Reality Check, Part 3: Special Agents

Glen Hoos

2011-10-23

Stoll

 

Ed. Note: This is the third instalment in a series in which we'll look at different aspects of the NHL game and how to value them appropriately in your fantasy league scoring, with the objective of creating scoring systems that reflect real life value as closely as possible. Click here for previous entries: The Power Game; A Case for the Defence.

 

 

Vancouver broadcaster Don Taylor was in Toronto recently, and he remarked with some amazement at the size of the media scrum at the ACC that day. He thought nothing could top the level of hockey madness in Vancouver, but T-dot had proven him wrong.

 

The reason for all the hoopla? No, Brian Burke hadn't shot off at the mouth again; Ron Wilson had not been fired. No star player had been injured; no front-liner had been acquired.

 

Instead, for the first time ever as a Leaf… David Steckel was in the house!


Okay, so the acquisition of a player of Steckel's calibre isn't exactly front page news in most cities. Having said that, there's little doubt that Steckel brings a much-needed element to the Leafs' line-up – value that goes beyond his ability to (inadvertently?) take opposing superstars out of the line-up for three-quarters-of-a-year.

 

Steckel is a faceoff specialist. At 62.3%, Steckel led the league last year in faceoff percentage among those who took more than 400 draws.

 

Faceoff proficiency is a skill that is highly coveted by every team, with a tangible impact on success or failure on any given night. But for our purposes here at Dobber Hockey, the question is: does it have a role to play in your fantasy league?

 

For those with an interest in having their league reflect reality as closely as possible, the ever-expanding selection of stats available to poolies allows you to take your pool as deep as you want to go. This week we look at a grab-bag of specialty categories and the impact they could have on your league.

 

Faceoffs: Faceoffs are one of the more popular specialty categories, and for good reason. It's a crucial skill, very easily measured, and offered by the majority of fantasy league platforms. But before you rush to add faceoffs to your league, there are a few considerations to work through as a commissioner.

 

The first choice you have to make is whether to count faceoff wins, or faceoff percentage (assuming your host offers both options – some, like Yahoo!, only offer wins). Given the choice, faceoff percentage will give you a more accurate measure of the top faceoff men. Though aces like Jonathan Toews and Ryan Kelser will be near the top of either category, FO% reflects the fact that guys like Steckel and Manny Malhotra (61.7%) are truly the league's best faceoff men (as opposed to a player like Eric Staal, who just takes a ton of draws; Staal ranked 4th in wins last year, despite winning only 48% of his faceoffs).

 

Another factor to keep in mind is your positional requirements,