Dropping the Gloves is a new series in which Cameron Chase and Alexander Monaghan share their weekly thoughts on fantasy hockey via email. The main purpose of the article is to entertain so keep in mind that the contents may, or may not, be factual. Feel free to gripe in the comments.
We’re nearing the 60-game mark which tells me a few things. For one, we can pretty much identify the mistakes made on draft day. A guy who slumped most of the season will likely still finish with poor stats regardless of how hot they get down the stretch.
To me, that means Bobby Ryan should be significantly undervalued going into next year’s draft– and for good reason. He scored 31, 34 and 35 respectively over his first three seasons leading me to look at him as a primary source of goals. And while he’s on track to approach 30 with 21 tallies through 55 games, the former 2nd overall pick has ONE power play goal. I’m sorry, that’s just unacceptable and clearly out of my circle of trust as far as using my first round pick.
Over the last month, I’ve dangled him for guys like Martin St. Louis, Drew Doughty and Tomas Vokoun with all of those ideas getting shot down. Furthermore, he’s not even on the top line anymore, getting swapped out for Jason Blake. Yes, Jason Blake. Should have listened to Ryan Campbell about this guy before the season started.
On that same note, What is going on with Corey Crawford? I mean, c’mon. From 30-game winner to basically 18-19. What’s even worse is that he’s losing starts to Ray Emery, forcing me to handcuff a backup goalie onto my roster and clog up my flexibility. Actually, I’m not sure what’s worse, starting Crawford and praying he doesn’t allow five — as he has in each of his last two starts — or watching Emery steal his thunder.
But enough about me, who are your duds?
No question about it, Bobby Ryan was definitely favored to have another 70- plus point season and now he’s proved to be more disappointing than anything George Lucas has done in the past decade. Not only him, but even the rest of (what appears to be a stacked roster of) the Anaheim Ducks have a huge disappointment. I, myself, picked Lubomir Visnovsky for one of my first defensive picks and just look at how that paid off — five goals, 17 assists and a plus-5 rating over 43 games where at this point last year he scored nine goals and 36 assists with a plus-9 rating.
During October’s draft, I had a chance to either pick up Corey Crawford or Kari Lehtonen. I give props to the man upstairs that I went with my gut and picked up Kari. Even though Lehtonen went a month and half being on the IR; he has still posted a better SV% AND GAA to date (Kari .918/2.43 and Crawford .898%/2.99) with two less games started.
Unfortunately the goalie gods were not so kind to me when drafted my second team. My one player that I have continuously cursed at over the past season is Dwayne Roloson. There’s no argument, Tampa Bay goalie status is in the worst shape its been in years. Roloson was set to be the starter this year, with Mathieu Garon backing him up, but how quickly did those turn-tables get turned. Roloson’s year seemed bright at first, posting a win against Carolina in his first start and being one of the first goaltenders to get a shutout in this season, which came against Winnipeg before October was even finished. Ever since then I’ve watched his game slowly dwindle further away and his number of starts barely budging (currently at a SV% of .881 and a GAA 3.62 through 25 starts and only seven wins… SEVEN WINS).
There was a point where I (and probably any other fool that bothered with him) had to get rid of him by any means necessary. I had to give up Alex Ovechkin (who’s not having the GREAT of a year anyway either, which makes me think we should change his nickname to ‘Alexander the So-So’) , Ryan Suter and of course Roloson in order to pick up Brian Elliott and Henrik Zetterberg. Yes, I may have gotten the short end of the stick on that one but I REALLY had to get rid of Roloson.
My fourth overall pick in this past draft turned out to be one of largest disappointments, and pretty much only because this fantasy league (as well as any one worth joining) takes into account the players plus/minus rating. So I’m appointing the title of King Minus on my team — posting up a beautiful minus-18 rating to Eric Staal. Now, he’s gone on a pretty decent hot streak recently, posting five goals and three assists in his past six games, but that’s only going to pull this terrible season he has been having out of the gutter just slightly; just slightly. I feel like this whole thing is like some kind of movie plot where only ONE of the Staal brothers are allowed to being putting up big point numbers at a time. I wonder when it will be Marc’s turn?
