Fantasy Hockey: Early Season Panic Button

There is a penchant for people to press the panic button a little early in any fantasy season. People dump players for next to nothing after a slow start (Albert Pujols in 2012, anyone?) and it ends up being a huge regret for them later in the year.


Relax, people.

Relax, people.


I will tell you one thing; Do not panic on your stud players just yet. Here’s just a few of the players that are off to slow starts that there is no need to panic on:

  • Eric Staal doesn’t have a point yet despite playing over 22 minutes a game and having 10 shots in his first two games. For comparison’s sake, Daniel Winnik of Anaheim has four goals on six shots. Who do you think is the better player? It will take some time for Carolina to get their feet under them with the new parts, relax a bit. 
  • Marian Gaborik, Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares have combined for zero goals so far this year after all scoring at least 30 last year. Does anyone honestly think this trend will keep up?
  • Miikka Kiprusoff has allowed four goals and five goals in his first two starts of the season; he had eleven such games in 70 starts last year.
  • Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick and Cory Schneider have all been pulled in one of their starts.
  • Drew Doughty has zero points, is a (-1) with five shots on net despite putting up nearly 28 minutes in ice-time per game.
  • Speaking of defencemen, Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber have combined for zero points, while Paul Martin, Fedor Tyutin and Raphael Diaz all have three each.


When I talked about the season on my podcast and to different people, I talked about the variance that would occur in this kind of season. Teams had hardly any training camp, no exhibition games and some had to introduce new systems, new parts and new coaches. All the guys mentioned above are either very good or elite at what they do, have patience.


That being said, there are guys that I would consider as speculative adds to just about any roster (at least 10-team leagues, more likely 12-teamers). I say they are speculative because they are products of their situation i.e. what line they are playing on. For the most part, you should have better options but if you have bench spots, take a look at these guys:


Cody Eakin (C-DAL) - This 21-year old rookie-ish player (he did play 30 games last year for Washington) was promoted to the second line in Dallas with Ray Whitney and Michael Ryder for yesterday’s game and came away with two assists, 2 PIMs and a (+2) rating. Now, this is situation will only last until they re-sign Jamie Benn, but until then, he could give your team a short-term boost. (1% on Yahoo, 0.1% on ESPN)


Jiri Tlusty (C/LW-CAR) - It appears Tlusty will be back on the top line with Eric Staal and Alex Semin as he was during training camp. As long as he stays there, he can be a viable utility player for someone. (2% on Yahoo, 0.1% on ESPN).


Cory Conacher (C/LW-TBL) - Having moved his way all the way to the top line with Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, as well to the second unit PP, Conacher is a rookie to watch-out for early on. First brought to my attention by my FT411 colleague Chris Wassel, he is a college hockey product who put up 80 points in 75 games in the AHL last year. He’s off to a great start this year and if he stays in the top-6 mix for Tampa Bay, he will be very productive. But for those of you in ESPN leagues, hurry up; his ownership rates are skyrocketing quickly. (0% Yahoo, 16.8% ESPN).


Less speculative adds are Cody Hodgson (C/RW-BUF) and Vladimir Tarasenko (RW-STL). These guys have both looked dynamic early on in the season. While you won’t be able to get Tarasenko in ESPN leagues (94%), he’s still only owned on 18% of teams on Yahoo! (!!!). Hodgson, on the other hand, is still sitting at just 69.4% of ESPN leagues and 24% of Yahoo! leagues.


Jake Gardiner (D-TOR)The puck-mover of the future for Toronto, he had a very solid rookie year with 30 points in 75 games in 2011-2012. Returning from a concussion likely tonight against Pittsburgh, he will probably be eased into things. In this sense, don’t expect a lot in his first two or three games. However, he’s an elite young offensive defencemen and should be added to almost any roster. (27% Yahoo, 3.5% ESPN).


That’s all for today. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for goalie starts and injury updates. A major one to keep an eye on is Steve Downie (RW/LW-COL). He left the game yesterday with a knee injury and didn’t return. They consider him day-to-day, but the nature of the injury – he applied a hit, he didn’t get hit – does not look good. I would be shocked if there was at the very least a serious sprain.


Feel free to tweet me @SlimCliffy.



Related posts: