There are several players who have keeper league owners throwing up their hands. Will he retire? How is his hip? Can he iron out his inconsistency and become a star? Will he bounce back from his knee injury? How you handle these situations will make or break your short-term future in your league. Let’s try and tackle some of the bigger ones.
Ever since the 2007-08 season when Selanne took half the season to decide whether or not he would return, fantasy owners have played the “will he or won’t he” game when it comes to his retirement. Here he is again, top 10 scorer in the league at the age of 40. So how do you play it? You can’t drop an 85-point player. But then again, you could lose him for nothing.
That’s the chance you have to take. Hang on to him. It’s hard to imagine a player who is performing at such a high level retiring. If the Ducks win the Stanley Cup, however, that may change things. Otherwise, bank on another year. If you don’t own him, see how cheap you can pick him up. At worst, next season he’ll be limited to 60 or 65 games due to injury/wear and tear and get 55 points.
Does he have a future as a 70-point player? Sixty? Fifty? Kostitsyn started his tenure in Nashville with three points in 19 games. Then he tallied 30 points in 33 games. After that he managed just two points in 13 games. Now he has 10 points in his past eight: so how do you treat him?
Well, let’s excuse his slow start because he was still finding his way with minimal ice time as he tried to prove himself. That leaves him with, overall, 42 points in his past 54 games, which is a 64-point pace. So pencil him in for a conservative 58 next season, but with upside. And expect the points to come in bunches. That would still give him more points than any Nashville player in the past two years.
Here’s another tough situation. What Emery had (avascular necrosis) in his hip was extremely serious and the surgery is relatively new. Sporting careers have often ended over stuff like this. Yet Emery worked his way back and not only that, he seems to be better than ever: He’s undefeated at 6-0-0 and has a ridiculous GAA and SP of 1.90 and .935. My concern about his hip is more of a long-term thing. I wonder about the length of his career. But for the purpose of next season I think you can treat him like a 25-game winner. He’ll latch on somewhere and if that team’s other goalie gets hurt, Emery will do even better than that. I don’t see him staying in Anaheim, as Dan Ellis is still under contract for next year.
Hudler was a highly touted prospect and he is clearly skilled. But at the age of 27, he can’t be called a prospect anymore. Granted, we give him a bit of rope because he played last season in the Kontinental League and only played three NHL seasons prior to that. But this was the year we should have seen something, especially after a big performance in the KHL (54 points in 54 games). Instead, he’s in tough to finish with 40 points. And he wouldn’t even have 30 points were it not for all the injuries Detroit sustained three months ago. His ice time had been dwindling and his power play time disappeared, before the injuries struck.
Hudler used the added ice time to get back on track and now has 30 points in his past 39 games, for a 62-point pace. So is he a 62-point guy, or a 40-point guy? Again, like Kostitsyn, you have to split this one down the middle and project 52 points in 2011-12 with upside. So if you can land Hudler for a player who tallies 55 points this year, but has little in the way of upside, you make the deal.
The inconsistent Wolski was dynamite in his final half-season with the Avalanche, but then the team realized he was never going to iron out his issues and bring the same game every night, so they shipped him to Phoenix. He tallied 18 points in 18 games for the Coyotes to end the season. But then inconsistency reared its ugly head and he was dealt to New York in January.
He’ll be lucky to end up with 35 points just one season after he tallied 65. He is still only 25, so what is in store? His salary for next season, at $3.8 million, is a little too hefty for a buyout, so he’ll be back with the Rangers. Under Tortorella, I just don’t see good things. Get what you can for Wolski and move on.
Here’s a great case study. A player who could have poolies thanking me for my advice after he posts 550 points over the next five seasons or, perhaps, he goes the way of ‘Foppa’ and struggles to one 100-point season and four years of 50 games played here, 60 games played there (and 70 to 80 points). In the past two seasons, Malkin has been playing hurt (or sitting out). We haven’t seen the real Malkin since he was winning the Conn Smythe and Art Ross. So when your fellow GM’s start telling you Steven Stamkos is a more talented hockey player with higher upside or that each of the Sedin twins are better owns, tell them they’re nuts. Stay focused.
Remember Brad Richards had seasons of 70, 62 and 48 points before bouncing back with 91. The same fantasy owners who run down Malkin were treating Richards like a 70-point player. They lost focus. Jarome Iginla: 69 points last year and already 80 this year. Poolies have the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentality. Take advantage of that and go after Malkin.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league – check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.
Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.