along with 180 PIMs…OY!  He’s on the number 1 PP.   
Derick Brassard/Jakob Voracek: one of them with be on a line with Nash and Huselius.  They’re both undeniable talents.  I like those odds for points.  Keep an eye on them.
Kristian Huselius:  uhh…I just mentioned him; but for those who don’t know, he lead the Swedish league in scoring in 2004.  “Big deal”, you say?…. that was the year of the lockout and Forsberg and Hossa, among others, played in Sweden.  He’s very capable of point/game.
Bobby Ryan:  Talented, but enigmatic.  He’s lost about 20 pounds and *seems* to be dedicated this year….and he’s slated to be on a line with Getzlaf and Perry.  Certainly worth a look.
Kris Letang:  With Whitney and Gonchar suffering injuries (not sure how bad Gonchar’s is at this point), Letang has been getting number one PP work and even if Gonchar comes back, I would think he stays there until Whitney comes back (if he does).  Alex Goligoski is another candidate to get PP time in the interim.
Andrei Kostitsyn:  He’s not an unknown, but all word out of Montreal is that he, along with his brother  Sergei and Tomas Plekanec are flying this preseason.  I look for him to improve on his numbers from last year.
Sergei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec:  uhhh…..see above.
Patrice Bergeron:  He’s slipping in most leagues because of his injury last year.  Don’t let him slip too far in your league.  He’s top notch talent.
Teemu Selanne:  Another guy withouts stats from last year, but he’s in camp for the Ducks and is still top drawer
Alex Semin:  Sublime talent due for a breakout.

Guys I’ve downgraded

Anyone in an Atlanta Thrashers sweater; that includes Kovalchuk.  He’s ranked top 10 in most lists.  I’d put him late in the 2nd round.  He’s still going to get his points/shots, but not nearly as many and his plus/minus will be crapola.  Atlanta is a team going the wrong way.  Others that I’ve moved down my list are Enstrom, Schneider, Kozlov and Hainsey.  Add 20 spots to whatever list you’re looking at and then consider these guys.  Lehtonen is being completely ignored in some leagues;  oof!
Markus Nasland:  Here’s a guy who’s been in the Vancouver for a decade and now he has to learn everything over again in New York; and he just doesn’t seem motivated any more.  You’re forever hearing that his next stop is in Sweden.  50 points for Markus.
Cory Stillman: Still a consumate professional, but Florida is rebuilding and this is going to be a tough year.  He’s generally as good as the guys around him.
Ray Whitney:  times up and he’s injury prone….I’m staying away.
Danny Briere:  I just don’t see him ever living up to his contract.  Buffalo was a perfect situation for him.  He won’t approach 90 points again; 70 is more likely. 
Andrej Meszaros:  If you can stomach a plus/minus of -30, go for it.  I’m staying away. 
Johan Franzen:  Yep, he had a nice playoff; add him to a long and indistiguished list.  Love to have him in April, not buying him in October.
 
That’s all I have for now. 

BRING ON THE T-SHIRTS!!!

Oh, and one more thing…expect the “pimple on my ass”, Mike Ribeiro to have a serious ‘correction’ in his stats this year.  He’s a classic case of a piece of shit having a good year when his contract is up.  I’ve looked into his eyes, and his soul is a dark rocky place where seed will find no purchase.

Senators Fight Washington (it’s an old story)

September 21, 2007

207530218.jpgLines for tonights Caps game:

If you’re looking at the box score, you’ll see that Alfie scored while on the ice, five on five, with Spezza and Heatley.  Paddock threw him out there for 2 or 3 shifts and that’s all it took to get on the tally sheet.

Top Line:  Heatley, Spezza, Eaves….Alfie came on as a forward on the number 1 power play unit along with Redden and Schubert on the points.  In the third period, Eaves stayed out for the number 1 unit and Alfie moved to the point.   No solid information gained, except to say that they’re considering all options which boosts Alfie’s value, I would say. 

Second Line:  This was all over the place.  Let’s call it Alfie, Vermette, Kelly.

Early second unit power play:  Lee & Nycholat on the points, Eaves, Vermette & Cody Bass up front.

Gerber gives up 3 goals and is replaced by Brian Elliott which was the plan all along; the replacement, not the 3 goals.  I mentioned Elliott in an earlier post; it’s interesting to note that he was the 291st pick in the 2003 draft.  He may very well turn out to be the steal of that draft.  I really don’t think he has a chance in Hades to crack the lineup this year unless there is a trade, but you keeper leaguers may want to keep an eye on his AHL stats this year.   Elliott gave up 1 goal in half a game and got the win as the Sens storm back from 3-1 down

Is Nick Foglino making a spot for himself on the roster with his 2nd goal and 5th point in two games?  Gosh, I have to think so; wake-up call answered.  In the postgame interview, Paddock was slow to praise him, but I have to believe that was to keep the youngsters head from swelling.

I’m Feeling a Draft in Here

September 20, 2007

2309788059.jpgAs fantasy drafts are now taking place, let’s get right to the meat of it:

The Sens are loaded with fantasy worthy players, but figuring out who all of them are is the real trick.  The are some no-brainers, so let’s start with them:

Dany Heatley: Heater will be the 2nd player off many draft boards after God…er….Crosby [removes tongue from cheek].  Heatley is the only player with two straight years of 50 goals and 100 points, so he’s a pretty safe bet.    Add to that that he’s in a contract year and will be looking to cash in.  Multiply that by the fact that he has stated that he intends to increase his shot totals this year; something he’s done in every season save “the accident” season. Heatley’s only health problems have been the result of “the accident”, so there’s no reason to think he’ll get injured.  Count on another 50-55 goals and 110 points.

