10 Biggest Bargains in Fantasy Hockey

We previously looked at the 12 most overrated hockey players (really, 11 plus Dany Heatley, who is not technically a hockey player anymore). These, in contrast, are the guys you actually want on your team and who have been ranked way too low, making them all readily draftable.

I have also decided to make up nicknames for each of them. And add a few limericks. Because why not.

10. James “The Wizard” Wisniewski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets

My Ranking (Value):         88 ($18)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 108 ($15)

Average So Far:                 107.2 ($2.0)

Strengths:                           A, PIM, PPP, SOG

Weaknesses:                      Injury-prone, difficult-to-spell last name

Projected Stats:                 72 GP, 7 G, 38 A, 45 P, 60 PIM, 20 PPP, 150 SOG

He has missed a ton of games in his career, so he’s a bit risky. But if he can stay healthy, The Wizard should do wonders. He doesn’t need a Power Glove to impress us.

9.     Brad “Lady Byng King” Richards, C/LW, Chicago Blackhawks

My Ranking (Value):         117 ($5)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 156 ($9)

Average So Far:                 157.6 ($1.4)

Strengths:                           A, PPP, SOG

Weaknesses:                      G, PIM

Projected Stats:                82 GP, 22 G, 42 A, 64 P, 16 PIM, 18 PPP, 210 SOG

There once was a man from the Bay,

Who went elsewhere and signed for great pay,

But his coach was a louse,

His scoring went South,

And now he must play with John Toews.

Even with a crappy 2013-14, King Richards was ranked 99th by the end. And now he’ll be dishing pucks to guys like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa. Not a bad deal. He should improve. Probably to the top 75. A really good pick in the late rounds.

8.     Johan “Sebastian Bach” Franzen, LW/RW, Detroit Red Wings

My Ranking (Value):         89 ($14)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 119 ($14)

Average So Far:                 145.2 ($1.2)

Strengths:                           G, PIM, PPP, SOG

Weaknesses:                       A

Projected Stats:                  75 GP, 29 G, 31 A, 60 P, 48 PIM, 19 PPP, 240 SOG

The Great Composer was injured a lot last year, but his output in his limited time was pretty exceptional. Sprinkle in an arpeggio other stats, and you got yourself a great bargain, so long as he doesn’t break his leg or something.

7.     Brian “ET” Elliott, G, St. Louis Blues

My Ranking (Value):         40 ($30)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 60 (23)

Average So Far:                 72.4 ($7.2)

Strengths:                           W, GAA, SV%, SO

Weaknesses:                       None

Projected Stats:                 35 W, 1.94 GAA, .926 SV%, 6 SO

There once was a man named Halak,

Who tried but win he could not,

He turned into Miller,

But he was just filler,

And now just look what they’ve got . . .

The most underrated player in the NHL. As I described earlier, save one really awful stretch, Elliott has been downright out of this world in St. Louis: 88 GP, 54 W, 1.67 GAA, .934 SV%, 16 SO. He’s just never been given a starter’s job before. Until now. He should have some of the top stats in the league.

6.     Tomas “Two-Ply” Plekanec, C, Montreal Canadiens

My Ranking (Value):        118 ($7)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 248 ($1)

Average So Far:                 164.4 ($2.0)

Strengths:                           Everything

Weaknesses:                       Nothing

Projected Stats:                  81 GP, 24 G, 35 A, 59 P, 54 PIM, 14 PPP, 215 SOG

Understanding TP’s value is what separates great fantasy managers from the rest. He is very good — not elite, not top 10, but top 30 or top 50 — in every single fantasy stat that matters. So while he doesn’t get the attention of the big names, TP will clean up in every category, and he will chafe you in none. Even with an off year, he was ranked 130th overall. TP is a great pick at the back end.

