Cullen: Fantasy Puck Mail: Top Jimmy

Scott Cullen
12/20/2009 12:57:11 PM
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In this edition of the Fantasy Puck Mail, we look at the Red Wings' goaltending, good young keeper defencemen and a panic Ovechkin trade.

Hey Scott,
I need some of your sage advice.  On paper, my D looked great at the beginning of the year.  In a 10 team league, I managed to scoop up Dion Phaneuf, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rafalski, Erik Johnson, Kyle Quincey and Zach Bogosian.  Little did I expect that Quincey and Johnson would be leading the way with the other bunch of underachievers lagging behind.  There have been some signs of life from some of those guys lately, but the one guy who has got me puzzled is Bogosian.  He's a young future star it would seem, he's leading his team in ice time, but the points have basically disappeared in the past month.  He's not getting many PIMs either.  My question, is do you expect him to regain his fantasy relevance this season or should I look to upgrade on the waiver wire?  I'm losing patience!

Nate, Bogosian gets lots of ice time (22:57), but not so much on the power play (1:18), so he's not being put in an ideal position to pick up points.  Considering the minuses that Bogosian has racked up lately (minus-6 in ten games this month), you may be able to find better options on your waiver wire. - SC

Hi Scott,
I've recently been offered a trade: my Phil Kessel for his Ryan Smyth and Martin St. Louis.  It's the 1st year of a 5 year pool that counts G, A, PPP, SHP and PIMs.  Also, it's a fairly deep pool - 12 teams, 13 players a team.  I'm fairly certain the numbers are in my favour but I'm hesitant to give up Kessel because of his 5-year value and I'm unsure if Smyth can pick up where he left off pre-injury.  If the trade were to go through, I'd have to drop a LW, which would be A. Kostitsyn, who's been hot of late.

Bryan, Getting two first line players for Kessel is hard to pass up.  Even if Smyth isn't a legitimate point-per-game guy and both he and St. Louis aren't going to be impact players for the next five years, it would at least improve your chances this season.  Whether that is worthwhile to you is going to depeond on your chances for competing this year and whether or not you're willing to sacrifice some value three, four or five years down the road in order to make a more immediate run at a title.  If you're close, it seems worthwhile to me. - SC

Scott:  What do you make of this offer to me:
Shane Doan, Thomas Vanek and Marty Turco
Nicklas Backstrom and Henrik Lundqvist
I'm fairly deep at forward with Patrick Marleau, Brad Richards, Dustin Penner and Tomas Plekanec.
My other goalies are the underachieving Steve Mason and the overachieving Tuukka Rask.
Do Vanek or Doan have any upside??
Frank Magnotta

Frank, Getting Vanek and Doan now would certainly be a good case of buying low because they both ought to be significantly better than they've shown so far this year, but it's hard to say you'e buying low if the price is Nicklas Backstrom, the fourth-highest scoring centre in hockey.  The difference between Turco and Lundqvist isn't significant, but it also favours Lundqvist, so I wouldn't like giving up the two best playrs in this deal. - SC

What do you think of the following offer I have on the table:
I would give up:
Mike Fisher - C (Ott)
Evgeni Malkin - C (Pit)
Rick Nash - LW (Clb)
Niklas Backstrom - G (Min)
I would pick up:
Rich Peverley - C (Atl)
Jarome Iginla - RW (Cgy)
Kris Versteeg - LW (Chi)
Ryan Miller - G (Buf)

Steve, I think this deal would favour you.  Fisher and Peverley are of similar value.  Iginla and Nash are of similar value.  I could even make the argument that Malkin and Miller are of similar value.  The similarities end, though, at the point when Kris Versteeg gets compared to Backstrom.  Even if Versteeg has had more value to this point in the season, the Wild have started to turn around after a slow start, so Backstrom's numbers should only get better, so I'd want more than Versteeg in order to make this deal happen. - SC

He wants Zach Parise and Tim Thomas
Chris Pronger Daniel Alfredsson and Ilya Bryzgalov
Do I take it?
- Thomas

Thomas, Anytime you're talking about a 2-for-1 or 3-for-2 deal, it depends on what additional player you will have to take out of your lineup to make the newcomers fit in.  If your bottom defenceman isn't very good and Pronger would represent a significant upgrade, then it's probably a worthwhile deal because even though Alfredsson isn't at Parise's level, he is a consistently productive player and you're not losing anything on a Thomas for Bryzgalov swap.  In fact, you're likely gaining a guy who will get more starts, albeit for an inferior team, but if Bryzgalov still has a save percentage over .920 that makes a difference, as does the possibility of Tuukka Rask taking more action away from Thomas as the season goes along. - SC
Hi Scott,
I want to switch my active and reserve players around. On the bench I have John Tavares, Ville Leino, and Marc-Andre Fleury. The bottom point producers for me are Andreas Lilja, Milan Lucic, Matt Niskanen, Cam Ward, Kris Letang, Devin Setoguchi and Marc Staal. The pool only gives 1 point per goal and assist.
My plan was to switch Fleury and Ward, Lucic and Tavares, and Leino and Setoguchi (I can only swap players of the same position). I would love to hear what you think of my plan, and welcome any suggestions.
If you are interested the rest of my roster is as follows:
Keep up the good work and Happy Holidays,
Maxwell Hayward

Maxwell, I agree with swapping Fleury for Ward and Tavares for Lucic, but Leino simply hasn't done enough this year to warrant a move into your lineup.  Even with all the injuries in Detroit, Leino hasn't been able to take advantage of the opportunity and Setoguchi got put on Joe Thornton's wing again recently, so don't give up on him yet. - SC

Hello Scott,
Just wondering if you think Dustin Penner can keep up his scoring pace?  I figured he would start to slow down as soon as Hemsky got hurt, but he is still putting up points.  Penner doesn't have a track record for putting up a lot of points, but he looks a lot faster and more energetic in the games I've seen him play, than the last couple years, so maybe it's not a fluke and Penner is just in much better shape.  Also, do you think Sheldon Souray will start producing more points?  I know he was out for a substantial period of time with a concussion, so maybe he is just taking a long time to get into a groove.
Thank you for your time.

Mike, I've been a Penner proponent for a long time, so I'm thrilled that he's finally paying off for fantasy owners.  At the same time, I can't possibly expect that, having never scored more than 47 points in a season, he's suddenly going to score 85 points this year.  I do think he's a legimately better player than he's been in the past; apparently confident, in shape and taking more responsibility for his play, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him score more than 70 points, but better than a point-per-game is a lot to ask.  As for Souray, the points will come because he's a fixture on the power play with a booming shot from the point.  He'll probably put up some minuses along the way, too, but I would think 35 points is still within his grasp, barring further injuries. - SC  

I have held on to Ales Kotalik for a few months however he has yet to do much.  I was considering dropping him for Radim Vrbata or Niclas Bergfors.  Who do you think would benifit my roster ?

Ky, Dump Kotalik immediately.  He has two assists in his last 13 games and got the healthy scratch treatment this week.  I quite like what the rookie Bergfors is doing in New Jersey, putting up 16 points in 22 games since the beginning of November.  - SC

Mr. Cullen,
I currently have goaltending issues with my fantasy team. I have 5 goaltenders in a deep league. This past week I picked up Jimmy Howard and Antti Niemi just to get some starts as I have Semyon Varlamov (injured) and Tim Thomas (losing starts to Rask and subpar play). With the promise of Howard taking the #1 spot on an improving Red Wings team, and Niemi getting another shut out, I am stuck with what to do. Of Howard and Niemi who would you keep?
I have: Nabokov, Varlamov, Thomas, Howard, Niemi
What would you suggest?
Thanks very much for your advice.

Jeff, Howard is the safer play, as he seems to be established as Detroit's starter now, whereas Niemi is in the position of strong backup to Cristobal Huet.  If your league is a deep one, you should at least be able to get some value by trading Niemi, perhaps packaged with another player in order to address that position. - SC

Hey Scott,
I was proposed a very intriguing trade in my fantasy league today. I was being offered Jeff Carter, Marian Hossa and Antero Nittymaki for Ryan Miller.
My current goaltending situation is a trio consisting of Miller, Henrik Lunqdvist, and Craig Anderson. I am pretty deep at center (Evgeni Malkin, Anze Kopitar, Vincent Lecavalier, Paul Stastny) but not too deep at the RW position (Loui Eriksson, Mikael Samuelsonn, Brad Boyes). What should I do?

