Fantasy Hockey: Changing on the Fly, Volume 5
Two months of the regular season down. Four and a bit to go.
That bring us to Volume 5 of Changing on the Fly. In case you missed, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4, this is a weekly article based on JJ Zachariason's "15 Transactions for Week X" and Russell Peddle's "Dozen Dimes."
Both of those article series are worth a read if you are in fantasy football or basketball leagues. Here, we take a look at a few transactions that will help you improve your fantasy hockey team and win your league.
All percent owned stats will be used from Yahoo! leagues, and we'll assume a standard 6x4 scoring system (Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, Power Play Points, Penalties in Minutes, Shots on Goal; Wins, Goals Against Average, Save Percentage, Shutouts). Transactions are listed in relative order of importance.
Sell Valtteri Filppula, C/LW (70% owned)
Add Alex Killorn, C/LW (9% owned) – Tampa Bay Lightning
Since returning from a four-game absence, after an upper-body injury early in November, Alex Killorn has been on a tear. He is currently riding a seven-game point streak and playing on the top line with Steven Stamkos. The player that Killorn bumped was Valtteri Filppula; Filppula has moved back to his preferred position of center but down the lineup, forming a trio with Brett Connolly and Vladislav Namestnikov. This is equally great news for Killorn as it is terrible news for Filppula because Stamkos is the focal point of the Lightning offense.
Here is how the Bolts perform while each player is on the ice with and without Stamkos.
|Time on Ice with Stamkos||198:35||675:52|
|GF20 with Stamkos||1.007||1.603|
|Time on Ice without Stamkos||130:46||122:52|
|GF20 without Stamkos||0.306||0.814|
GF20 measures goals for a team while player is on ice per 20 minutes of ice time. In this case, expect a scoring bump from Killorn and a serious dropoff from Filppula. Adjust your rosters accordingly.
Buy P.K. Subban, D – Montreal Canadiens (100% owned)
It is doubtful you will be able to find an owner to trade you P.K. Subban, but if there is ever a time to kick the tires on a potential trade, it is now. After being the top-ranked blue-liner this preseason, Subban is ranked “only” the 23rd defenseman by Yahoo! for this season’s work.
Subban is not struggling offensively 5-on-5. In fact, 12 of his 14 point have come at even strength, and his shooting percentage of 12.8% is double his career average of 6.1%. The biggest concern about Subban’s number is the lack of power play production.
It isn’t just Subban. The Habs’ power play ranks a disappointing 25th in the league with a 13.2% success rate.
|Year||Power Play %||Rank|
Until the Canadiens figure something out on the man-advantage, Subban’s overall ranking is sure to suffer. However, with five goals and nine assists, P.K. is still producing from the back end.
Add Nick Spaling, C/LW (1% owned)
Hold Blake Comeau, LW (15% owned) – Pittsburgh Penguins
Intentions were never to make this into a weekly “Who is playing with Sidney Crosby?” article, and it wouldn’t be if Pittsburgh Penguins coach, Mike Johnston, would stop juggling his lines. Since the start of the season, Chris Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist begat Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, who begat Kunitz with Blake Comeau, who begat Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. As stated many times, whoever is playing with Sid is worth owning; players tend to fall into points when playing with the league's best player.
Meanwhile, Comeau scored a hat trick against the Leafs Wednesday night, including the overtime winner, and has since added an assist Saturday against Carolina. Since being moved off the top line, Comeau has been playing Evgeni Malkin and Kunitz. While Malkin is not Sid, he is a top-10 offensive threat, and his linemates are bound to pick up points skating with him.
In fact, Comeau has performed better this year with Malkin than with Crosby.
|Playing With||Time on Ice||GF20|
If you added Comeau as result of last week’s news, he isn’t an immediate drop this week. Wait and see how this shakes out.
Add John Klingberg, D – Dallas Stars (29% owned)
If you haven’t heard of John Klingberg yet, you can be forgiven… this time. Since joining the Dallas Stars three weeks ago, Klingberg has been one of the best defensemen in the league. With eight points in his last five games, he is a must add on your backline if there is one.
Buy Jake Allen, G – St. Louis Blues (65% owned)
|Player||Games Played||Wins||GAA||Save %||Shutouts|
This week, Elliott suffered what is believed to be a knee injury. Coach Ken Hitchcock has indicated that Elliott is out “week-to-week,” and now for at least the immediate future, Allen will be getting the lion share of work in net for the Blues.
Add Martin Brodeur, G – Free Agent (11% owned)
One of the biggest headlines from the past week in hockey has been the Elliott injury and Martin Brodeur’s subsequent agreement to practice with the St. Louis Blues. Martin Brodeur is a sexy name in the hockey world; his career number of 688 wins, 2.24 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, and 124 shutouts are among the all-time leaders. The catch with Brodeur, however, is he hasn’t played all year and his past two year have not been overly impressive.
