Keeper Korner: Six Guys To Buy Low

02/25/2011 2:22 AM -  Mike Tedone

Jamie Benn (photo courtesy Creative Commons user Resolute)

Evander Kane

E-Kane is a tremendous skater with strong mental fitness. He should be a consistent 75-point option with 90-point upside and will be one of the top multi-category options in the league in the very near future. In multi-cat keeper leagues, he is a must add even if a modest over-payment is necessary. In one-year settings, he is a great breakout candidate for next season when targeting guys in the middle to later rounds.

Chris Stewart

I wrote about him recently in the St. Louis/Colorado trade article along with Patrik Berglund, but he is a great buy low after struggling from a hand injury. He should contend with the likes of E. Kane, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler in coming seasons for the top multi-category options in the league. There is no better time to buy on them now, and you’ll definitely want to reach on him in one-year settings next year. Expect 35 goals, 75 points, and great peripheral stats from a forward who is typically a bit undervalued, even in keeper settings.

Patrik Berglund

St. Louis’s future is looking very bright, even more so after the recent trade with Colorado. Berglund is going to be one of the prime beneficiaries with an elite talented goal-heavy power forward like Stewart in the mix and the highly talented Vladamir Tarasenko a season or two away. Berglund is 22 years of age, possesses a 6’4” frame, and has both a tremendous all-around skill set and high end skating ability on top of it. He has already been scoring at point-per-game pace recently even before Stewart entered the equation (18 points in last 17 games), and will only build on that moving forward. Expect a 65-70 point range next season, 75+ points consistently, and 85-90 point upside from him in his prime. He is a great guy to buy on right now in keeper settings and not a bad piece to acquire cheaply for a late season playoff run in a one-year setting. He is also a solid breakout candidate next year, even in a points-only setting.

Jamie Benn

Benn is another multi-cat horse with both the talent and grit to become a serious impact player in the NHL. Benn is a natural centerman who can also play the wing, which could bode well for his numbers should Dallas choose to resign Brad Richards in the off-season (a potential option for them now after freeing up some cap space by moving James Neal to Pittsburgh). This season alone he’s shown what he’s capable of both physically with a number of huge hits (see Joe Thornton), big fights (see Jarome Iginla), and highlight-reel caliber goals. In addition, he also plays in power play, even strength, and short-handed situations for the Stars. I rank him below Perry, Stewart, E.Kane, and Kesler, but I can see him as a consistent goal-heavy 70-point option with 80-point upside, especially should he make some chemistry with Loui Eriksson or Richards. One thing to watch with Benn, however, is that he missed time with a concussion this season. Should this become a trend, particularly when coupled with his abrasive style of play, it could potentially become an issue for him. Regardless, he is a definite buy candidate for next season in one-year settings and would try and buy below his actual value in keeper settings.

Max Pacioretty

The grittiest of the bunch, Pacioretty has a 6’2” 210lb frame, is a strong skater with good speed especially for his size, and a great finisher down low. Pacioretty tore up the AHL this season with 17 goals and 32 points in 27 games. He has recently been asserting that same hard-nosed power forward game at the NHL level and translating it into success with 10 goals, 19 points, and 36 penalty minutes in his first 28 games. As an added bonus, six of those ten goals also came on the power play with him playing a similar role down low on the Montreal power play as Kesler has done the last two seasons for the Canucks. I see his potential upside as a goal-heavy 70 points with solid penalty minutes. Pacioretty is extremely undervalued presently, so look for him to take a big step forward next season for Montreal. He’s a great later round steal in one year multi-cat settings and can be had relatively cheaply right now in many keeper leagues as well.

