Mar 13, 2012; St. Paul, MN, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Philip Larsen (36) against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. The Stars defeated the Wild 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
In addition to freelancing for fine sites like Defending Big D, I also am the editor and manager over at DobberHockey, a site dedicated to the world of fantasy hockey. We publish an annual Fantasy Guide, an annual Prospects Report, and a few other yearly hockey publications.
Fantasy hockey makes watching hockey even more fun. That is the truth, and the main reason why I participate in it. Having players on different teams around the league motivates you to track their performance, watch them play, and evaluate them against other players around the league.
In the first part of a two part series exclusively for Defending Big D, I am going to profile the Dallas defensemen for 2012-13 from a fantasy hockey perspective.
The Fantasy Stud
Alex Goligoski – Goligoski is an elite puck moving defenseman. Since coming to Dallas, he has contributed positively at both ends of the ice, and he is only just scratching the surface of his full offensive capabilities. With an improved group of forwards this season, Goligoski should see his numbers improve significantly. All that is left is for the team to find a steady defensive defenseman to play alongside him on the top pairing. He will forever be linked to James Neal (and Neal had an impressive 2011-12, but he did play with the best player in the world in a very offensively-oriented role).
From this year’s Guide:
"Goligoski’s production increased from 0.40 points per game to 0.50 when Sheldon Souray was not in the lineup. Souray isin Anaheim now so the PP is all Goligoski’s now. Good thing, too – he had just six points in his last 27 games."
He doesn’t have a bomb of a shot, but he excelled in Pittsburgh by making smart reads (especially on the power play). He will drive the Dallas attack.
Expect 10+ goals and 45+ points from Goligoski in 2012-13.
A great example of Goligoski's skating and vision:
Philip Larsen – It is difficult to project Larsen’s offensive numbers right now, as he has so little experience in an offensive role at the NHL level. He has attributes that many top offensive defensemen possess – he is calm with the puck, he makes great reads, and he skates very well. Dallas will likely use Larsen in a secondary offensive role, as they don’t really have any other alternatives on the roster right now.
Larsen was reasonably productive in the SEL, and he posted 22 points in 54 games in his only AHL season. He had only eight points in 55 games for the Stars last season, but his improvement over the course of the season has to be encouraging. He has garnered a few comparisons to Tobias Enstrom for his hockey sense and ability to excel as an undersized defenseman. Larsen also showed a bit of a physical streak last season – it will be interesting to see how that side of his game develops (and the potential fantasy hockey benefits in terms of hits and PIM).
The slick Danish defenseman could eclipse the 30-point mark with enough power play time.
The Rookie to Watch
Brenden Dillon – Dillon’s rapid development over the past two years has been covered in great detail at Defending Big D. However, he is still largely an unknown around the league (although that probably won’t last). Dillon is a phenomenal skater and he has a really good slap shot, too. He had to hone is skating and offensive game because he was undersized through junior hockey. A late growth spurt has turned him in to a 6-3, 215 pound physical presence on the back end.
It isn’t likely he will be put in an offensive role right away, as young defensemen are usually told to focus on the defensive side of things first. However, Dillon could flirt with the 20-point mark if he sticks in Dallas for the majority of the season. He has added fantasy value for other things be brings to the table – toughness (PIM), and defensive play (blocked shots, and hits). Many fantasy leagues count these stats, as it increases the numbers of players who carry fantasy value.
Dillon brings a lot more to the table than simply goals and assists.
His 59 points in his final WHL season were no fluke – Dillon plays with confidence and moves the puck very well. He was seeing a steady dose of PP time in the AHL last season, and 29 points (along with 97 PIM) reflect his impact as a rookie.
Trevor Daley – every year, people project an offensive breakout from Daley. And every year, he produces 20-25 points and plays heavy minutes for the Stars. Daley has some of the tools that offensive defensemen typically possess – skating and vision, but he doesn’t have the offensive creativity or the shot to be a consistent scoring threat from the back end.
He will also be playing a significant defensive role with the departure of Sheldon Souray. Daley is an integral part of the Dallas organization, both on and off the ice, but his fantasy value doesn’t reflect his abilities as a player.
If you want to pick up our 2012-13 Fantasy Guide, feel free to do so here. The guide is in PDF format, which gives us a leg up over the competition in print. We update it every few days right up until puck drop (and will do so even with the impending lockout on the horizon). Close to 150 pages of analysis (sleepers, rookies to watch, goaltenders, and much more) from our team of writers, projections from Dobber, and a team-by-team breakdown of the "numbers behind the numbers" from yours truly.
If you do play fantasy hockey, what do you enjoy most about it? What format is your league?