well folks, let me introduce you to Paul Miller. Paul actually has been emailing me several times over the last couple seasons about hockey stuff. dude knows his puck very well but still, he's playing in a kickass keeper league that anyone would have have trouble staying on top of. and he's doing well too. i thought about taking a run at Paul's team last year, very late in the year, but it didn't work out and frankly the league scares me. there's so much stuff to watch here. it's a 10 team league with 25 man rosters and Paul's got another 20 (!) guys on his bench and in the minor leagues. holy freaking cow! now i already said it's a keeper league and that there are salaries and keeper rules to worry about but quite frankly, i'm going to let Paul worry about them and just try to help him win THIS year. if i remember correctly he won this league a couple years ago and has been rebuilding toward making another run. right now he sits in 4th. let's see if we can help him there.
It's a 10 team roto league, simple categories but the depth makes the whole experience extra challenging. The categories are: G, A, P,+/-, PIM, Goalie Wins + 2x shutouts. that's interesting, no? like i said, they start 25 guys; 15F, 7D, 3G but there aren't any ratios to worry about with G's. so when evaluating a goaltender, if you win, you're in. having F options instead of breaking down by position gets everyone away from having to search for viable options at weaker positions like LW, so that's interesting too. you can set your lineup weekly only. the league is hosted at tqstats which looks like a solid game engine to run on. it also appears to be a pay option.
without further ado (not adieu as some may think), here's MillerTime.
F Ilya Kovalchuk - A-: when he's on there's little better combination of speed and sniper-ism in the game (that is too a word).
F Daniel Alfredsson - A: i think he's the consummate leader and can't believe he was ragged on for so long in OTW. steady production that won't get you in trouble.
F Daniel Briere - A: firestarter. you need a boost for your team? he'll kick your team in the butt or pick it up on his small frame and carry it around.
F Evgeni Malkin - A+: plenty of skill that gets overshadowed by Sid the kid. some were projecting him to finish 2nd in the scoring race this year and that could just happen.
F Zach Parise - B+: looks like everyone else in Jersey is asleep but Parise is gonna be something special. nice to have him in a keeper league like this.
F Brian Rolston - B+: with Gaborik and Demitra hurt (short term) then once again the offense will flow through Rolston. people overlook him but there's a reason he was made captain, he fills it up and shows the way.
F Brendan Morrow - B-: i'd like to believe again. if he gets into a couple scraps or pulls off a Gordie Howe hattrick (a G, an A, and a fight) it might go a long way to making me a believer once more.
F Brian Gionta - B-: he has a history of scoring, i'm just not sure that he's got the touch anymore.
F Brendan Shanahan - B+: dude only has 2 goals but last i checked he leads the league in SOG/game. he'll score, oh boy will he score.
F Keith Tkachuk - B: a favourite whipping boy in the past just cuz i think he's a bit of a jerk but i'll say this much, there aren't many better power forward options in the game and he's been among the best PF options for a decade now.
F Michal Handzus - C+: remember the long mullet hair on Handie? ah the 1980's. what, that was last year that he had that? really? well ... he cut it and maybe that affects his skills like it did Samson. i'm not so sure that he's the best starting option for your team. i continue to have injury concerns and he's never been a really offensive guy in the first place. he's a great checker but you don't want to rely on him to score much for you.
F Chris Kunitz - B-: he's shooting the puck. he's in the top 50 guys in SOG right now. more and more of those shots will start to go in.
F Glen Murray - B-: traditionally a goal scorer. i have concerns about whether he still "has it" though.
F Tomas Holmstrom - A-: i love this guy, yes in that way, ok maybe not but i love how he just plants himself in front and spends 3 hrs taking out the garbage. he'll get close to 40 goals this year. yes i know he's never done better than 30 before but i said it anyway.
F Jeff Hamilton - B: getting loads of opportunity on an all forward PP in Carolina and he's making good use of the opportunity too. he's a strong start right now.
D Dion Phaneuf - A-: there are few D i like more than PIMy D (i call him PIMy D). he shoots, he scores, he throws forwards against the wall like they're spaghetti and he's testing to see if they're done.
D Matt Carle - B-: smart play in a keeper. you'll have this guy a long time and he won't disappoint you.
D Sami Salo - B-: the man's a shooter and if healthy then his grade goes WAYYY up.
D Alexei Zhitnik - C-: i think his time has passed but i understand why some still believe. i see his PP time continue to go to Tobias Enstrom.