It should also be noted that Brodeur is yet to sign an official contract with St. Louis. If you do decide to add him, temper you expectations. He and Jake Allen will have to share the crease, and then there is the question of what happens when Elliott returns from injury. That being said, the Blues are one of the best teams in the league, and finding goaltending mid-season can be a hard task. There are worse options than taking a flyer on Marty as a third net-minder for your fantasy team.
Sell Mike Cammalleri, C/LW – New Jersey Devils (54% owned)
Mike Cammalleri has been productive so far this year for the New Jersey Devils, scoring 10 goals and adding 4 assists for the first 18 games of the season. He had formed a productive line with Jaromir Jagr and Travis Zajac, but now bench boss, Peter DeBoer, has shuffled his lines. Cammalleri skated with Patrik Elias and Martin Havlat Friday night and then Damien Brunner and Michael Ryder Saturday. While the sample size is relatively small, the New Jersey Devils have only registered one goal this season when Cammalleri has been on the ice without at least one of Jagr or Zajac.
|Playing With||Time on Ice||GF20|
Both Elias and Havlat are inferior offensive players to Jagr and Zajac, the Devils do not put the puck into the met anywhere near as often when they are on the ice.
If your fantasy hockey team includes Cammalleri, keep a close eye on his linemates; a drop in production may be in store if coach DeBoer does not reunite him with Jagr and/or Zajac.
Drop Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs (47% owned)
In Volume 1 of this article, I wrote that this year was somewhat of a “make or break” year for Nazem Kadri. His 11 points in 23 games (0.48 points per game ) is well below his career average of 0.62, and he has recently lost his spot on the Leafs second power play unit. While his faceoff and defense have improved over a year ago, Kadri is spinning his wheels trying to get on the score sheet. Until he gets back into Randy Carlyle’s circle of trust, you can probably find a more productive fantasy center to add to your squad.
Drop Reto Berra, G (4% owned)
Stream Calvin Pickard, G (9% owned) – Colorado Avalanche
|Date||Goals Against||GAA||Saves||Shots against||Save %|
Miraculously, the Avalanche won those last two games, thanks in part to Calvin Pickard. Since being recalled when Varlamov got hurt, Pickard has been impressive, stopping all 17 and then 25 shots he faced. He picked up wins in relief of Berra in his first two appearances. He then went on to stop 42 of 45 shots against the Chicago Blackhawks in a hard-luck 3-2 loss.
Varlamov is set to return soon, which will force the Avalanche to make a roster move. If coach Patrick Roy has his way, Pickard will stay with the big club, and Berra’s future becomes uncertain.
Patrick Roy says if he had to make a decision "today," he would keep Calvin Pickard on roster, but added he won't carry 3 goalies. #Avs— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) November 28, 2014
Drop Jay Bouwmeester, D – St. Louis Blues (41% owned)
At one time, Jay Bouwmeester was considered a gifted offensive defenseman in the league. That time has passed us by. With only one goal and one assist on the year, Bouwmeester no longer sees power play time and is no longer a focal point of the St. Louis Blues attack.
To make matters worse, Bouwmeester had his consecutive game streak of 737 straight contests broken when he went down with a lower body injury last week. Even when he comes off the injured reserve, there are plenty of other options out there on defense that will serve fantasy owners better.
Hold Jason Pominville, RW – Minnesota Wild (68% owned)
So far this year, Jason Pominville’s scoring numbers are down. He has only registered 4 goals and 10 assists on the year and is only scoring on 5.9% of his shots. While the shooting percentage is well below his 11.4% career success rate, Pominville is actually taking 0.47 more shots per game this year than usual. Even as his current production rate, Pominville is worth holding on to in most fantasy situations. With a little more puck-luck, his shooting percentage will regress towards the mean, and his shots will start to find the back of the net.
Regardless of his lack of luck when getting the puck on goal, Pominville is still on pace for a 14 goals and 37 assists. If he starts scoring at a pace closer to his career average, expect those numbers to increase.
Add Brandon Pirri, C – Florida Panthers (1% owned)
Brandon Pirri is not a household name in fantasy hockey circles - or even hockey circles. However with four points in seven games (he missed a good chunk of the year with a concussion), this year he could be a sneaky pickup in a deep league. Recently, Pirri has lined up with Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad of the Florida Panthers top line. While the Panthers are not an elite scoring bunch, playing on any team’s top-line and power play is worth consideration if you need to dive deep into the fantasy player pool.