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2014 NHL Wire Troll All-Star Team

April 21, 2014 | by Chris Wassel | Comments (0)
Craig Smith wound up as the leading goal scorer for the Nashville Predators.
Craig Smith (right) had a fine season despite his misuse in Nashville. (Section303.com)

By Chris Wassel and RotoRob

Wow, is it really over? Yes it is. It’s hard to believe that after over 25 weeks of hard fought Fantasy hockey warfare, the 2013-14 regular season is done. It all seems so final and the reality is, it is. For us, personally, it has been a very successful season as far as most formats. We even had a little luck this season playing Daily Fantasy Sports.

This week, we give a final salute to the “All Stars” that truly made your team special. If it were not for these waiver wire picks, who knows what might have happened to that championship team or that playoff team. The bottom line is that not all waiver wire pickups are created equally.

We have one final submission this week so we will present two of the best forwards that were picked up along with two of the best defensemen and a goalie just to round out the deal. Kudos to you if you took our suggestions during the season and landed one or more of these dudes… chances are you probably had a pretty good season.

FORWARDS

Jaden Schwartz, LW, St. Louis Blues: Schwartz got off to a fast start, prompting a Week One recommendation. Okay, so he slowed down over the final month, but the 21-year-old enjoyed a major breakthrough, potting 25 goals with 31 assists for 56 points in 80 games. Schwartz was active on the power play, with five goals and five assists and he managed a game-winner for the third straight season. He’s already added his first career playoff goal as he continues to excel against the Blackhawks (scoring twice in five regular season games against them this season).

Craig Smith, RW, Nashville Predators: Imagine if Smith was used better than he was in Nashville. There is an underlying reason why Barry Trotz is gone and that is because of how he handled some of his better offensive talent. When you look at how the forwards are stacked in Nashville, there was no reason for Smith to be held back as long as he was. Hell, two years ago the kid flashed finishing ability when he was a rookie (as you can see in the video below). Finally — out of necessity — Smith got more opportunities and Fantasy owners were rewarded. He wound up with 52 points in 79 games and probably could have had at least 60 if he played more than 16:24 a game. Smith had eight points in his final four games and was on the ice for almost 18 minutes a contest during that span. His ownership numbers rose from single digits when we recommended him in late-October to 35-to-45 per cent in all formats.

DEFENSE

Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames: Right in Week One, we identified Giordano as a player that fell through the cracks on draft day, but people still didn’t fully get the message, so we reminded them at the beginning of December. If you listened, you landed a blueliner that potted 14 goals in 64 games, might have been a Norris Trophy finalist if not for his injury and a player that clearly established himself as a future Norris winner. The Flames’ captain ripped 180 shots on goal and enjoyed a robust +12 for a crappy team.

Andy Greene, New Jersey Devils: In mid-November, we recommended Greene as he was doing a good job of filling in plenty of categories. Sure enough, he wound up staying completely healthy (which by itself is impressive), had a career high in goals and recorded 24 assists while putting up career bests in PM, shots and ice time. Greene even logged 10 assists on the power play — not too shabby. Okay, if you’re an advanced stathead, Greene’s declining PE percentage is worrisome, but there’s no doubt that as a low ownership waiver wire pick in November, he wound up as a key player on most teams.

GOALIE

Ilya Bryzgalov, Minnesota Wild: Okay, so we didn’t recommend Bryz until the final week of the season, but in an awful season for plucking goalies off the wire, he was the best option. He wasn’t exactly sharp in his 20 games in Edmonton, but he looked like a new man in Minny, recording three shutouts in just a dozen games (11 starts). Okay, so now that the playoffs are here, Bryzgalov is terrified as he’s suddenly realized that there’s a bear on his uniform and he’s again contemplating the cosmos, but hey, he probably helped get your Fantasy team over the hump.

It is hard to believe that this season is really over. As always, you can follow us on Twitter @ChrisWasselTHW for draft impressions, Fantasy free agency signings, and even daily antasy playoff information for box pools and such. Fantasy hockey is year round these days and we are here for the reader, the expert, and anyone who has questions. Thanks for reading.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite waiver wire pick of the season was.

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2014 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Top 65 Prospects, Part III

April 19, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments (0)
Odorizzi has had trouble against lefties, so bear this in mind when he faces a team that leans in that direction. Originally taken 32nd overall by Milwaukee in 2008, he’s been very durable in his career (and could remain as such thanks to a very smooth, easy delivery) and hasn’t shown any alarming weaknesses, but has periodically had issues with the long ball.
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Hyun-Jin Ryu Seeks Revenge Against Giants

April 17, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments (0)
Hyun-Jin Ryu is hoping for better results against the Giants Thursday. (Nostraballus.wordpress.com) Back in January, when we slotted Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu 20th in our Starting Pitcher Rankings, we wondered what kind of adjustments the league would make against him after his fine “rookie” season (as always, we balk at calling a player that [...]
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Honouring Jackie Robinson

April 16, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments (0)
There’s a reason this guy went grey so early and died far too young. He was carrying around a weight from years of ugly abuse, and the film did not leave us with a sense of the true scope of his suffering. The fact that he died at the tender age of 53 (yes, diabetes played a huge role here), was not even mentioned. We find it hard to believe that his ordeal in breaking the colour barrier and the enormous burden he carried was not a factor in his untimely death.
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2014 Relief Pitcher Rankings

April 15, 2014 | by Josh Johnson | Comments Comments Off
While it’s true that he is human and will occasionally turn a situation sticky, he remains perfect in save chances early on this year. Okay, so if you want to call his ERA rising two-tenths of a run last year alarming, go ahead. You’re probably also a germaphobe. There aren’t many hurlers that can blow hitters away with such ease as Kimbrel can. Let’s see… 900 hitters have now faced him since he arrived in the majors and he’s struck out 392 of them (44 per cent). What do you think? Kimbrel has been the clear No. 1 on this list for a couple of years now and considering how tough it is to take him yard, we don’t see him going anywhere as long as he’s healthy.
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