Gagan, It's certainly a fair offer, though it may require you making another deal in order to fit the pieces into your lineup.  For example, if you turned around and packaged Carter with Craig Anderson, who's play has been slipping lately, perhaps you could upgrade your goaltending, helping to make up for the loss of Miller, while you would still have Hossa representing a significant upgrade on right wing.  The bottom line, I suppose, is that there is enough value coming to you in the deal to make it work, but you have to make sure that you can utilize that value if you're going to give up the best player at his position. - SC

Hey Scott,
Just a quick question to throw by ya. I'm in trade talks right now and the deal that may go down is my Mike Richards and Nicklas Lidstrom for his Jarome Iginla and Kris Versteeg.  He also has Alex Kovalev which I could ask to put into the deal instead of Versteeg.  Lemme know what you think is the fairest or if you would trade those players at all.
Justin Ferrera

Justin, It requires some faith in Nicklas Lidstrom (which I still have), so I think you're offering enough to get that deal done.  Iginla has been slightly better than Richards and does have the added appeal of being a right winger.  Versteeg has been better than Lidstrom, but Lidstrom still has a track record to lean on and he does have a respectable five points and plus-4 rating in nine games this month.  If you were going to make the deal, I'd prefer to have Kovalev included instead of Versteeg, because Kovalev has underachieved and still has 20 points and is plus-5 while Versteeg has performed about as expected to get 19 point and a plus-7. - SC

I'm thinking of doing what you said in your Fantasy Hockey Report (Dec. 11), of selling High on Dion Phaneuf, so I was thinking of trading Phaneuf and Niklas Hagman for Mike Cammalleri. Is this trade fair for both sides?  On a second note, is it time to let go/trade Vaclav Prospal?

Phillip, I don't think Phaneuf and Hagman is enough for Cammalleri, but the whole point of moving Phaneuf is that his name recognition is worth more than his actual value, so maybe it's worth a try.  When it comes to Prospal, I know I had suggested selling high on him a while ago, just because his production is so tied to Marian Gaborik.  In the last dozen games, Prospal has five assists and is minus-5, so there are likely better options available to you, but he's still good enough that you should be trading him rather than outright dropping him, unless your league is quite small. - SC

Dear Scott Cullen,
I'm just really frustrated by Pavel Datsyuk, and i know he had slow starts in previous years but nothing like this.  I drafted him in the first round, 5th pick but he's done nothing to help my fantasy team.  Should I wait for him to bounce back or trade him while he still has some value?  And if I trade him what kind of players should I be looking for?

Affan, I've been suggesting a few times lately that Datsyuk is a good buy-low player, so if you're going to trade him now, make sure you get significant value in return.  He does have seven points in the last seven games, so I'd preach a little more patience before giving up on your first-round pick, but if you are going to deal him, don't do it for less than someone like Mike Richards or Ryan Getzlaf.  Their owners probably won't want to give those guys up, but the Red Wings are still a more reliable team, so there's still a sense of safeness with Datsyuk. - SC

Hey Scott,
I'm in a deep 12-team league. I'm looking for a good young defenseman that could be a keeper for next year. I've made some offers for Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith with no bites. Any thoguhts on a good young keeper D-man?
Jarrod Labadie, Richmond, BC

Jarrod, I'm not surprised that Doughty and Keith owners aren't eager to give them up.  In the Experts League, I have Lidstrom and Doughty and have already made the decision that Doughty is my keeper defenceman (we only keep four total players).  Some other young blueliners to try: Erik Johnson, Tyler Myers or Niklas Kronwall and, as always, I'll recommend Shea Weber. - SC

Hi Scott,
My pool picks this year have but one blight named Martin Havlat. Can you add any insight on his abysmal play to date? Can you envision his production improving as the season progresses, or is he going to have a 3 to 5-goal inaugural year with the Wild?

Craig, I don't have any insight as to why Havlat struggled so much early in the season, but he now has eight points in his last five games, so maybe he's figured things out with his new team.  He's obviously not going to have the kind of year he had in Chicago last year, but I'm leaning towards thinking he'll be okay for the rest of the year. - SC

Hi Scott,
I'm holding on to a narrow lead in a deep single season points only pool and am looking for a couple of replacements for the recently injured Teemu Selanne and Danny Cleary.  Looking to pick up two of the following: Antti Miettinen, T.J. Oshie, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Wayne Simmonds, Brandon Dubinsky.
Your thoughts?

