Fantasy Hockey Geek

Hidden Value

Everybody knows that Ovechkin and Malkin are great players to own in a fantasy hockey league, but is that really how you win? In this article, we take a look at a few players a little further down the depth chart at each position that contribute hidden value to the most common fantasy league setup.

The most popular fantasy hockey site on the web and official partner of the NHL, Yahoo, has a standard category totals 12-team league setup:
 
Rosters: 2 centres, 2 left wing, 2 right wing, 4 defense, 2 goalies, 2 bench
Scoring Categories: G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG, W, SV%, GAA, SO
 
You’ll notice a common theme in these articles: when talking about player value, it’s all relative. You need a common point of comparison for each position in order to make sense of real player value. We’ll use averages for each position, based on the stats for last year’s NHL season:
 
Position
G
A
+/-
PIM
PPP
SOG
C
28
51
11
51
29
225
LW
33
39
7
48
25
244
RW
28
38
4
44
23
224
D
11
33
3
56
21
154
 
With the depth players listed below, it really isn’t so much that they stick out as excellent – it’s just that they won’t hurt you as much as most depth players do.
 
Centre
 
Mikko Koivu – Minnesota Wild:
 
Compared to other C - Points rank: #20. Real Value rank: #14. 
 
 
G
A
+/-
PIM
PPP
SOG
2008/2009
20
47
2
66
26
236
 
Despite being tied for 20th in scoring by a centre with a relatively modest 67 points in the 2008/2009 season, the younger Koivu brother makes up for it with his not-so-awful contributions to +/-. PIM, PPP, and his solid contribution to SOG.
 
Outlook for 2009/2010: Expect Koivu to be steady at 65-70 points. He is a good depth C, but with upside for more.
 
 
Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks:
 
Compared to other C - Points rank: #25. Real Value rank: #19.  
 
 
G
A
+/-
PIM
PPP
SOG
2008/2009
25
34
5
46
23
266
 
Little Joe took a step forward last year by putting up 59 points for #25 in centre scoring. Despite his fairly pedestrian-looking stats, Pavelski contributes pretty evenly over the scoring categories. This brings his overall value higher not through his strength, but his peripherals don’t hurt like most depth players do.
 
Outlook for 2009/2010: Pavelski will continue to grow into his role in SJ, and his value in this kind of league has nowhere to go but up. He already takes a lot of shots on goal, and with a little more powerplay time, he’ll improve nicely in the G, A, and PP categories. He is a fantastic late-round steal in this format.
 
 
Left Wing
 
Scott Hartnell – Philadelphia Flyers:
 
Compared to other LW - Points rank: #17. Real Value rank: #8
 
 
G
A
+/-
PIM
PPP
SOG
2008/2009
30
30
14
143
13
210
 
Hartnell is a multi-category dream. He’s only a tiny bit behind the average in most of the scoring categories, but he’s an absolute monster in the PIM department, while most depth players are somewhere between a tiny bit and a boatload behind in virtually every category. 
 
Outlook for 2009/2010: It’s hard to imagine Hartnell improving on last years’ totals given the offensive depth in Philly, but he won’t fall too far. Expect a regression of a handful of points, but the rest of his totals will remain similar. Players like Hartnell win this type of league.
 
Alex Burrows – Vancouver Canucks:
 
Compared to other LW - Points rank: #28. Real Value rank: #15.
 
 
G
A
+/-
PIM
PPP
SOG
2008/2009
28
23
23
150
0
175
 
Despite having a shockingly low zero points on the powerplay, Burrows puts up fantastic contributions to the +/- and PIM categories without hurting too much in the other ones. This makes him a hidden gem that can shore up both those statistics for your team without giving up lots of scoring.
 
Outlook for 2009/2010: Burrows never got time on the powerplay because he is such an effective penalty killer, so don’t expect that to change. Despite his fantastic work in the spot last season, competition for the winger spot on the Sedin line is wide open this year. Burrows seems to get his points no matter where he is playing, so similar numbers to last year are a pretty safe bet. If he sticks with the Sedins at even strength, look for his scoring to improve but at the expense of his PIM.
 
Right Wing
 
David Backes – St. Louis Blues:
 
Compared to other RW - Points rank: #23. Real Value rank: #9. 
 
 
G
A
+/-
PIM
PPP
SOG
2008/2009
31
23
-3
165
11
208
 
Backes’ 2008/2009 numbers don’t look particularly impressive, but it was a bad year for right wingers in general. As a 30 goal scorer with solid PIM totals, he is a valuable player in a Yahoo league. 
 
Outlook for 2009/2010: Andy Murray, coach of the Blues, loves this kid.  He scores, he shoots, he fights, and will earn more ice time by doing it. As Murray rewards his fantastic all-around play with power play time, look for his stats to improve across the board. Backes is a great depth player and is still young, with upside to improve in every single stat category.  He is a steal as a depth winger, and a league-breaker.
 
 
Dustin Brown – Los Angeles Kings:
 
Compared to other RW - Points rank: #26. Real Value rank: #20. 
 
 
G
A
+/-
PIM
PPP
SOG
2008/2009
24
29
-15
64
18
292
 
Last season was a terrible year for Dustin Brown, with him regressing in many scoring categories. The good news is that’s pretty much the story for the whole LA team – growing pains. Despite many owners being disappointed, his solid PIM and SOG offset the pain of that awful +/- and disappointing scoring.
 
Outlook for 2009/2010: Nowhere to go but up for Brown. As LA continues to improve, his G, A, +/- and PPP will all improve. An improvement to 65-70 points coupled with the potential for a better team +/-, increased PIM and SOG would make Brown a top 5 right wing in this format.
 
 
Defense
 
Alexander Edler – Vancouver Canucks:
 
Compared to other D - Points rank: #35. Real Value rank: #24. 
 
 
G
A
+/-
PIM
PPP
SOG
2008/2009
10
27
11
54
21
145
 
Edler grabbed a full time role with the Canucks last year, and likely won some fantasy leagues with his well distributed scoring stats. Just like his play on the ice, he isn’t outstanding in any category but the sum of all his abilities makes him an attractive player.
 
Outlook for 2009/2010: Edler will keep stepping forward, even with the crowded Vancouver blue line. More power play time will help him improve his scoring and shooting statistics, pulling his real value into the top 20.
 
Ed Jovanovski – Phoenix Coyotes:
 
Compared to other D - Points rank: #36. Real Value rank: #20. 
 
 
G
A
 

Published Wed, Sep 23rd, 2009