The NHL playoffs start tonight, so there is still time to get signed up for the TSN Playoff Hockey Challenge, presented by Kia.
It's a simple salary cap game that allows you to make changes after the first and second rounds as you compile a roster of a dozen players under the fictional $100 salary cap, with a chance to win a Kia Sorento if you accumulate the most overall points.
It's easy enough to load up on stars, and getting the best players on best teams is a fine strategy but, somewhere along the way, you'll need to make more difficult choices as you decide how to allocate your spending.
With that in mind, here are half a dozen players that stood out to me as having pretty good value relative to their cost:
13 goaltenders cost more than Chicago's Corey Crawford ($9.7). Admittedly, he's not a proven playoff commodity, but Crawford was excellent this season and gets a favourable matchup against a Minnesota Wild team that ranked 22nd in goals per game.
On defence, Jay Bouwmeester ($5.9) finally gets to the playoffs and finished the regular season with seven points in 14 games with the Blues. For the same price as Mike Kostka, Cam Fowler and Jonas Brodin, Bouwmeester seems like a good play for Round One.
The playoffs haven't exactly been Mike Green's ($6.6) time to shine, but his dozen goals led all defencemen this year and he finished strong in April, scoring 15 points in 13 games. If the Capitals are going to knock off the Rangers, Green will have be a part of the effort and he comes cheaper than Francois Beauchemin, Kevin Shattenkirk and Brent Seabrook to name a few.
Up front, the Rangers' Derick Brassard ($5.8) is an intriguing an inexpensive option. He finished the year scoring 11 points in 13 games with New York, after he was acquired from Columbus, and Brassard spent some time late in the year centering Rick Nash, a good opportunity to keep putting up points, especially for a player that costs the same as Marty Reasoner or rookies Beau Bennett and Charlie Coyle.
If you want a rookie, how about Chicago's Brandon Saad ($5.9)? If nothing else, Saad gets to skate with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, but the power forward is more than just a passenger – he finished the year with 24 points in his last 28 games – and you can get him for the same price as Matt Beleskey, Keith Aucoin and Craig Adams.
Vancouver's Ryan Kesler ($6.6) missed much of the season with injuries, which could contribute to his bargain price, but he scored eight points in 10 games down the stretch and will be vital to any Canucks hopes for advancing. At the same price as Andrew Cogliano and David Perron, Kesler feels like another good value play.
Here is my Round One roster:
G - Corey Crawford, $9.7
G - Tuukka Rask, $10.4
D - Mike Green, $6.6
D - Jay Bouwmeester $5.9
D - Erik Karlsson, $7.5
D - Kris Letang, $8.2
F - Sidney Crosby, $9.5
F - Henrik Zetterberg, $8.1
F - Max Pacioretty, $7.1
F - Evgeni Malkin, $8.9
F - Jonathan Toews, $8.9
F - Alex Ovechkin, $8.8
It won't take long. Sign up, make your picks and be ready to shuffle your roster again after the first round!
With that said, can we add a line at the bottom saying TSN Playoff Hockey Challenge is Presented by the New 2014 Kia Sorento.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.