Eric Gelinas is under the radar, but has been a valuable fantasy commodity this season.
One of the things I have most fun with in fantasy hockey is finding the next up and coming player who starts contributing to your team long before he is a household name. Nothing is better than grabbing a player, seemingly from out of nowhere only to suddenly finding yourself with a very valuable asset. Today, I present to you a guy who may be that elusive great find: Eric Gelinas.
Coming into the season, Gelinas was not on anyone's radar and even today, I would guess that some folks who are reading this may not yet even know who he is. His ownership (2% in Yahoo! leagues) suggests that there aren't many people out there who are crediting this guy as being fantasy relevant, but I am here to tell you that he is indeed quite relevant.
So who is this guy?
As a second round pick (54th overall in 2009), the 22 year old Gelinas has a decent pedigree. He is a big defenseman (listed at 6-4, 210) with some offensive flare and a booming shot. In 2011-12, he led the AHL in goals by a defenseman with 16 while accumulating 37 points. As a guy who is a step below the blue-chip prospects like Morgan Rielly or Ryan Murray, Gelinas has flown under the radar to this point but he has quietly been more productive than either of Rielly or Murray as well as some of the other big name veterans out there. He has put up 7 points in just 12 games this season, which is an amazing 48 point pace but because he didn't start the season with the big club his totals put him outside any top-25 list, so again – he falls off the radar. If you look at points per game though, he's 16th in the entire league amongst defensemen who have played at least ten games.
How did I find Gelinas?
As you have probably come to expect, I was able to find out about Gelinas using Fantasy Hockey Geek. I didn't find Gelinas using a typical league ranking though. Had I run a season long analysis, Gelinas would again slide under the radar due to the fact that he hasn't played as many games as most players. The way I found Gelinas was by running my league through FHG for a more recent time frame (I used Oct 18th – Nov 20th). FHG has the ability to run rankings for the time frame that you choose and it is a really powerful thing to be able to do. I do this from time to time to see who is hot right now, who is providing great value and who is trailing off. I then work to determine whether the trend is sustainable and whether or not the player is worth taking a shot on. I get great insights when doing this and it helps to ensure that I never miss out on the next breakout performer. Superstars like Mike Green and Steven Stamkos had their breakouts mid-season. Had I been running the FHG numbers back then, there is no doubt that I would have been one of the first in my league to identify the breakout. I never want to miss an opportunity to get in on the ground floor, so now I run the numbers regularly. When I looked at the data for the past 5 weeks, here's how Gelinas came out:
(16 team Yahoo! league counting: G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, Hits, using g