Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fantasy Update Continued: Specialists

With regular season action for the Islanders finally back within smelling distance, we conclude this latest look at the team's fantasy prowess with the Specialists. These are the players who ordinarily might not be on your roster because they are one- or two-dimensional, but their abilities in one or two categories make them options if you can absorb their low production on the rest of the board.

First, we begin with a tribute to one of the Islanders' recent top specialists, faceoff-man extraordinaire, Mike Sillinger. At times throughout his career, Silli was more than just a top-notch draw man, but if your league counted faceoff wins or winning percentage, he could certainly be your go-to guy. With his hip now getting the Zamboni treatment, we wish Silli the best.

And now for the rest...

PIMsTim Jackman is your team leader with 76 PIMs in 34 games. You can likely find better options on other teams. Nate Thompson is your next best bet, on a slightly slower pace than Jackman with 42 PIMs in 24 games.

(+/-)—The wasteland of Islanders fantasy hockey. Nothing to see here.

Shots on goal—It's still Bill Guerin and Trent Hunter up front and Mark Streit from the blue line. If Sean Bergenheim can stay in the lineup, he at least gets some shots away. If you want to package some SOG with some BkS, keep an eye on Andy Hilbert as he comes back from injury. And don't forget about Kyle Okposo as he gains confidence and his role continues to increase.

HitsHunter ranks 22nd in the league with 111 hits (Cal Clutterbuck leads with 173). That should give you a healthy idea of what's left when next on the team is Streit at 75 hits. When Freddy Meyer is healthy, he does become an option, having registered 71 hits in only 27 games. Brendan Witt is only at about 2 hits per game, and you're not going to endure his +/- for that. Jackman and Thompson are also good for about 2 per game.

Blocked Shots—Surprisingly, there are no Islanders in the league's top 30. As a whole the team leads the NHL in blocked shots by more than 50 over second-place Montreal. Witt and Streit lead the way with Sutton out. Hilbert ranks sixth on the team, the only forward among the top eight.

Faceoffs—With our hero (see above) now lost for the season, options are few. Of regular shifters, only Richard Park is over 50% (51%, to be exact). Frans Nielsen is knocking on the door at 49.5%. Should he find his way back, Jeremy Colliton did a terrific job in six games, winning 64.3% of his 70 faceoffs.

Time on IceStreit ranks 14th in the league at 25:18 per game. The best forward, Doug Weight, comes in 48th among all forwards at 19:05. Of course, Weight is in danger of losing ice time, if not his New York address.

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