Fantasy Hockey: Why Joe Thornton is a stud, Ondrej Pavelec is a dud

Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.

Looking at the scoring leaders today is like slipping on a comfortable shoe. So familiar. So reassuring. Sid the Kid is on top, because his injury isn't scheduled to happen for another six or seven weeks. Martin St. Louis is right up there again. Even Henrik Sedin is poking his nose around, seeing if there's an Art Ross to be had. Joe Thornton, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Henrik Zetterberg, Alex Ovechkin - all in the Top 15, just like the good old days. Now if we can just get that pesky Tomas Hertl out of there.

I like to fiddle with the various Frozen Pool tools from over at Dobber Hockey and present you with something different here every week. This time I'm using this "Bargain Bin" report. It takes the roto ranking of players over a given window (I used the past seven days) and compares it to cap hit and point-per-cap hit composite scores to spit out a list of "bargain players". This is great for leagues with a salary cap, but it can also be used to quickly spot some roto bargains because the cheaper players tend to be available more than the expensive big-name players. Here is a snapshot:

Rank Player Pos Team G A Pts PPPnts %Team
1 FRANSON, CODY D TOR -1.50 5.66 2.89 6.11 2.68 2.97 3.03 12.68 24.00
1 RAYMOND, MASON L TOR 4.58 2.98 4.39 4.18 1.17 1.34 1.46 11.87 24.00
2 HERTL, TOMAS C S.J 9.12 0.71 5.31 2.46 0.31 0.97 0.12 11.16 22.00
2 CHIASSON, ALEX R DAL 3.06 1.95 2.89 4.29 3.04 2.45 0.67 11.35 22.00
3 JOKINEN, JUSSI L PIT 4.58 0.62 2.78 6.00 1.97 0.98 0.15 9.56 19.00
3 ARCOBELLO, MARK C EDM -1.50 8.14 4.50 0.64 0.87 1.02 1.11 10.05 19.00
3 GERBE, NATHAN C CAR 3.06 0.71 2.08 4.29 1.41 2.00 1.52 9.89 19.00
4 FAULK, JUSTIN D CAR -1.50 4.42 2.08 0.64 1.86 2.53 4.40 9.60 18.00
5 BRODIN, JONAS D MIN 1.54 1.95 2.08 2.46 0.74 1.10 4.56 9.05 17.00
5 ELLER, LARS C MTL 6.09 0.71 3.70 0.64 0.68 1.00 1.29 8.79 17.00
6 NISKANEN, MATT D PIT 0.02 4.42 2.89 0.64 2.52 1.49 2.29 8.55 16.00
6 BOYES, BRAD R FLA 4.57 0.71 2.89 0.64 1.56 1.64 0.40 8.19 16.00
7 GALLAGHER, BRENDAN R MTL 3.06 0.71 2.08 2.46 1.43 1.83 -0.06 7.86 15.00
7 ATKINSON, CAM R CBJ 1.54 0.71 1.27 2.46 2.51 2.33 0.90 7.81 15.00
8 DEMERS, JASON D S.J -1.50 3.18 1.27 2.46 1.46 2.43 1.77 7.40 14.00
8 SAAD, BRANDON L CHI 1.45 1.80 1.97 2.36 0.77 0.93 0.65 6.81 14.00
8 GLENCROSS, CURTIS L CGY 1.45 0.62 1.17 2.36 2.22 2.63 2.18 6.86 14.00
9 SILFVERBERG, JAKOB R ANA 4.57 0.71 2.89 -1.19 0.53 1.39 0.34 6.65 13.00
9 BENOIT, ANDRE D COL -1.50 1.95 0.46 0.64 2.38 2.76 3.08 7.11 13.00
9 MURPHY, RYAN D CAR 0.02 1.95 1.27 0.64 2.17 2.72 1.38 6.98 13.00
9 KRUG, TOREY D BOS 0.02 0.71 0.46 2.46 2.89 2.95 1.30 6.88 13.00

Tied for fourth on the list is Toronto's Mason Raymond, and sure enough:


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

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (3-4-5-9, plus-4, 0 PIM, 12 SOG) – It usually takes the Kid three or four weeks to climb to the top of the scoring heap, but this season he's there in two. And that's where he'll stay, unless and until he gets hurt. The very reason he was drafted first overall in your league.

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks (4-1-6-7, plus-3, 0 PIM, 2 PPPts, 5 SOG, 0 RS*) – Big Joe is off to his usual hot start, though this year he only has a measly nine points in seven games. Last year after seven games he already had 15.