Mike, I know he's streaky, but I like T.J. Oshie for one of those additions and his 11 points in the last 15 games is respectable enough.  After that, I'd be most intrigued by Simmonds, once he's healthy.  Of the other three, Miettinen at least seems to have the best opportunity, playing on the top line in Minnesota, but his production is hit and miss, so any of those other options may have just as much appeal. - SC

Hi Scott,
I have been having some goalie trouble and I was hoping you had a few suggestions. I currently have Ondrej Pavelec, Tim Thomas, Ray Emery and Tukka Rask. Pavelec hasn't been getting many games, Tim Thomas has been hit and miss and Tukka Rask seems to be coming on strong. In my league Vesa Toskala, Johan Hedberg and Jimmy Howard are still availible and seem to be coming on strong.
Any suggestions would be appreciated,

Ben, Howard has really taken charge in Detroit, so I'd make him the first consideration if you are going to add another goaltender.  Hedberg has some value, particularly since you already have Pavelec and Toskala will get some starts, but he's a definite step (or two) below the others. - SC

Hello Scott;
I've been hurting on RW ever since I lost Hemsky for the season and need your advice. 
Available on waivers, listed by current rank are: Downie, Bergfors, C. Stewart, Vrbata, Giroux, Stempniak, Erat, Callahan, Hornquist, etc.
I drafted Claude Giroux, dropped him after patiently waiting, then picked him up when he got hot again a few weeks ago only to drop him again.  Also have had Niclas Bergfors and Radim Vrbata at various points but their streakiness caused me to pull the trigger on them.  Currently I have Trent Hunter, Eric Fehr (both recently picked up), Tomas Holmstrom and J.P. Dumont.  I will have to drop one (probably Hunter) and do you think it is worth dropping Fehr if he doesn't stay hot for any of the other options?  Bergfors, Chris Stewart and Giroux are all seeing first line action.  What is your take on Dumont now that he is down to the third line?
Thanks so much,

Fehr's appeal is much lower now that the Capitals are healthy, as it's tough to get quality scoring line time ahead of Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich and even Thomas Fleischmann.  Thus, he's an easy one to add and drop based on his playing opportunities.  Dumont's move to the third line in Nashville is troubling.  While Martin Erat thrives has three assists in the last eight games.  It may only be a temporary move, because it doesn't make a lot of sense for Dumont to spend the rest of the season on a line with Marcel Goc, but it's going to require some patience for Dumont's owners in the meantime. - SC

Hi Scott,
I am having a heated debate with my fellow GMs about a trade I made a few weeks ago. After the Ovehckin knee injury, the same night I dealt him for Patrick Marleau. I was 10th out of 12 and was worried he would be out for a long time. Just wondering what your opinion is on the deal.

Greg, This would be a good time to point out a couple of things: 1. Don't make a rash decision when it involves the best player in the league and 2. Be aware that teams are notoriously dishonest/inaccurate (depending on the view you choose to take) in how an injury is reported.  One day, a player will suffer a "minor" injury and six weeks later you can still be waiting for his return to the lineup, whereas the Ovechkin injury looked like it could be bad, yet he was ready to go again after serving his two-game suspension.  I suppose I'd also figure that, if you're in 10th place, there was no reason to take 75% value on Ovechkin because you have a greater chance of winning by hoping that Ovechkin recovers quickly and contributes to your team.  Even if Ovechkin was going to be out for an extended period, Marleau wouldn't lift your team from tenth to first, or close to it. - SC

Hey Scott,
My name is Jeremy and i'm in a H2H pool on yahoo with 7 other friends. Not a huge pool but the standings are all pretty close. I got offered a trade for one of my players, who is Patrick Marleau. The person is offering me Marian Hossa. It could be fair but im really not sure if I should pull the trigger or make it into a 2 for 2 trade seeing if I can get a bit more. Any advice?
Yours Truly,

Jeremy, I think Hossa is fair value for Marleau.  If you can get more, by all means do so, but there's nothing wrong with taking that in a 1-for-1 swap. - SC

I have Ray Emery on my fantasy team, and as you know he has just been injured.  I have the following options off the waiver wire:
- Johan Hedberg
- Jeff Deslauriers
- Mike Smith
I know these are weak options, but I'm desperate.
I am unsure of Hedberg, do you think he has the # 1 spot in Atlanta, or does this belong to Ondrej Pavelec?
Island Bob

Island Bob, Hedberg hasn't completely taken the number one job in Atlanta, but as Hedberg keeps providing quality starts, and Pavelec keeps struggling (19 goals against in his last four starts), Hedberg figures to get more and more starts.  Jeff Delauriers has struggled in his last couple of starts, but he's entrenched as the number one in Edmonton for the time being (as long as Nikolai Khabibulin is hurt), so there is some safety in taking him to fill-in while Emery is out. - SC

Hey Scott,
I'm currently in a 12 team Head to Head Yahoo league, with stats for G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG, W, GAA, SV%, and SHO.
I currently have four goalies (Marc-Andre Fleury, Cam Ward, Jon Quick, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere) and recently lost Teemu Selanne to the IR. My other right wings are Mikael Sammuelsson and Blake Wheeler. I feel like I'm good on defence, center and left wing. Which goalie should I attempt to trade for a good right winger. Or should I just drop one and hope for something good on the waiver wire.
Matt from SD

