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The Niedermayer-Selanne-Forsberg Conundrum
The million-dollar question a lot of fantasy hockey players are asking is: in average-depth single-year hockey leagues, do you pick up or hold on to Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, and/or Peter Forsberg? I don't have any insider information, so maybe our better connected readers and writers can help me out, but here's what I think:

Starting with Selanne, I think the answer is clearly that you let him go. He's not under contract with any team, wouldn't go to a team other than the Ducks anyway, and if Niedermayer decides he should want to return, there simply isn't room for Selanne under the cap (unless he plays for the minimum). On top of all that, at 37 he's the least likely of the three to get the "fire" back -- something he was accused at times of not having enough of anyway.

As for Forsberg, personally, I think the odds are good that he signs somewhere in the second half of the season to make a run for the cup. It's probably good for him anyway, as he hasn't been able to put in more than 60 games since his 75-game campaign in 2002-03. Unless your league has a deep bench, however, you probably shouldn't keep Forsberg around. There are probably plenty of contributing centers available in your league, and even if Forsberg is signed by a contender, he'll likely go to a team with a good chance already at the Cup, meaning that there'd be a good chance of him stepping in on a supplementary line rather than one exhibiting good chemistry already. Reportedly, countryman Daniel Alfredsson has been lobbying hard for him to sign with Ottawa (the Sens have a good amount of room under the cap), and if Forsberg were to sign there, he probably wouldn't displace Jason Spezza on Dany Heatley's line (though an Eaves/Foligno, Forsberg, and Alfredsson combination would be very good). Still, if Forsberg returns he's likely to pull a Roger Clemens and wait for a while to ensure he's in a good situation, so if you can't wait that long, give him the boot.

Niedermayer provides the toughest decision. Defensive scoring goes for a premium in almost all leagues, and Niedermayer was the best last season. On top of that, he's only 34, and the Ducks have a pretty good team. If they continue to make a strong run, it's not hard to envision Niedermayer coming back, especially to try and bring home another cup with his brother Rob. In shallower leagues though, with Niedermayer unable to occupy an IR spot, what do you do? I think if there are defensemen on your waiver wire capable of putting up a 35-to-40-point season, you have to consider cutting him. Whatever his decision is, he's not letting on to the media, so who knows if he would come back early in the season or later (or not at all). But his fantasy value, so much higher than the average defenseman, makes it so hard to cut ties with him. I say hold on to him until the end of October. If there's no further indication as to his plans by then (and if the 1-1-1 Ducks continue to flounder a bit in the absence of Mathieu Schneider, the media pressure to get a definitive update should grow), then you might want to consider cutting ties. But with the potential reward so high, hold on to Niedermayer for now.

Other thoughts?

Posted by Bret Cohen at 10/3/2007 7:55:00 PM

Comments (4)

Ducks' early-season schedule
Is anyone else confused about the Ducks' early-season schedule? Fine, they played the two-game exhibition against the Kings in the U.K. over the weekend. But then, they're scheduled again on the road on Wednesday, the first day that any other team is playing, and on the road in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday? Meanwhile, the Kings aren't scheduled for their third game until Saturday, and teams like the Capitals aren't scheduled for their first game until Friday. So the Ducks play essentially five road games spanning six time zones in nine days, while some teams don't even kick off the season until the day of their fourth game. One might wonder about taking the money line on Columbus on Friday.

Posted by Bret Cohen at 10/3/2007 9:55:00 AM
Comments (0)

The Fastest Game on Earth is Back
The new NHL season has begun, and there are many questions to start the new year. Unfortunately none of them are hockey related.

Like why is the NHL starting the season in London when they have enough trouble getting people to show up to games in the States. And why would you have the opening game be the Los Angeles Kings versus the Anaheim Ducks. There is a reason why the NBA, NFL and MLB send out two of the best teams in the league to open their season. Not the defending Stanley Cup Champion versus a team that is rebuilding. There is also a reason to why these leagues advertise their openers like crazy. I didn't know the season began until hours after the opener was over. Not only were the teams a poor choice, and the advertising dismal, but a noon (Eastern Time) game on a Saturday, are you serious?

While each night of the week will have MLB playoff games, through the first week in November. Saturday's are for College Football, Sunday and Monday night are for the NFL, Tuesday and Wednesday night have nothing, Thursday and Friday are College Football Night games. Rather than start the season on one specific night, why not start with a week of the NHL's best match ups at night? And the rest of the league will begin their game the next week. I don't care that the idea and match up is extremely gimmicky, the NHL needs to in order to get their ratings up.

Night #1 (NY Game)
San Jose vs NY Rangers
In order for hockey to be popular in the states it starts and stops in New York. Just like everything else, so why not give the people a possible Stanley Cup Preview.

Night #2 (Canada's Opener)
Edmonton vs Calgary
Toronto vs Montreal
Ottawa vs Vancouver
Though Canada is already on board with the NHL, why not give them a gift of seeing all their teams play on one night.

Night #3 (Future's Game)
Pittsburgh vs Washington
Let people get the chance to see the future of the league in Sidney Crosby vs Alexander Ovechkin.

Night #4 (Stanley Cup Rematch)
Ottawa vs Anaheim
Nothing to say here.

Night #5 (Original Six)
Detroit vs NY Rangers
Boston vs Toronto
Montreal vs Chicago
Nothing to say here either.

Night #6 (Eastern Rivalry)
Buffalo vs New Jersey
Or here.

Night #7 (Western Rivalry)
Anaheim vs San Jose
Or even here.

And why is the NHL making their fans pay an additional fee for center ice online, even when they already get it for their television.

I almost feel its not that people do not like hockey, but they do not know about hockey. The NHL has done a great job of squashing any progress it was making after the lockout. The league needs to stop worrying so much about making their older fans happy, and doing things in the traditional sense, and start making the league more hip. Now the Chris Drury is playing with the New York Rangers he needs to be the face of the league, even though he is not the best player. He is American and is the closest thing in the NHL to Derek Jeter. He has the intangibles, he works hard, a team first player, and knows how to win. Though he does not have the Captaincy yet, because he just signed with the Rangers. If the league wants growth, than it needs to start changing its way of going about doing things.




Posted by Josh Pearlstein at 9/30/2007 11:57:00 AM
Comments (5)

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