Cam Fowler

While he may not go by “Karp”, “Conway”, or “Averman”, you can still easily tell just by looking at his last name that this kid was born to be a Duck. Fowler is among the brightest talents as far as young defenseman in the NHL go and is also in the best position moving forward to produce quarterbacking an Anaheim power play which consists of 25-year-old Ryan Getzlaf, 25-year-old Corey Perry, and 23-year-old Bobby Ryan all entering their primes. Fowler will make everyone who passed on him in last year’s draft look foolish moving forward, as he has the size, high end skill-set , and the offensive firepower in front of him to emerge as a top five defenseman in the league. Definitely reach on him in one year settings for next season’s draft in the mid-rounds. Other than Drew Doughty and Keith Yandle, Fowler is one of the best defense options to own moving forward in keeper settings. So when looking for the next “Yandle” of the bunch, Anaheim’s Cam Fowler is only about two seasons away from elite level production.

Honorable Mentions: Kyle Okposo, James van Riemsdyk, Colin Wilson

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  1. [...] in the latest updates of Keeper Korner, one talking about Six Guys to Sell High and the other Six Guys to Buy Low.  Got to say I enjoyed seeing one of my personal favorite players Jamie Benn mentioned in there [...]

  2. Garrett Rees says:

    Actually, Jamie Benn is not a natural center iceman. He is a natural left winger and has played that position his entire career, including when he was a youngster. However, GM Joe thinks that Benn has all the right stuff to be a center and has experimented with him playing center.

    But agree with everything else. Jamie Benn is seriously a force on the ice, and unlike players like Neal who could disappear for games at a time, you see Benn making a really big play or a big hit every single game. He is a ton of fun to watch and the Stars are noticeably better when Benn is on the ice.

  3. Mike Tedone says:

    That is true, but natural centerman is a description of his skill-set, not neccessarily the position he plays. Evander Kane based on his all-around, high end skating skill-set is a natural centerman as well but happens to play a scoring wing role since he has high enough pure offensive ability to do so. John Tavares is not a natural centerman as he has more of a winger’s offensive skill-set, yet still plays center regardless. Todd Marchant is a natural centerman, but not versatile enough to also play top 6 wing role as he doesn’t not have the high end offensive tools like an E.Kane or Benn to do so. Jonathan Toews and Ryan Kesler are natural centerman who also happen to play center where as Bobby Ryan is a natural center, but plays the wing majority of the time despite that. Alexander Semin, Loui Eriksson, and Chris Stewart are not natural centerman as they have more winger skill-sets than what would be most beneficial for someone playing center to possess in order to effectively handle the added defensive responsibilities that come with the territory. Nicklas Backstrom is a playmaking centerman, but neither versatile enough offensively to play the wing, nor in possession of a natural centerman’s skill-set. A Natural centerman is only a skill-set description, not a positional one, although it is commonly misinterpreted as that from a mainstream media standpoint.

    Benn has a natural centerman skill-set, but is also versatile enough in terms of pure offensive ability to play a top 6 scoring winger role if need be. Dallas appears to have recognized this like you mentioned and despite being a LW most of his career will eventually fall into a centerman role down the line once one of their two playmaking center icemen in Brad Richards or Ribiero are out of the mix. That’s what I mean when I say Benn is a natural centerman.

  4. Garrett Rees says:

    I see what you mean. Not sure I agree Benn would be better suited as a center, though. When he was put into a center role he didn’t seem to do very well at it (although his linemates weren’t top-6 calibre either) and he himself prefers to play the wing. He might end up playing some Center down the road when Richards/Ribs/whoever is gone, but I honestly don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, if at all. All throughout his life someone could have put him in center, but for whatever reasons it just never happened and he has played LW his whole life, with the exception of the early part of this year when GM Joe experimented with him playing in that position, bu then quickly put him back on the wing and he hasn’t played center since.

    You also mention Loui Eriksson and Chris Stewart in the same vein, however they are completely different players. Chris Stewart is a highly skilled sniper while Eriksson is a better all around forward with amazing two-way ability. Eriksson doesn’t need to be a center to have the added defensive responsibilities as he is the best two-way forward on the Stars roster in terms of scoring potential combined with defensive awareness.

