Friday, May 1, 2009

Booms & Busts - Playoffs - Bad Hab-its

The playoffs is a vital time for star players to show up and show that they have what it takes to take their teams to the promised land. It is also a time that star players disappear and get blamed for their teams’ short comings.

In this series I will analyze the fantasy booms and busts for the 2009 playoffs.

Montreal Canadiens

The hopes were high for the bleu, blanc et rouge for their century season. Having finished strongly last season, the Habs were immediate favorites to hoist the cup. It definitely was set-up to be a magical season. Their season started out strong and went downhill fast. Goaltender Carey Price battled injury and confidence issues, injuries to their top lines players, a mafia scandal involving players, a benching of their best player, an owner looking to sell, and a four game sweep by the Bruins topped it all off as a disaster. Looking ahead, the Canadiens have many personnel choices to make and as a fantasy owner things look cloudy.

Carey Price
– overall had a disappointing season. Price looked strong in the playoffs and looked to get some of his confidence back that he was lacking in the middle of the season. Stick with this kid as he is still on his way up.

Alex Kovalev
– One of the only players to show up during the playoffs, Kovalev’s future is uncertain. Look for him to return to one of his old clubs. When Kovalev wants to play he is dangerous. As a fantasy option he is still a keeper even though age is not on his side. Consider him a mid-round choice, maybe sooner if he signs in Pittsburgh.

Saku Koivu
– The captain had a decent season. No longer a top tier player in the league, Koivu will have the option to return to Montreal next season being a UFA. A second line player at best, Saku should be looked at as a depth or waiver wire pick-up for owners.

Alex Tanguay
– Even with an injury plagued season, Tanguay was able to put up 41 points in 50 games. Look for Montreal to make a strong pitch to retain his services next season. Owners should consider keeping him or drafting him in rounds 4 to 7, once the second tier players get selected. He will have another productive season wherever he ends up.

Christopher Higgins
– At this point in his career Higgins is merely a depth player and offers little in the way of a fantasy option.

Andrei Kostitsyn
– Implicated in a mafia scandal, Kostitsyn was a shadow of the player he was last season. At this point he is a keeper risk as he has fallen out of favor in Montreal and should be taken in the mid rounds in a draft.

Andrei Markov
– Injured during the playoffs, Markov was second on the Habs during the regular season in scoring. Markov is a top d-man in the league and is a definite keeper and should be taken in rounds 3 - 5 in any draft.

Tomas Plekanec
– Disaster is the only word to describe Plekanec’s season. Starting on the top line and ending up in the press box, he only scored 39 points in 80 games. Plekanec is no longer a keeper and should only be drafted as a depth move at this point. That being said, he could be a sleeper next season.

Mathieu Schneider
– After being traded from Atlanta, Schneider turned Montreal’s power play around last season. This aging vet can still be a presence on any team. Owners should consider Schneider a possible keeper in deeper leagues or a mid round pick. It all depends where he signs in the off season.

Robert Lang
– The trade from Chicago rejuvenated Lang and he was able to play an important role for Montreal before his season ending injury. Lang’s fantasy value at this point is no more than a waiver pickup.

Yannick Weber
– The young d-man stepped up in the playoffs due to injuries and proved he can play. Keep an eye on him next season as he is an offensive minded rearguard.


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