How To: Deal with Fantasy Hockey Sentimental Value

Updated: October 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm by Chris Wassel

The sunset of a fantasy hockey giant is always hardest....

The hardest part is saying goodbye to a fantasy hockey legend.  Sometimes there are just certain players that will leave you wanting to hold on to them for far longer than they’re worth.  Martin Brodeur is one of those players now, or at least it is apparent that he has become one.

The prognosis is that Brodeur will be out for the rest of the month, although there is a chance he could be back before then.  Keep in mind that the New Jersey Devils have a road trip after Friday’s game against San Jose and will not be back in New Jersey until a November 2nd tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  While Brodeur is expected to accompany the Devils on the road trip for treatment and to practice, his game status is up in the air to say the least.

So a bone bruise is not so bad, right?  Wrong.  Let us be honest and frank for a moment.  If you look at Martin Brodeur’s injury history over the last few seasons, it is not good.  We have reconstructed several injury tables to bring you, the reader, the following.

2011/10/15 Right shoulder injury, day-to-day.
2011/02/18 Missed 5 games (sprained right knee).
2011/02/08 Sprained right knee, injured reserve.
2010/12/06 Missed 7 games (right elbow injury).
2010/11/20 Right elbow injury, sidelined indefinitely.
2010/11/12 Missed 2 games (elbow injury).
2010/11/05 Elbow injury, day-to-day.
2009/02/25 Missed 50 games (left elbow injury).
2008/11/03 Left elbow injury, early February.

So the 08-09 season was pretty much the starting point of the beginning of the end.  We highlighted the elbow and shoulder injuries for a reason.  Knees and arms, along with groins, typically give goalies the most trouble but hybrid goalies usually do not have groin problems other than some soreness early in the season or in training camp.  Brodeur was 36 after the first major elbow injury.  Some have said you are never right after that and the data kind of seems to prove it.  Sure he was healthy for the 09-10 season but then he had a brutal first round performance against the Philadelphia Flyers.  Then the 2010-11 season happened where the injury returned in his other elbow.

That was the problem.  Coming into this year, one knew that Brodeur was not going to get more than 60 starts.  Certain players you just know are heading into that sunset fantasy wise and this was Brodeur’s last viable kick at the fantasy can so to speak.  Yes he will be back likely by the first week of November at the latest but can he stay healthy?  It is a question many thought would never have to be asked or even deliberated.

Here is the real dilemma.  What if he was your favorite fantasy hockey player?   Everyone has them and no we are not necessarily talking from favorite team per se.  It could be a guy like Brodeur or a guy like Jaromir Jagr.  Hey it could be a player not many are thinking about but could be good at say, faceoffs.  Some leagues count that stat also.

Clearly sentimental value hits every fantasy hockey GM at some point so what on Earth do you do when it happens to you?  We have a few solutions for everyone to at least try and then at the end, in the comments, we would love to hear which players you have just held on to for too long due to said sentimentality.

Step 1:  Assess which players are vulnerable……

This should be done every so often but if you have not done it, NOW is the time to do so.  We are talking about players that are over the age of 35 generally or players that have had severe injury history.  These are the guys subconsciously that you know you are taking a flyer on but just had to.  Keep in mind that not all of these players are iconic legends.

By definition, any player that has had more than an injury a year for the past three or four years has to at least merit some consideration but let us add in that this player has had to have carried some portion of your fantasy team in the past.  After all one cannot have that sentimentality without performance.  Otherwise, no GM would hold on to a player that long in the first place.

Also players that have come back from long layoffs (injuries, time away from the NHL, etc).  That adds into the guys that you have seen performing as well.  Players like Brodeur and Jagr come to the top of the list but there may be time for others as well.  Did you draft a guy like Michael Cammalleri who just seems to be injury prone of late or did you go even deeper and draft a guy like Tim Connolly, who can score but has trouble staying on the ice.

Other players that could be included are Marian Gaborik or even Dwayne Roloson.  Notice where the criteria blends together at times.  No one knows when Gaborik will or if he will get hurt again and Roloson has shown early signs of cracking this year.  Vulnerability is measured in different ways and is something that GM’s should look at on other teams as well.  One never knows when you can pounce on another GM’s “mistakes”.

Step 2:  Do you keep or do you drop?

Maybe the hardest part in fantasy hockey is letting someone you love dearly on your team go. For those who drafted Martin Brodeur, for example, he makes a good third goalie on your team at this point because more injuries may come this season.  That is just the way it seems to be setting up but he will rack up some wins here and there which is something vital in leagues.

It gets easier in some cases.  Andy McDonald sadly is a guy every GM should have dropped by now.  Even if he comes back, how many times is too many?  We have probably crossed that bridge already.  McDonald is now 34 and has had at least a half dozen concussion documented in the last 6 years.  There probably have been more.  Sadly it is time for the talented center to just hang it up.

Daniel Alfredsson is another case.  He had a nerve disorder last year with back and leg injuries as a result.  The point a game guy you once knew for years is pretty well long gone.  Watching the first few games this year with Alfredsson has been almost painful at times.  Yes he is 38 and we did forecast a dropoff last year.  This year does not look to be much better as Ottawa continues to get worse and worse.  If +/- does not matter then one may want to at least consider keeping him but otherwise, it really is time to cut bait and say goodbye.

Step 3:  Do not look back, either way…..

Never ever look back at decisions that were made.  If you do, you will second guess every decision made and GM’s will see this vulnerability at the most crucial junctures.  The smell of fear is always prevalent in those that are not decisive.  The meek will be eaten alive in fantasy hockey as well as the inactive so keep that in mind.

This is the part where we leave it up to you, the readers.  Give us a list of players that you have held on to too long and why.  We are curious.  Then in the comments section, we will reveal some of our blunders as well.  To err is human and we all do it so let us have it!

Thanks again and see you next Friday for another fantasy hockey How To.

Andy McDonald, Daniel Alfredsson, Dwayne Roloson, Jaromir Jagr, Marian Gaborik, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers