Well, we’re essentially a little more than half-way through the hockey fantasy season and my hockey hopes are coming true from the wisdom of some of my picks. This has played well in the points based league that has me sitting third overall and within what I would consider striking distance of the top (even if #4 & 5 are right there with me). Overall, there has not been a great deal of movement in the league as most teams are at about the same spots they were in after the first few weeks of the season shook out. Entrenchment in the standings makes movement tough and I’ve experienced that myself with some under-achieving players making up key positions on my team.
I haven’t done much on the waiver wire as I considered my draft pretty solid core for my unit – save for fixing some unanticipated problems. My very first move was dropping Brian Rafalski and picking up Ian White (a move I should have never had to make in the first place, but I digress). Most recently, I dropped Duchene as soon as he went down and picked a surprising Dave Backes who should have never been available on the waiver wire at that point and also let go of Ehrhoff due to the +/- and picked up Sheldon Souray in his place.
Some of the trade proposals over the last few months were laughable, to say the least (no, I’m not letting Ovi go for a pile of hockey pucks, I’m hoping he will turn it around!). One of the teams closer to the basement needed some help on D and was willing to take a chance on Carlson turning it on in the second half while having several solid LW to move around (Vanack, Hartnel & Parise). We packaged Cammalleri in the deal that send those two away for NJD’s Zach Parise. To make up for the open roster spot, I took Brent Burns on D off the waiver wire. I don’t know how the deal will pan out but so far there’s no grumbling from anyone, myself included.
Under-achiving Ovechkin might have shown flashes of brilliance on the ice for the Caps at times but hasn’t stacked up as well as I would like day-to-day as a first round pick (again, hoping he turns it around). Throw in Cammalleri’s struggles in that terrible Montreal system along with a lackluster Johansson and Duchene (now on IR) at Center and you can see where despite a top line of Marleau-Giroux-Kessel that was pieced together from my draft wasn’t enough to dominate and necessitated some moves. The “top line” then becomes Parise-Giroux-Kessel with Marleau-Kopitar-Perry as a second and then I can move around my misc. positions a little more freely with Ovechkin, Lucic and Backes available with .
LW Alex Ovechkin (Wash) – ALL STAR
LW Zach Parise (NJD)
LW Milan Lucic (Bos)
C/LW Patrick Marleau (SJ)
C Anze Kopitar (LA)
C Dave Backes (STl)
C Marcus Johansson (Wash)
C/RW Claude Giroux (Phi) ALL STAR
RW Phil Kessle (Tor) ALL STAR
RW Corey Perry (Ana) ALL STAR
Built soundly on a top pairing of either White, Byfuglien or Yandle as puck movers, most nights they are anchor enough. Losing Carlson opened a spot for Burns who’s offensive output isn’t as high but San Jose are competitors and his +/- is solid. Souray and Enstrom are serviceable on the back-end, though I’m watching the waiver wire closely to clean up some +/- that needs to be taken care of or grab someone with a little more goal scoring potential. You’ll notice the corps is very west coast overall, which isn’t surprising because some of the best kept secrets particularly on D are out there playing in a league of East coast fans.
D Dustin Byfuglien (Win) ALL STAR
D Keith Yandle (Pho) ALL STAR
D Ian White (DET)
D Brent Burns (SJS)
D Sheldon Souray (Dal)
D Tobias Enstrom (Win)
I haven’t moved anyone, yet. Howard is, of course, THE backstop right now, while Price and Hiller are underachieving. I would say Price’s numbers are more due to the collapse of the Habs than anything he’s doing wrong in net and are more than good for a serviceable #2, while Hiller is a combination of poor play in Anaheim and him being off his game. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would hold Hiller as their only backup and I’m counting on him turning it around as the team reacts to their owners ultimatum, if not any increase in a few wins and save percentage points will be considered.
G Jimmy Howard (Det) ALL STAR
G Carey Price (Mon) ALL STAR
G Jonas Hiller (Ana)