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 we argued over whether there's a single Maple Leaf worth owning. This week we dish on a similar topic: Who's killing our fantasy teams? We also hand out tips on who to add and who to drop this week.
New this week, it's your chance to chime in and get some top-notch advice in the process. Send in a question for our fantasy pros using the comments function at the bottom of this page, and we'll answer the best one in this space next week.
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. Who's killing your fantasy team?
Jordan: How about my top draft pick! Ryan Getzlaf has just three assists and six penalty minutes in seven games this season. Those are not first-round numbers. But with an average of 87 points and 108 PIMs over the past two seasons, he'll turn the corner. I'm just hoping it's sooner rather than later. I have a more pressing issue on my hands anyway. One guy in my main pool drafted almost entirely goalies to monopolize that position, which then forced everyone to scramble to fill their three goalie spots. I was quick enough to nab Lundqvist and Backstrom as my top two starters, along with Tampa Bay's Mike Smith. As a backup, the best option at the end of the draft was Colorado's Peter Budaj. Well, Backstrom has just one win, Smith is awful, injured and winless so far, and Budaj has yet to see any action at all this season. Take your pick as to which one is killing me the most. And if you're wondering, the only two goalies left to pick up are Jeff Deslauriers and Thomas Greiss. Slim pickins!
Jesse: I'm in two leagues, so I've got two guys to call out. For my Niagara Falls (hometown) league, it's Olli Jokinen, my fifth-round choice. Did you know the Flames are the highest-scoring team in the NHL? And that Jokinen started the season centring the top line with Jarome Iginla? How, you ask, do you screw that up? In Jokinen's case, by scoring one goal in your first nine games and getting demoted to the second line in favour of 74-year-old Craig Conroy. As for my Toronto league, I feel your pain, Jordan, because Mike Smith is almost single-handedly derailing my season. He should go back to wearing that Saw mask from last year, because he's a fantasy team serial killer. With an ugly 0-2-2 record, horrible 4.08 goals-against average and putrid .864 save percentage, Smith is worth minus-16.2 points in this particular league. That's right, minus-16.2. To put that in perspective, Joey MacDonald has only cost his owners 13.2 points.
2. Who's your pickup of the week?
Jesse: With Wednesday's news that Sergei Gonchar will miss four to six weeks with a broken wrist, consider scooping up Alex Goligoski. The Pittsburgh defenceman is owned in just 46 per cent of Yahoo! leagues, yet he's racked up an impressive seven points in nine games. And it gets better. Goligoski, 24, ranks second among Penguins defencemen in both total ice time and power-play ice time. Who's first? Gonchar, of course. That means Goligoski, who's now the de facto No. 1 blue-liner, could be getting even more opportunities to put up big numbers in Pittsburgh's high-flying attack. Coach Dan Bylsma even named him as a guy who can step up in Gonchar's absence.
Jordan: It took you until now to figure out that Goligoski has fantasy value playing in Pittsburgh? Where have you been? He's not a rookie anymore. But Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto is. Through the first few weeks, it was tough to decipher if Del Zotto was for real or not, but he just kept racking up points. He's now scored in seven of his past eight games and leads all blue-liners with nine points. Now it's being reported that Del Zotto won't be sent back to juniors, a huge reward for fantasy owners (like me) who took a chance on him. Staying with New York, but moving over to their other team, I've added Islanders left winger Matt Moulson. The jury's still out as to whether he can be a consistent scorer in the NHL, but for now Moulson leads his team in goals, plus-minus and shots, and is tied with John Tavares for the lead in points and power-play goals. The Toronto native is already just one point away from his career high
3. Who's your drop of the week?
Jesse: You mean besides Mike "Jigsaw" Smith? Sticking with the goalie theme, how about Pekka Rinne, who looks like he's been bitten by the sophomore jinx. After setting a Predators record with seven shutouts last season, Rinne is 0-3-3 with an unsightly 3.46 GAA and .894 save percentage. The latter number isn't awful, suggesting a rebound could be in the offing, but the problem is teammate Dan Ellis is 2-2-1 with a GAA more than a half goal better. Ellis has a good pedigree too: he recorded six shutouts and a stellar .924 GAA in 2007-08 before losing the starting job to Rinne last year. It all adds up to a split-time situation, at best. My crystal ball says Ellis retakes the No. 1 role, with Rinne serving as a busy backup.
Jordan: I'm waiting to see what happens with Nikita Filatov. He's been a healthy scratch for three straight games heading into Columbus' Thursday night match with the Oilers. If he's in the Blue Jackets' lineup, he better produce or he may find himself off the team. On the back end, Marc-Edouard Vlasic has been disappointing. With Christian Ehrhoff shipped to Vancouver, some thought Vlasic would improve on his 21 power-play points from last season and be the catalyst on San Jose's second unit. But through nine games, he has just two points and is a minus-4, with zero power-play points.