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 this week's edition, the guys give advice on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada Fantasy Pool. The player salary point values were recently adjusted, and there are some real bargains to be had for the low, low price of one point. And for those in other pools, Jesse and Jordan give their advice on which players you should consider adding or dropping over the next couple weeks.
After a break for the holidays, Fantasy Hockey 1-on-1 will return on the first Friday of the new year.
In the meantime, you can use the comments function at the bottom of the story to send your burning fantasy questions to the fellas, who will answer the best ones.
All stats are through Wednesday.
1. Who's the best pickup in the Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool at the minimum cost of one salary-cap point?
Jesse:Andrei Kostitsyn. "The Good Kostitsyn" is on fire, rebounding from a four-game drought that saw him go without a point from Nov. 7-14 to rack up 14 points in 12 games since. That includes a pair of two-goal efforts over the past week. We're starting to see flashes of the guy who averaged better than 24 goals the last two seasons, and now that he's clicking with linemates Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec, the points could keep coming. Now, if he can just get through to that brother of his...
Jordan: There's no doubt that right now the best bang for your buck is Stephen Weiss. From a fantasy hockey perspective, the guy has been infinitely valuable as of late. Then add to that his player value of just one in the Hockey Night in Canada Pool and you have yourself a steal! With points in 16 of his last 21 games, which account for 25 of his 31 points, Weiss has jumped up to 29th in league scoring. In goal, it's hard to go against Pekka Rinne. The Predators starter has a PV of just two, but has 14 wins and two shutouts.
2. Who's worth adding before the new year?
Jordan: There's something to be said about the Olympics fast approaching and the effect it may have on some NHLers trying to make their country's hockey roster. Players like Mike Fisher have been heating up in recent weeks and are likely to continue to push for a spot. Fisher (57 per cent owned) is riding a five-game point streak and has points in 10 of his last 14 games for the Sens. And let's not forget that with Jason Spezza injured, Fisher is sure to get more ice time. Additionally, it wouldn't hurt to pick up Valtteri Filppula over the holidays. His original diagnosis with a broken wrist had him returning around December 30. Though there's no word yet if he's still on schedule, Detroit definitely needs him and he's owned in just five per cent of Yahoo! leagues.
Jesse: Keep an eye on Antti Niemi. The Blackhawks backup is behind Cristobal Huet on the depth chart, but could start seeing more playing time after recording his third shutout of the year (in just his seventh start!) on Sunday against Tampa. Huet's got the big contract — and solid numbers this season — but he's notoriously streaky. How much longer can coach Joel Quenneville keep a guy with a 1.50 GAA and .937 save percentage nailed to the bench? Monitor Chicago's games for signs of increased playing time for Niemi, and snap him up right away if (or maybe when) he gets it.
3. Who should be off your roster when 2010 arrives?
Jesse: If you're itching to pick up Niemi right now and need a goalie to drop, go ahead and whack Mathieu Garon. A few weeks ago, I touted the Jackets backup as a worthy addition as No. 1 guy Steve Mason struggled mightily. Great advice, eh? Well, it seemed like it at the time, and Mason is still getting lit up. But Garon hasn't been able to seize the opportunity. The shootout ace sports an ugly 3.06 GAA (better than Mason's, but nowhere near good) and coach Ken Hitchcock has given him just one December start.
Jordan: I would agree that there are definitely some netminders out there losing their value. Goalies either splitting time or playing the role of back-up like Ty Conklin, Mike Smith, Antero Niittymaki, Brian Boucher, Jaroslav Halak and of course Marty Biron have been terrible in recent weeks. Those six goalies combined have a record of 11-24 in the past month and have shown they don't deserve a spot on your roster. That is, unless you're desperate for a puck stopper.