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2013-14 Fantasy Draft Gambles

by chewy 30. September 2013 12:50

 Take your chances with these guys. May pay off, or it may backfire. In other words, we're not offering any guarantees on these puppies.


Joe Pavelski             SAN     
Pavelski is rather streaky in terms of fantasy production. He has gone on incredible tears (particularly in the playoffs), but he has also hit some massive dry spells. He has become the more important Joe in San Jose and should he find consistency, could be a steal.

Jason Pominville             MIN     
Pominville has been a consistently good, but not great, fantasy forward for about a decade. Upon arriving in Minnesota, he had a nice offensive outburst before being hit by a concussion in the playoffs. He will be counted on to contribute on the top 2 lines for the Wild, but it remains to be seen if the head problems will linger.

Alexander Semin             CAR     
While Semin acquitted himself nicely on his first venture outside of Washington, he still carries a level of risk for investing an early pick. He put up good numbers last season and did his best impersonation of a team player. If he can stay content and rekindle his scoring touch, he could still have plenty of upside. Big swing in terms of how good and how bad he could be this season.

Chris Stewart             STL     
If you're looking for safe, consistent production each week, you may not have the stomach for drafting Stewart. Since coming to St. Louis, he has failed to live up to his potential that he flashed in Colorado, except in small spurts where he looks brilliant. Should he find consistency, he could be a steal. However, it's far from certain. Consider him a gamble worth taking.

Jiri Tlusty             CAR     
Tlusty suprised many with his consistent goal scoring last year, elevating expectations for fantasy owners. Perhaps higher than they should. Don't overreach based on one good season. On the other hand, should he remain paired up with Erik Staal for any length of time, he just may do it again.


Andrei Markov             MON     
Last season, Markov was shockingly healthy and remarkably productive. His talent and reliability have never been an issue when he's on the ice. However, last season's full slate of games was clearly an anomoly. You're rolling those dice to believe he can do it twice in a row. If the gamble pays off, you could have a top 5 fantasy option. More likely, you'll get production for 3/4 of the season and nothing for the rest.


Brian Elliott             STL     
Elliot seemed to regain control of the goalie situation down the stretch and into the playoffs last seasons. He failed to live up to the insane standard he set the previous year, but made a strong case for #1 job. However, Hitchcock has proven to be quick to change, given his options in net. Should he secure the net full time, his stock could rise. Seems more likely to endure another split crease in 2013-14, which severely limits his viability.

Ray Emery             PHI     
High Risk, High Reward is the overused phrase that most applies to Ray Emery in the goalie discussion. Emery has paid his dues and shaken the poor reputation he earned early in his career. He put together a fantastic effort as 1B in Chicago last season, and he's ready to make a go at being the Main Man again. His only hurdle will be to dispose of Mason in training camp. His value comes down to two factors: 1. Health. 2. Flyer Rebound. Philly has to be better this year, but that depends on them finding their way defensively. Assuming they prove 2013 to be a fluke, the Flyers should re-establish themselves as a contender, making Emery a very nice (and probably cheap) option for your fantasy squad. Snag him mid-draft and look very smart come Winter.

Jaroslav Halak             STL     
Should the Blues ever settle on a goalie, the winner of that lottery will emerge as a solid fantasy starter. Halak, Elliot, and newcomer Allen split the action 3 ways last season, to the detriment of each other. It's a bit of crap-shoot predicting the front runner, but I'm betting on Halak re-emerging this season as the top option for St. Louis. His GAA over the past two seasons has been among the best in the league. Don't bank on him as your #1 man to start the season, but you can take a flier on him late in the draft and potentially strike gold.

Jonas Hiller             ANA     
Should the specter of the shared crease be vanquished, Hiller could see his stock rise. However, given the effective split with Fasth last season, and the success Anaheim enjoyed with the pair, it's unwise to bank on a full slate of games from Hiller.

Steve Mason             PHI     
The Flyers aren't committing to either Mason or Emery heading into camp. So in theory, Mason could find himself as the starting goalie on a decent NHL squad this season. Comparing his performance over the past 4 seasons versus that of Emery, it seems more likely that Mason rides it out as a backup. Consider it a significant gamble to put your faith in Mason this season.

Fantasy Hockey Preview - Buyer Beware

by chewy 23. September 2009 05:00

When it comes to draft time for your fantasy hockey season, there are certain players that require you to look beyond the numbers.  For one reason or another, you ought to tread carefully with this list. Whether it's off-ice troubles or uncertain roles within a team, be careful to not put too much faith in this crew.




Jonathan Cheechoo  - After seasons of 37 and 29 points, is it time to give up on the former Rocket Richard trophy winner? Hard to say. I'm keeping him on my list for a late round gamble that could pay off big time. Then again, I may drop him on October 12th like I did last year.  


Paul Kariya - 15 points in 11 games makes it tempting to believe Kariya may bounce back and be a major fantasy factor now that he's back to good health. That has yet to be determined. Regardless of his injury status, his point totals have dropped steadily over the last few years, so don't go thinking you're pulling out the steal of the season by picking Kariya in one of your top 8 forward spots. Save him for a late round gamble.