*RS=Rooster Strokes

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning (4-3-4-7, plus-7, 0 PIM, 12 SOG) – Last seen wearing a walking boot, the reigning Art Ross winner decided it was just a flesh wound and was back on the ice Thursday night. He can’t be stopped

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens (5-2-7-9, plus-5, 8 PIM, 18 SOG) – Dating back to last season, Subban has 48 points in his last 49 games. Looks like Erik Karlsson isn't the only potential 80-point defenseman around these here parts.


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

Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres (4-1-0-1, minus-1, 0 PIM, 14 SOG) – This is strange for Vanek owners who are used to seeing him surge to the top of the NHL scoring race in October before fading as the season continues.

Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes (7-0-0-1, even, 2 PIM, 13 SOG) – We knew going into this season that there was a fellow defenseman on the Coyotes looking over Yandle's shoulder, waiting to steal his PP time. We just didn't know that defenseman's name was Michael Stone. Yes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson sees more ice time on the power play - per game - than Yandle. But it's shocking to see that Stone does, too. Still a safe bet for 45 points, Yandle will need to be traded before he can reach the 60 that he is capable of hitting.

Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars (6-0-0-0, minus-6, 2 PIM, 8 SOG) – Where to start. I don't know. The numbers are horrible, through and through. And not only is he not contributing to your fantasy squad…at all…but he's hurting it if plus/minus is a category in your league. But I can give you 13.8 million reasons why the Stars will keep giving him chances. Big contracts have a way of making it easier to earn things such as a longer leash from the coach. And more ice time.

Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets (0-2-0, 3.08 GAA, 0.891 SV%) – I had pegged Pavelec for a strong season thanks to his getting out of the Eastern Conference. No more playing Crosby or Evgeni Malkin with the same frequency. Or Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos or John Tavares. But that theory is out the window – he’s faced Western Conference teams five of his six games and is 2-3-0. The Jets face Nashville in two of the next four games, so that will help the ol’ save percentage.

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...Bachman, McGinn, Monahan, Killorn, Chiasson, Smith, H.Lindholm

Richard Bachman, Edmonton Oilers (1-3-0, 2.02 GAA, 0.927 SV% - AHL numbers) – Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera are getting torn to shreds. Meanwhile, the underrated Bachman is playing very well in the AHL. If you have room for a fourth goalie, he may be worth stashing for a few weeks to see what happens.

Cody Eakin, Dallas Stars (2-2-1-3, even, 0 PIM, 4 SOG) – He doesn’t shoot the puck nearly enough, but Eakin is a smart hockey player who is seeing his ice time steadily increase. He’s also been Dallas’ top faceoff man and is a smart add in leagues that count that category.

Josh Bailey, New York Islanders (5-3-3-6, plus-2, 0 PIM, 13 SOG) – Still just owned in 7% of Yahoo leagues, Bailey is continuing a roll that he ended last season on. His emergence is arguably the main reason why the Isles finally have a second line.

Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning (3-1-2-3, plus-2, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 2 PPpts) – In his last game, against the Wild, the reigning AHL MVP saw a season high 17:34 of ice time. What’s more, Johnson has won 58% of his faceoffs. Only owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues.

Alex Chiasson, Dallas Stars (5-2-3-5, plus-2, 2 PIM, 20 SOG) – For four consecutive games, Chiasson’s ice time has steadily increased, peaking at a season-high 18:58 last game. He’s played 13 games in his NHL career and has 13 points.

Craig Smith, Nashville Predators (3-1-3-4, plus-4, 2 PIM, 9 SOG) – The Preds don’t have much in the way of big scorers, but tops on the list right now (along with Mike Underwood) is Smith. Of the eight Preds with three or more points, Smith averages the least ice time (14:21/game), which is worrisome. But Smith is on a roll and he gets dual position eligibility in Yahoo!.

Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks (4-0-2-2, plus-7, 2 PIM, 10 SOG) – The perfect solution if you’re hurting in the plus/minus category. Lindholm plays a safe, mistake-free game and he’ll also chip in the odd point.

Heating Up?

Here's where I'll fire off a few names of players who may be at the very beginning of a nice little run. Just a gut feeling, but worth looking into and/or taking a chance on:

Brandon Pirri, Chicago; Slava Voynov, Los Angeles; Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado; Matt Read, Philadelphia; Matt Nieto, San Jose.

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