When I'm generating my player rankings, which will be updated Tuesday incidentally, one of the issues that I try to address is how to measure the intangibles.
My efforts to do this involve going through the Event Summaries on NHL.com for every game in order to check on categories like hits, blocked shots, giveaways, takeaways and face-offs.
By no means are these categories as important as goals, assists and plus-minus, but they help to serve as a tie-breaker for players who are ranked similarly. After all, you'd likely prefer a player who is willing to hit more than one who doesn't and would like a player who is willing to block shots over one who doesn't make those sacrifices so readily.
I know they're not of any particular value in fantasy leagues, unless you dig into the deepest of stats, but some of the names tend to be unexpected.
In any case, according to my day-by-day digging, these are the top three "intangible" players for each team so far this season:
ANAHEIM: Chris Kunitz (0.95), Samuel Pahlsson (0.87) and Chris Pronger (0.67)
ATLANTA: Garnet Exelby (1.80), Niclas Havelid (1.24), Bobby Holik (1.03)
BOSTON: Zdeno Chara (2.35), Aaron Ward (1.21), Andrew Alberts (0.61)
BUFFALO: Paul Gaustad (1.59), Toni Lydman (1.03) and Jaroslav Spacek (0.77)
CALGARY: Dion Phaneuf (2.05), Robyn Regehr (1.39), Cory Sarich (1.23)
CAROLINA: Dennis Seidenberg (2.02), Tim Gleason (1.44), Erik Cole (1.15)
CHICAGO: Brent Seabrook (1.37), Tuomo Ruutu (1.33), Dustin Byfuglien (0.82)
COLORADO: Brett Clark (1.43), Jeff Finger (0.77), Scott Hannan (0.67)
COLUMBUS: Adam Foote (1.04), Jan Hejda (0.98), Rostislav Klesla (0.94)
DALLAS: Brenden Morrow (2.18), Stephane Robidas (1.81), Steve Ott (1.49)
DETROIT: Andreas Lilja (1.44), Pavel Datsyuk (0.65), Tomas Kopecky (0.48)
EDMONTON: Steve Staios (0.91), Ladislav Smid (0.68), Jarret Stoll (0.60)
FLORIDA: Branislav Mezei (1.33), Bryan Allen (1.25), Ruslan Salei (1.13)
LOS ANGELES: Dustin Brown (3.10), John Zeiler (1.54), Rob Blake (1.48)
MINNESOTA: Brent Burns (0.67), Nick Schultz (0.61), Kim Johnsson (0.57)
MONTREAL: Mike Komisarek (3.82), Roman Hamrlik (1.95), Francis Bouillon (1.67)
NASHVILLE: Greg Zanon (2.84), Dan Hamhuis (1.11), Shea Weber (0.67)
NEW JERSEY: Vitali Vishnevski (1.24), David Clarkson (0.95), Colin White (0.62)
N.Y. ISLANDERS: Brendan Witt (2.86), Trent Hunter (2.78), Andy Sutton (1.27)
N.Y. RANGERS: Fedor Tjutin (1.95), Daniel Girardi (1.51), Ryan Hollweg (1.38)
OTTAWA: Anton Volchenkov (2.17), Mike Fisher (2.12), Chris Neil (1.86)
PHILADELPHIA: Jason Smith (2.37), Derian Hatcher (1.36), Joffrey Lupul (0.73)
PHOENIX: Keith Ballard (1.73), Shane Doan (0.98), Matt Jones (0.87)
PITTSBURGH: Brooks Orpik (2.32), Mark Eaton (1.36), Rob Scuderi (0.76)
ST. LOUIS: Barret Jackman (1.41), Jay McKee (1.23), David Backes (1.14)
SAN JOSE: Kyle McLaren (1.25), Steve Bernier (1.12), Torrey Mitchell (0.62)
TAMPA BAY: Brad Lukowich (2.61), Shane O'Brien (1.08), Paul Ranger (0.89)
TORONTO: Pavel Kubina (1.34), Bryan McCabe (1.29), Chad Kilger (1.28)
VANCOUVER: Matt Cooke (1.10), Mattias Ohlund (1.09), Aaron Miller (0.70)
WASHINGTON: Alexander Ovechkin (1.29), Milan Jurcina (0.89), Matt Bradley (0.88)
Get 'em now:
Teemu Selanne - The free agent right winger is back on the ice and working out, to see if he is mentally ready to return. This skating is reportedly taking place in Anaheim, so we might guess which way he's leaning.
Nathan Horton, RW, Florida - Starting to click after a slow start (4-3-7, plus-3 in the last six games).
Rob Blake, D, Los Angeles - 11 points, plus-4 in last 14 games...might also be in line for a trade to a contender.
Ty Conklin, G, Pittsburgh - Unbeaten in seven decisions since getting called up.
Colin Stuart, RW, Atlanta - four points, plus-6 in first five games of his NHL career.