Matt, If you could get a right wing upgrade for Giguere, maybe someone like Devin Setoguchi or Martin Havlat could be available as buy-low options.  If not, and you have to up the stakes by dealing Quick -- assuming that Fleury is your anchor and Ward won't bring the kind of return to make it worthwhile -- then guys like David Backes, Claude Giroux, Kyle Okposo or Milan Hejduk would be worth a try. - SC

Not sure what to do here…I am in a moderately shallow (keep 8 players + 1 prospect) keeper league and have been proposed a trade.
Skater categories include G, A, Pts, PPP, +/-, SOG, PIM
I'd give up:
Rick Nash
Nicklas Backstrom
Daniel Sedin
I'd get:
Sidney Crosby
Marc Savard
My protectables look like this if I stand pat:  Alexander Ovechkin, Rick Nash, Nicklas Backstrom, Jeff Carter, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Miller, Cam Ward, Paul Stastny or Daniel Sedin, James Van Riemsdyk.
If the deal is made obviously Crosby + Savard replace Nash & Backstrom, and Stastny becomes a lock for the last spot.
I'm really torn. Being a longtime Caps fan, with my second favorite team being whoever is playing Pittsburgh, doesn't help. 
My wife is the opposing owner.  Help please!

Matt, While I understand the obvious long-term appeal of having both Crosby and Ovechkin, it's hard to justify the total value of the package you would be giving, since Nash and Daniel Sedin are both point-per-game wingers and Backstrom isn't terribly far off Crosby's total point production (trailing him 43 to 30 right now).  So, while the offer from the Mrs. may be tempting, I'd pass and work at a 2-for-1 deal that can still upgrade your lower-level keepers. - SC 

Hey Scott,
I have something of a goaltending dilemma in my 12-team H2H league. Currently my goalies are Henrik Lundqvist, Semyon Varlamov, and Jonas Hiller and Cam Ward just off of IR. While having three tenders is a solid strategy, four is just too many in my league. While the most expendable of my foursome seems to be Hiller, I would like to avoid dropping him outright. Does he have any trade value? I should note that Giguere is available in our FA pool. Should I look at trading one of my other goalies, such as Lundqvist--and if so, are Varlamov and Ward a strong enough starting tandem to carry me through the season? Would love to hear your advice.

CG, In a 12-team league, Hiller should have some value, though any of your others would have more, at least once Varlamov is healthy again.  If you were to try offering Lundqvist, you may be able to survive with Varlamov, Ward and Hiller, but you had better get something significant in return for a guy who is going to get 70-plus starts. - SC

Hi Scott,
I've had a trade proposed to me in which I'm being offered Henrik Sedin and Martin Brodeur for Jarome Iginla and Nicklas Backstrom. I know that Brodeur would be a big upgrade on Backstrom with the way Minnesota has been playing so far this season, but do you think Sedin for Iginla makes the deal an unfavourable one for me? The categories in my league are G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHG, GWG for the skaters, and Wins, GAA, SV%, and Shut outs for the goalies.
Thanks for your insight,

Varun, While I've liked Backstrom as a relative buy-low option for several weeks now, if you can get safe and secure players like Martin Brodeur and Henrik Sedin in the deal, do it, provided you don't lose out massively on right wing by moving Iginla.  If positions aren't a significant factor, then Henrik Sedin's value is similar to Iginla, so the Brodeur for Backstrom side of the deal sure sounds like a win to me. - SC

Hey Scott,
I've got a tricky situation here I need goal tending, my friend drafted my team and did a terrible job on goalies. Do you think Jimmy Howard is going to get the starting job over the struggling Chris Osgood, if so I think that good be a good cure to my goalie pains. Thanks for your time Scott keep doing what you're doing.
Alex Gormley
Bloomington, MN

Alex, Howard has started 15 of the last 20 games for the Red Wings (10-5, 2.05 AA, .927 SVPCT in those 15 games), so the only assumption we can make is that he has taken the starting job.  Of course, this pains me to no end because, in the Experts League, I thought I made a savvy move drafting Howard late as a handcuff to Osgood but, less than a week before Howard started this run, I dropped him.  As someone who more often than not preaches patience, that one hurt.  So, if you can grab Howard now, that should work. - SC
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca 





Jimmy Howard (Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
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