Now that a good many fantasy hockey drafts have taken place, it's a good opportunity to step back and take a look at some trends. When you're dealing with the masses out there, you have a large number of uninformed players making bad decisions, which you can benefit from. After participating in many drafts myself, I'm seeing a host of players being taken way before their time, and just as many being quality options ignored and overlooked. Consider this your first sneek-peek into your waiver wire options. Here is a snapshot of overdrafted and underdrafted players thus far, with the percentage of ownership in Yahoo and CBS leagues.
Antero Niittymaki (SJ) - Yahoo 81% / CBS 45%
When he first landed in San Jose, I rocketed him up my draft list, anticipating him to be the starter with a solid shot at 40 wins. With the arrival of Niemi and the fact that Greiss is still very much in the mix for the job, Niittymaki's stock should fall with the uncertainty. In Yahoo leagues, he's been taken above sure-fire starters like Steve Mason and Kari Lehtonen (though both of those come with risks of their own). CBS owners have a better read on this one at 45%.
Cristobal Huet (CHI) - Yahoo 30% / CBS 35%
About 1/3 of the leagues have someone drafting Huet? Pay attention people… Corey Crawford may ultimately be the playoff goalie in Chicago at the end of the season, and he's only been claimed in 4% of leagues.
Evgeni Nabokov (KHL!) - CBS 44%
Almost half of CBS leagues feature this KHL player on a roster. Stick to baseball if you're guilty.
Sheldon Souray (EDM?) - Yahoo 73% / CBS 56%
Always injured. Currently in exile. Yet he's owned in more leagues than Victor Hedman, P.K. Subban and Paul Martin.
Rob Blake (Retired) - CBS 39%
Retired. So he probably won't be helping your team much.
Dennis Grebeshkov (KHL) - CBS 14%
Not in the NHL.
Olli Jokinen (CGY) - Yahoo 68% / CBS 75%
Look for Jokinen to land on the most dropped list once the season starts and owners get disappointed for the fourth straight season.
Saku Koivu (ANA) - CBS 40% / Yahoo 19%
Yes, it's less than half, but I just don't see any fantasy value with this Koivu. Take a chance on Jordan Eberle or Taylor Hall if your league is that deep.
Mike Knuble (WAS) - Yahoo 81% / CBS 83%
Knuble went in round 8 of my CBS Platinum league. I gladly scooped up Cammalleri and Kessel in the following rounds, while scratching my head on the Knuble pick. Didn't even have him in my top 100.
Jamie Langenbrunner (NJ) -Yahoo 81% / CBS 75%
As a veteran leader, I like what Langenbrunner brings to his team. As a fantasy owner, I can't justify tying up even a bench spot here. Way overvalued.
Maxim Afinogenov (KHL) - CBS 34%
CBS hasn't gotten the memo. He's no longer in the NHL.
Patrick Elias (NJ) - Yahoo 95% / CBS 88%
95% Yahoo? He's been taken over the likes of Paul Stastny and John Tavares. This isn't 2004.
J.S. Giguere (TOR) - Yahoo 32% / CBS 46%
Toronto's defense is in the top 5 in the NHL right now and the Leafs are giving Giguere the edge for the starting job. Given the split-crease scenario, it's wise not to bank on him as one of your starters, but he should be near the top of your list for a bench spot.
Tomas Vokoun (FLA) - Yahoo 95% / CBS 71%
This one blows my mind. Obviously, Yahoo owners have a better grasp on this situation than CBS owner. How is Vokoun available in 1/4 of the leagues out there? I've drafted in 2 CBS leagues so far, and I've managed to grab Vokoun in round 6 both times. I have Vokoun in my top 10, based on the fact that he'll grab 30 saves on a nightly basis.
P.K. Subban (MON) - Yahoo 75% / CBS 46%
Subban should be in your top 20 for this season, yet he's largely been overlooked on both sites. If he's available in your league, please stop reading and go claim him now.
Dustin Byfuglien (ATL) - Yahoo 49% / CBS 48%
In case you missed it, Byfuglien has been re-classified back to defense in CBS and qualifies for defense or winger in Yahoo leagues. That instantly doubles his value in both leagues. If he's out there, make him yours.
Joe Corvo (CAR) - Yahoo 13% / CBS 65%
Big gap between Yahoo and CBS owners on this one. He should probably fall somewhere in the middle. If you're in a Yahoo league, consider Corvo for a bench spot.
Matt Duchesne (COL) - Yahoo 87% / CBS 79%
How is Duchesne still sitting undrafted in almost 1/4 of CBS leagues? He could be a an 80 point guy this season. Get on board.
Kyle Okposo (NYI) - Yahoo 64% / CBS 58%
Okposo is almost a lock for 30 goals this season, and sits on the waiver wire in many leagues out there.
Ales Hemsky (EDM) - Yahoo 88% / CBS 57%
Despite the injury and the upcoming rookie stars, Hemsky is the top talent this year in Edmonton. Yahoo owners get it, CBS players need to wake up.
Guillaume Latendresse (MIN) - Yahoo 68% / CBS 50%
Definitely a sleeper pick and a name to watch for the first couple of weeks. My guess is his stock will rise quickly in October.
Lee Stempniak (PHO) - Yahoo 20% / CBS 28%
I understand the cautious skepticism and all, but does anybody remember what this guy did after arriving in Phoenix last spring? He'll be gone in your league by Halloween.
To get more free fantasy hockey tips and tools, visit http://www.landsharkhockey.com