Who is the better fantasy hockey own – Ray Whitney…or Daniel Alfredsson?
This week's Cage Match features a very rare situation in that both players – Ray Whitney and Daniel Alfredsson –are at least 40 years old but still fantasy relevant. Which one of these gray hair types is better for your fantasy team? Grab a shuffleboard stick and some Metamucil – Cage Match starts now!
When two players with a combined 2439 career regular season games and 2140 career points face off, there would be a lot of ground to cover if, as usual, I traced their entire career paths. And while some aspects of their past will be relevant (and are highlighted in the next paragraph and elsewhere), the focus has to be on their most recent years – the last three to five seasons in particular. This is because their glory days from many years ago are not of as much consequence in terms of what they're likely to do now, at an age that's not only well beyond what we generally see in a fantasy relevant player, but older than most everyone in the NHL.
However, a few things worth noting about the past are that since 1997, Whitney has played more than one season for four teams and scored 70+ points for each. But only once did Whitney have 70+ in two different seasons with the same team, and he also had one or more seasons with 61 points or lower for each. This is his second year with Dallas, where, for what it's worth, he scored at a 74 point pace last season. As for Alfredsson, he had scored 70+ points in nine consecutive seasons before his past three in Ottawa, where he only tallied 116 points in 176 games (a 54 point full season pace).
What this largely boils down to is a formerly more consistent, elite player who's seen his point totals slump badly for several seasons (Alfredsson), versus an underdog who has defied odds his entire career and shown a scoring touch most everywhere he's played, but who also had a few underwhelming years along the way and often doesn't follow a big splash with another great year (Whitney).
Contract Status and Impact
In the offseason, Alfredsson left Ottawa after 17 seasons, inking a one year deal for $3.5M with the Wings in hopes of winning an elusive Stanley Cup, while Whitney is in the second year of a $4.5M/year deal with Dallas.
Alfredsson's one year contract and motivation to win a Cup are important for this analysis. His added desire to win the Cup in 2013-14 might lead to him being more willing to accept a reduced role, including to sit out games as the season drags on (more on this below in Injuries and Olympics). While that would keep him fresher for the playoffs, it wouldn't help your fantasy team. Then