Monday, October 8, 2007

Pull the Trigger

Let me introduce you to Kevin Wu. Kevin asked that i take a good look at his league for him. they play a whack of positions but unfortunately, it's a "diet Soderburgh" league. you'd have to listen to ESPN podcasts to recognize that term and well, if you're not listening to the podcasts then you're not taking advantage of all the resources available to you for your fantasy teams. i particularly enjoyed the baseball podcasts but i've also listened to a few football ones too. i'm hopeful that guys like Sean Allen and Pete Becker put together a hockey podcast too, that'd be cool. anyway, a diet Soderburgh league is named after the producer of the podcast who plays in smaller leagues than the normal 12 team league. Kevin, that's also what you have here.

Kevin plays in a 6 team league. they try to compensate for having so few teams by doubling the roster size so that helps a bit though. his league settings are G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG, W, GAA, SV, and SV%. pretty standard. i don't see the point of having both SV and SV% since they couldn't be more correlated but still, to each his own. they play 4 guys at each of the three forward positions, 6 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders each with a 4 man bench. (wow, start 3 goaltenders, that could be fun).

well, let's take a look at Pull the Trigger.

C - Olli Jokinen FLA - A- - a superstar that nobody talks about. i wouldn't be surprised to see him break the 100 pt barrier this season, certainly 90 is possible.

C - Mats Sundin TOR - B+ - the potential is still there to up his grade into the A level but he hasn't quite been the superstar he's needed to be over the last couple seasons. it's not that he's not great, he's just slipped a little from what he used to be.

C - Henrik Sedin VAN - B+ - i'd love to grade him higher and many would anyway. if you're looking for assists you won't find a better option anywhere really. serving the dish - there's little glory in it but man is it ever needed.

C - Brad Richards TB - B - the worst option amongst the Lightning's big 3 but still take the 80 pts and run with it. in a year when it all comes together he's a bonus nearly across the board with 90 pts and usually decent +/-. i expect similar numbers this year. for a C4 though that's amazing.

LW - Alexander Ovechkin WAS - A+ - off to a slow start but do you really think that's going to keep up? come on. this man should be solidified into your lineup everyday, especially after Alexander Sedin is back and can help out on the PP.

LW - Brendan Shanahan NYR - B+ - dude's still a pt/game player and that won't change this year either. in fact with a better offense in NY then just expect that Shanny's stats will go up a bit this year. yes he's getting older but what can i say, he's younger than me and i'm still a respected and contributing member of society. it isn't like he's Chris Chelios or Derian Hatcher or something.

LW - Paul Kariya STL - B - i wish he'd get back to the days when he'd shoot the puck. he had seasons where he was amongst the league leaders in SOG and consequently would pocket more goals. playing on the Blues there's a chance that he'll do that since there are fewer scoring options around him than there have been in years past. if Kariya shoots then his value increases significantly.

LW - Brendan Morrow DAL - B- - i think that's a generous grade to be quite frank. i drank the kool-aid last year and i'm more than a bit shy about buying in this year. he was hurt a LOT last season and is quite possibly the worst investment that i made for the money i spent on him last season. he hasn't convinced me that he wants to return to his PIMy ways of 2 seasons ago and i'm not convinced that he'll contribute enough goals to make him worth the investment this year either. however, LW looks scarcer than the other F slots this season so go ahead and take a bit of a chance on him at the right time of a draft. here's hoping your investment this year is better than my investment last year.

RW - Maxim Afinogenov BUF - B+ - another pt/game player and good option. with the departures of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere out of Buffalo that means that some talented wingers have to get used to some new young talented centers. there isn't nearly enough buzz about how good Derek Roy and Tim Connolly are going to be but if they're healthy then Afinogenov and Tomas Vanek can help carry the load so that entire lines succeed. i like Afinogenov's creativity. i wish he'd shoot more but you can't have everything.

RW - Brian Gionta NJ - B - there's plenty of potential to up this guy's grade too but some past injury concerns and the general sense that Jersey plays defence first hockey are some red flags for me. if Travis Zajac can assert himself more in the lineup then i think he has a shot at being the Devils best pivot option and Patrik Elias can concern himself with the wing. Gionta is a trigger man and all he needs is a disher who can hit the tape.

RW - Shane Doan PHO - B- - i live in Winnipeg and Shane is still loved in these parts from the days of the Jets. i think he's still got a shot at 30 goal potential but that team is so young and inexperienced that i think it may not be worth trying to stomach the poor +/- he's going to give you. now a couple years back Doan put up a ton of PIMs but i don't think that's going to repeat itself either.

