FH 201: Turkeys, Gravy, And Dessert?

If there was ever a time you wanted your fantasy meal all in one place, this is the time. Four trades happened yesterday and one pretty sizable trade between Florida and Chicago.

This week, we will have the usual player turkeys but we also may have a GM turkey or three. Let’s see who those are and why. The GM turkeys were chosen in a very simple and deliberate way.

Some criteria was actually used to give general mangers some accountability. Everyone seems to love using that word these days so we will do so as well.

Criteria for choosing GM Turkeys:

  1. Had to have made a blunder or several somewhere in the last week.
  2. Made a bad trade or transaction move.
  3. They just do not understand the position sometimes.

Like we said, this is always a subjective process with some objectivity tossed in so if you have a disagreement or beef, by all means speak up in the comments section. Now let’s reveal our three GM’s who felt much shame this week.

Our GM Turkeys:

1. Garth Snow (New York Islanders)

Is anyone really going to object here? Now do not answer that.

The thing is Snow has not only watched it go all wrong, he has basically tried to put a butterfly strip on a gaping wound that is bleeding everywhere. The Islanders GM continues to come up with new ways to justify making almost all the wrong moves.

Now in his defense, the Islanders have more injuries than they can count but the move to acquire Evgeni Nabokov off waivers did not work. Combine that with the handling of Rick DiPietro and then toss in a Coach who just does not have any tools to work with and one has the makings of a B-horror movie that has all the makings of an abysmal last third of the season.

Injuries are one thing but not at least equipping this team with some sort of enforcer to protect its more marquis players is crazy. Now Trevor Gillies does play occasionally but not all the time and Kyle Okposo has to score and still mend a bit after just coming back from shoulder surgery. John Tavares is getting knocked around like a human bowling pin and the team just is breaking down on the ice sadly. Charles Wang seems content to let Snow go down with the ship and maybe Wang is as well. When fifth string goalies start for you and contracts keep going bust as fast as they are signed, it is a very dire sign sadly.

2.  Lou Lamoriello (New Jersey)

The Devils icon…err GM…has come under fire and rightfully so. The signing of Ilya Kovalchuk, while not entirely his decision, was under his watch. When he hired coach John MacLean, there were rumblings that this was not quite the right decision. The Devils were nearly 20 games under .500 when they finally got it in gear but were 9-22-2 under MacLean who at times, appeared to not know what to do in critical and fundamental situations. At times, Lamoriello was so up against the cap that he had to juggle the roster and force his Coach to suit up as few as 16 players at times in the lineup.

Then the Kovalchuk and Jamie Langenbrunner dust-up could be directly tied to how the coach handled it or did not handle it. When Lamoriello admitted he was wrong and brought back Jacques Lemaire, it was apparent there were two key reasons (not all the reasons) for the Devils poor play. Eventually Langenbrunner would be dealt to Dallas for a conditional third round pick and then the Devils started to win.

All of a sudden, they find themselves only ten under .500 and have a very slight chance of making a real playoff run. However, if Lamoriello had not let Lemaire go in the first place (because of internal strife in the team), New Jersey might be in a much better position right now. That is why Lou is No. 2 on this list, albeit a bit controversial.

3. Doug Wilson (San Jose)

This was also a hard decision because there were so many choices. Now yes, San Jose has found the elixir and has managed to climb into the top eight in the West, but there is no way they should have been slumping this long. It all comes down to relying on one line that keeps getting older while the second line has been expected to do all the heavy lifting.

Yes Logan Couture has been a fantasy and NHL revelation but the goaltending took forever to get into gear. The defense is old and at times cumbersome to say the least. Dan Boyle is not as prolific a point producer as he once was. Plus San Jose is right against the cap according to CapGeek.

The 9-0-1 mark in the last 10 may have saved Wilson’s job considering San Jose has a chance of still finishing as the second or third seed in the West because Detroit and particularly Dallas are dropping fast. However, San Jose has higher expectations and at some point the hammer has to fall if they are not met.

