Commentary

The Vicky Files: Value of Martin St. Louis

Updated: November 10, 2007, 3:02 PM ET
By Victoria Matiash | Special to ESPN.com

There's one very matrimonially-finicky woman currently living in Serbia. Milunka Dabovic, from the town of Maskova, has turned down at least 150 marriage proposals in the past 24 years. She received the first at age 14 as has been saying "no thanks" ever since. Milunka is taking a lot of flak for her fussiness, locally and internationally. Even her own mum is on her case for being too choosy. I don't understand this criticism at all. Evidently, this woman has many assets, and likely lives where single women are scarce. The ball's in her court; why shouldn't she take advantage of the situation? She says: "the man I marry needs to be handsome and tall, needs to accept life here in our village and must be a hard worker with a good heart". Sounds reasonable to me. There's no cause to settle when you hold the reigns. Which brings us to Lawrence from L.A.

Dear Vicky, I have a goalie quandary. Currently I'm sporting four goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Miller, Martin Gerber and Chris Osgood. Gerber and Osgood are my goalies on fire, but with Emery and Hasek right behind them, they aren't going to get a full share of starts this season. Fleury and Miller are starting goalies for their squads, but are playing somewhere between mediocre and terrible at the moment. Four goalies takes up WAY too much roster space, and I'm trying to figure out who to hold onto and who to get rid of. Do I keep the best, knowing they won't get as many starts, or do I stick with the ones who will play more games and hope they get out of their funk? Thanks.

Lawrence from Los Angeles, CA

Much like Serbia's Ms. Dabovic, you're in the driver's seat here. A roster over-flowing with quality goaltenders is a problem most fantasy players can only dream about. This might surprise you, but of the quartet, I think Marc-Andre Fleury is the most expendable. Sure, he's an everyday starter, but the Penguins defense is allowing too many scoring opportunities and Fleury isn't looking all that razor-sharp himself.

After a disappointing October, Ryan Miller is performing better. He allowed only five goals on 67 shots in his past three games. Martin Gerber and Chris Osgood play for the two best teams in the NHL, and they're outclassing their in-squad net minding rivals. As long as he continues to perform exceptionally, Gerber will get more starts than Ray Emery in Ottawa. How does a team sit someone with the most wins in the league (10) and a save percentage of .941? Until he really screws up, the answer is they don't. And even though Dominik Hasek is back from injury, Chris Osgood will still get his chances. Once Hasek gets hurt again (inevitable) Osgood will re-take his position as Detroit's No. 1. Altogether, this is a case of choosing quality over quantity; you'll get better numbers out of Miller, Gerber and Osgood in the long run.

Now that we have the "who", we should figure out the "for what". First things first, go through your opponents' rosters and find the most vulnerable in net. If you're going to offer up Fleury, try and locate someone lacking a regular starter--they'll be the easiest to exploit. Now it's time to browse. Who do you need? Are you weak at wing? Defense? Do you want to pick up one superstar or a couple of above-average skaters instead? Just remember, you have the upper hand. If you can't get what you want, hold off until you do.

Hi Vicky. My question is about a potential trade for Martin St. Louis. Right now, I have Patrick Kane, Miroslav Satan, and Brian Gionta as my right-wingers. In goal, I have Martin Brodeur, Marty Turco, and Rick DiPietro. The current owner of St. Louis has terrible goaltending and said he'd trade any of my goalies for St. Louis. Do you think it's a good idea to trade either Turco or DiPietro for St. Louis? Dallas (and Turco) is off to a slow start, and I don't know if that's the way they'll be this year. DiPietro is a great goalie, but the Islanders are the Islanders and I don't think he'll have an amazing year either. I'm willing to part with either one. My concern with St. Louis is that the Lightning and St. Louis don't look like themselves so far. I'm concerned they won't break out of their slump. Do you think it's worth giving up one of these goalies for him, and if so, who?

Mike from Boston, MA

First of all, Martin St. Louis is back near his usual pace. After a somewhat slow October, St. Louis has six points in his past four games. November was also a big month for him last year: 22 points in 15 games after failing to average the point/game mark the previous month. It apparently just takes the little guy a while to warm up. If healthy, St. Louis will come close to breaking the 100-point plateau again this year.

But with any trade, you want to benefit your own squad more than the other, and that isn't the case here. You're in decent shape at the rightwing position already. Kane is blowing everyone away and Satan is on a hot streak after an extremely frigid start. Gionta is clearly your weakest link, but he's underperforming and is due to turn it around as well. Especially considering the amount of time he spends on the power play. With the addition of St. Louis, you gain points (quite a few), but that's it. He doesn't bring anything of value in terms of plus/minus or penalty minutes. And that doesn't merit a goaltender.

Remember, the other guy is the desperate one in this trade situation. It's difficult to compete without having a couple of decent goalies. If your heart is set on acquiring St. Louis, offer up DiPietro and ask for a second player as well. Where else are you weak? If you don't exploit the situation, someone else will. Both DiPietro and Turco carry a lot of value. There's few single players I would take in exchange straight up.

Hi, why is Radulov averaging only 14 minutes? One would think they would let loose this pure goal scoring stud.

John from Ottawa, ON

Alexander Radulov isn't a "pure goal scoring stud" in the NHL yet. He potted 18 in 64 games with Nashville last year. A decent number (outstanding for a rookie), but nothing near 2005's 62 goals in 61 games in the QMJHL (plus 91 assists). Expectations are admittedly higher this season, especially in the absence of Paul Kariya, Peter Forsberg and Scott Hartnell. Anything short of a 60-point year will be considered a disappointment.

But Radulov, only 21 years old, is still adjusting to the game at this level. Keep in mind, he only broke the 20-minute mark once last year (20:15 versus Detroit in March). Ice time will increase with improved play. As it stands, he's still making poor decisions regularly.

On the upside, he's getting quality ice time with plenty of chances on the power play. I'd just like to see him shoot more. Radulov ranked fifth in the entire league last year with a 18.8 shooting percentage. There's no doubt he can hit the net; once he makes a few minor adjustments (especially to the mental side of the game), the goals will come.

Until next week, keep that mail coming.

Victoria Matiash is a fantasy hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can send her Email for potential use in "The Vicky Files" by clicking here.