There really is no such thing as a standard Fantasy Hockey league. In Fantasy Football, the standard is 10 teams, nine starters, zero points per reception and four points for a TD pass. In Fantasy Baseball, it’s your basic 10-team 5×5 league. Sure, there can be variations but those are the basics. Fantasy Hockey, however, is all over the place. Let’s face it; Fantasy hockey is not anywhere near as popular as the other Fantasy sports, so there are plenty of strange rules out there. Some leagues just start a certain amount of forwards rather than break down that group into positions (LW, C, RW). I don’t mind this actually, as some of the sites we use are outdated in updating player position eligibility. I know that I have had plenty of debates about where a player should be eligible. Scoring is also all over the place. What categories do we use for the goalies? Should penalty minutes be rewarded? What about hits? There just aren’t any standards. This can be frustrating, but it’s also what makes Fantasy Hockey so much fun, as you just don’t know what you’re going to get from one league to the next.
There was another interesting trade over the weekend in the NHL. The Penguins shipped David Perron to Anaheim for Carl Hagelin. This is the definition of a change of scenery deal. Perron is now with his fourth organization. He started out with St. Louis, who also dealt him in a change of scenery deal to Edmonton, who then shipped him to Pittsburgh. Perhaps he’s just not the player that some think he is or that he should be. He looks to play with Ryan Kesler on the second line with Anaheim, and even though he scored a goal in his debut over the weekend, I’ll pass unless I have a dead spot on my roster.
Hagelin is a little more interesting. He has skill. The Rangers traded him during the offseason because they were up against the salary cap and needed to save some cash. Life just didn’t work out in Anaheim for whatever reason. Now he goes to Pittsburgh and will start out playing on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Anyone playing on such a line deserves consideration for a pickup. I’m not predicting big things here. There are some problems, such as chemistry with his team line mates and adapting to a new team, but perhaps the biggest problem is how much power play time will he get? With Anaheim, he did not have a point on the power play and was averaging only 11 seconds of ice time with the man advantage. It’s obviously a small sample size, but in his first game with the Penguins he did not see any power play time. I would still look to claim him in leagues with 10-plus teams, but I also want to caution you to keep your expectations in check. He’s not going to win your league for you.
Jonathan Drouin may not win your league for you either, but he is close to being dealt by the Lightning. As I’m writing this column there are rumors flying around that a deal with Montreal is close to being consummated. How true this is remains to be seen, but it does tell us that Tampa is serious about dealing him and even if it doesn’t work out with the Canadiens, it will be sooner rather than later that Drouin finds a new home. What does this mean for his Fantasy expectations? I would have to believe that any team acquiring Drouin, for the price they are likely to pay, will likely plan on bringing him back up to the NHL and giving him a Top 6 forward spot. The kid has immense talent; I’d roll the dice right now and pick him up, hoping he lands with a top offensive team.
You may need to take Henrik Sedin out of your lineup this week. Sedin had to leave the game Sunday after being boarded from behind by the Islanders’ Mikhail Grabovski (given a 5-minute major game misconduct but won’t be suspended). Sedin went for X-rays (presumably on his shoulder) during the game, and although the team said they were negative, they also stated Monday that Sedin is unlikely to play again until after the All-Star break. Fantasy owners need to find a short-term replacement. Deeper leagues may want to look at Patrick Berglund of the Blues. He is back from his own injury and producing.
The Oilers may have surprised some by signing Cam Talbot to a three-year $12.5 million contract extension over the weekend. While the money is in line with several other NHL goaltenders, has Talbot shown enough in his half season with Edmonton to deserve starter money? His numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt, as the Oilers don’t have the best of defenses. Still, a 2.58 GAA and .914 save percentage do show promise and this team can only get better. I’m not starting him on any kind of regular basis this season, but in keeper or dynasty leagues I’m a lot more interested in his services.
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