For the most part, when it comes to making decisions on players to pick up during the season,
the Fantasy Tools provided here in Landshark Hockey will give you most of what you need.
Still, it's important to understand what your strategy should be.
Know When to Hold 'em
Finding the right free agent is key, but it's just as important to know who to drop. You should review your roster
once a week to keep tabs on who's performing and who's not worthy. Typically, you'll want to
flag two or three players as expendable. Watch these guys closely for a week or two before
giving up on them. Here are a few guidelines to follow
1. Untouchables - There are certain players that you just shouldn't ever give up on, no matter
how bad they start the season. This season, one of our GMs dropped Turco after his rough start.
I picked him up immediately and sat on him until he found his game and went on a tear in January.
2. Short-Term Injuries - There are certain players you should never drop, even when they're
out for 3 months. Assuming your league has a playoffs, that's all that matters. You need to build
your team in preperation for the final few weeks of the season. If you have a key player that gets hurt
in November and will be out until February, do not drop him. A smarter man will pick him up and wait
for the playoffs to cash in. Gonchar was a great example of that this season. Dan Boyle was the same
last year. Note: when you see an injury like that in the fall, you should try and trade for these guys.
You can usually get them at a value price from a short-term thinkin' sucker.
3. Be Patient with Defensemen
They're special people, so cut them some slack. Much more so than offense, the top 20 defensive scorers
tend to be fairly consistent from year to year. If a decent defenseman gets off to a slow start, hang on
a few extra weeks. If it's an above-average forward that goes into a drought, let that puppy run and
find a better option.
Free Agent Frenzy
1. The October Rush - Don't bother looking at the stats for the first 10 days of the season.
Mistakes are made from overreacting early on. On the other hand, the next 3 weeks are the most important
time of the season for picking up free agents. No doubt, 5 or so stars will emerge by the end of the
first month, and you want to nab all of them. This season, Kozlov, White, Krejci, Marleau, Blake, and Setoguchi
all went undrafted and finished in the top 50 scorers. All were picked up at some point in October.
2. Backup Goalies - If a star goalie gets hurt, pounce on his backup immediately. How many
times do you need to see it work before you believe? Consider this season alone: Brodeur:Clemennsen.
Leclaire:Mason. Even Nabokov:Boucher for a couple weeks paid off with a few shutouts.
3. Line Changes - This takes a little homework, but the reward is worth it. Coaches change lines
all the time, especially after a coaching change. Look for who's playing wing with the top playmaking centers. San Jose
seems to put a different set of wingers with Thornton every couple months, and the goals usually start pouring in.
Savard, Malkin, Crosby, Alfreddson... Somebody has to get credit for a goal for each of those assists.