Will it be this year or next year? That may be the only question as the window starts to slowly shut in San Jose.

Dishonorable Mention:

1. Darryl Sutter (Departed)

2. Dale Tallon

3. Dean Lombardi

Well now on to those player turkeys. These are usually the result of the players themselves and not GM’s or Coaches who are keeping them down. So many players are just playing badly but the injury bug is keeping them from being put on the “Turkey List”. There have been so many tough choices that we did manage to narrow this list down to three.

Once again our stats track back over the last two weeks (since there is a normal schedule again). Fantasy hockey owners shall cringe now or forever hold their peace because it is now coming.

Yes the turkeys of the week are here. Read them and weep.

Turkeys Of The Week

1. Joe Thornton (San Jose)

This is an odd one for a team who is 9-0-1 in the last 10, but this guy is paid to get assists at least like a fiend. He has done anything but and during this stretch, he has been even worse in ways almost incomprehensible.

“Jumbo Joe” has two points over his last six games but is a plus-2 over that span. However the numbers get worse in this way. He has a woeful five shots over that span and only has one noticeable game in the streak against Boston where he had six hits. Even his faceoff win percentage is just a hair over 50% which is a bit off his normal as well.

This player is over a point a game career and yet only has four goals since January 1. More disturbing is he will likely fall short of even 50 assists this year, let alone 60. The last time Thornton had less than 50 assists was 2001-02 when he had 46 assists in 66 games with the Bruins. His stock keeps on dropping and maybe just maybe Boston made a damn fine move in trading him after all.

2. Carey Price (Montreal)

In his last five starts, Price has given up an alarming 17 goals, including eight last night in Boston. He even wrestled with Tim Thomas, further proving that some of the “old bad Carey” was bubbling to the surface. The eight goals on 34 shots was bad enough but some of the goals he let up just screamed to his coach “take me out of here.” Habs coach Jacques Martin would not do so and basically Price just kept giving up the goals.

Now, neither goalie was particularly sharp and maybe that is why Price was left in because would Alex Auld have fared any better? That answer is probably no. However, he gave up three to New Jersey and four to Philadelphia against teams who clearly rattled the Montreal netminder.

What lies ahead is a critical stretch that could cement Price’s turkey status for weeks to come if he does not get better support in front of him or starts stopping some rebounds. Better rebound control has to be paramount otherwise fantasy owners are going to continue this Yo-Yo effect with him.

3. Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers)

Another case of it is not fair but it is what it is. The Rangers goalie was rolling along right up until just before the All Star Break. Then it started to go a bit south on him.

Lundqvist has given up 16 goals in his last five starts and was yanked against New Jersey (1-3-1 record). The save percentage is a hideous .847 over that span. The GAA is 3.58 though and that is well Marc-Andre Fleury like in October. Lundqvist endured a stretch like this early in the season and got about a week’s worth of rest.  He will play tomorrow night after the same week’s rest.

It will be interesting to see which Henrik shows up. If “Good Henrik” does not show up soon, then the Rangers have a major problem on their hands.

Dishonorable Mention:

1. DiPietro (New York Islanders) — The curse continues.

2. Langenbrunner (Dallas) — Still not producing.

3. Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers) — Where are you?

Next week, we come up with more craziness and shenanigans but in a way to get your fantasy hockey team for the stretch. It is going to be a crazy ride and there may be even more trades so keep an eye out there.

If there are any rumors, post away to us @TheProgramBTR and we will be glad to give you a stick tap if any come even close to fruition. The trade rumor business is a tough one and we appreciate any and all tips including ones we use for our #WTFTradeRumors. Good luck everyone in your fantasy hockey leagues.

I almost forgot the dessert. We wanted to give a special thanks to Kevin Greenstein and Timmy Rosenthal for allowing me to write this column every week here on Inside Hockey. They are two fantasy hockey warriors who have probably been through as many fantasy wars as yours truly. Thanks again.


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