November 12, 2009
("Sleepers, Keepers , Bench'em or Drop'em" is a weekly fantasy hockey column written by Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs, an honest-to-goodness expert on such matters and founder of DobberHockey.com. His column will run on Puck Daddy every Thursday.)
There's never been a better time to make a pitch for one of the Big 3 in your keeper league. Alex Ovechkin(notes) and Evgeni Malkin(notes) are on the shelf for the first lengthy time of their careers and Sidney Crosby(notes) has gone five games without a point -- also a first. The last time their value was this low, Puck Daddy was just a twinkle in Greg Wyshynski's eye.
It's extremely hard to get into the top six in Chicago if you're a bubble player. Even getting onto the third line, which is fairly productive for this team compared to other teams, is no easy task. With Dave Bolland(notes) now on the shelf for what should be months, the Blackhawks are doing some shuffling around. Right now, this includes putting Kris Versteeg(notes) at center and moving Ebbett up to Patrick Kane's(notes) line. Cha-ching!
Are you drunk?
Nope, I'm serious. Well, 10 beers. But I'm still serious. Last season when Teemu Selanne(notes) went down, Ebbett came in and posted nearly a point per game for several weeks. Here is a second "Selanne" opportunity.
Paul Stastny(notes), Colorado Avalanche: Although it seems as though he is on every Colorado goal these days, statistically it is only about one in three. It's hard to believe that Stastny is still only 23, given the fact that his last two seasons have been virtual write-offs due to injury. Let's hope that the bad luck is behind him and he tops 80 points for the first time.
Loui Eriksson(notes), Dallas Stars: He'll be a regular in the 70-point club. It may not happen this year, (although it certainly looks promising at the moment), but the 24-year-old Swede will get there. He's making Stars fans forget all about that other 24-year-old Swede on the team who received a hell of a lot more hype 18 months ago.
Ryan Miller(notes), Buffalo Sabres: Coming off of what was his best season statistically, Miller is topping those numbers. Health permitting, he'll get in 70 games and with Buffalo actually winning some now, he'll garner 42 Ws. Looking at the numbers of Buffalo's No.2 and No.3 guys, you can bet they pulled all the strings they could to ensure that Miller got his H1N1 shot.
Drew Doughty(notes), Los Angeles Kings: He's arrived early. Doughty didn't take his time getting to be a solid point producer, like Chris Pronger(notes) did. No, at 20 he'll get at least 49 points, like Dion Phaneuf(notes) did. The key lies in the team around him. Los Angeles, as a club, has come into their own and Doughty is picking up an assist on everything they do. In fact, NHL statisticians just awarded him with an assist because "Los Angeles" was mentioned three times in a Doughty-related paragraph.
David Clarkson(notes), New Jersey Devils: It was an interesting offseason for David. The trade from St. Louis to New Jersey was underreported, as was his name change from "Backes" to "Clarkson". In all seriousness, Clarkson's 65-point, 150-PIM pace is where we all expected Backes, who is just 31 days younger, to be at. He's being used on the power play and, while he should slow down a bit, his production is for real - think 50 points for this season.
Tomas Fleischmann(notes), Washington Capitals: My favorite dark horse from the summer is back in the lineup and is lighting it up to the tune of more than a point per game. If he can steer clear of the weird injuries/ailments (blood clot?), we're golden.
Alex Tanguay(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning: Poolies have stopped bailing on this guy, although they may still have a low opinion of him. After he posted just two points in nine games, most of which were played on a line with Vincent Lecavalier(notes), fantasy owners were giving up on him faster than Ken Hitchcock can sit Nikita Filatov(notes). With seven points in his last six, Tanguay is back on track and is now rewarding the fantasy owners who were patient. Both of them.
Jarret Stoll(notes), Los Angeles Kings: Stoll has eight points in his last eight contests and is on pace for 63, the second highest of his career. Looking at this kind of production, I think he should have sent Rachel Hunter that email sooner...
Bench 'em or Drop 'em
Paul Kariya(notes), St. Louis Blues: I have a lot of difficulty wrapping my head around Paul Kariya being washed up at 35. Especially when he had 15 points in 11 games a year ago and kicked off this campaign with seven in his first eight. But Coach Andy Murray is struggling to generate offense and taking a two-time 100-point player off the power play is the obvious way to go. Wouldn't you do the same? It is what it is, though -- Kariya is not on the PP and he is pointless in eight. Bench him.
Michael Ryder(notes), Boston Bruins: Montreal's favorite son proved to Habs fans last year that he's not done. This year, it's another story and it's clear that he struggles without an elite set-up man as his centerman. With Marc Savard(notes) on the shelf for a couple of weeks yet, don't expect any hat tricks from Mr. Ryder. Bench him.
Radim Vrbata(notes), Phoenix Coyotes: After he tallied four points in his first two games I was thrilled. It's one of those situations where you have a hunch on a player and you steal him late in a draft and he pays off big. I was so proud that you could have mistaken me for the Staal parents. After all - I took him in not one, but two drafts very late. With his three points in 15 games since... I feel as deflated as Pavel Brendl's parents. Needless to say, he's off my team now. Drop him.
Matt Stajan(notes), Toronto Maple Leafs: Stajan followed up a breakout season with a strong exhibition run and then seven points in eight games to start 2009-10. Now he's playing with Wayne Primeau(notes) and Colton Orr(notes) and has just one point in eight. If he were any more physical, he'd be playing with Phil Kessel(notes). But he plays about as tough as Sean Avery(notes) does when Phaneuf is around. A change of scenery would be best. Drop him.
Darryl Dobbs is the founder of dobberhockey.com, a fantasy hockey community with over a dozen columnists, a daily blog and in-depth fantasy player rankings. His always accurate opinions can also be found over at The Hockey News in their fantasy section.