  5. Garrett Rees says:

    I’ve gotta stick up for my Stars, haha. Benn is gonna be a force and Eriksson is Mr. underrated in the NHL. If the hockey gods have any sympathy, Brad Richards will get re-signed for next year. With B-Rich, Loui, Benn, Morrow, Ott, Wandell, Vincour, Gagnon, Glennie, Burish, Lehtonen, J Campbell, Daley, Larsen, Grossman, Robidas, and now Goligoski, the Stars future is looking pretty bright, with Benn and Eriksson leading the way (and hopefully Richards).

  6. Mike Tedone says:

    Benn was the 3rd line center all last season for the Stars and despite playing outside a top 6 role along with barely any PP time still managed to put up 22G-41pt-45PIM line for the season as both a rookie and 3rd line centerman no less which is extremely impressive so he has showcased he is fully ept to play either C or LW if need be. From a Fantasy standpoint however I’d personally prefer he’d stick at LW as it’s much shallower talent-wise than C, but like I mentioned above Benn possesses a natural centermans skill-set so it makes sense why the Stars would be inclined to use him there moving forward. If they resign Richards, however he will definitely remain on LW for the time being, particularly with Neal out of the mix, until at least until one of Richards or Ribiero are gone.

    In regard to Stewart and Eriksson the point from mentioning them was that they have, just like with Semin who I also mentioned along with them, offensive winger skill-sets, not natural centerman skill-sets…Stewart being specifically of a goal scoring power forward variety and the other two being of the sniper/finisher variety. These are general examples only geared to give a better understanding of what is meant by calling an individual a “natural centerman” from a skill-set standpoint vs. someone who is not.

    Marty St. Louis is also good defensively, but he is still a playmaking winger, he doesn’t have a natural centerman’s skill-set like an E.Kane, Benn, Toews, Kesler etc. That’s not a knock on Eriksson’s defensive game anymore than calling Marty St.Louis a playmaking winger is knock on his, that just the type of skill-set they possess which is not that of a natural centerman, but of a winger. Eriksson is not as one dimensional as Semin, just like Brad Richards is not as one dimensional as Savard, but Eriksson still has the general skill-set of a top 6 winger and Brad Richards that of a playmaking center, where as Jamie Benn again possesses a skill-set of a natural centerman, regardless as to whether he is utilized as C or LW (just like with Bobby Ryan and Evander Kane) so again that’s why he’s labeled as such in the article above and what is meant by it.

  7. Mike Tedone says:

    The Stars are definitely extremely rich in talent-wise for the future, Jack Campbell will also be a top 10 netminder in the near future as well. Bigger issue for them is getting the richness in ticket sales to match their richness in talent so the franchise stays put down there for you long term.

  8. Garrett Rees says:

    Sorry, but he wasn’t a 3rd line center. For most of the season he played RW (because Dallas has hardly any right handed shots) alongside Morrow and Ribeiro. He wasn’t a center very often. Until the middle of the 2009-2010 season Benn had never played center before in his life, and skated about 15 games at center between usually Morrow, Lehtinen, and/or Ott when Ribs was out with injury. The first time he ever played center was about 47 or so games into the season when both Modano and Ribiero were both injured and both were going to be out for an extended period of time. He transitioned to center mostly because of necessity. So because of injuries, he was essentially a 2nd line center with constant veteran presence until Ribeiro came back about a month later. For most of the season, though, he played RW on the 2nd line.

    Then, at the beginning of this season, Benn started training camp at center in between Wandell and Ott (who are actually both centers). He then played about 8-10 games at center, usually between those two or with Burish. He was decent at it but, but by December he was solely in a winger position again because he is definitely better and more comfortable in that spot. Again he played mostly as a RW again with Morrow and Ribs. Bringing in Langenbrunner then changed things some, and he was being shuffled around more through the lineup, sometimes with Burish and Ott, occasionally with Lags, etc. other times back as RW with Morrow and Ribs. Now that Neal was traded off, he can finally play LW again, maybe on the top line. I still wouldn’t be surprised to still play some with Morrow and Ribs, though. Since Richards is out, Vincour has seen time on the first line with Loui while Benn has still mostly been playing with Morrow and Ribs (that lined was awesome in their recent 4-1 win over Detroit). Benn has actually been double shifting a lot since he just came back after missing 10 games. He’s been seeing a ton of minutes. He still most likely won’t play on the top PP unit, because I think when everyone is healthy it’s going to be more B Rich, Loui, Morrow, Ribs, and Goose.

