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2013-14 Fantasy Draft Gambles

by chewy 30. September 2013 12:50

 Take your chances with these guys. May pay off, or it may backfire. In other words, we're not offering any guarantees on these puppies.

Offense


Joe Pavelski             SAN     
Pavelski is rather streaky in terms of fantasy production. He has gone on incredible tears (particularly in the playoffs), but he has also hit some massive dry spells. He has become the more important Joe in San Jose and should he find consistency, could be a steal.

Jason Pominville             MIN     
Pominville has been a consistently good, but not great, fantasy forward for about a decade. Upon arriving in Minnesota, he had a nice offensive outburst before being hit by a concussion in the playoffs. He will be counted on to contribute on the top 2 lines for the Wild, but it remains to be seen if the head problems will linger.

Alexander Semin             CAR     
While Semin acquitted himself nicely on his first venture outside of Washington, he still carries a level of risk for investing an early pick. He put up good numbers last season and did his best impersonation of a team player. If he can stay content and rekindle his scoring touch, he could still have plenty of upside. Big swing in terms of how good and how bad he could be this season.

Chris Stewart             STL     
If you're looking for safe, consistent production each week, you may not have the stomach for drafting Stewart. Since coming to St. Louis, he has failed to live up to his potential that he flashed in Colorado, except in small spurts where he looks brilliant. Should he find consistency, he could be a steal. However, it's far from certain. Consider him a gamble worth taking.

Jiri Tlusty             CAR     
Tlusty suprised many with his consistent goal scoring last year, elevating expectations for fantasy owners. Perhaps higher than they should. Don't overreach based on one good season. On the other hand, should he remain paired up with Erik Staal for any length of time, he just may do it again.


Defense

Andrei Markov             MON     
Last season, Markov was shockingly healthy and remarkably productive. His talent and reliability have never been an issue when he's on the ice. However, last season's full slate of games was clearly an anomoly. You're rolling those dice to believe he can do it twice in a row. If the gamble pays off, you could have a top 5 fantasy option. More likely, you'll get production for 3/4 of the season and nothing for the rest.


Goalies

Brian Elliott             STL     
Elliot seemed to regain control of the goalie situation down the stretch and into the playoffs last seasons. He failed to live up to the insane standard he set the previous year, but made a strong case for #1 job. However, Hitchcock has proven to be quick to change, given his options in net. Should he secure the net full time, his stock could rise. Seems more likely to endure another split crease in 2013-14, which severely limits his viability.

Ray Emery             PHI     
High Risk, High Reward is the overused phrase that most applies to Ray Emery in the goalie discussion. Emery has paid his dues and shaken the poor reputation he earned early in his career. He put together a fantastic effort as 1B in Chicago last season, and he's ready to make a go at being the Main Man again. His only hurdle will be to dispose of Mason in training camp. His value comes down to two factors: 1. Health. 2. Flyer Rebound. Philly has to be better this year, but that depends on them finding their way defensively. Assuming they prove 2013 to be a fluke, the Flyers should re-establish themselves as a contender, making Emery a very nice (and probably cheap) option for your fantasy squad. Snag him mid-draft and look very smart come Winter.

Jaroslav Halak             STL     
Should the Blues ever settle on a goalie, the winner of that lottery will emerge as a solid fantasy starter. Halak, Elliot, and newcomer Allen split the action 3 ways last season, to the detriment of each other. It's a bit of crap-shoot predicting the front runner, but I'm betting on Halak re-emerging this season as the top option for St. Louis. His GAA over the past two seasons has been among the best in the league. Don't bank on him as your #1 man to start the season, but you can take a flier on him late in the draft and potentially strike gold.

Jonas Hiller             ANA     
Should the specter of the shared crease be vanquished, Hiller could see his stock rise. However, given the effective split with Fasth last season, and the success Anaheim enjoyed with the pair, it's unwise to bank on a full slate of games from Hiller.

Steve Mason             PHI     
The Flyers aren't committing to either Mason or Emery heading into camp. So in theory, Mason could find himself as the starting goalie on a decent NHL squad this season. Comparing his performance over the past 4 seasons versus that of Emery, it seems more likely that Mason rides it out as a backup. Consider it a significant gamble to put your faith in Mason this season.

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