Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Why James Reimer is a stud, Radim Vrbata is a dud

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Why James Reimer is a stud, Radim Vrbata is a dud

It’s mid-November – a time in which winter has not yet hit some regions of North America. But some fantasy studs have been stuck in a goal-scoring deep freeze all season long.

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Ryan Getzlaf finally scored his first goal of the season on Monday. Jakub Voracek finally ended his season-long goal-scoring drought last Saturday. What about Sidney Crosby, Rick Nash, and Ryan Johansen, who we know are paid to score? How about a lousy two goals for each of these snipers!? How long must fantasy owners sit and be patient for these guys to break out of their funk? After all, ordinary players with one or two goals might find themselves back on the waiver wire by now. You’ve got a league to dominate so you need to get this thing turned around before it’s too late!

Just chill for a minute. Remember that seasons aren’t won and lost in October or even November. At least we know that Crosby probably won’t score 50 goals this season. Hell, the names above may struggle just to get to 20. But the last thing you want to do is trade them just as they find their normal stride. Or when those pucks that haven’t been finding the net finally start to (case in point Crosby’s meager 4.2% shooting accuracy).

Remember, sometimes the best trade is the one not made. Any fantasy owner who has been forced to watch their top-level talent rip it up for a rival team in March will concur. Remember that you’re not trading away a player’s recent past production – you’re trading away his future production.


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

Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche (18-8-7-15, minus-2, 6 PIM, 47 SOG, 3 PPPts)

See what we mean about hanging onto underperforming studs? After providing next to nothing (two points) over his first 10 games, Duchene is finding the box score with regularity in November. Duchene has points in seven of his last eight games and he was named the NHL’s First Star last week after leading the league with eight points over four games.

Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers (18-3-4-7, plus-13, 8 PIM, 36 SOG, 1 PPPt)

Like Duchene, McDonagh was slow to come around. However, McDonagh has been making up for lost time recently with three goals and three assists over his last six games. McDonagh’s run of success has also helped him climb near the top of the NHL’s plus/minus race for a Rangers team that is on top of the Atlantic Division.

James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-3, 2.19 GAA, .930 SV%)

Not expected to be much of a fantasy factor as the backup goalie of a rebuilding team, Reimer has appeared to unseat Jonathan Bernier as the Leafs’ starting goalie in starting eight of the past nine games for the Leafs. Reimer has also reeled off four consecutive wins, and he received the NHL’s Third Star last week for his efforts.


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

Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks (19-3-5-8, minus-11, 6 PIM, 74 SOG, 1 PPPts)

To add injury to insult, Vrbata missed Wednesday’s game against Winnipeg with a groin injury. A 4.1% shooting accuracy demonstrates that Vrbata is snakebitten more than anything. But significant time away from the Sedins has also hurt his cause. He’s at least taking lots of shots, so Vrbata owners need to just hang in there.

Nick Leddy, New York Islanders (19-0-5-5, minus-1, 4 PIM, 16 SOG, 0 PPPts)

If you’ve stapled Leddy to your bench by now, we don’t blame you. Leddy has not provided fantasy owners with either a goal or a power-play point this season, even though he is playing second-line minutes. Now that defense partner Travis Hamonic has asked for a trade, Leddy’s fantasy value could change one way or the other in the near future.

Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks (3-6-4, 2.48 GAA, .918 SV%)

Early in the season, the Ducks struggled in spite of Andersen’s play. Now it is Andersen who is struggling with a 4.44 GAA and a .831 SV% over his last three starts. Anton Khudobin has been playing much better than Andersen over that same stretch (1.98 GAA, .923 SV%), so he appears to be a real threat to steal starts at least in the short term.

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals... 

Jannik Hansen, Vancouver Canucks (11%) (20-5-6-11, plus-8, 8 PIM, 38 SOG, 0 PPPts)

Hey, playing on a line with the Sedins has to count for something, right? Although Hansen has been held without a point over his previous two games, he might stick with the Sedins for a while if Radim Vrbata misses a few games. His goals for total over 60 minutes has been higher in previous brief stints with the Sedins than it has with any other Canucks’ regulars.

Brock Nelson, New York Islanders (10%) (19-6-6-12, plus-4, 6 PIM, 38 SOG, 0 PPPts)

Speaking of linemates, Nelson has recently been elevated to the Islanders’ top line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Nelson has taken full advantage of that promotion, scoring three goals and adding three assists with a +3 over his last four games.

Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings (5%) (18-3-8-11, plus-4, 4 PIM, 32 SOG, 1 PPPts)

Pearson has heated up recently, scoring eight points in eight games this month. Being moved up to a scoring line with Anze Kopitar seems to have helped with Pearson’s production (get this info here).

P.A. Parenteau, Toronto Maple Leafs (3%) (19-6-3-9, minus-4, 12 PIM, 31 SOG, 4 PPPts)

Parenteau’s production seems to have been all-or-nothing throughout his career. Right now he is on, with points in four of his last five games. Coincidentally, the Leafs have won all four of those games.

Shane Doan, Arizona Coyotes (8%) (18-4-4-8, minus-8, 38 PIM, 37 SOG, 3 PPPts)

The 20 minutes in penalties that he picked up against Columbus artificially lifts his fantasy value. But you might still be able to squeeze some value out of the 39-year-old right wing in very deep leagues.

Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators (2%) (17-3-5-8, plus-5, 14 PIM, 18 SOG, 1 PPPts)

Ekholm’s partner Ryan Ellis is probably the more intriguing fantasy play, but Ellis might already be owned in your league. You could probably take a flier on Ekholm on his own merit, though, as he has scored five points over his last four games.

Jhonas Enroth, Los Angeles Kings (6%) (3-0-0, 0.67 GAA, .979 SV%)

Are you in one of those super deep leagues where you need to roster at least five goalies? Enroth will probably only start once in a blue moon, but do the math and you’ll see that Enroth has allowed only two goals over three starts this season.

You can follow Ian Gooding on Twitter @Ian_Gooding