It sucks royally being in the middle of the pack in my keeper league, even if it is after only two weeks. After winning the last three President’s trophies, I’m more accustomed to looking down on my buddies from my usual perch atop the standings. Thanks in no small part to my ultimate fantasy stud: Sidney Crosby.
I managed to weather the storm of his concussion at the midway mark of last season, and made him my keeper with little hesitation as I prepared for the 2011-12 season. So far, so-so this year; my offence sputtering out of the gate while I eagerly await the return of Crosby as he inches ever closer to playing again. And I fully expect to be rewarded for my patience. He’s Crosby, for heaven’s sake. After almost a year away from the Pens to allow his precious head to properly heal, there’s no way he won’t return to all-world form. Right?
Well, the truth is, maybe so, maybe not.
I don’t think anyone can truly question whether or not Sid the Kid will be ready to go 100% when he finally does step on the ice. The overly-cautious Crosby has ensured that, through his painstakingly long rehabilitation process. But with the chance of great reward for fantasy owners, like myself, there is also a realistic risk involved. Rust. Him being gun shy in the corners. And, of course, what happens the next time he gets hit in the head? You have to figure that some guy on some team at some point will take a run at him, for no other reason than to neutralize the Penguins, who despite his absence, sit atop the Eastern Conference standings (through Wednesday).
Which brings me to my point… is trading Crosby a good move, short and long term, considering the risks involved when he returns?
While I have been fairly content so far to stand pat with Sid filling up one of my IR spots, this past week, one of my fellow poolies sent me an offer for Crosby, in hopes of sparking his roster down the road. The offer – a true blockbuster – would see me trading Crosby and Ryan Getzlaf in exchange for Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula. Let’s be clear here – I would NEVER trade Crosby AND Getzlaf (both keepers of mine) for Stamkos (pure stud) and Filppula (middle of the road, 50-60 point guy at best). But the proposed deal did make me think, if the right deal came along, would I actually consider moving the best player in the game?
So I gave my buddy a call to discuss. While he wasn’t willing to offer me Stamkos straight up for Crosby, he ultimately relented on Getzlaf, asking for Mikhail Grabovski instead. Hmmm. Getting closer. I just don’t know if I’ve got the guts to pull the trigger. I mean, I’ve waited this long. What’s another couple of weeks?
The truth of the matter is Crosby’s stock is low right now. A year ago at this time, I could’ve asked for – and likely received – a combination like Stamkos-Getzlaf in exchange for him, perhaps with me throwing a guy like Filppula in to round out the deal. Now, I’m getting lowballed to some degree, because of the risks associated with Sid’s return.
The key when making a move of this magnitude is getting the most in return. Unfortunately, with the question marks currently surrounding the league’s top gun, it’s impossible to achieve that right now, even with Stamkos being dangled in front of me. So I’m taking the stance that it’s better to wait, and assume the risk that Crosby can/will return to form this season. If he does, then I can choose between hanging on to the NHL’s perennial top scorer or to ‘sell high’. If he doesn’t, then I’m stuck with diminishing returns for the league’s best player once-upon-a-time.
It’s a chance that I’m willing to take.
My question to all you Crosby owners out there: Right now, would you consider trading off Crosby, if you could get a guy like Stamkos in return? If not, what would it take for a fellow GM to pry away Crosby from you?
Throughout the season, there’s the painstaking job of deciding who to ‘add’ and who to ‘drop’, to help make your roster better. Sometimes, we make the wrong decisions, and prematurely let go of a guy before he goes on a hot streak. Other times, we make a shrewd roster move that bolsters up a key weakness in our lineups. I usually find myself staring at my computer screen with my cursor hovering over the “submit move” button for what often seems like an eternity, while I contemplate every angle of every move. It’s never easy, that’s for sure.
Well, I’m going to try to help make things a little easier for you. Here’s my ‘Top 5′ list of waiver-type guys, who either qualify as “Fantasy” (worth picking up) or “Fiction” (pretenders, worth letting go) at this point in the season:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) – I’d be shocked if the Oilers return him to Junior. He, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall have the makings of being a force to be reckoned with in this league this season – and beyond.
- Alex Burmistrov (WPG) – Jets Head Coach Claude Noel has credited the 2nd-year forward with being his best player on most nights.
- Marc-Andre Bergeron (TBL) – A productive start to the season for this journeyman defenceman. It looks like he’s finally found a home in Tampa.
- Marcus Johansson (WSH) – With 3 GWG already this season, he looks to be the real deal centering Semin in Washington.
- Pascal Dupuis (PIT) – A solid contributor to one of the league’s highest scoring offences.
- TJ Oshie (STL) – His benching last Saturday night was telling. So are his point totals this season
- Antoine Vermette (CBJ) – Only worth keeping at this point if you have “Faceoffs Won” as a category in your pool.
- Jakub Voracek (PHI) – The offseason trade from Columbus hasn’t really translated to an increase in production. He’s playing about 13 minutes a game, with no time on the PP
- Mikael Samuelsson (FLA) – Don’t expect any repeat numbers from his time spent with the Sedins while in Florida.
- Evander Kane (WPG) – Kane hasn’t adjusted well to the cold up in the ‘Peg.
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