Now, onto the Fantasy Hockey E-Mails:
Scott, Currently I have 3 players on the IR, Sakic, Havlat and Matt Cullen. I am in a yahoo league and need to switch things up. Should I dump Sakic since he is going to be out till March? Also I am thinking of dropping Mason and picking up Niittymaki! What do you think? - Mike, Minneapolis/St Paul
Mike, With Martin Havlat returning, you should still be able to let Joe Sakic hold a spot on your IR. Unless you have no bench spots in your league, Sakic is too valuable to drop for nothing, even if you only have him for the last three weeks of the season. Antero Niittymaki had an outstanding effort Saturday night against the Leafs, making 54 saves, but his starts have been too few and far between to take him ahead of Chris Mason. Admittedly, Mason is struggling and, with Dan Ellis playing well, it might take some time before he's handling the number one duties again, but I'd have a hard time dropping him for a guy that has made two starts in the last three weeks.
Hey Scott, I currently lead my fantasy hockey league by a moderate margin but my lead is starting to diminish. I picked up Teemu Selanne just before Christmas with expectations he is going to make a decision about his status in the new year. Any news on when Teemu might announce anything? Should I hold on a bit longer? Also my league is very deep and wanted your input on a few lesser players. I currently own Rostislav Olesz and he hasn't taken the next step like I thought he might. Should I hold on to him a longer? and is he still trying to find his form from an injury that sidelined him for more than a month? or should I consider other options like Johan Franzen or Drew Stafford? Thanks Scott, David
David, Today's news that Teemu Selanne has started skating makes you look awfully smart for picking him up. If you're looking to make other moves, by all means get rid of Rostislav Olesz. I had him for a while myself, but grew frustrated with his lack of production (three points, minus-3 in 16 games since the beginning of December). Johan Franzen is okay for deep leagues, even though he's a Cy Young candidate with his lack of assists, because he does provide a good plus-minus, but I'd prefer Drew Stafford because he has more offensive ability and, with Buffalo struggling, should get more of an opportunity to show it.
Hey Scott, yahoo h2h league. my netminders are: Kiprusoff, Toskala and Emery. 1. Are Toskala (injury) and Emery (in the dog house) worth waiting for? 2. Are Garon, Conklin or Ramo an upgrade over Toskala or Emery? 3. Or should I continue to stream goalies until Toskala or Emery get their starting jobs back? - Thanks, Chuck, Riverside, CA
Chuck, Since Vesa Toskala is due back at some point this week, I'd hang onto him. I know it sounds like a reach to hold on for a goalie on a struggling team, but Toskala has the number one job locked down and was starting to put up decent numbers before his injury. If you can get any value for Ray Emery, I'd consider trading him only because he and Martin Gerber continue to battle for the starting job. Emery is creeping out of the doghouse, but his play hasn't been solid enough to hold the starting job. If you are looking for a third goaltender, Mathieu Garon is probably the best long-term value because he should at least split time in Edmonton, while Ty Conklin is the best short-term solution and worth riding as long as he remains hot.
Scott, I've got a couple of issues. Should I try peddling Drury off? He is trying - he's got well close to 120 shots already - but it seems he hasn't found his touch like he had last year. He's my number 2 centre after Vinny. I've got both Higgins and Parise on the (C/LW) position. I'm considering packing Naslund as well. Seems like things are back on track but other GMs in my league are wary of him being tooo streaky. I also read about Bobby Ryan as potential pickup. I've got Scott Walker as a spare RW. Will I do any harm of droppiing him in favor of Bobby Ryan? I'm unsure of what Bobby Ryan will be able to bring forth and if he can remain with the big club. Thanks! Ash Parmar
Ash, Considering his plus-minus woes, to say nothing of his inconsistent offence, I'd suggest trying to move Chris Drury if you can get value for him in a trade. Maybe you won't get much in a straight up deal, but as part of a package with Naslund there is certainly a possible trade to be made. Zach Parise is more than capable of handling the number two centre role for you, as long as you have enough depth on the wing. With Scott Walker on IR, Bobby Ryan may be worth a roll of the dice but, because he's getting limited minutes, Ryan is probably not the best option available on your waiver wire.
Hey Scott, What's the deal with Patrik Elias? Every time I turn around and look at my roster page, he's always injured with something. Could this be it for him? When I picked him up off the waiver wire I was expecting a little bit more than what I've gotten so far (a little more than a point every 2 games). I think I may just drop him once Simon Gagne returns from the IR (snatched him off the waiver wire some time ago). Do you think dropping Elias is my best choice for making room for Gagne, or could I explore some trade options? On top of that, now that we've seen 15 games out of Shea Weber (and a disappointing 5 points), what do you think of his long term fantasy value? It's looking more and more like last season was a fluke. I dropped him for Kronwall a while ago. Thanks in advance. ~Jaroslaw from Hamilton, Ontario
Jaroslaw, Patrik Elias and Shea Weber have been two of the biggest disappointments so far this season, but I wouldn't necessarily throw them out altogether. Certainly, you'll want to get Simon Gagne in your lineup when he returns, but you should be able to find a taker for Elias, who has historically been a strong second-half player and is starting to play better (six points in his last five games) when he's healthy. In Weber's case, he's definitely taken a step back in terms of his development this year, but his long-term upside is still very high -- he's a 22 year-old who could very well be a number one defenceman, which includes power play production and enough feistiness to drop the mitts now and then, but he has to stay healthy. For this season, Niklas Kronwall is a safer addition for your team because he's going to ride the Red Wings' rising tide, but in a keeper league, I'd prefer Weber.
