Fantasy Hockey: Is Forsberg worth the risk?
My first thought when I heard Peter Forsberg was returning to the Colorado Avalanche was: "I hope his cell phone is not equipped with a camera."
With his unwillingness to stay retired, Forsberg has become the NHL's answer to Brett Favre, the quarterback who's last comeback ended in disaster partly because of his alleged propensity for texting, um, inappropriate photos.
Forsberg hasn't suited up for an NHL club since the 2008 playoffs, but he's now available for pick-up off the waiver wire in Yahoo! leagues as he prepares to hit the ice perhaps as soon as this weekend.
Is it worth putting a claim in on the 37-year-old forward? I explore that question solo in this week's edition of Fantasy Hockey 1-on-1 (Jordan is vacationing in Vegas, where I'm sure he's just enjoying a few quiet meals and perhaps taking in a Beatles tribute show as long as it's over by 9:30). And, as usual, I've got advice on which non-Forsberg players to add and drop in your league this week.
Looking for a league to join? Try CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool presented by Kia. Someone can win a car there, so you've got that going for you. Which is nice.
1. Is Peter Forsberg worth picking up?
A resounding "Yes!" judging by Yahoo! transaction trends, which show that more than 4,000 people have picked up Forsberg, making him easily the most-added player of the moment. He's been involved in even more transactions than Evgeni Malkin, who caused a drop stampede by announcing he's done for the season with a knee injury. But does Forsberg have anything left? He had 14 points (one goal) in nine regular-season games when he came back three years ago, and piled up 30 points in 23 games last season in the respected Swedish Elite League. And there could be something to the theory that Forsberg has an advantage as a fresh guy coming into a league full of players mired in the dog days of February.
But how long until the NHL's nightly wars of attrition catch up to Forsberg? Early indications aren't good, as the chronically balky right foot that has famously troubled Forsberg is already causing him problems at Avalanche practice. When asked about it, he'd only say that the foot is "what it's always been." Problem is "what it's always been" is unreliable. And so is Forsberg, who's too big a risk in all but the deepest fantasy leagues.
2. Who's your add of the week?
After a rocky start, the Sabres are showing signs of life, and so is Drew Stafford. Despite playing in only 34 of Buffalo's 52 games due to various injuries, Stafford is tied for fourth on the team with 30 points after recording back-to-back three-point efforts. His 20 goals put him just one behind team leader Thomas Vanek, who hasn't missed a game My first thought was Stafford's ranking may be more an indication of the Sabres' weak offence than of the former first-rounder's ability, but Buffalo is surprisingly the 10th-highest scoring team in the league on a goals-per-game basis. When Derek Roy was lost for the season, it opened a void on the power play, and Stafford has stepped into it. He scored a power-play goal in each of his last two games (and added an assist), bringing his season total to eight power-play goals. That's the 10th-highest total in the league — again, pretty remarkable for a guy who's missed so much time. Sabres fans have always known Stafford as a streaky player, and this may be the time to grab him as he's available in three-quarters of Yahoo! leagues.
3. Who's your drop of the week?
Ryan Malone is an easy guy to cut loose, given that he's recorded only two points since Jan. 12, recently missed five games with an injury, returned for one game, only to go out again. But the real reason I'm highlighting him is for the way the Lightning have listed his ailment: as a "middle body injury." Is this an improvement over the old "upper body/lower body" label (I guess it's more specific) or just a sign that the NHL's injury reporting rules have reached a new level of absurdity? Hard to say, but this is sure getting frustrating for fantasy players. The NFL recognized long ago the need for more stringent rules governing injury disclosures, and that policy has increased the league's popularity among bettors and fantasy players. Time for the NHL to follow suit.