    And about Eriksson, I was just saying that he isn’t in the same mold as Semin or Chris Stewart and I definitely wouldn’t classify Loui as a sniper/finisher. Yes he does that and is great at it, but he is much more of an all around forward that plays great 5-5, on the top PP, plays on the penalty kill, is a 80pt scorer that is also a great player defensively, and is a pretty damn good playmaker as well. And like Benn, he is a natural LW that is forced to play RW because of the lack of RW depth on the team, but he excels there. Eriksson can play in any situation at any time, and I don’t think Stewart nor Semin can do that.

    But then again, I’m probably biased, hah.

  9. Mike Tedone says:

    Regardless of if he played a full season or half season worth of games at C he has still formally validated that he can play either C or LW if need be and his description as a “natural centerman” for the third time already is a *skill-set oriented* description, so what relevance does how many games at C vs. how many games at LW even have, particularly in regard to what’s stated about him in the article. Furthermore there is no such thing as a “natural LW” or “natural RW” these are not skill-set oriented descriptions, “Natural Center” is a skill-set oriented description and Loui Eriksson along with a number of other players I mentioned is not one; Benn, Bobby Ryan, Toews, Evander Kane, and Kesler are. You’re going off in a tangent about Loui Eriksson and positions when it’s entirely irrelevant to anything that was said in the article. You simply misinterpret on your own end what is meant by “natural centerman” as you think it’s a positionally oriented description when it is skill-set oriented description, I correct this, and then you start talking about Eriksson defensive forward abilities like this is relevant to anything. Marty St.Louis is good at defense too, but just like with Eriksson neither one possess a “natural centermans” skill-set they possess winger skill-sets Eriksson specifically being a sniper/finisher that is good defensively and St.Louis a playmaker that is good defensively, neither one has a natural centermans skill-set unlike the players mentioned above.

    Furthermore if you want to talk positions specifically in regard to Benn, Dallas has the intention of utilizing him and his skill-set at C moving forward which makes how many W to C games last year irrelevant even in the misinterpreted context as well. Whether he’s played 40 or 80 career games at C he’s still played enough games as a C at an NHL level to have formally validated, if needed, he is capable of effectively playing either C or W, he has a “natural centermans” skill-set, and Dallas has the intention of using him at C over W moving forward so you can watch as many Dallas games as you like, but it still doesn’t change any of that. Benn will only play W next season if Richards or Ribiero are gone, otherwise he will play a top 6 C role and for the fourth time his description as a “natural centerman” who is also versatile enough offensively to play the wing (unlike a Todd Marchant who is a natural centerman who is not versatile enough offensively to play a top 6 role as a wing) is a skill-set oriented description not postionally oriented description. That is what is meant by “natural centerman”…I am done wasting my time on this.

  10. Garrett Rees says:

    Whoa, take it easy. I’m not disagreeing with you on any of that, I was simply correcting your statement that Benn played all of last season as a 3rd line center. He did not. Then I was just talking about how you, like almost every one else, views Eriksson as something different than what he really is. I don’t care about the definition of natural centerman in regards to my last comment. I was simply just stating my opinion about Loui and showing you that Benn is not a 3rd line center and was never a 3rd line center last season.

    I agree about some players being “natural centerman” and I’m not arguing at all what a “natural centerman” is. There are more types of forwards out there other than winger and “natural centerman.” Tom Wandell is “natural centerman” but he is not a top-6 guy, he is of the defensive variety. Haha, and I’m sorry I offended you by calling Eriksson a natural Left Wing. I used the term “natural” to mean that’s the position he has played his entire life, making it “natural” for him to play said position as opposed to playing the opposite wing. Sheesh, really getting into semantics now.

    Just trying to have a friendly debate, but you are taking this way too personally so I’ll leave you be now. My apologies for “wasting your time.”

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