Chris Pronger was recently hired by the NHL to join the league’s Player Safety Department. Wow. Really? Uh. No. Wait. Really? What's next? Announcing the new head of the NHL’s Driver Safety Department, Ray Charles! He’s not only blind, he’s dead! Perfect! I suppose hiring a guy responsible for so many injuries and damage over the years (dem elbows) might make the perfect hire, I mean, the government hires hackers that are good enough to get into their systems to show the government how to secure said systems again, right? So it all makes sense that way. Right? The weird/illegal/BS aspect of this is that Pronger is still under contract with the Flyers for two more years. That's right, he's still technically a player in the league. And now he's going to be part of a league office? We all know he'll never skate again, but still, come on. How on earth is this legal? Can you imagine if this sticks? This just in! The entire top-six of the Devils and Rangers were just suspended for, uh, violating player safety. Yeah, that’s it. Player safety. What a crock. None of this has anything to do with fantasy hockey, but something had to be said. Chris Pronger? Player Safety? With his deputy Todd Bertuzzi, right? Jesus. Anyway, here’s what I saw in the first full night of action in the world o’ fantasy hockey:
Goalies can be notoriously difficult to rank and project for accurately. I give each starter projections but I might not bother trying to predict what kind of numbers a backup is going to offer unless I have reason to believe that they're going to play enough to be worth owning. Most of the time, backups aren't, but there have been some gems in the understudy group in recent years. Cam Talbot's stellar work behind Henrik Lundqvist last year helped ease the pain of the wounds Jimmy Howard's 2014 campaign left me. Damnit, Howie! At any rate, Chad Johnson filling in for Tuukka Rask showed similar value. For the most part, though, backups are backups and largely worthless without a starter getting injured. Then we have the always wonderful goalie committees. Is there anything worse than goalie by committee? Yes, yes there is, but for the purposes of this post, no, no there is not. The Hurricanes look to provide a buttload of frustration for anyone willing to draft their way into that sad state of affairs again in 2015 with Anton Khudobin set for a bit of a regression and Cam Ward being, well, Cam Ward. On the flip side the duos of Brian Elliot and Jake Allen in St. Louis and Frederik Andersen and stud rookie John Gibson where if either guy is asked to go 60 starts their season would end up bleh, but limit them to around 40 starts a piece and they stay healthy and rested, the numbers stay sexy, and you stay happy with a cheap no. 2 tender. Anyhooze, lets get to the meat o' the matter, Razzball's 2014-2015 Fantasy Hockey Goalie Rankings:
Hallelujah the NHL has returned and so have I! With only 24 games left in the regular season our first taste of post-Olympic hockey featured Ryan Miller (2 GA, 38 SA, W, 2 A) picking up right where he left off before the break carrying the Sabres to a 3-2 victory over the Canes. It must be a nice feeling for Miller to come back and cleanse the bitter taste of defeat out of his mouth after the Bobby Ryan-less US team didn’t even medal. To be fair, they totally phoned in that bronze medal game against Finland after a terrific effort against the Canadians in the game prior, so they probably didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything but the gold. I don’t endorse that attitude, but it is what it is. Miller looked absolutely brilliant all night stopping shot after shot because man that Sabres D is something awful. Hell, to even have a chance at winning Miller had to throw in a pair of helpers, too! Put this guy on a team with a halfway decent defense and a bit more scoring and he’s top 5, so where will he go? No one knows. Every other day it seems the Buffalo front office flip flops on whether they want to focus on signing him or trading him. Let’s be real here; the guy is a UFA after this season and why on earth would he resign with the Sabres? They have to rebuild, Miller is 33, he wants a cup and he’s not going to get it in upstate New York. With the trade deadline looming the Sabres have a week to move the franchise tender and new Sabres GM Tim Murray claims to have “between two and 10 teams” who have inquired about Miller. Sounds promising, and if you own the guy you’re dying for news that he’s been traded to St. Louis. It’s hard to imagine a team so mediocre that it can make a top 5 goalie give you the stats of a guy ranked ten or so slots below him, but it could be worse, you could own Ondrej Pavelec! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the first game back from Sochi:
Dustin Byfuglien (2 A, 6 SOG, +1) started at right wing for the first time in, well, a while. The Jets hope moving him back to wing will help them find some semblance of an offensive spark, somehow, someway. At first glace this sounds like it's going to be great for his owners, right? Shifting to the wing can only increase his value, right? Well, he lined up with Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi, a slot previously occupied by Bryan Little who is actually having his best season as a pro, so maybe that's not so bad. When asked about the shift Buff dutifully replied that he would do whatever it takes to win, but added that this wasn't his decision. Gee, I wonder how he really feels about it? Apparently the Jets don't much care what he thinks and it's still not his decision because they said today that they'd be keeping the big fella at wing for now. This back and forth dance from defense to forward and back again the Jets have him doing is slowing his development at either position, but it mostly hurts his blue line skills.  A lot of folks wondered why he was snubbed from the US Olympic team and it's because he's not a good defensive defenseman yet, in fact I'd still label him a liability on the blue line and his horrible plus/minus can attest to that. I'd call this a desperation move from a team in complete disarray, riddled with injuries and not entirely sure what to do about it. Since moving from Atlanta to Winnepeg it has been all down hill for a franchise that started out, well, at the bottom of the hill and has since been trying to skate to the top. Obviously trying to ice skate uphill is going to be problematic, but that hasn't stopped the Jets from giving it the ole' college try, eh? Only time will tell how Buff reacts to the switch, but I doubt it changes his overall numbers much. He'll likely give us the same 60 some points he was already on pace to deliver for his owners, so whoop-dee-freakin-doo! If this was a better team the switch would mean more, but it's not, so it doesn't. Blah, the Jets are terrible in so many ways. Anyway, here's what else I saw in the world o' fantasy hockey yesterday: