It takes a big man to admit he made a mistake.
And to be stubborn can kill your fantasy chances.
Last season, my team was sabotaged by the poor play of my first-round draft pick, Martin Gerber. I swore I'd never draft him again—and I didn’t.
However, after Gerber's hot start in '07-'08, I was lucky enough to pick him up in two of my leagues as an undrafted free agent.
If I were stubborn, I’d still have Fredrik Norrena and Jonathan Bernier as my third goalies in those two leagues—and I’d probably be in dead last.
Coaches, GMs, and yes, even fantasy hockey writers need to know when to admit they’re wrong.
This week’s column spotlights some players who weren't given fair opportunities to prove themselves before—but are now taking full advantage of second chances.
Joffrey Lupul (PHI – RW)
Joffrey Lupul was packaged with a slew of high draft picks in the blockbuster deal that sent Chris Pronger to Anaheim in July 2006.
Oilers GM Kevin Lowe was in a tough position because Pronger wanted out of town, but he made the best of a bad situation. After one disappointing season with the Oilers, though, Lupul was shipped to Philly in exchange for Joni Pitkanen.
Lupul has proven to be a key cog in the Flyers' super-fast rebuilding process. He has a goal-scorer’s mentality and a view for the ice that aids his creative flair. His footspeed is his greatest liability, but his speedy young teammates compensate for his shortcomings.
Last week, Joffrey netted a league-leading 10 points with six goals and 10 assists. To put that in perspective, Lupul scored more points last week than Jonathan Cheechoo has all season.
With the Flyers on a roll, now is the time to pluck Lupul off the waiver wire.
Antti Miettinen (DAL – RW)
The latest beneficiary of the Dallas makeover is Finnish import Antti Miettinen.
Jussi Jokinen, Niklas Hagman, and Loui Eriksson have all taken turns on the top line, but Miettinen is the only player who's consistently taken advantage of the role.
Miettinen has notched a point in five straight games, and has 10 points in the past nine.
Buyer beware—Miettinen’s numbers over the past two seasons with Dallas are not outstanding (56 points in 153 games). But he's still only 27 years old, so perhaps this is the season he finally breaks out.
Miettinen did put up respectable numbers in both the AHL and with his home club of HPK Hameenlinna in the FNL.
Bobby Ryan (ANA – RW)
20-year-old Ducks prospect Bobby Ryan was given an opportunity early in the season to prove himself to coach Randy Carlyle, but was sent down to the AHL after only four games.
Bobby responded by scoring 10 goals and racking up 14 assists in 25 games with the Portland Pirates of the AHL.
Upon his return to the NHL, Bobby scored the lone Ducks goal against the Sharks with an assist from Todd Bertuzzi—just like he'd done on September 29th against the Kings in his first game of the season.
Let’s hope things go better for him the second time around.
Andy McDonald (STL – C)
McDonald was on pace for a disappointing 40-point season before being packaged off to St. Louis by Brian Burke.
The Blues have breathed new life into him.
McDonald seems to be a player who plays better when surrounded by better players. The departure of Teemu Selanne from the Ducks hurt his output greatly. In St. Louis, he’s been placed on a line with (former Duck) Paul Kariya and young hotshot Brad Boyes.
In Andy’s first game in a Blues uniform, he notched a goal and an assist and logged over 21 minutes of ice time.
If someone gave up on Andy early in the season, now's the time to scoop him up. He won’t last long.
Pavel Kubina (TOR – D)
A few weeks ago I recommended Pavel Kubina as a player to sell high on. He got hurt immediately afterward, and his value plummeted.
It's likely that Kubina was dropped to the free agent list in your league while he was out. Now would be a good time to pick him up.
After changing their playing style, the Leafs are white hot—and Bryan McCabe’s recent hand injury frees up a ton of power-play minutes for Kubina.
The offensive-minded defenseman should be good for a load of power-play points, and if the Leafs can remain hot he won’t hurt your plus/minus either.