Patrick Marleau - There is no way on earth to predict what you're going to get when you draft Patrick Marleau. At times, he's an amazing player who dominates the game. But his point history shows you may be dropping him a month into the season. Don't blow him off completely, but stick to the safer bets early in the draft. 


Steve Sullivan - Sullivan seems to have overcome his back problems and may once again be a fantasy factor next season. He finished the year strong with 12 points in his last 10 games. Then again, when it comes to back problems, they could return at any moment. Proceed with caution. 





Anton Babchuk - Babchuck was the hottest defenseman in the league down the stretch last season, scoring at nearly a point per game pace. That run was a washed away come playoff time, when he found himself scratched from several key games. Don't be fooled by his numbers, Babchuk will be drafted too high by a less astute GM this fall. 


Brent Burns - Some were looking for Burns to become a fantasy stud last season. Those guys were a bit disappointed. Even without the injury, it was a very poor showing in 2008. He still is worth watching to see if he can bounce back, but spend your money elsewhere at the draft. 


Pavel Kubina  - Kubina had a reputation as a good fantasy defenseman. Every now and then he goes on a run to get GMs excited. The move to Atlanta won't make a lick of difference to his fantasy value. Most likely, you're better off avoiding the headache. 


Sami Salo - Salo hasn't put in a full season. Ever. It's just not worth wasting a pick on a guy you know will spend 1/4 of the season on the bench. Stay away. 


Jaroslav Spacek - Spacek's numbers are wildly erratic over his career. He peaked at 45 last season with Buffalo. Don't expect it again this year. Montreal is a downright lost team, and he'll be struggling to know his role. I'd pencil him in for 30 points. 





Craig Anderson  - Anderson has put up impressive numbers in limited action over the past several seasons, and had a terrific run in the middle of last year. He'll get his first real shot at the #1 job in Colorado. Others have tried and failed in this role. With a rebuilding Avalance, don't count on great things from Anderson in 2009. 


Martin Biron - Biron was very good in 07 and fared well in 08. The biggest problem is his new address. Playing on the island should be enough to scare you away. Never mind the fact that there are 2 other #1 goalies to fight for playing time. Chances are, Biron will end up with most of the starts, but chances are his GAA will be a point higher in 2009. 


Nikolai Khabibulin  - Khabibulin had a big run at the end of 09 and kept that magic rolling through 2 rounds of the playoffs. His recent history as a starter is spotty, and Edmonton is more about scoring than defense these days. If he's you're #1 goalie, consider playing fantasy football instead. 

Fantasy Hockey Preview - Gambles

by chewy 14. August 2009 05:40

As you evaluate your draft list for the upcoming season, pay special note to a number of players who carry a bit of a high-risk, high-reward aspect.  While you don't want to necessarily avoid drafting them, you definitely want to limit the number of these guys that wind up on your roster.  It's ok to roll the dice on Marian Gaborik in round 3, as long as your first 2 picks weren't equally risky.  Don't sprinkle more than 1 or 2 of these players in through the early rounds.




Marian Gaborik - Gaborik is the definition of a gamble player. Could be worth a first round pick, could be worth passing on altogether. Chances are he's due for a great season. Might even crack 50 goals for the first time. 


Simon Gagne - Gagne seems to be fully recovered from his concussion problems, but those things have a way of coming back. Particularly for Flyers forwards. If he stays injury free, he's a goal scoring machine on a very talented Flyers roster. Gagne could easily return to being a 40 goal man in 09. 


Martin Havlat - Minnesota replaced one talented, injury prone forward with another. Havlat is likely to be passed over by many GM's, but he's worth consideration early on. He'll give you a point a game. It's just a matter of how many games that will be. He's the only offensive threat in Minnesota this season, so he may not deliver as well. 


Olli Jokinen - Jokinen is as unpredictable as they come, but if goalscoring is something you like on your roster, he's still worthy of a mid-round pick. Even with a major dip in points the last 2 seasons, he still is averaging over 30 goals a season. A full season in Calgary may settle him back into a 70-80 point pace. Don't blow him off just yet. 


Anze Kopitar - Kopitar was one of the biggest disappoints in 2009. After much promise and fanfare in his first 2 seasons, he slipped back down to 66 points. LA still hasn't shown that they're worthy of fantasy respect, so it's hard to get overly excited. Then again, don't be shocked if he comes out storming and tops 80 points this year. 

Vincent Lecavalier - For a guy with his reputation, his point totals over his career are extremely erratic. You may be drafting a top 5 scorer, or you may be wasting a precious early pick on a 60 point scorer. I say he's worth the risk. Don't be suprised to see him top 90 points in 2009. 





Bryan McCabe - McCabe appeared to be nearing the end in 2007, but he bounced back in a big way with 15 goals last season. With Bouwmeester leaving town, the show belongs to McCabe. He could rocket back up the leaderboard in '09. Then again, we could see him slide out of sight once again. Take your chance. 


Scott Niedermayer  - Much like Lidstrom, this superstar has peaked and is about to start to see a decline in his production. It should be a gradual fall, so don't write him off yet. But don't bank on him approaching 60 points again in his career. 


