It's late in the draft and you're starting to lose focus. You've got one spot left to fill and all the good ones have been taken. At this point, you take the next guy on the list with the most points and call it a day. I'm here to tell you that there's a better way. It's called the "Specialist".
In general, when ranking your players, you want to focus on guys who can bring it in every stats category. Guys like Ovechkin, Malkin, and Perry are a dream, as they get goals, assists, and aren't afraid to add a couple of PIMs to the scoresheet each night as well. But what about those one-dimensional guys? The goon. The Power Play Specialist. The guys who shine in one of the lesser-known stats, but might not pile up the points like the fantasy studs. Is there room on your roster for one of these men?
Bottom line is that it depends on the league. Some leagues (like ESPN) have a lot of roster spots to fill. By the time you're picking your 10th forward in a 12 team league, the pickins are slim. Other leagues (like most Yahoo formats) actually weight these "other stats" the same way they weight goals and assists. We tend to focus on the points, but in these formats, Penalty Minutes, +/-, Power Play Goals, and even Shots on Goal can count just as much. If you're in such a league, you need to consider adding a Specialist to your roster with a late pick. For Yahoo leagues, your last defenseman (or two) can be the ideal spots for these guys. While they won't add to your balance, the right Specialist could single-handedly win a stats category for you. Here are a few guys worth considering that you won't find on most Cheat Sheets based on points, but may give you an edge as a late selection.
Note: I'm leaving out +/-, as it's nearly impossible to predict this stat, and it means next to nothing...
The Goons - The obvious Specialist. Sit back and watch the guaranteed PIMs rack up here:
• Zenon Konopka (F - TB) - 265 PIMs, 5 points. Unlike many goons, Konopka is a regular in the lineup, so you can count on his contributions each week.
• Colton Orr (F - BOS) - 239 PIMS, 6 points. Like Konopka, Orr is a fixture on his roster.
• Matt Carkner (D - OTT) - 190 PIMs, 11 points from a defenseman. Not a bad mix.
• Sheldon Brookbank (D - ANA) - 114 PIMs, 9 points. Brookbank was also a steady +10 last season.
Here are some more well-knowns that add points to the package, and may get drafted in your league:
• Steve Downie (F - TB) - Will probably go earlier than he's worth. If he can repeat last season, he's a keeper.
• Daniel Carcillo (F - PHI) - 12 goals to complement his 200+ Penalty Minutes.
• Scott Hartnell (F - PHI) - 44 points and 155 PIMs means he'll be taken at some point.
• Sean Avery (F - NYR) - Capable of more than the 31 points / 160 PIMs he produced last season
• Steve Ott (F - DAL) - 20+ goals, 150+ PIMs are a nice set of stats for a late rounder
• Wayne Simmonds (F - LA) - 116 PIMs, near the league leaders in +/-. Should add points to his resume this year.
The Power Play Specialist - These guys get an inordinate percentage of their goals on the powerplay:
• Teemu Selanne (F - ANA) - His 48 points and elderly status may cause many to shy away, but he's still a sniper on the power play. He tied for 3rd in the league last season with 14 PPG in just 54 games.
• Tomas Holmstrom (F - DET) - He persists in the NHL for one reason: to stand in front of the net on the power play. He's averaged about 10 power play tallies per season throughout his career.
• Andrew Brunette (F - MIN) - I've been in many drafts this season, and haven't seen his name called once. He regularly puts up 10 PPG a season.
• Ryan Smyth (F - LA) - Half of his 22 goals last season came on the power play. He's regularly among the league-leaders in that category, even if his point totals cap out around 60.
• Brian Gionta (F - MON) - He once scored 24 PPGs in a season. Last year, he came through with 10.
Trigger Happy - These guys will pile up the shots on goal, while the points are sadly lagging:
• Patrick Hornqvist (F - NAS) - True, he reached 30 goals, but his 51 points don't demand a high selection. If shots matter to you, he finished 14th last season with 275.
• Patrick Sharp (F - CHI) - Only 66 points, but was 19th in shots with 266. Should see more of those go in this time around.
• Radim Vrbata (F - PHO) - Finished 20th in shots last season with 266, but ended the year with a lousy 43 points.
• Kyle Okposo (F - NYI) - Top 30 in SOG with 249. Should push for 30 to go in this year.
The Shorty - Guys who get their time (and their goals) when they're supposed to be playing defense:
• Kris Versteeg (F - TOR) - 3 of his 20 tallies were down a man last season
• Jordan Staal (F - PIT) - Recorded 7 beauties in his rookie year. Came back with 2 last season.
• Chris Thorburn (F - ATL) - 4 goals scored last season. 3 short handed.
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