Death, Taxes, and Poolies Being Upset With Rick Nash

In the words of the venerable Ilya Bryzgalov – why you have to be mad? He’s a good guy.

I don’t think there is a more polarizing name in fantasy hockey than Rick Nash. Merely mentioning him on twitter throws my timeline into disarray, with many claiming they have sworn off him altogether.

Sitting here, at nearly midnight on a Saturday night, a time when I should be sleeping, I was compelled to put some words together on the big winger. Because he’s going to provide a tonne of value at the draft table, all while half of the worlds poolies have decided to delete him from their rankings.

The anger with Nash has less to do with his actual numbers – which have been more or less spectacular, especially when you consider some of the teams he captained in Columbus – and more to do with misplaced expectations. In 2003-04, he scored 41 goals, tying him for the league lead. As you might expect, those kind of numbers for a guy THAT YOUNG raised expectations to uncontrollable heights. It was no longer a question of if he’d ever reach 50, but how many times? We started discussing who would introduce him for his Hall of Fame speech before even 200 games had been played.

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High Noon – Vrbata versus Hornqvist

A piece where we pit two fantasy players against each other, tell them to stand back-to-back and walk 10 paces, then…. well, there probably won’t be any shooting, but hey at least you can vote!

It’s a heck of lot easier to imagine prosperity than it is to imagine failure. It’s why we buy lottery tickets – the chance of winning, however small, has an allure.

I think there is a similar line of thinking when it comes to the NHL and players changing teams. We all talk about what could go RIGHT, splling very little ink on the distinct possibility that it doesn’t work out. Two guys – Patric Hornqvist and Radim Vrbata – are going provide a nice little test study.

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Stay With Me…

We’re getting to that emotional time of the fantasy hockey offseason. You’re in a dynasty league, reviewing your roster heading into 2014-15, and coming to the stark realization that you won’t be able to keep all of your favourite players.

For me, this means potentially having to part ways with the Man-Child and personal favourite – Valeri Nichihushkin. It’s tough for me to talk about, and truthfully I’d rather not. It’s days like this I want to curl up on the couch in the basement with a bottle of wine and some old Sarah McLachlan CDs and let the afternoon slowly fade away.

Sure, there is a chance I’m able to nab him later on in our re-draft, but it’s far from a given. My team is wearing the battle wounds of three straight contending seasons in which I’ve been forced to divest myself of draft picks for veteran help. I don’t have any early selections, which means Nichushkin will be fodder for other managers before I have a chance to intervene. It’s heartbreaking.

On my way into work today I was listening to the radio and came across Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.” It’s almost as if it was written about me and my squad. Like he peaked inside my heart while writing it. Sam Smith knows the struggle I’m going through right now, he gets it.

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50 Thoughts for 2014-15 – Part Four

The final post of a four-part series looking at 50 thoughts for the upcoming fantasy season. Unlike Star Wars I didn’t make you wait 30 years for the fourth instalment – it’s been like, what, only 20 hours? Of course Star Wars was PROBABLY a bit more highly anticipated than this post.

Now I’m just rambling, on to part four…

Understanding save percentage tiers

It’s the holy grail of goalie evaluation. Unfortunately, total save percentage can vary greatly from year to year. The biggest culprit is power plays, where random stuff can, and often does, happen. A couple bad goals and a tender’s save percentage will be out of whack for weeks, if not longer.

As a general rule, I’d focus on even strength save percentage when setting up your goalie draft board. Sadly, though, most pools still only use total save percentage as a category.

Let’s take a look at how things broke down in 2013-14…

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50 Thoughts for 2014-15 – Part Three

Part three of a four part series looking at the 2014-15 season. I should be spending my summer outside, on a patio, with the sunshine, and some kittens… YES, THE KITTENS! But no, I’m here, with you, talking about fantasy hockey.

Ah who am I kidding – I love it. On to part three…. 

What exactly is Kris Letang

Letang was the Rick Nash of defencemen this year. That is to say, he’s a player poolies drafted early expecting elite returns, but were rewarded with injuries and numbers alarmingly below career norms.

Then there is the added rumors that Pittsburgh may consider trading him this offseason and using their cap dollars to retain Niskanen long-term. Regardless of where Letang might end up, it would almost certainly be worse that quarterbacking a power play unit featuring two of the three players in hockey.

So, what is he?

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50 Thoughts for 2014-15 – Part Two

A four part series where I look at 50 topics heading into next year’s fantasy season. If any of the statistics or topics seem incorrect it’s because I  wrote this with Friday Night Lights playing on a constant loop in the background. It was pretty distracting. 

Edmonton and Lofty Expectations

It’s a lot more fun to imagine what COULD BE in the future then what is today. It’s the premise upon which sports gambling and lotteries are built. The human imagination can be a wild thing (nightly I wake up in a cold sweat imagining that Kovalchuk left my keeper team for the KHL, completely destroying my core…. Oh wait, that totally DID HAPPEN!)

Imagination, it would appear, has gotten the better of us when it comes to Edmonton and their young core (sorry Mr.Eakins, I know you hate when we use the word “young” as a prefix here).

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50 Thoughts for 2014-15 – Part One

A few months ago I had set out with the goal of releasing a fantasy guide/e-book for the 2013-14 season. The idea was to look a number of stories from around the league and write a mini-essay on each. As I worked through that process it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to cover ALL of the key storylines heading into the season.

Knowing this, I didn’t feel right charging readers five dollars, or any amount really, for a guide that wasn’t expansive enough to cover all of the topics you care about. There are so many detailed resources available – Dobber, McKeen’s…etc that provide a level of coverage I wasn’t going to be able to reach (the limitations of being one guy haha).

Insteaed of posting the guide as a downloadable PDF I went through and took what were my best topics and will be posting them as a four part blog post.

I’ll warn you ahead of time it’s long – REAL long. So put the kids the bed, shut off the TV, and tell your dog you’ll take him for a walk tomorrow night. Here is part one…

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