RW - Alexander Radulov NAS - C - the potential is there but unfortunately he's still stuck in the doghouse after not showing the brilliance that many are expecting out of him. i think that 40-50 pts out of him this year is a nice year but i'm not sure that you need to be rostering him if all you're expecting is 40 pts out of him. just be aware that the potential is there for 85 pts, maybe soon.

D - Brian Rafalski DET - B+ - he took the place of Mathieu Schneider on this team and quite frankly he'll do better than Schneider did in that role. Rafalski does everything right and is an excellent compliment to a superstar defensive partner. he's no flash on the ice but he's steady and he'll quietly help Nik Lidstrom continue to be a monster in Detroit.

D - Kimmo Timonen PHI - B+ - i loved him in Nashville and now that he's in Philly and he has Daniel Briere and Simon Gagne to pass to on the PP then i absolutely adore him as a Flyer. seriously. what kind of name is Timmo though?

D - Shea Weber NAS - B- - i had to downgrade him because he got hurt early and won't be contributing to your squad soon. the future of the Preds D is safe on his stick however. when healthy he'll lead the Preds D in ice time, power play time, and overall stats.

D - Andrei Markov MON - B - now that Sheldon Souray has moved on to frozen pastures it'll be a lot harder for Markov to hide his skill. the Habs (ptui) have a potent PP and Markov gets to take a chunk of the credit there. as a D4 this is an amazing option.

D - Joni Pitkanen EDM - B- - as Rafalski is to Lidstrom so Pitkanen is to Souray, except Souray needs a lot more help to rise to Lidstroms levels. this is a good move and i don't think the Oilers +/- nor their offense is going to be as bad as many are saying it will be. Souray will get 20 goals if he's healthy and Pitkanen will probably assist on them all.

D - Tom Poti WAS - B - signing Poti was a shrewd move on the part of the Caps. they needed a decent PP QB and they got one at a very good price. Poti will obviously benefit from playing significant time with some of the best offensive options in the game.

G - Miikka Kiprusoff CAL - A - few goaltenders can dominate a game, every game, any game by themselves but Kip is one of those guys. i ranked him 3rd amongst goaltenders and i have him as high as 6 on my draft list depending on my mood. goaltending is key in any league and you've started with a cornerstone. that's always wise.

G - Marty Turco DAL - A- - i also ranked Turco high, probably higher than many did but my reasoning is that Dallas always plays a tough defensive game and Turco fits it beautifully. the fact that you have him and Kip starting for you is so amazing that you're team is well on it's way to success right there.

G - Dominik Hasek DET - A- - man your goaltending is strong. this is your 3rd starter and some would argue that he's your best starter. he does have some injury issues that could really hurt your team but still this is a trading chip that could put you over the top.

BN - Jordan Staal PIT - B - the fact that he's been playing with Sid really improves his value and when he gets LW eligibility then you'll really be sitting pretty. i think that 30 goals isn't out of the picture, maybe 70 pts too.

BN - Patrik Elias NJ - B- - there's no doubt that he has skill but that bout with hepatitis really hurt his value and he really hasn't broken away from that since. great bench option to have and if he breaks out like he has the skill to do then you'll really be sitting pretty.

BN - Sean Avery NYR - B+ - PIMs and pts, no forward contributes better when balanced evenly. he has a dislocated shoulder and won't be of use to you for a month but when he's back then get him in the lineup.

BN - Kari Lehtonen ATL - B- - i was really high on him last year and would've been this year too if his coach hadn't crushed his ego by pulling him during bad playoff losses last year. there's no doubting that Atlanta has the offense to really succeed so if Lehtonen plays lots then he should be good enough to secure about 35 wins. and that's very good for a G4.

Waiver Wire Options

you have 5 IR slots that you can fill so i suggest that you add IR options to your bench before you add the player you "really" want. i only make one waiver suggestion right now (see below) but before you add that guy you're going to want to add Kyle Wellwood, Mike Ribeiro, and Sami Salo to your IR, perhaps soon to be join by Sean Avery and Shea Weber.

Peter Sykora C/RW - Sid's winger. if he goes to the net with his stick on the ice he's got a good shot at getting a goal as Sid finds him.

Anze Kopitar C -doesn't get a lot of print but he's on the verge of stardom. looking like an assist guy.

Jason Arnott C - Pred's captain. he'll score plenty of goals.

Cory Stillman LW - i've never been a huge fan but he can give 80 pts and you can't ignore that.

Nathan Horton C/RW - good hard-nosed play, probably 30 goals.

Vaclav Prospal C - a down season followed by an up season. that's the pattern. this is an up season.

Chris Neil RW - love this guy for PIMs options.

