Surprisingly, Curtis Glencross is on pace for 34 goals this season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
When Curtis Glencross signed a four-year extension in May, pundits figured it was another unnecessary long-term deal given to a player by the Flames. But this one is paying off huge, not just in Calgary, but in fantasy circles as well.
The Anaheim Ducks have signed some great college free agents over the years. They were arguably the best at the practice in the early- and mid-2000s. From Andy McDonald to Dustin Penner to Ryan Shannon, their U.S. college scouting department was peerless. But Glencross is starting to look like the gem of the group, long after moving to Calgary.
Glencross has 20 points in his past 17 contests lining up with Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen. At this rate, he’ll pass his career highs in goals (24) and points (43) in about three weeks. Is he the real deal? The short answer is yes – but there’s a pretty big caveat.
He is extremely streaky. But even his longest hot streaks haven’t gone as long as this one. If this is indeed just a streak, he is capable of the opposite effect – a prolonged cold run. But given his linemates and the fact he is in his prime at 29, he certainly has the ability to be a 62-point player (his current pace).
Another compelling reason his recent play is more than just a blip is his ice time. Glencross has never been treated like a top-line player before and has always been seen as more of a ‘tweener’ who can bounce between the second and fourth lines. But take a look at his average ice time year over year:
2011-12 – 18:15
2010-11 – 16:14
2009-10 – 15:43
2008-09 – 14:40
He already has six power play goals in 2011-12 after beginning the season with seven in his career. This is clearly an indication he’s capable of maintaining his pace.
If I have a player who is set to play St. Louis and Boston in two of his three games for the week, I seriously consider benching him. What’s the point? Those two teams leave no margin for error. The Rangers and Blues are tied for the second-best team goals-against average at 1.97 and the Bruins are first at 1.91, but if you look from early-November onwards it’s not even close. Boston’s Cup hangover ended and the Blues got a new coach. Since then, shutouts and one-goal games have been standard fare.
From Nov. 8 onward, the Blues have shutout their opponents six times and allowed only one goal on eight other occasions. That’s 14 out of 29 games. They’ve allowed two or fewer goals in 21 of those 29 games.
Jaroslav Halak is 9-1-5 after a slow start, but he can’t even take his No. 1 job completely away from Brian Elliott because Elliott has been a wall. The supposed backup is second in the league in GAA (1.62) and save percentage (.940) and Halak is having trouble elbowing his way back in there. Being the fourth- or fifth-best goalie in the league over the past two months isn’t good enough when you’re trying to catch the No. 2 overall guy.
And in Boston, things are even more extreme. Since Nov. 17, the Bruins have posted seven shutouts in 23 games, plus another five games in which they allowed just one goal.
Tim Thomas has been his usual playing-out-of-his-mind self, but Tuukka Rask has been even better. Rask is tops in the league in GAA (1.59) and SP (.945).
While these tandem situations are hurting those who own these goaltenders in weekly leagues, those in daily leagues are making out like bandits, provided they dress the right guy that night (for a grid that tracks this, check out Goalie Post daily).
I must re-emphasize this point: all other things being equal, if I have to choose between a skater who will play one of these teams in the coming week and a player who doesn’t…well, you know which way I’ll go.
If you’re looking for more help in your fantasy hockey league, pick up my Mid-season Fantasy Guide – second-half projections, prospects to watch down the stretch and more! To see everything that’s in it, I’ve released last year’s edition for you to check out for free.
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