Fantasy Six Pack: Tomas Kaberle found 545 km from Toronto
Welcome to this week’s edition of Fantasy Six Pack. In Week 10 we take a look at each position and suggest five players you might want add to your team. We then pick a sixth player that we don’t see paying poolies immediate dividends but we expect will be helpful down the road. We hope you find these articles useful and gain a competitive advantage over your opponents. Feel free to discuss omissions and critique our selections in the comments section. We love discussion here at PuckPuckGoose.com.
Artem Anisimov, Center, New York Rangers
Anisimov made headlines earlier this week with his unique goal celebration but he should have been making fantasy headlines for his production instead. Anisimov is not an elite point producer but has tallied 7 points (4-3-7) over 6 games in December and sits with 19 points in 27 games this season. He is on pace to finish the season with a career-high 58 points (18-40-58). Anisimov’s point total on the season is a bit modest given his position on the top line but he wasn’t moved to the top line until early November where he, Derek Stephan and Marian Gaborik showed instant chemistry. Although Anisimov is producing on the scoreboard, he may be an unwise pick up for those in deeper leagues that count score anything besides points. Yahoo! has yet to update him to give him dual eligibility on the wing and as such he doesn’t take faceoffs. Anisimov also lacks in the physical department, so don’t expect a lot of hits and blocked shots. Anisimov is strictly a point producer so if you play in a points only league or your team is deep enough in all other categories and you want his points he’ll turn out to be a nice addition to your team. Also it’ll only be a matter of time until he becomes a dual eligible player, meaning his value will raise exponentially.
Honourable Mentions: Brendan Morrison (CGY), Jason Arnott (STL) and Adam Henrique (NJD)
Pierre Marc-Bouchard, Left Wing/Right Wing, Minnesota Wild
If you told me in the summer that on December 13, 2011 the Minnesota Wild would be number 1 team in the NHL I would have told you, you knew absolutely nothing about hockey. I’d also be dining on some crow right now in that world but the fact is the Minnesota Wild are the number 1 team in the NHL and they have been for a majority of the season. A large reason for their continued success is their depth and role players, every player on this team has been pulling their share on the rope of victory. Yes, even Dany Heatley. Some nights. Pierre Marc-Bouchard is one such player, after missing more than a season with a concussion, there wasn’t much expected out of PMB when he returned last season. Despite his extended hiatus he still produced 38 points in 59 games and it looks like he’s carried his strong play into this season. PMB current has 6 points (2-4-6) over his last 5 games and sits with 18 points in 28 games. I wouldn’t be surprised if PMB continues his production and reaches new career-high this season. PMB continues to see time on the first power play unit as a point man and a dependable puck mover, he is also a threat on the penalty kill as he uses his speed to intercept passes along the blue line. PMB is a gifted playmaker but has been known to put in the puck every now and then. PMB is not a physical player so don’t expect very many penalty minutes, hits or block shots, he is also very inconsistent on how often he’ll shoot the puck during a game, some games he’ll wire five shots on net, other nights he won’t take a single shot. Don’t expect PMB to replaced your number 1 point producer because at the top of his game he is only a reliable secondary or tertiary scorer.
Honourable Mentions: Nick Foligno (OTT), Tyler Kennedy (PIT) and Brooks Laich (WAS)
Jannik Hansen, Right Wing, Vancouver Canucks
You can call him the Honey Badger or the Danish Mongoose but whatever you do don’t call him a grinder. Despite a horrible start that saw him tally 1 assist in 7 games, Hansen has 16 points (9-7-16) in 29 games this season and is currently on a 5-game point streak, where he’s tallied 4 goals and 2 assists. Hansen’s point totals aren’t anything to write home about but it’s his overall contribution that make him waiver pick-up worthy this week. Not only has Hansen been producing offensively in his last 5 games, he’s also put up 12 shots on goal, blocked 2 shots, dished out 5 hits and is a +3. Those are some pretty good fantasy statistics over 5 games. He’s also been one of the best Canucks’ forwards not named Chris Higgins on a consistent basis. Since scoring his first goal of the season back on October 22, Hansen has not gone more than 2 games without a point. The only downside with picking up Hansen is the fact that he gets no power play time unless the game is a wash. Hansen is one of those players that can play anywhere in the line up, he can get down and dirty in the bottom 6 but can produce along side the skillful top 6. Hansen has played with everyone on the team from Maxim Lapierre and Dale Weise to the Sedin Twins and Ryan Kesler and he has been able to produce to compliment each line he’s been on. While David Booth is out with a MCL injury, Hansen will continue to skate along side Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins on the Canucks’ second line where he’ll continue to produce both with the puck and away from him.
