Fantasy Hockey: Golden oldies
Welcome to CBCSports.ca's Fantasy Hockey 1-on-1, where every Friday our resident nerds — er, experts — Jesse Campigotto and Jordan Shifman, debate three hot topics of interest for poolies.
In last week's edition, the guys advised readers on how to handle a potential Peter Forsberg comeback. Turned out to be a total waste of time, as Forsberg announced later that he'll play in Sweden instead. But, hey, if you're in a Elite League Pool, you're laughing.
Anyway, this week Jordan and Jesse return their focus to players who are actually in the NHL, saluting the old guys who keep producing at a high level. Plus, the fellas give their picks for the add and drop of the week.
And here's a special treat: get instant answers to your fantasy hockey questions in CBCSports.ca's live interactive chat with Jordan and Jesse on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET
Looking for a league to join? Check out CBC's Hockey Night In Canada Fantasy Pool. It's fun. And you could win a car.
All stats are through Wednesday.
1. Which older players are still getting it done?
Jesse: Jamie Langenbrunner just keeps on chugging for the New Jersey Devils. At 34, who figured he'd be able to build on his improbable 2008-09 season, in which he notched a career-high 29 goals? But that's exactly what the sturdy winger has done, racking up 16 points (including four goals) in 19 games this season. And there's an encouraging sign: Langenbrunner's shooting percentage of 7.8 is well below last year's career-best 12.7, while his shots on goal have declined only slightly. So when the captain's luck turns around, the goals should start coming more frequently. Another thing I like, because I'm in a league that discourages penalty minutes: Langenbrunner has just two of them this season, a big reason why the ultra-disciplined Devils lead the league in avoiding the box and find themselves atop the Atlantic.
Jordan: C'mon, Langenbrunner isn't that old. How about two really old guys that have impressed for different reasons this season: Bill Guerin and Adrian Aucoin. In his 18th NHL campaign at age 39, Guerin has showed no signs of slowing down. He's had 39 or more points in every season since 1994-95, plus 20 or more goals in each of the past three seasons. This year Guerin is off to another solid start playing alongside Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. He has five goals and 12 points in 21 games, and is still a power-play threat. As for Aucoin, the 36-year-old defenceman hasn't recorded more than 35 points since the year before the lockout. This season, he has 11 points and 22 PIMs in 20 games for Phoenix and is on pace for 45 points. Not bad for two players supposedly over the hill!
2. Who's your add of the week?
Jordan: In Week 3, I suggested that Max Afinogenov could have a big impact and be productive with his new team in Atlanta. In recent weeks, I've been rewarded for picking him up and holding onto him. He has points in 11 of his last 14 games, including points in all but one game this month. And with Ilya Kovalchuk back and firing on all cylinders, Afinogenov's totals could get even better. If only he got some decent power-play time too.
Jesse: Are you trying to hurt me? Are you trying to injure me? Just when things were looking up for us Buffalo fans this week with the firing of Dick Jauron and the subsequent rumours (probably false, but still) that the Bills might actually get someone good to replace him, you have to go and mention Afinogenov. The guy tortured Sabres fans for years with his tantalizing potential and cement hands. And now that he's gone, he's lighting it up. But heed my warning, fantasy owners: Max will eventually let you down. He always does. Instead, try Mathieu Garon. The Jackets' backup has played himself into, at least for the moment, a platoon with Steve Mason. Garon's numbers (2.46 GAA, .923 SV%) are much better than the reigning rookie of the year's (3.67, .879). Consider picking him up before Saturday, when he'll get the start against Nashville.
Jordan: Afinogenov did have that one good season over his nine years in Buffalo. At least you'll always have that one year, Jesse. And, hey, maybe this is the one good campaign he'll have in Atlanta.
3. Who's your drop of the week?
Jesse: I'm cueing up the Nylons track for Kunitz, who I would've cut a lot sooner if I hadn't been chirping at my draft about the genius of taking him with my second-last forward pick. Twelve points in 19 games isn't bad, but I expected more than three goals and a neutral plus-minus from a guy who skated on a line with Crosby. And what's with all the penalty minutes? 25?! Even Crosby and Evgeni Malkin think Kunitz needs to cool it. But what sealed the deal was the lower-body injury that has Kunitz on the shelf indefinitely. He's just not worth waiting for.
Jordan: I think it's time to give up on Jonathan Cheechoo. With a fresh start away from San Jose and with new teammates, it wasn't hard to hope that the former Rocket Richard Trophy winner would resurrect his career in Ottawa. But after 18 games — certainly enough time for him to adjust to his new surroundings — Cheechoo's numbers are anything but impressive. In fact, they're absolutely horrible. He has one goal and three points in total. Add to that zero power-play points, zero shorthanded points and a minus-6 rating. And for a player that used to tally around 200 shots a season with ease as a Shark, he has just 33 this season. Ladies and gentlemen of the fantasy hockey world (and of the Ottawa Senators, if you're reading this), it's time to cut your losses and move on.
Next week: The guys hand out their quarter-season fantasy awards. And don't forget you can chat live with Jordan and Jesse on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.