Hi Scott, I'm in a large keeper league and have been holding on to Steve Eminger for a few seasons now, remembering fondly his play in the world junior championships for Team Canada. He's had the strangest season, and seems completely estranged from the Capitals management at this point, they don't seem like they are ever going to play him. He's only played in 2 of their games so far this year, despite being able bodied and the Caps suffering from a rash of injuries. What gives with Eminger? Is he worth hanging onto for a couple more seasons if the cost is low? What has he done to deserve such a penance from the Caps management? - Richard from Victoria
Richard, Steve Eminger has certainly found his way into the doghouse in Washington, but he did actually get into the lineup in Montreal on the weekend for his glorious third game of the season. The fact that he's a minus-4 in those three games isn't doing much to ingratiate him with the Caps, I'm sure, and he's been surpassed by Mike Green as the young, puck-moving defenceman on the Caps blueline. For whatever reason, the Caps seem to prefer the more physical types in the No. 5-6 spots (Milan Jurcina, Jeff Schultz, Shaonne Morrisonn, John Erskine) on the blueline, so maybe a fresh start somewhere else is what Eminger needs to get his career going. There's no harm in hanging onto Eminger, but it is starting to look doubtful that he'll be an impact fantasy player, so you may have better options available.
Hi Scott, What is the deal with this guy? Since Nov-13 he's been out with a shoulder injury. They have done MRI and a bone scan and found nothing, yet he continues to sit. This was initially day-to-day, but this is ridiculous! When do you see him returning, and has he started skating yet? Any info would help. - Marc
Marc, The latest on Cory Murphy is that he's skating again, but the Panthers haven't set any timeframe for his return because Murphy still can't shoot the puck because of his mysteriously injured shoulder. Since he's been out for close to two months, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Murphy's return. It will happen at some point, but there's no indication when that might happen.
Hi Scott, I am currently in 2nd in my yahoo fantasy league of 14. Although I am in 2nd I feel a little uneasy with my current roster and I can't seem to pin point the problem. At the moment my roster is C: Nylander, Hecht, Belanger; LW: Parise, Semin, Higgins; RW: Iginla, Cleary, Erat; D: Phaneuf, Rafalski, Chara, Markov, Zidlicky; G: Nabokov, Lundqvist. My bench consists of Stafford, Weight, Weber, A. Kostitsyn, Modin, Josh Harding and I have Cory Murphy on IR. I feel I am maybe weak at centre with my strength at defence so I'm thinking maybe to trade a D to upgrade centre or just leave my roster as is. If I trade a def, which def would you trade and what do you think I could get in return for him? Any suggestions would be of great help. Thanks, Ed
Ed, You could definitely use an upgrade in the middle, where both Jochen Hecht and Eric Belanger have limited point potential, and you're also in a tough spot with Alexander Semin and Shea Weber both having injury-plagued seasons. If you're going to move a defenceman, where you are undeniably deep, I might suggest dealing Brian Rafalski. He's been terrific, no doubt, but if you're going to get a quality centre in return, you have to give up something of value. If Rafalski could land you a Jason Arnott, Saku Koivu or Mike Ribeiro that would be worth considering.
Hi Scott, I'm in a yahoo fantasy head to head league and it's a 3 year keeper pool. We start two at every position and have two utility slots to fill as well. My team is as follows:
C- Crosby, Briere, Richards, Horcoff LW Semin, Kunitz, Gagne RW Bouchard (C/RW), Hudler (C/RW), Recchi, Doan, Vrbata, Langenbrunner D- Niedermeyer, Redden, Liles, Byfuglien, Ranger, Kronwall, Rivet G - Huet, Nabokov. When Gagne becomes healthy, I have to drop a player in order to activate him, who should be dropped? I'm still looking for a RW, I've been using a committee there and I'm always wondering who I should start Vrbata or Doan? Should I try and make a deal to get a RW or a just in case G? Thanks! - Lance
Lance, I'd probably dump Paul Ranger whose plus-minus problems don't figure to end until the Lightning change their team composition. John-Michael Liles is no prize either, but he's still worth holding. On right wing, I would choose Shane Doan over Radim Vrbata because he has more of an established pedigree and he also provides penalty minutes.
What is Sergei Kostitsyn's status for the rest of the year? Will he remain with the big club? Is he worth a roster spot? - David A. Kupsky, Milwaukee, WI
David, It's still very early in Sergei Kostitsyn's career, so he could easily get sent back to Hamilton if his play slips, but he's playing with Saku Koivu and getting power play time right now, so it's worth taking a chance on him right now in deeper leagues and see what he does over the next couple of weeks.
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you can also leave comments below.