Honourable Mentions: Wayne Simmonds (PHI), Jiri Hudler (DET) and Daniel Alfredsson (OTT)
Tomas Kaberle, Defense, Montreal Canadiens
I’m not crazy, just hear me out.
Kaberle has 2 assists in each of the last 3 games for 6 points in 3 games, he spent three games producing at a 2.00 average. Do I think he continues to produce at a 2.00 average? No chance he does, if he does, he should win the Norris and Hart trophies for his season. I do think that Montreal was smart to acquire Kaberle despite his horrible start to the season. Kaberle has shown throughout his career he is an offensive threat from the blueline. In 9 of his 13 season, Kaberle has produced 39 or more points, he has produced 40 points in 8 of those season, 50 in 2 and 60 in 1. His offensive abilities can’t be denied. There’s the argument that Kaberle is on the decline and can not produce as well as he used to, my argument is that he doesn’t like the states. Rather, Kaberle plays his best hockey in a Canadian market. It’s a far fetched idea but there’s no denying that Kaberle had his best years with Toronto and in the 58 games before he was traded to Boston last year, Kaberle had 38 points. Suffice to say, he was producing quality numbers less than a year ago. Kaberle will see lots of power play time on the point with P.K. Subban and I have my doubts Markov will be back this season so you have little worry about his ice time dropping. He’ll also be used a lot at even strength with the injuries to the Canadiens blueline. There is 52 games left in the Canadiens season and I’d wager on Kaberle posting 35 points during that span. Kaberle can be considered a gamble or a safe bet, I’d like to think of him as the latter. Based on his 46% ownership, I guess there are others out there that agree with me.
Honourable Mentions: Michael Del Zotto (NYR), Jared Spurgeon (MIN) and Jamie McBain (CAR)
Ray Emery, Goaltender, Chicago Blackhawks
“The Blackhawks recently signed Ray Emery and will be Crawford’s back-up but should Crow struggle, Quenneville will not have a problem benching him in favour of another goalie.” – me
During the early stage of Puck Puck Goose, I wrote an article about Corey Crawford and I mentioned in the article that should Crawford struggle expect head coach, Joel Quenneville to sit him and see how the backup, Ray Emery does. 30 games into the season and Crawford has sat on the bench in favour of Emery. This is not a new situation in Chicago, the exact same situation happened last year, Turco continued to struggle early in the season and Crawford was strong whenever he started in goal. Coach Q was forced to make a decision and he went with the hot goaltender. Now he’s doing it again this year. Emery has been very strong in his last 3 outings and it won’t surprise anyone if Emery see the bulk of the work in the coming weeks. Emery showed last year that he’s back in form and can help any team win. I don’t see Emery taking over the number 1 spot for the rest of the season, I think Crawford claws back and takes back his spot and helps the Blackhawks deep into the playoffs. Pick up Emery and ride him while he’s hot and once Crawford starts providing the solid goaltending he displayed last year in the playoffs, drop Emery like he’s hot.
Honourable Mentions: Matt Hackett (MIN), Jose Theodore (FLA) and Richard Bachman (DAL)
Marek Zidlicky, Defense, Minnesota Wild
Zidlicky has been out with a concussion since November 15 but all signs point to his return sometime in the next two weeks. When he returns he’ll give the Wild another offensive option to use on their power play. It’s likely he’ll man the point with PMB when he returns. Zidlicky has consistently produced offensively during his career and with the Wild playing as well as they have this season, I’d expect no less than 30 points from Zidlicky when he returns. Zidlicky also contributes to all categories away from the puck, he’ll give you penalty minutes, hits and block shots. He is only owned in 15% of Yahoo! leagues, if you have any empty IR slow be sure to grab him now. This is one of those moments where it’s okay to start running before learning to crawl.
Seriously, he’s produced 40 points 5 times in his career, this is as close as you’ll ever get to winning the lottery.
Honourable Mentions: Antero Niittymaki (SJS), Travis Zajac (NJD) and Tyler Myers (BUF)