Funny that you mention Crawford AND Roloson since I was the sap that took both of them in my money league. The guy right before me grabbed Jonathan Quick and Jimmy Howard in the tail-end of the snake leaving me with Crawford, and not much else. I wish I could thank anyone for telling me to grab Lehtonen but I had him in more of the two slot with the fourth rounder looking like a reach. Luckily I’ve been able to piecemeal my starting goalies together by using my across-the-board sleeper Mike Smith as a number one, grabbing Brian Elliott off of waivers and subbing in Tuukka Rask and Josh Harding when healthy and consistent.
Otherwise, it’s been a really top heavy season with starting goalies. Henrik Lundqvist, Tim Thomas, Jimmy Howard, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick have dominated while guys like Roberto Luongo, Antti Niemi and Marc-Andre Fleury have been solid but that makes only eight legitimate number ones. Maybe next season the draft strategy will revert towards taking more goalies. For my money I couldn’t be entertained with Lundqvist in the top five — I wanted production! Not to mention I had the 11th pick, with guys like Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry, Evgeni Malkin and even Pavel Datsyuk off the board.
As far as Roloson, it might have been safer to even drop the guy. I mean, you paid a good deal for a downgrade in D and LW just to get a decent #2. Then again, it does feel so much better to get something for an investment you made so I definitely can’t blame you. I dropped him after dangling him for Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Marc Staal and then Jared Staal… no bites. It’s pretty safe to think his career is over, which is a shame. Should have went out on a higher note, and allowed Steve Yzerman to actually find a legitimate starting goalie last offseason.
Speaking of Eric Staal, I managed to trade for him about a month ago in our very own DF league. Safe to say, Alyeska got one over on me when I sent the oh-so-reliable Patrik Elias packing the other way. For those keeping score at home, Elias has 54 points, Staal 44. Elias also plays on the second line, in a defensive system. Yeah, definitely regret that one.
You must have made one or two goofs this season too, right? What was your worst trade this season?
Not to toot my own horn, but I have to say; I’ve pulled off some decent trades this year. I would consider that Ovechkin/Roloson trade as my worst, but I still feel that had to be done. However, the only thing worse than a bad trade is the one that got away.
At the beginning of the season I was offered a trade, one that (at the time) seemed like I would be getting hustled, but as the season progressed I realize what I had done.
Sending away Tim Thomas and in return I would have got Henrik Lundqvist. I mean, was I wrong for passing that trade up? Probably. Maybe I was blinded by the Stanley Cup and my judgement was off. Either way I grit my teeth every time I see Lundqvist post a shutout — currently leading the league with seven — for the Rangers and the Bruins sit Thomas and give Rask the start so he wouldn’t whine. But who can blame them? Rask is putting up decent numbers (SV%: .932 and GAA: 2.01 to Thomas’ SV%: .929 and GAA of 2.20) and Thomas is old, old for a hockey player anyway.
My traders regret was especially throbbing during the game on V-Day when Lundqvist shut out the Bruins and Thomas let in some three goals resulting in one of his worst SV% of recent games (.850). I couldn’t tell you how many Chia-pets were destroyed during those 60 minutes.
One of the more “decent” trades I’ve done this year would have to include trading away Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (pre-injury, but I think that goes without saying) who has posted 35 points so far (13G/22A) and in return I got John Tavares who is having an excellent year with 55 beautiful points — 22 goals and 33 assists.
So let’s hear it; what trade have you benefited the most from?
It might be ego, or attachment issues (DON”T LEAVE ME!), but I really don’t have too much trading to brag about. In fact, that’s been my only deal outside of this awful trade that thankfully got vetoed. This oh-so-trustworthy owner accepted my trade proposal nearly a month after I made it — I know, I’m also at fault for not taking it off the table. Nevertheless, I had our group come together and veto the deal when Martin St. Louis almost lost an eye (truth be told the deal was close to fair value until he was slotted to miss significant time).
My favorite deal, is actually one that should reap some benefits by the trade deadline or the offseason. I managed to score Rick Nash last February for that aging Tim Thomas. Keep in mind this league is obviously a keeper and I already roster Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak, making the loss of the stern republican just that much easier to swallow. When Nash finally gets moved out of Columbus then I can celebrate with an elite goal scorer for the next 10 years while the opposing owner plays chicken with Thomas, who might only have another year or two left in those old bones.
From this point forward, I would like to be known as Captain Foresight. Thank you, thank you, your oh’ so kind.