As I’ve mentioned before, you might as well divide your roster(s) into two categories: the essentials and the nonessentials.
A good rule of thumb is to put your first 5-10 rounds worth of players in the “essentials” category, but that can vary depending on how well you drafted and what kind of risks you took (not to mention the size of your league). Either way, it is best not to drop an essential player in a fit of passion, but the nonessentials are the guys you can have a little more fun with.
Of course, sometimes you get burned when you drop guys who were just off to bad starts. I get the feeling that a lot of owners will feel that sensation if they parted ways with two Boston Bruins forwards who are still available in about a third of leagues: David Krejci and Nathan Horton.
Both players put together three-point nights against the New York Islanders on Nov. 7, so chances are you better act quick if one of them meets your needs. (Feel free to see if they're available now – just keep the Daily Dose open in a different tab or window if you don’t mind.) Each player brings a different set of pluses and minuses to the table.
KREJCI: On the positive side, I expect Krejci to be a more consistent scorer. He’s more creative and a better facilitator, so he’s less likely to go through the slumps that almost seem to be a part of Horton’s game. Krejci also has the motivation of a contract year, which is something that shouldn't be discounted.
That being said, Krejci’s a center, so he’s not as rare a commodity. He also doesn’t play the type of game that will have anyone call him a “power forward" so he won't light it up across the categories.
HORTON: The former Florida Panthers winger combines hot-and-cold scoring with a solid ability to generate penalty minutes; he already has 26 PIM this season and finished with 85 in 80 games in 2010-11. Perhaps he can go to the box to vent his frustrations during nights he doesn’t score.
On the negative side (beyond the inconsistency), Horton has had a history of being injury-prone. He played 80 games last season but that stomach-churning Aaron Rome hit makes him a significant concussion risk.
If it comes down to deciding one or the other, lean toward your greatest area of need. I’d say Horton is a bit more valuable because he’s a winger who can rack up PIM, but honestly, if you’re lucky enough to have both available you’d probably be wise to stock up on both. It never hurts to have two-thirds of the best line from the 2011 playoffs on your team, after all …
THE OTHER JOE PA
The San Jose Sharks are inching their way up the NHL ranks thanks to a deep attack, with Joe Pavelski being the surprising leader in points with 17. That’s not meant to be a slight against Pavelski – he’s been improving steadily for years – but you’d expect Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau to be the standard bearer. Pavelski isn’t likely to maintain his 20.5 percent shooting success rate, but a career year isn’t out of the question.