Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fantasy Q & A: Barker or Hemsky?

This question from Kevin:

I am in a fantasy keeper pool and have to decide whether to keep Ales Hemsky or Cam Barker. I like Barker's upside and he is just a Rookie. What are your thoughts?


Hey Kevin,

Thanks for the question.

What you are struggling with is the ultimate keeper question...a proven player who may have maxxed out on his potential vs a young player still oozing with potential and upside.

My thoughts would be to keep Hemsky and try to shop Barker to another team. I appreciate Barker's impressive 30 points in 49 games (pro-rated to 50 points in 82 games) as a 3rd year player (note he is not a rookie as he has played over 30 games the past two seasons). My problem is that Barker is already starting to carve a niche for himself as a Powerplay specialist. Joel Quenville does not trust him to play 5 on 5, and a lot of his minutes are coming on the Powerplay (though it should be noted that he is getting some time short-handed as well). Chicago was also shopping him at this year's deadline. 

All is good for Barker right now because he is producing on that uber-talented Powerplay. My concern is that once a Powerplay specialist stops producing, he begins to see his minutes decline (in games where he has not received any PP time, his minutes were under 17 and as low as 11). Remember Bryan Berard and Marc-Andre Bergeron, both valuable fantasy Dmen when producing, have been healthy scratches when they are not. I am not saying Barker will fall into this category but I need to see a few more years of this kind of production and elevating ice-time before I buy in.

Hemsky on the other hand, is an under-rated keeper RW. Always a threat to be a PPG player, he seems to be missing that last gear to become an elite fantasy keeper (whether that comes from untimely injuries or not playing with a front-line centre). At 25, he is still young enough to have some untapped potential and could be a top fantasy contributer for the next 7-8 years. Hold on to him and enjoy the ride.



  1. Kevin.... just wondering how many keepers are you allowed in your league. As well who else do you have. Chris makes a very valid point with propests vs proven players.

  2. I have to go Hemsky. He's turning into a superstar. Barker hasn't proven much yet. And you can probably get something decent if you move him.