Jakub Voracek (Holland Photography/THW)
Jakub Voracek (Holland Photography/THW)

5.     Jakub “Discount Double Czech” Voracek, RW, Philadelphia Flyers

My Ranking (Value):        54 ($22)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 85 ($19)

Average So Far:                 94.1 ($2.3)

Strengths:                           G, A, PPP, SOG

Weaknesses:                       PIM

Projected Stats:                  81 GP, 27 G, 43 A, 70 P, 34 PIM, 24 PPP, 230 SOG

Solid in everything but penalties, Double D was the 39th best fantasy player last year. And that was with Claude Giroux taking the first month of the season off. He should be in the top 30 this year. But I can safely push him back to 54, because everyone else is dropping the ball.

Taylor Hall: future Herbal Essence ambassador to hockey (BridgetDS/Flickr)
Taylor Hall: future Herbal Essence ambassador to hockey (BridgetDS/Flickr)

4.     Taylor “Swift” Hall (aka “Kenny Miller”), C/LW, Edmonton Oilers

My Ranking (Value):        13 ($43)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 21 ($28)

Average So Far:                 22.6 ($23.1)

Strengths:                           G, A, PIM, SOG

Weaknesses:                      Plays for the Oilers (and it’s not 1987)

Projected Stats:                 76 GP, 30 G, 56 A, 86 P, 40 PIM, 22 PPP, 260 SOG

A former first-overall draft pick, Swift has 130 points in his last 120 games. And he’s only getting better. He could easily score 90+ points.

Cory Schneider, finally (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
Cory Schneider, finally (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

3.     Cory “I’m So Sick of this Sh**” Schneider, G, New Jersey Devils

My Ranking (Value):        18 ($33)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 47 ($28)

Average So Far:                 49.9 ($23.1)

Strengths:                           GAA, SV %, SO

Weaknesses:                      No respect

Projected Stats:                 37 W, 2.01 GAA, .927 SV%, 7 SO

That Cory Schneider has not been the de facto number one goalie on an NHL team until now, but somehow Ondrej “Wait, Which Hand Does the Glove Go On?” Pavelec has been and still is (WTF!?!?!?!) proves there is no justice in the NHL (or at least that general managers and coaches can be really horrible at their jobs). The Justifiably Frustrated One will likely continue to do exactly what he has been doing for years: being an awesome goalie.

Washington Capitals NICKLAS BACKSTROM - Photo by Andy Martin Jr
Nicklas Backstrom, not so happy about his ranking (Photo by Andy Martin Jr.)

2.     Nicklas “Get Off My” Backstrom, C, Washington Capitals

My Ranking (Value):        26 ($35)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 70 ($22)

Average So Far:                 67 ($7.1)

Strengths:                           A, PPP, plays with Alexander Ovechkin

Weaknesses:                      Too dependent on Ovechkin

Projected Stats:                 80 GP, 21 G, 65 A, 86 P, 50 PIM, 39 PPP, 220 SOG

Dude was ranked 12th overall in the entire league last year. And that was with an atrocious plus-minus. And Ovechkin doesn’t suck anymore (probably). He will be in the top 15 again this year. Letting him fall to 70 is just plain stupid.

1.     Dustin “Where’s the Beef” Byfuglien, D, Winnipeg Jets

My Ranking (Value):        27 ($35)

Yahoo! Ranking (Value): 132 ($10)

Average So Far:                 97.5 ($4.0)

Strengths:                           G, PIM, PPP, SOG

Weaknesses:                      +/-, cheeseburgers, playing defense, misspells his last name

Projected Stats:                 75 GP, 20 G, 40 A, 60 P, 88 PIM, 25 PPP, 250 SOG

There once was a man with a shot,

Who could level a man on the spot,

His plus-minus could suck,

But who gives a . . . ,

‘Cause he scored more often than not.

A top 40 player and one of the three best fantasy defensemen in the game . . . And he’s ranked what!? This might be the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s like ranking Steven Stamkos behind Jonathan Cheechoo. Big Beef was the number two defenseman last year, and that was with, like, a minus-70 or something. The only defensemen you should consider ranking higher are Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban. That’s it. And those are debatable. These three guys are all pretty equal in terms of value.

So what am I missing, Yahoo!? No broken bones, no trades. He gets fat every summer, but that’s never bothered him before once October rolls around. You better get this guy in your league. There is no excuse.