Karel Rachunek D - supposed to be QBing the Devil's PP. it should happen eventually.

Michal Roszival D - probably the Rangers best option on the PP point, until Marc Staal grows up that is.

Matthias Ohlund D - shooter. i've always liked him.

Filip Kuba D - another underrated shooter. looking into # of shots and he comes higher up the list than one expects.

Cory Murphy D - all sorts of buzz about him QBing the Cats PP. he got his first NHL goal this past wknd.

Dwayne Roloson G - do you believe the Oil will be any good? Rolly is their best player imo. if they're winning he'll be the reason.

Peter Budaj G - he has the main job on a team that should win a LOT. he's probably the best G option on your wire.

Jonathan Bernier G - i guess i'm going out on a limb for this kid but still, i believe. the Kings will surprise and so will Bernier.

- waive Alexander Radulov to add Peter Sykora

Radulov is in his coach's doghouse already and the season has barely started. he was slotted into 4th line duty instead of the top line duty that many were expecting. Sykora however gets to play on the same line as Sidney Crosby and i wouldn't be surprised to see Sykora hit the 40 goal mark this season.

i have some concerns with the bottom end of your forward's roster, notably Radulov and Morrow but also some concern for most of your RW. i hoping that my concern will be unjustified however. your D are underrated but solid and i don't see how your G could get any better. of course any team can be hurt a lot by injury but it should be noted in this league that there are 5 IR slots available to you. i suspect that Sean Avery will use one of them soon since it looked like he blew out a shoulder this past weekend (you should add Chris Neil when you IR Avery) and there's no doubt that Dominik Hasek will miss some time this season too, he always does. i also have some injury concerns for Shanahan, Gionta, Doan, and Kariya given their age and/or injury history. it should also be noted that Shea Weber left a game earlier this past weekend and will be out for 3-6 wks with a dislocated kneecap (i'd add Karel Rachunek or Cory Murphy when your IR Weber).

Trading Options

you've already received one trade offer, you need to counter offer. Si (his name is Simon) has offered you Tomas Vanek, Miroslav Satan, and Rick DiPietro for Brian Gionta, Sean Avery, and Miikka Kiprusoff. i don't like that deal much for you. Si does need to go after some better goaltending though and that's a strength of yours, he also has some sniper wingers very much worth targeting. i suggest you counter by offering Dominik Hasek and Shane Doan for Marian Gaborik and Rick DiPietro. if that fails then you could consider offering up Brian Gionta instead of Doan for the same guys. in your counter you're both taking on some risk, you in Gaborik's health and Si in Dominator's health, but you also both get what you're looking for.

offer Dominik Hasek and Shane Doan to SlipperySlope for Martin Biron and Simon Gagne. this may make you look like a Flyer fan but still if you can get this it's a very good move for you. if you have to settle for Olaf Kolzig instead of Biron then that's still fine because the gem of the deal is in getting Gagne.

offer Patrik Elias and Joni Pitkanen to Team Canada for Ryan Getzlaf and Wade Redden. if i received this offer from you i'd decline it but if you look at the numbers there is something there. i personally believe that Getzlaf is ready to break out and i have some serious concerns about Edmonton's abilities to score enough to win this season. if this doesn't fly then don't sweat it, it is supposed to generate discussion. if there's a way for you to land Getzlaf in a deal that doesn't cost you Jokinen or Sundin out of your C's then pursue it. beware trading a superstar winger too.


i have some concerns about the potential health of some on your team. that's why i'm suggesting some particular moves. it's difficult to evaluate a league like yours because of the fact that everyone is stocked with superstars. having extensive IR slots then it's best to utilize them. if it doesn't work out later then you can just drop him to the wire again but in the short term why not use up your IR options.
the waiver move needs to be done immediately, get Sykora before someone else realizes his extra value, certainly more than Radulov has. Sykora will easily outscore Rad-man, particularly because Sid will feed him at even strength for a good chunk of the year.
your goalies are very strong. your league starts 18 goalies everyday and quite frankly, i like your 3 starters in the top 8 or so goalies overall. if you don't trade some of that depth away you'll have excellent goaltending for the season. i'm going to suggest that you DO trade some of that depth away though, to get some more offensive punch if you can. there are a few teams with weaker goaltending and you should target them first. if you can land a superstar winger in a package involving Dominik Hasek then you address some of your major health issues on your squad while dealing from strength. i really hope a trade works for you. you have an offer on the table at the moment which involves trading away your best goalie (Kiprusoff). you should avoid trading Kip away unless you're getting a superstar back (like Crosby or something. yes that's what i said).
good luck Kevin. if you see something you like then go ahead and Pull the Trigger.

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