Joni Pitkanen  - Pitkanen displays flashes of brilliance one game, then disappears the next. He has the potential to rise to a top 10 defensemen in the league. He is just as likely not get drafted. Big time risk/reward. We say go for it this season. He seems comfortable in Carolina, and ought to net at least 40 points this season. 


Mark Streit - It's hard to fairly rank Streit as a defenseman, since he plays a good many games as a forward. As the Islanders young forwards start to come into their own, expect Streit to settle back into the defense position full time. Expect his numbers to slip a bit when that happens. Still, Streit is probably good for 50 or so points in the upcoming season. 





Ray Emery  - It's impossible to know what to expect from Emery this year. He did well statistically in his last NHL season, but that's not what concerns GMs. Philly is strong and getting better, so whoever earns the #1 job for the Flyers will be worth the pick. Problem is, there hasn't been an undisputed #1 goalie in Philly for a decade. Why not Emery? 


Marc-Andre Fleury  - Amazing potential and skill. Amazingly inconsistent. The Penguins have never been built to favor good goalie stats, but Fleury has hung in there anyway. Don't get too excited about his playoff performance. He still has to face a few breakaways every night in the regular season. 


Jaroslav Halak  - Halak was the better goalie in Montreal last season, but Price will be given the job to lose again come fall. Nonetheless, Halak could potentially claim the job if Price struggles. For now, don't get too excited about him come draft time. 


Chris Osgood  - It's tough to know what to do with this guy. Is he the all-star, Hall-of-Fame goalie of the playoffs, or the guy who has to split time with a different backup every season. He hasn't played more than 46 games in the last 5 seasons, so don't count on him as your #1.

Carey Price - Price is a good goalie, despite the disaster of 2009. However, Montreal is not a good team. Until this mess gets straightened out, don't rush into drafting Price. Take a chance on him late in the draft if he's available; otherwise, stick with something a little safer. 

Fantasy Preview - Players on the Decline

by chewy 11. August 2009 14:55

If you've been playing fantasy hockey for a number of years, you inevitably start to get attached to certain players.  You have it stuck in your head that the player is a star and has to be drafted.  If you're interested in winning, you sometimes have to forget the past and acknowledge when the dog just can't run like he used to.  The trends indicate that these boys are on the way down, if not out of relevance altogether. You have to know when a star player has maxed out his potential and has started down the slope to retirement or obscurity.




Jason Blake - Blake surprised many by rebounding back to 63 points last season. That's barely worth a look, and he'll be pushing it to get any where near that next season. Look elsewhere for your offensive needs.  


Jamie Langenbrunner - Langenbrunner had a brilliant season in 2008 that he will never match again. If you draft Langenbrunner, you're a silly, silly girl. 


Mike Modano - Modano has absolutely no value as a fantasy option. If you draft Modano, you should be playing fantasy baseball or knitting. 


Teemu Selanne  - Selanne's glory days are clearly behind him now. He's no longer able to crack the #1 power play unit in Anaheim, and will be hard-pressed to get back to 30 goals again in his career. 


Mats Sundin - It's questionable still whether or not Sundin will be playing next season, and where. If he does, he's still no longer the consistent point producer he once was. Take a chance on him very late in the draft, but don't think you're getting a bargain here. 





Rob Blake - Don't let his awe-inspiring performance last season sucker you into thinking it's going to happen again. Blake has had an amazing career, but it's going to start to wind down in 2009. Bank on Blake falling down to about 30 points this season. 


Ed Jovanovski - Jovanavski has finally managed to put together 2 straight 80 games seasons. Too bad it took him this long. He's undoubtedly on the downside of his confusing career and is barely worth consideration this season. 


Tomas Kaberle - Kaberle's numbers have fallen for the past 4 seasons to the point where he's falling off the map. If Burke can trade him for value this summer, he should take the money and run. Expect him to be in the 30 point range again this season. 


Nicklas Lidstrom - No doubt he's still one of the best in the business; however, he's no longer the #1 choice, as he had been for the last decade. Expect a small dip in production this season, down to the 40-50 point range. 





Peter Budaj - Budaj peeked in his 2nd season and has slidden steadily over the last 2. He'll be lucky to be in the NHL next season. If he is, he'll be starting for Colorado, so he may be worthy of a deep bench spot. 


Jean-Sebastien Giguere - Giggy lost his job in Anaheim and is suddenly wildly overpaid as a backup.  This will make it very difficult for the Ducks to trade him, and thus, makes Giggy's fantasy value worth next to nothing.  That is, unless Hiller gets hurt.


Dwayne Roloson - Roloson finished the season with an impressive run, earning MVP honors for the Oilers. However, he's no Spring chicken and the Islanders aren't threatening to dominate the Eastern Conference any time soon. Not to mention, adding Biron to the mix... All told, it's time to thank Dwayne for a good run and pass on him at the draft.

Jose Theodore - The Phoenix has risen for the last time. Despite his comeback in 08, and a half-decent showing in Washington last season, it's just about the end of the line for Theodore. You're better off drafting Andy Moog in hopes that he comes out of retirement. 

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