Fantasy Hockey: Why Nicklas Backstrom's a stud, Jason Spezza's a dud

Fantasy Hockey: Why Nicklas Backstrom's a stud, Jason Spezza's a dud

Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009.

Happy New Year!

How nuts are poolies for their fantasy hockey team? Well, my fantasy hockey forum ceased activity at approximately quarter to midnight New Year's Eve (EST)…and then poolies got right back at it at around five after - discussing the merits of Jarome Iginla vs. Johan Franzen going forward. (For the record, I prefer Franzen in leagues with a flexible IR - but Iginla if transactions and/or IR spots are limited) …

I found this report interesting. Frozen Pool lists the Top 50 players who draw penalties. It just gives another perspective on these players, showing a little something else that they bring to the table besides the usual stats.

Our old pal Nazem Kadri is of course hanging around the top of the list. He's been a master at sucking the referees in ever since he joined the league. But seeing Wilson at the top is a surprise considering he's only played 25 games and generally sees around 13 minutes per game of ice time. Of note, the big hitters and agitators have their fingerprints all over this list - Wingels, Dorsett, Martin, Downie, Brown and Roussel are known more for the big hit than the productive night.

Studs...

These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...

Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (18-8-13-21, plus-9, 16 PIM, 37 SOG, 7 PPPts) - Backstrom actually sits seven points ahead of Alex Ovechkin heading into the Winter Classic, which is 23% better production. There was a time when poolies were after Backstrom because he "gets to" play with Ovechkin. Still think that's the case?

Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (14-6-17-23, plus-10, 12 PIM, 39 SOG, 4 PPPts) - Getzlaf was actually held off the scoresheet in his last game - a game in which Corey Perry returned. Even more interesting are Getzlaf's numbers:

With Perry in the lineup: (24-6-17-23)

With Perry out of the lineup: (14-6-13-19)

Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild (5-3-3-6, plus-2, 9 Hits, 15 SOG, 2 PPPts) - It's no coincidence that Parise is putting points on the board now that he's reunited with Mikko Koivu. He just didn’t click with Mikael Granlund. Granlund is out for the next month now (wrist) and so look for Parise (and Koivu for that matter) to get on track.

Duds...

Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...

Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars (7-0-2-0, even, 6 PIM, 15 SOG, 0 PPPts) - Nineteen of Spezza's 26 points this season have come with Tyler Seguin on the ice. But at even strength he's only played with Seguin 43.3% of the time. And he's not playing with Seguin right now. It's worrisome that his numbers take this much of a hit when he's not playing with a star. There was a time when he could be playing with the usher on one wing and the hot dog vendor on the other side and he'd still get his points.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (12-2-2-4, 4 PIM, even, 33 SOG, 0 PPPts) - Sidney Crosby's last power play point was November 26. Crosby is the key cog of every fantasy squad on which he is owned, so this slump is killing poolies.

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks (8-0-0-0, 0 PIM, minus-2, 20 SOG, 0 PPPts) - The usual hot start followed by the usual Marleau cold streak. The wheels on the bus go round and round. Anyone else growing a little tired of Marleau's shtick? 

Photo by Jim McIsaac/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Jim McIsaac/NHLI via Getty Images

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals... Strome, Connauton, Lee, Huberdeau, Scandella, Kelly, Stewart,

Ryan Strome, New York Islanders (2-1-5-6, plus-2, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 2 PPPts) - Strome has found some chemistry with Frans Nielsen after playing most of the season with Brock Nelson. Anders Lee is the other linemate, and the trio has found their stride both at even strength and on the power play.

Anders Lee, New York Islanders (6-4-2-6, plus-3, 2 PIM, 8 Hits, 19 SOG) - A beneficiary of the Strome - Nielsen chemistry, Lee is putting points on the board. He has been, and probably always will be, a great fantasy asset for hits and shots on goal. His offensive upside depends greatly on whether or not he can click with John Tavares or Strome. 

Kevin Connauton, Columbus Blue Jackets (5-3-4-7, minus-1, 2 PIM, 9 SOG, 3 PPPts) - Connauton is starting to find his niche with Columbus and he's starting to see more time on the power play. Being paired up with James Wisniewski doesn't hurt either. Just 2% owned. 

Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (3-1-3-4, even, 4 PIM, 5 SOG, 0 PPPts) - Poolies have been disappointed in Huberdeau since his very promising rookie season in 2012-13. But after starting off with just two points in 11 games, he actually hasn't been that bad (15 points in his last 21 games).

Marco Scandella, Minnesota Wild (5-3-2-5, plus-2, 4 PIM, 9 SOG) - Scandella is up to 23% owned now, so poolies are starting to catch onto the fact that he's putting up decent numbers. If he can just stay healthy, he could be a 45-point defenseman who blocks 120 shots.

Chris Kelly, Boston Bruins (8-2-6-8, plus-6, 2 PIM, 12 Hits, 15 SOG) - Kelly is lucky enough to be lining up with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. Those two players are on fire right now and Kelly is benefitting greatly. A worthy wire pickup for the short term.

Chris Stewart, Buffalo Sabres (6-2-3-5, plus-1, 4 PIM, 10 Hits, 9 SOG) - For whatever reason, since Mikhail Grigorenko joined his line in place of Marcus Foligno, Stewart has taken off. I say "for whatever reason" because Grigorenko has managed just one point in those six games and hasn’t been directly involved in Stewart's recent production.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.