15 Points to Consider

Jeff Angus




For the Week of December 13th. Elliotte Friedman's weekly 30 Thoughts column on the CBC website is currently the best read in hockey. Friedman is insightful, articulate, knowledgeable, fair, and most importantly, interesting. He has sources and contacts in the hockey world that most could only dream of. He has an ability which is rare in this day and age – providing a balanced and reasonable opinion on the league, the players, and all 30 of the clubs.


Each week I will post my own observations (I couldn't completely steal Friedman's idea so I'll pick a number other than 30) – with a heavy emphasis on the fantasy side of hockey, of course. Prospects, goalies, sleepers, busts, it will all be covered each week.


1. Keith Ballard is a player worth targeting. For a multitude of reasons, his ice time was limited early on in the season (and he was even healthy scratched on a few occasions). Ballard will get a ton of ice time with Christian Ehrhoff out, and if he plays well he can expect that trend to continue even when the German defenseman returns.


Ballard is fast, gritty, and offensively gifted – he fits the Vancouver system like a glove. His value will rise even more in leagues that count hits and/or blocked shots.


2. You would win a lot of hockey games with an entire team composed of players like Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan. Both are skilled, feisty, gritty, and responsible. Both (especially Dubinsky) are finally getting the recognition they deserve in fantasy hockey circles as well.


3. One of my favourite prospects is off to a terrific start in his professional career. Matt Calvert is hovering just below the point-per-game mark with the Syracuse Crunch. He projects as more of a two-way energy player, but one should never discount the small player with a big heart.


He is in the same mould as Zach Parise (obviously not nearly as skilled) – a real nose for the net, understanding for the game, and a motor that doesn't quit. He sticks to the puck like white on rice.


4. This not just in – Marty Turco stinks. Corey Crawford's grip on Chicago's starting position continues to tighten.


5. Nashville rookie Anders Lindback has two consecutive shutouts filling in for the injured Pekka Rinne. Lindback slid far in his draft year because of a medical issue (one that he still deals with on a daily basis). Nashville continues to pump out the quality goaltending. My only question – how long until Rinne is jettisoned out of town? Mike Dunham, Tomas Vokoun, Chris Mason… the list goes on.</