Daily Joust Article - Opening Day
Below is the article I wrote for the folks over at DailyJoust.com. If any Dobberites play there hopefully it can bring them some help. I know FanDuel is more prefered on Dobber and I wanted to write an article for them to post on here but spend too much time "tinkering" with my lineups.
Daily Joust Deals of the Day
January 19, 2013
The phrase “I feel like a kid at Christmas” is far too overused. I’ve realized this over the past few days as I very much do feel like a kid at Christmas. I’ve used this phrase before but never fully understood it until now. I’ve Googled “time machine” about 50 times over the past two days and have taken far too many naps in an attempt to make Saturday come quicker. My response to my girlfriend’s reminder of the house-warming party we’re supposed to attend Saturday night was a very simple “not going”. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but there is only one opening night … a year. My level of obsession is off the charts, so while it’s far too late for me, you, my friend, may still have a chance. Avoid the countless hours spent pouring over stats and trends and let me do it for you. Let’s kick of the 2013 NHL season with a few of my favourite deals of the day.
The Bargain Bin features dirt-cheap players who have a good opportunity to snag a point or two. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid adding the odd scrub or two to your lineup so you might as well have one with the best opportunity to succeed!
The second line is a place not many NHL players want to be. You can’t tell me a kid plays hockey dreaming of one day becoming a second line center in the NHL. The top line is where the glory is. However, when you’re a young up-and-comer and your team’s second line includes Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan, well, that’s not such a terrible place to be. This is where Nick Bonino looks to find himself to kick off the shortened season. At 55k you better get him into your lineup while you can. He’s in the perfect situation to experience some early success.
I don’t really know why, but a large part of me feels bad for Andy McDonald. It feels weird to feel bad for a player doing what I’ve only ever dreamed about but I can’t seem to help it. Bottom line is he’s a very talented player who gets very little respect. He’s had his fair share of injury troubles in the past but usually comes in at about a 70 point pace over his many shortened seasons. The good news here is you only need him to play one game. Playing a Detroit team that will miss Lidstrom’s steadying presence much more than most people seem to want to admit has him in a very good spot to succeed. At 66k he’s well worth the risk!
At 78k Jagr is right on the cusp of what I’d consider a Bargain Bin worthy player. But this is the lowest you’ll find him for a while. Jagr burst out of the gates last season with 29 points in his first 29 games before cooling off. Look for much of the same this year. There were many stories last year about Jagr’s late-night hockey camps that showed his dedication and commitment to the game. You better believe he’s going to be ready for puck-drop this year. Take advantage of the low-price tag while you can as you likely will not be seeing it again until around mid-season.
Economical Opportunities are players with a slightly higher price tag but a much higher chance to succeed. They’re the players who are in the right situation at the right time and have the potential for a huge night at a very reasonable cost.
I’d bet my left foot you’re not going to find Backstrom this close to 100k for very long. Tampa believes they have solved their goaltending problem with the signing of Anders Lindback and this very well may be true. What is definitely true though is a Washington Capitals team playing under offensively minded Adam Oates is going to keep many goaltenders up at night. The word is that Oates falls somewhere between Boudreau’s all-out attack and Hunter’s offensive-zone phobia scheme’s however it’s hard to believe Adam Oates will be one to stifle offensive creativity. Backstrom has been a point per game player for much of his career finishing last year’s injury plagued season with 44 points in 42 games. At 116k there’s no reason for him not to be in your opening day lineup.
In my eyes, big name free agent signings have a tendency to under-achieve. More often than not I believe this is because expectations are set unreasonably high. In Semin’s case I believe the opposite to be true. I fully expect the change of scenery to be exactly what he needs, and I’m not alone on that. Many hockey experts have been saying it for the past couple of years now. The only difference is now that it’s finally happened nobody seems to care. There’s no denying that Semin is an elite talent. Whether or not he wants to use that talent is up for debate. I’m of the belief that he gets a much harsher reputation due to the language barrier and the fact he very rarely speaks with the media. If Alexander Semin was John Smith out of Red Deer, Alberta the public opinion of him would be very different. Politics and effort aside, Semin can virtually score at will. He’s on a new team with a one-year contract and has something to prove. If he doesn’t do it himself than there’s always the chance that his new line mate Eric Staal will bounce one off him and in. 86k is a very low risk for Semin’s potentially high reward.
Here’s one you might be able to sneak in. At the time of writing this a lingering IR note still hangs beside Giroux. Many casual players may be scared off from this and miss a tremendous opportunity. Claude Giroux loves him some Pittsburgh. He had eight points in five games against them in the regular season and another 14 in their six game playoff series. It’s no secret these teams don’t like each other, so you may even get a few PIM’s to boot. Most have Giroux ranked just behind Crosby and Malkin and to a lesser degree Stamkos for this upcoming season and they’re not wrong. Giroux is an exceptional talent. 154k is a fairly steep price-tag, but if you find yourself with some leftover cash he’s not a bad investment. 154k is a lot to put into one player but Giroux’s history shows it will not be wasted money.
I normally like to shy away from players with lofty price tags no matter who it is. However, if you can’t help yourself and need one of the pricey superstar’s (Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos) in your lineup then Crosby is the easy selection. Not only is he the cheapest of the three but I believe he’s the one most likely to have a big game. If you pro-rate Crosby’s stats last year he was on pace to leave the competition in his dust, finishing with 138 points. When Crosby returned from his concussion last season with 62 games remaining in the regular season there was actually talk of him overcoming a 25 point deficit and capturing the scoring lead. He’s that good. Too often we as fantasy players fall privy to the “what have you done for me lately?” mentality. In Crosby’s case that shouldn’t matter. He’s spent the time off training and The Kid is flying around at practice, clearly more than ready for the start of the regular season. I expect a big game from Crosby to kick off the NHL campaign, so if you have the money to spend he’s the easy choice of the three.
Talent like Mike Green’s does not disappear. It gets stifled. Mike Green will be back in a huge way this season once the reins are released. He’s maintained his first unit power-play status and still has a plethora of offensively gifted players around him. I fully expect Green to finish either one or two in defenseman scoring, barring injury of course, and be yet again the coveted defenseman he not too long ago. He’s another player who falls victim to the “what have you done for me lately?” question and will deliver the answer very early this season. At 93k you would be smart to get him in your lineup while you can afford him.
On the flip side of tomorrows games you have Matt Carle. Carle is not among the most feared offensive defensemen in the league but he is a solid puck distributor who benefits from playing with talented players. He can hold his own on the power-play and has a very nice outlet pass. What has changed for Carle is opportunity. He’s gone from a team with a good number of offensively capable defensemen to a team that regularly dressed Marc-Andre Bergeron because they were that desperate for offense from the blue line. Tampa’s firepower is no secret, so while Carle’s low goal total is not likely to increase I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to rack up the assists courtesy of Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. 89k is a very reasonable price tag for Carle’s potential.
Carolina was last in the league for shots against per game with 32.4, over two more per game than second last Ottawa. What that means for you is a good statistical night for Cam Ward when they visit Florida on Saturday night. Florida ranked fourth last in goals per game yet were in the top half in shots per game at 29.7. This should be a win for what’s bound to be a much better Hurricane’s team. When compared to other goalie prices, 159k is an excellent price for what should be a decent night for Carolina’s goaltending.