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The first quarter of the season is in the books. We’ve seen the West dominate the East. Tampa Bay was looking real good until Steven Stamkos broke his leg. The Pacific Division looks like it’s going to be a race to the end of the season.

But what about the crappy teams? There has to be some value there, right? Let’s take a look at the bottom-feeders and where value might be found or moves to make.

Edmonton has recalled goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. No, that is not a typo. Nor is the fact that Edmonton is 5-15-2 with a -30 goal differential.

I get the fact that the season has gone off to a poor start for the Oilers, but this screams of desperation. Devan Dubnyk didn’t get it done (4-10-1 3.54 GAA). Jason LaBarbera is a career backup and Richard Bachman is the best goaltender statistically on the team. He’s 0-2-1 with a 3.03 GAA and a save percentage over .900.

And now you add Bryz to the mix and I’m about ready to pull the plug on the Oilers. I’m also willing to trade away my Oilers to try and get guys who, you know, produce.

We’re 22 games into the season and nobody on the Oilers has more than five goals. Really, what the hell Edmonton? What is the problem? They’ve had three consecutive number one draft picks and still look like they’re a whisker or two above the AHL.

Jordan Eberle is the lone bright spot with 16 points in 22 games. Nail Yakupov has been worthless at even strength; all of his goals have come on the power play. And don’t get me started on his -14 rating. He’s one five Oilers with a -10 rating or worse. Taylor Hall, David Perron and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each have 5-8—13 this season but it’s just not enough to make me want to keep them in anything other than keeper leagues.

And don’t pick up Bryzgalov unless all of your other goaltenders are on injured reserve. Apparently no one can thrive behind the Oilers’ defense and they’re getting outscored by more than a goal per game.

The Oilers make me want to puke. We expected Calgary to be crappy and they’ve lived up to it.

The Flames are awful on defense (29th), power play (23rd) and penalty kill (28th) and it’s no surprise.  They’ve beaten Chicago in overtime for their only win of the month, going 1-6-1 in November. They’re only scoring two goals a game most night and that won’t be good enough when your goaltenders are allowing three per night.

Overall, it looks like they should rename the province Albert-ugh with how bad their hockey teams are.

In Nashville, I’m buying low on Pekka Rinne. He’s supposed to have a follow up MRI later this month and might be back in early December as opposed to late December. When he comes back from that infection in his surgically-repaired hip, He’s going to be dropped right back in between the pipes for the Predators and get ridden hard by the coaches.

This is the right time to trade for him and if you can pull it off, your team is going to be that much stronger for the rest of the season.

Philadelphia looks like a hot mess on ice. Let’s start with Claude Giroux. He was projected to be one of the better centers in hockey and has gotten off to a poor start. One goal, Claude? Really? One goal? If not for your ten assists, you’d be cuttable. He’s starting to remind me of guys like Henrik Zetterberg last season who had a handful of goals and a bunch of assists.

Kimmo Timmonen used to be a force on the power play but two assists in 19 games is just a disgrace. At least Jakub Voracek (3-6—9) and Wayne Simmonds (2-6—8) are trying. Giroux and Timmonen are in danger of falling to the name-value-only zone.

I’d try and buy low on both of them. At some point they’re going to snap out of it and you want them on the roster when they do. Because it’s going to be a big offensive explosion like when they dropped a seven-spot on the Islanders last season to wake up the offense.

The Flyers have shown some signs of life with a three-game winning streak over Edmonton, Ottawa and Pittsburgh. They should be able to get it going with their next three games being all at home with Ottawa, Buffalo and the Islanders.

The Sabres are a total mess. They make the Flyers look like the San Jose Sharks. Buffalo has a league-worst two wins in regulation. Buffalo still has six games in the next 11 days so they’re going to be a tired bunch of Buffalo at the end of the month.

Cody Hodgson has been the only Sabre with anything resembling consistency. Mikhail Grigorenko has been a promising second-year player and scored twice against Anaheim. But those are his only goals so far in 15 games. He was also a healthy scratch on Friday against Toronto so maybe he just needed a day off. I won’t read too much into it. He’s the emblem of the problems in Buffalo: young talent that’s inconsistent and untrustworthy in fantasy.

Until they make more moves, it’s hard to really say who to own on the Sabres. The rebuild is certainly on but I’m interested to see where Ryan Miller lands. With a new set of management, it’s hard to know for sure which way this is going to play out. Ted Nolan gets another shot behind the bench in Buffalo and Pat LaFontaine is the new team president. The GM position is still open and so is the rebuild.

