James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Fasth threatens Hiller's job

Thursday, February 07, 2013


Over and over again, I preach patience. That might make this fantasy advice column seem like a broken record, but really, when it comes to the hobby's biggest transactions, I instead like to spin two (seemingly) contradictory tracks:

1. Don’t trade your struggling stars, especially when they’re slumping and their value is low. (It’s a toe-tapper.)
2. Feel free to add the next hot thing from the waiver wire.

The reasoning for this two-pronged approach is pretty simple, but worth reviewing.

(Before I do that, do note that you can purchase Rotoworld’s Season Pass by clicking here and remember it’s not too late to join a league and play Yahoo! hockey. Anyway…)

You start off drafting a team, and maybe for the first 5-8 rounds, you stick to a blueprint. Even if your plans circle the drain because of clever competitors, you still should have selected the players you expect to be difference-makers.

While later rounds can produce plenty of gems, you’d probably be pushing the limits of your credibility to say that they’re comparable bets to the guys you selected early on. Typically, at least a chunk of your later picks are the ones you can fire away in trades or dump into free agency without feeling much remorse.

With that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with dropping such filler for a guy on a hot streak, even if I’ve raised doubts about that player. (Why not scuttle a disappointing fringe guy for Saku Koivu, who has had insane luck in the form of four goals on eight shots but has 11 points nonetheless?)

This is all a long way of saying go ahead … pick up Viktor Fasth in exchange for some guy who’s not really producing much for your team. Worst case scenario, you can drop Fasth later on for another fringe guy/flavor of the month. (Heck, you might even get that hypothetical fringe guy back.)

 

Who knows if he really can swipe Jonas Hiller's job, but crazier things have happened. Hiller has the remainder of this season plus 2013-14 left on his contract, in case you think that might factor into the decision making.

But who is this Viktor Fasth, you ask?

TIM THOMAS 2.0?

Fasth is a rare bird: a 30-year-old “rookie” goalie. Let’s dig a bit to see if his blazing 4-0-0 start (with an unbelievable .962 save percentage and 0.98 GAA) is the sign of a strong year or a tantalizing tease.

During the last two seasons, he put up fantastic numbers for AIK in the Swedish Elite League. He generated a .924 save percentage in 2010-11 and a .931 save percentage last season, making it more than reasonable for the Ducks to roll the dice on him.

Considering Fasth’s Swedish roots and import status, one might compare him to Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson. Still, I cannot help but tempt you with a more out-of-left-field comparison: Tim Thomas.

I’ll admit this exercise represents a stretch, but it’s a fun one, so humor me for a moment.

Age is one parallel that springs to mind. While Fasth cracked an NHL lineup for the first time at 30, Tim Thomas received his first real chance to be a regular at 31. (He played a few games at 28, but bounced around overseas again before getting a more legitimate opportunity.)

Conventional wisdom likely would have dictated that Thomas was a mere flash in the pan; after all, the cream has to rise sooner than age 31, right? Instead, the Slinky-spined oddity in goalie pads could only really be stopped by himself.

As opposed to Gustavsson’s monster frame, both Fasth and Thomas are smaller than what many believe is the ideal size for a netminder. They’re not exactly overcoming a Doug Flutie-like hurdle, but it’s another shared trait.

The most enjoyable coincidence: both goalies have played for AIK. Thomas did it way back in 2000-01 while Fasth just finished the past two seasons.

Does that mean Fasth is the next Thomas? The odds are still against him, but you’d be silly not to gamble a roster spot on that happening. Again, dropping a faltering Fasth for your next get-fantasy-rich-quick-scheme isn’t a terrible worst-case scenario.

Continue after the jump for another Dosage.


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than two years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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