By CHRIS NICHOLS -- SLAM! Sports
Fantasy junkies: here is the plan for the rest of the regular season and playoffs concerning the fantasy coverage here at Slam!
On Monday, March 22nd the Ask Slam! column will come to an end for the season. Have no fear though, because I will still be answering emails past Monday for those of you who maybe want to set your keeper lists or are still in a tight race for the title.
Friday, April 2nd will mark the end of the Fantasy Scoop column for the year. That will allow for some last minute advice for the final weekend of the regular season, in which some of you will have your fantasy fate decided.
Right before the playoffs start, look for a column on playoff drafting strategies and my picks for each series. I'll warn you though: parity in the NHL could make this pretty ugly. Anaheim and Minnesota destroyed a lot of playoff pools and it's getting tougher to pick the winners each year.
Starting with the first night of the playoffs, a new fantasy column will be hitting Slam! to help you with your post-season pools. I'll be doing a nightly recap of all of the games and giving you a run down on each series as it goes along; all in one convenient column that will be published each night of the playoffs. Scoring streaks, cold spells, injury news: it'll all be there.
Hi Chris: Thanks for providing some valuable information throughout the season... The newest dilemma in my pool is playing too many games on RW. In the next couple of weeks I will have to sit Hejduk and St. Louis for a combined 4 games. Given that both teams are in a comfortable position right now, would you favor St. Louis or Hejduk to continue/check that... begin a streak for points for the last 8-9 games? St. Louis at least has something to score for with the Art Ross in his reach.
It's a complete guessing game, but St. Louis has a game against NJ coming up and that might be a good one to sit him down for. He was held scoreless in the last match against the Devils. Honestly though, both of these guys are studs and they'll find ways to score against anyone.
You could sit Hejduk for all four games since St. Louis is scoring more points, or sit them both as soon as possible and get those four games over with - kind of like ripping a band-aid.
Chris: I need some help choosing keepers for next year. I can keep three of the following guys: Todd Bertuzzi, David Aebischer, Ilya Kovalchuk, Joe Sakic, Sergei Gonchar and Dom Hasek.
I'd need to know which categories your league counts to make a final determination. Assuming PIM's and SOG are in there, I'd keep Bertuzzi (Assuming there's no suspension going into next year), Kovalchuk and Gonchar. Aebischer is a possibility too, as long as Colorado does well in the playoffs and they stick with him in net next season. I've had enough of Hasek's groin injuries this year to make me not want him in a top three situation like that.
Chris: I owe you a lot for this season. I'm in first by just enough that I think I can win, but I'm not going to stop pushing until the end of the regular season. My question: I have Kipper, Esche, Lalime and Vokoun in net. I have a semi-comfortable lead in wins and am in a really tight race with GAA & SA %. Who should I be starting down the stretch? By the way, thanks for the tips on both Kipper and Esche earlier in the year - they have probably been the difference for me this season.
Clearly you don't want to be starting all four guys, because you could end up doing harm to your GAA and SA %. I'd advise you to start only Kipper and Esche the rest of the way. Each guy should get his fair share of wins and their teams don't tend to get blown out. Lalime and Vokoun are certainly solid, but you can likely do without their stats for a few weeks.
Thanks for all your help Chris. Matthew Barnaby is available is my league and I actually need PIM's pretty badly. Do you think he'll continue to score and fight in Colorado?
Yep. He may not score at quite this pace, but forwards in Colorado tend to fall into points with all of that talent around there. Barnaby has done a great job and he's obviously not afraid to get his hands dirty too. He's a very cheap power forward that can be a big help for you down the stretch here.
I have to choose my keepers for next year by the end of the regular season. I can keep any five guys from the following: Martin St. Louis, Rick Nash, Sergei Zubov, Nick Lidstrom, Markus Naslund, Miikka Kiprusoff, Peter Forsberg, Paul Kariya and Rob Blake. There are 16 teams in my league and we count all the normal stats. There is a provision from the guy that runs our league that if there's a lockout/ strike; we can pick our keepers again when/if the league resumes play. That will be nice for Forsberg at least.
Yeah, no doubt. Forsberg heads the list of keepers then. Naslund is automatic. Nash is automatic. Kariya is out. Blake and Lidstrom are really close and I'd go with your favorite there, but definitely keep one of them since scoring defensemen are always valuable. The last choice comes down to either St. Louis, who could win the Hart Trophy this year, or Miikka Kiprusoff, who could be the next great goalie in this league. With three great scorers, a scoring defenseman and 16 teams in your league, I might lean toward Kipper. Calgary is going to be a solid defensive team again next year and you'd hate to lose Kipper if he turns into something great. It's more likely you can get a forward with stats similar to St. Louis with your first round pick next year than it is that you can get a goalie like Kipper with most teams likely keep one netminder.
If that was my team, I'd probably skip the headache of Forsberg and go with Kipper, Blake, Lidstrom, Nash and Naslund. I don't think most people could stand to lose out on Forsberg though.
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