Florida continues to flounder for another season as they’ve started off 5-12-4. Brad Boyes is widely available and leads the Panthers with seven goals. Aleksander Barkov is also worth a look. The rookie has a 4-4—8 start this season but three of his four goals have come on the power play. Jesse Winchester is also at 4-4—8 but has the slight added dimension of PIMs with 25 on the young season.

Columbus sits below .500 with a 7-10-3 mark through 20 games. Guys like Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky and James Wisnewski are off to good starts this season. For an under-the-radar pick up, look at RJ Umberger. He’s off to a 5-6—11 at the quarter pole and has five points on the power play. Umberger has goals in three of his last five games so it’s time to pick him up while he’s hot.

Lastly, the Islanders are just a hair under .500 with a mark of 8-10-3. John Tavares is being himself with a 9-16—25 line and 11 points on the power play. The big deal with them is that Evgeni Nabokov has been put on the IR today and will be there for the next four weeks with a groin problem.

Kevin Poulin will get the lead goaltender duties and Anders Nilsson has been called up to back Poulin up. Poulin is 3-5-0 this season with a 2.52 goals against average and a .909 save percentage so far. His numbers are good but not great. He won over Detroit in a shootout and beat Nashville too. His losses in the least four games have been to the Kings by a goal and a 4-2 loss to Montreal.

So do you pick him up?

Poulin won’t blow the doors off your team but will be able to get the much-needed starts that are valuable this time of the year. It’s not going to be easy though as the Isles have this for the rest of November: @TOR, @PHI, @PIT, WPG, DET, WSH.

December could be rather tough with a West-Coast swing since the West has been so much better than the East in head-to-head games this season. December offers: PIT, @STL, @LA, @ANH, @SJ, @PHX in the first half of the month.

The answer is you can pick up him up now if you need it but be ready to bench him during the first half of December.

There still is value on every team when it comes to fantasy hockey. The question is can you find it or can you buy it on the cheap in a trade?

 

From Around The Web

  1. Good to see you back Andrew! Dustin Brown needs to improve (7 points in 17 contests). He seems to step up his effort during the stretch drive and he missed most of training camp with an injury, so perhaps all the inactivity hasn’t fully been shaken off. Would you drop him for Jakub Voracek who has shown a minor upsurge? What about for Beau Bennett? Bennett practicing on the first line with Sidney Crosby and likely worth a grab without Crosby. Bennett doesn’t have a point in 3 games since returning from an injury, but he was a first-round draft pick & has the pedigree. Other options would be Hudler, Huberdeau, Simmonds, Granlund, or Versteeg. Our scoring includes; ±, PIM, FOW, & Hits. Hold the course with Brown or cut bait for one of these waiver adds? Thanks!

    • @madden_curser: Based on todays top 200 ESPN rankings, I should consider dropping Loui Eriksson (134) for Voracek (119). Hudler comes in at 129. Brown is ranked 66?! Is his potential that much greater than his actual performance to date? NHL.com has Eriksson at 61, Brown at 81, and Voracek at 84, I don’t even see Hudler ranked, but he is by far the most owned of the available players in our ESPN league. Thanks for the advise.

      • @madden_curser: Voracek has 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last 5 games. Dustin Brown scored his first goal (& point) in 7 games and went plus-3 while dishing out 7 hits last night, but it highlights how far his stuff has fallen off this year. A consistent 50-plus-point scorer, Brown has just 8 points in 22 games, though he’s plus-10 & hits with impunity. Should I wait to see if he’s coming around?

        • Andrew Nordmeier

          Andrew Nordmeier says:
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          I’d wait a little longer and see if hes coming around…or if this is a flash in the pan. Give it 2-3 games and see how he does.

      • Andrew Nordmeier

        Andrew Nordmeier says:
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        I lean more towards the league site than the four-letter network on this one. Eriksson should be able to contribute nicely on both ends of the ice for Boston.
        Hudler looks like the Adrian Peterson of fantasy hockey. Not so much because of his talent but because of his performance on an overall weak team.I wouldn’t drop Erikkson for him but Brown would be the best option in the group. Erikkson is doing it now. Brown has the PP time mentioned earlier which you can’t go wrong with

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      I’d be a little hesitant to drop Brown for Voracek just because of how weak Philly has looked on the whole this season.

      Hudler has been a nice option in Calgary and I like what he’s done so far. Bennett is also worth a shot because anyone on a line with Crosby and Kuntiz should be able to fall into a pile of points. He also gets some time on the second PP unit when the Pens aren’t running a four forward power play.

      Huberdeau is okay but the rest of his team is crummy. Simmonds, see Voracek.

      In the end, I would stay with Brown because of all the time he’s getting on the PP whether the Kings are going traditional or four up front.

  2. willy says:
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    let’s not forget Okposo of the Islanders… Dude’s having a breakout year on Tavares’ line. He contributes in basically every stat and has been on a point per game pace. I was fortunate to pick him up early and haven’t found a reason to drop him yet. Hopefully he keeps it up!

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      Agreed. Okposo has been very nice this season so far. He could have gone either way with the eye injury he suffered in the home opener. Thankfully he;s recovered and he should be able to keep going.

  3. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    moulson’s still picking up crazy pts on the hodson line.

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      He is…and once you get past that line Buffalo gets thing, quickly. I want to see what the new GM does and how Buffalo continues to rebuild.

  4. goodfold2 says:
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    the nuge is the only oiler mentioned with 13 pts who wasn’t injured for a while (hall and perron were), so those other 2 should be more valuable. Perron gets hits too. Hall gets some blocks.

  5. goodfold2 says:
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    purcell vs umberger. which is better? dynasty league with all stats PIM/hits/blocks/faceoffs won total/PPP/SHP/assists/goals/not shots only normal one left out. both get PPP (purcell more back when stamkos played), Purcell gets more shots but I don’t care about those in this league. Umberger more hits, by a lot. Purcell more goals. Question is who is more likely to produce for next few years.

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      Assuming these guys stay where they are, here’s the answer. (Trades and free agency moves always make these questions harder.) If everything is weighted equally consider Umberger. Think about the overall team you’ve built. Does it have offensive scoring punch and D-men who are getting time on the PP?

      There is one factor to keep in mind that’s age. Purcell is younger so he has that added layer of appeal. I would also consider being willing to sacrifice the hits category in an effort to keep the rest of the team strong. It’s a lot like not chasing down saves in fantasy baseball. A closer or two is nice to have but you can still win leagues without having to be solid in all categories. You can say the same thing about hits here.

      It was how I was the leader of the first half of the season in the Razzball Writers Fantasy League (roto) and I wound up finishing 3rd.

  6. RalphW says:
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    I was offered Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and P.K. Subban for Tyler Seguin and Shea Weber… what you think?

    • willy says:
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      @RalphW: I’d want the Seguin/Webber side there… It’s actually a nothing trade. Usually 2 for 2’s are done to upgrade in an area and upgrade your trading partners other area. You would both be giving up a good C and a good D so there’s no point to it.

      Seguin is way better than Nuge… I assume Nuge has +/- problems up in Edmonton…

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @willy: nuge also doesn’t get as many pts as seguin and i think he’s worse at faceoffs as well. subban in fantasy upgrade on weber though, probably not enough to lose seguin to get him though.

      • Andrew Nordmeier

        Andrew Nordmeier says:
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        RNH currently sits at a -11 in Edmonton.

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      Stay with Seguin and Weber.

  7. You state Taylor Hall, David Perron and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each have 5-8—13 this season but it’s not enough. I know Hall & Nuge are young, but I feel like they could really turn it on yet. I have Nugent-Hopkins. Should I be looking to move him in a trade? What if I tried to package him in a trade with Bobrovsky for another goalie and forward, with the idea of upgrading my goalie. Any insight on what I might expect? Luongo, Varlamov, Crawford, or Harding and some token throw in? Thanks for the advise!

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      True. They could turn it on. And we’re all waiting on it to happen any time now. I would have thought with all the young guys the chemistry would be there and they could get the job done night in, night out. I’m not thrilled with RNH and his -11 rating.

      As for the trade, any of those should be attainable…it all depends on what the other guy needs.

  8. Gordon Bombay says:
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    Hi Andrew,

    I have a surplus of goalies right now and I need to upgrade my D.
    My goalies are Niemi, Harding, Pavelec and Scrivens.
    Do you think Harding has secured himself enough as the starter that I could trade away Pavelec? I’m pretty sure i won’t get much for Scrivens since Quick is only out for a couple months. Who would you try to trade? I’m in a 16 team league and you have to start 2 goalies. There’s a lot of managers that need goalie help.

    Thanks!

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      I would consider moving Pavelec. He’s a pretty solid starter in Winnipeg and has Al Montoya behind him. Niemi is a rock and Harding has been amazing this season.

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