Who is the better fantasy hockey own – Dan Boyle or Kimmo Timonen?
(Editor’s note: This column was submitted mere minutes before the Boyle injury. We have a theory that the writer Rick Roos is dabbling in witchcraft or perhaps the Voodoo arts, likely the latter)
This week's Cage Match looks at two defensemen – Dan Boyle and Kimmo Timonen – who have been fantasy assets for many years but are now on the back end of their careers. Who'll be better for poolies this season? You've come to the right place to find out – Cage Match starts now!
Remarkable Consistency, until Last Season
Boyle and Timonen have been among the more consistent fantasy defensemen over the past decade. Basically, you'd draft these guys expecting them to give you a certain level of output, and not only were you never left disappointed but each one also managed to sprinkle in a few above average seasons along the way.
With Boyle, you'd have to go all the way back to 2003-04 to find his last 70+ game season where he finished with fewer than 48 points; and during this ten year period he also tallied 57+ points in three different seasons. Timonen has been a less prolific scorer but just as consistent, finishing with 37-44 points in every full season since 2001-02, except for two seasons (2005-06 and 2006-07) where he spiked to 50 and 55 points.
Not surprisingly, going into last season Boyle had been ranked in a tier above Timonen. But then a funny thing happened in the lockout shortened 2012-13 campaign – Timonen put up stats (29 points in 45 games; a 53 point full season pace) above what we'd come to expect from Boyle, while Boyle's output dropped dramatically (20 points in 46 games; a 36 point full season pace) to a level below anything from Timonen since 2000-01.
The biggest question going into this season is what to expect from each player after such a radical departure in 2012-13 from any of their recent seasons. Is Timonen on a late career upswing? Is the magic gone with Boyle? Should we expect them to duplicate what they did last season, or go back to their usual output from previous seasons, or end up with something in between? Let's see if we can dig deep enough to figure this out so you can benefit from knowing the answer and take appropriate action before things really begin to unfold for the 2013-14 season.
Contract Status and Possible Retirement
Both players are under contract only through this season. And while each will earn roughly $6M this campaign, their contract circumstances are different in that Timonen signed a one year deal during the offseason while Boyle is finishing the final season of a six year, $40M contract.
Some were surprised that Timonen returned to play in the NHL for 2013-14, after there had been rumors he might retire (or play in Europe). And already there are whispers of his retirement after