Left wing is arguably the most difficult position to fill in the game of fantasy hockey. I have experimented with all the different strategies to deal with the scarcity at the left wing position. Name a strategy, and I guarantee I have tried it. The conclusion I’ve come to is that no strategy is foolproof. The only way scratch out the best left wingers (and best team for that matter) is to make very smart decisions when stuck between two players. The position is too scarce to waste a pick. That brings me to this week’s cage match.
Thomas Vanek vs. Michael Cammalleri
I hate both of these guys in fantasy. I just feel like I'm trying to grasp a phantom with these two. I am totally haunted by their past production. They've roped me in in years past by seducing me with some huge seasons but for the most part have been quite disappointing.
For both injuries have been the main reason for the disappointments but I think the bar was simply set too high. Both Vanek (27) and Cammalleri (28) are old enough that barring a Sedin-like eruption we've seen the best they are capable of so at least part of this cage match will be decided in the past. What each player has done in their respective top season represents to me their individual upside. Ironically, both players had their career season in 2006-07 so let's see who had the better season.
Goals Assists Plus/Minus PPP PIM SOG
Vanek 2006-07 43 41 +47 20 40 237
Cammalleri 2006-07 34 46 +5 37 48 299
Vanek has the higher upside in Goals for sure and Plus/Minus, probably. That Plus/Minus total is so outrageous I want to write it off. Yes, I suppose it's his upside but Vanek could play another 200 years and never be that high in the black. That said, he's definitely better in the Plus/Minus category, just not THAT much better.
Cammalleri on the other hand has a much higher upside in both PPP and SOG. Assists and PIM are close enough to call it a wash. So on pure upside this cage match is tied across the board and maybe you make your choice based on specific needs or maybe you look at something beyond upside.