 Spezza: Depending upon your stomach for injury risk, Spezza will go late in the first or sometime in the 2nd round.  On a point per game basis, Spezza is 2nd in the league only to Crosby over the past 2 seasons.  The disconcerting part is that a kid this young has had problems with a wonky back.  There has been no talk of it so far this preseason, so factor that in as you will.  He did a better job with shooting the puck last year, so he could tally 35-40 goals with 110 points, if he gets in 75 games.

Alfredsson: As has been the case the past 2 seasons, the Sens have been looking for more balanced scoring, which means moving Alfie to the 2nd line.  Murray was pretty stubborn about keeping lines in tact for the power play, so Alfie’s numbered suffered when he was moved from the point.  Still, he managed 87 points playing sparingly with Heatley and Spezza.  I’m putting him down at the 80 point level (30G, 50A) with some upside potential if he gets tossed back in on the top line for any length of time.

Emery: Here’s one of your riskier picks.  Emery is just coming off wrist surgery and has just started practicing with the team.  He’ll probably go in the 2nd round in many leagues, but be warned; he’s had a rocky offseason and there are reasons (that I won’t go into) to think he may be on the outs with the team.  Paddock has come out and said that the number 1 job is his, but I’m not going to look at him as my number 1 goalie.  If he’s there in the 4th or 5th round, I’ll grab him but then make sure I have Gerber as a handcuff. 

Redden: He slumped last year so may be sliding down draft lists.  I saw him go in the 9th round (right before I was going to grab him).  This is a contract year for him, so he has that motivation.  He has also been challenged by the coach to be more productive so he has that motivation.  Something to consider, however….Redds is building a 6500 square foot house in Kelowna (which is nowhere near Ottawa) that is due to be completed about the time he hits free agency.  This doesn’t bode well for his long term relationship with the Sens.  If he makes it to the trade deadline with the Senators, I would say he’ll be in the 55 point range.

Fisher: Armed with a new 5 year contract, there will be pressure on Fish to improve on his 48 points in 68 games.  Playing with Alfie would certainly help, but he has to stay healthy and he’s had trouble doing that with his “caution to the wind” style of playing.  While this makes him a fan favourite, it also tends to mean time on the shelf.   I think I predicted he would get 65 last year if he stayed on the 2nd line which wasn’t the case.  I’m going back to the “65 point well” and predict he will play with Alfie for most of the season. 

Corvo: He spent some time in the doghouse and ended the year on the 3rd pairing.  In looking at the roster, it’s difficult to see who would bump him from the top power play unit unless they pull Alfie back there.  Tonight’s preseason game should give a good indication of who will occupy the spot opposite Redden on the PP, so I’ll give an update at that time.  Corvo on the top PP unit probably gets 40-45 points.  If he’s on the 2nd unit, bump him down 10.  I still see him on the third pairing playing with Schubert or Nycholat or Richardson.

Here’s where it gets quite a bit dicier.  At this point, Patrick Eaves is the odds on favorite to get the top line spot.  His tenure there last year was spotty at best.  He’ll have to impress in camp to start the season there and if he doesn’t, he’ll likely play on the 4th line which makes him waiver material.  Vermette is another with top line possibility, but there is some concern that he may not be defensively responsible enough and there’s also a reticence to split him off from Kelly with whom he kills penalties, so third line is as likely for him with Neil and Kelly.  Which is what makes Zubov so intriguing in this equation.  He’s been lighting it up in early preseason and it’s not inconceivable that he would make the team.  If he does, he’s not going to be a 3rd or 4th liner and I would put him in with Fish and Alfie if he makes it.  McAmmond is so very versatile that I could see him getting a shot at the top line.  He certainly has the speed to keep up with the big boys and is very responsible.  I wish I could be more specific about these players, but I have a reputation (as a fence sitter) to consider.  Eaves is worth a late draft pick and deeper league owners may look at the others with hope and prayer until this all shakes out.  Certainly keep you eye on the situation and if your league drafts late in the preseason, there may be better information available. 

As for the rest of the defense, I’m going to say Meszaros and Schubert get the point duties on the 2nd power play unit.  Again, a lot depends on what they do with Alfie.  Phillips and Volchenkov aren’t really draftable unless you really just want a kick in the +- (I mean that in a positive way).  Phillips put up some points last year, but don’t expect 25 points from him this year.  He was playing for the contract he got.  Expect him to go back to his 20 points levels of yore. 

Neil: 30 points and 200 PIMs.  There is talk that McGratton might be a casualty of the new rules and instigator penalty, which would improve Neiler’s value.  If that’s the case,Neil will still get 3rd line time and be expected to handle the rough stuff.  If Neil is on your waiver wire when the Buffalo games roll around, grab him for the 5-25 PIMs he’s likely to get in those games.

Gerber: He is the last Senator I will project as a draftable player.  Certainly those who already have Emery should grab him as a handcuff and those in deeper leagues can take a shot at him to mess with the owner who waited too long to do so.  Even if he never gets out of the backup role, he’s still going to get 25-30 starts and win 15-20 games.