D Michal Roszival - B-: he's the best option the Rangers have right now i guess.
D Brett Clark - B: underrated option. i like him for 40 pts which ain't bad for the bottom of your roster.
D Brent Burns - B+: kid can play. logging over 20 mins ice time per night and contributing across the board.
G Kari Lehtinen- he's young, he's got skills, he's got brittle leg muscles apparently. he has a groin issue right now and needs to sit on your bench.
G Ryan Miller- people are still down on him but i rank him top 8ish for G's in the entire league. stick with him, he'll be fine.
G Manny Legace- underrated contributions while backstopping an improving team. his GAA last year was 2.5 while he shut the door in front of a brutally defensive squad last year. the Blues D is improving and Manny will keep shutting the door.
Steve Sullivan, Nicklas Backstrom, Sergei Kostitsyn, Derek Brassard, Todd White, Johan Franzen, Ville Peltonen, Ryan Malone, Mark Bell, Kyle Calder, T.J. Hensick, Robbie Schremp, Patrik Berglund, Claude Giroux, Drew Miller, Igor Makarov, Jakob Voracek, Mike Van Ryn, Magnus Johansson, Marc Denis.
with such a large bench i just figured i'd highlight the guys that i figure have extra value down the road since i assume that you did all your homework by drafting all these guys with a reason.
Nicklas Backstrom (he has the "c" in his first name so that's how i know he's the C in Washington and not the goalie) is going to be a special player. we've already had a couple email conversations about him so you know that i believed at the start of this year that i figured he'd by RoY by season's end. it's not looking like that'll be the case to start things off but i still think he'll be a special player for a lengthy career. Steve Sullivan has value to your team this year after he's back from his back troubles, or he may be a nice trading chip sometime soon. the future is bright for Kostitsyn, Brassard, Hensick (very bright actually), Schremp (i like him too), Berglund, Giroux, Miller, and Voracek. you'll probably have to wait a little longer for Makorov and everybody else is a short term roster fill-in or a trading chip to help yourself out now and and down the road.
ok, i love your starting F's and most of your D's, your G's need some work though as you probably realize. it looks as though the needs of your team right now center around Goalie wins + shutouts where you presently have 2.5 pts and +/- where you have 4 pts.
Waiver Wire Options
Alex Auld G - PHX - the only G on the wire with any value at all, and you need some help at G. hopefully it'll only be short term.
Nigel Dawes F - NYR - he's been moved up to first line duty and should skate with Jaromir Jagr a lot more in the near future. he's as close to a must add in every format right now as there is.
Vernon Fiddler F - NAS - love the name, especially in Nashville. decent option for a bottom of the roster or bench guy.
Jiri Tlusty F - TOR - kid's got skills and must be considered an add in any keeper like yours.
Niklas Hagman F - DAL - hot start. i don't think it's going to continue though.
Jared Boll F - CBS - old school PIMs. won't get many pts in other areas but he'll get loads of PIMs every night.
Mike Peca F - CBS - first line duty. if Rick Nash keeps scoring then he'll need some help.
Martin Hanzal F - PHX - keeper option but this would be a bench guy at best for your team this year.
Bret Hedican D - CAR - i suggest him because of +/- and some PIMs. he won't give a terrible lot of pts but 30 pts might be an attainable goal for him.
Derek Morris D - PHX - some point potential but also a PIMy add. he might never return to the offensive potential he showed in Colorado back in the day.
Karel Rachunek D - NJ - with a D that doesn't have a real PP point man amongst them then Rachunek could still contribute the occasional PPP.
add Alex Auld for Marc Denis - you need a G3 option pretty desperately right now and Auld ... well, he's a starter. this is a band-aid solution at best and you'll want to trade for a better G3.
add Nigel Dawes for Ville Peltonen - i actually debated with myself who should be your drop since i don't want to suggest any of your kids and several of your NHL options garner stats very similarly. i just think there's more upside for Mark Bell, Johan Franzen, Ryan Malone and Kyle Calder. Dawes will be a better option than any of them though if he gets to continue to play with Jagr.
you'll need to keep an eye on the bottom of your D roster. Zhitnik, Van Ryn and Roszival all have the potential to disappear statistically. the Rangers have been rumoured to be shopping for an offensive D (Ed Jovanovski and Derek Morris have been mentioned many times) and if they make a move like that then Roszival's time on the point will be cut drastically. the PP time for Zhitnik has already been cut and i don't like his prospects for stats going forward. i was seriously considering a suggestion where you add Morris for Zhitnik and i could easily see a time where that add would be suggested for you. Van Ryn is your best option of the 3 you should be watching.
