15 Points to Consider – February

Jeff Angus




This week I discuss the Zach Bogosian trade rumors, players to look at for next season, and a late season fantasy hockey strategy to employ.


1. Looking to make a push during the final 20 games of the season in your fantasy hockey pool? Try the following strategy on for size. Take a look at the rosters of teams who are either out of contention or headed in that direction. Decide who will be traded at the deadline – keep in mind a few things about these players, especially what position and role they play with the club. Now look to the AHL roster of that team, and see who could potentially be called up as a replacement.


Teams out of contention will give prospects and young players long leashes to develop/make mistakes without worry of being demoted. A great example of this is Bobby Butler in Ottawa. The former NCAA scoring sensation Butler was pointless and minus-11 in his first nine NHL games. If he struggled like that on a playoff club, odds are he wouldn't have made it past game four or five. However, he has recorded consecutive two-point games (and he scored as I wrote this on Friday evening) and should stick on the roster for the rest of the season.


One more name to keep in mind (not so much a prospect) is Tom Wandell. Jamie Benn is still on the IR, and the likelihood of a Brad Richards trade increases dramatically with each Dallas loss.


2. I made this point in my previous column – how much of an impact on player development does winning and losing have? A considerable one, I believe. Any Dustin Penner/Ales Hemsky trade, even if for great picks and/or prospects, wouldn't do Edmonton any good. Having a rich prospect cupboard means nothing if you can't support it with veteran talent and leadership. Edmonton is about two years, three or four defensemen, and a goalie away from being a playoff club. Instead of taking one step back and potentially two forward, I'd advise taking one forward without going back at all. Get some stable, reliable veterans on the back end and up the middle. After Shawn Horcoff, the Oilers are an embarrassment at center in the defensive zone and on the draw.


Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Magnus Paajarvi have all had pretty good rookie campaigns, all things considered. It is time to insulate them, not expose them for another season.


3. Travis Hamonic has quietly been one of the best rookie defensemen in the league. He is anchoring New York's top pairing with Andrew MacDonald, and the offense only took 10 or 15 games to appear. Hamonic isn't a great puck mover, but he is adequate. His fantasy value will come from his heavy, accurate slap shot, and his physical edge. Once Mark Streit returns to the lineup (which may be in a few weeks), I foresee a Hamonic-Streit pairing on the top power play unit. With an elite playmaker like Streit alongside him, Hamonic's fantasy upside may increase