trade one of your young stud forwards to B-Turf for one of his stud goalies- earlier this month B-Turf put Luongo on the block and he still has him there. if he'll take 2 young studs to get Luongo then do it and don't blink. if he wants 3 then still consider it. B-Turf also has Josh Harding and Martin Gerber on his roster that you can make a run at. getting Harding would help you in the short term and it certainly wouldn't hurt to have him at the bottom of your bench since he's going to be the Wild's stud goalie within a season i expect. historically the Wild ride their goalies until they get to a big payday then they trade them off and go with the next stud option. Robbie Schremp for Josh Harding may be enough to get it done, maybe not. another option is to offer Glen Murray and a throw-in to him for Martin Gerber. there are question marks with both guys but you do need another G and B-Turf needs offense pretty badly. there are some possibilities here with B-Turf, hopefully something can get done since he fits best as a possible trade partner for you in your league.
trade Glen Murray to Hockeydoc for JP Dumont - i find it interesting sometimes the sorts of moves that people make with their teams. Nashville is in the midst of a 4 game week, your league allows you to set your lineup weekly and yet doc decided to bench Dumont prior to this week. now he did just make a trade and perhaps wanted to find out what his new players are capable of but when i notice things like that i think that he may be down on Dumont at the moment. if he is then you should strike. if he's down on him than this might work, if he's not down on him then this might just be a conversation piece for the two of you.
trade Alexei Zhitnik to IFK Helsinki for Jason LaBarbera - you need a goalie and the price for Labarbapapa is about right. i realize he was the NHL's 1st star last week but if that comes up in your trade negotiations then just point out how the man stunk it up for so long prior to last week. i personally don't think that the Kings' defense is going to continue to be swiss cheese like it was for a good chunk of October. their play will pick and i fully expect them to contend for a playoff spot in the West this season. you can afford this move, the price isn't too steep and you definitely need a goalie.
trade Michal Handzus, Brian Gionta and Magnus Johansson to Silver Seven for Brad Boyes, Joffrey Lupul and Tobias Enstrom - i'd understand your reluctance to offer up Gionta here but let me try and make a case for this deal. Lupul has been moved up to the top line on a squad that is going to score more than Gionta's squad anyway, this offer makes your team a lot younger and Tobias Enstrom is among the league leaders for PP time on ice for defensemen. Enstrom is well liked by his GM and is in fact taking much of the PP ice time away from Alexei Zhitnik. by offering Gionta you give Seven something to want in this deal, after all Gionta did pot 48 goals in '05-06. if this is accepted then that is so freaking HUGE for you.
it's hard to evaluate a league like yours because there is SO much going on. the only thing that would make it easier would be if you decided to add a couple expansion teams.
you've laid some excellent groundwork up front for yourself but you're pretty bare-assed on the back end (pun intended). since Lehtonen went down you've had to rely on Marc Denis as your G3 and your G situation went from bad to dismal in one fell stroke. Ryan Miller is definitely going to help you out, Lehtonen will be a nice option at G2 when he's back and i still like Manny Legace as a very nice sleeper pick to contribute some more than adequate stats. the way you're forced to run it now though, with Denis in there as a G3? that's bad. very bad. Denis isn't going to contribute, he barely starts and he doesn't give you good stats when he does start. i'd even trust Phoenix's goaltending ahead of Denis, and that's the first suggestion for you.
once that band-aid is in place you need to comb around for some better options in goal. if that means trading for Jason LaBarbera then so be it, that isn't a bad option; if that means trading some young studs to land Bobby Lou in Vancouver then absolutely do that. Luongo is on the block so at least find out what the price tag would be. the same guy with Luongo also has Harding and Gerber and either of those guys would be fine stop-gaps until Lehtonen is ready to go again. you should know that both Harding and Gerber will be backups once the main guy is ready to go again but they also both have a decent shot at a better starting slot through trade. in a keeper league Harding is going to be a very good goalie down the road and may be able to help you a lot now too.
the other trade suggestions are attempts to tweak your lineup a little and stir up some discussion with your leaguemates. you're shooting for some +/- help without hurting your total offense much.
pray that Steve Sullivan can come back healthy soon. he'll be a nice trading chip for you and if not then he'll help your offense in the least.