Sunday, June 28, 2009

1st Round Picks & Who May Help You Next Year

Another NHL Draft came and went this past Friday. I don't remember watching a more hyped draft then this one. The uncertainty over the top 3 picks, the big names being tossed around in trade rumours and finally one man's public quest to bring John Tavares to the Blue & White. In the end, the draft produced expected results and only 1 notable trade - Pronger donning the Black & Orange (see Mark's and my take on that trade below).

Below are the results from the 1st round as well as the handful of players that could make a fantasy impact this season.

1. New York Islanders - John Tavares, C
2. Tampa Bay Lightning - Victor Hedman, D
3. Colorado Avalanche - Matt Duchene, C
4. Atlanta Thrashers - Evander Kane, C
5. Los Angeles Kings - Brayden Schenn, C
6. Phoenix Coyotes - Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D
7. Toronto Maple Leafs - Nazem Kadri, C
8. Dallas Stars - Scott Glennie, RW
9. Ottawa Senators - Jared Cowen, D
10. Edmonton Oilers -Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, LW
11. Nashville Predators - Ryan Ellis, D
12. NY Islanders - Calvin de Haan, D
13. Buffalo Sabres - Zack Kassian, RW
14. Florida Panthers - Dimitri Kulikov, D
15. Anaheim Ducks - Peter Holland, C
16. Minnesota Wild - Nick Leddy, D
17. St. Louis Blues - David Rundblad, D
18. Montreal Canadiens - Louis Leblanc, C
19. New York Rangers - Chris Kreider, C
20. New Jersey Devils - Jacob Josefson, C
21. Columbus Blue Jackets - John Moore, D
22. Vancouver Canucks - Jordan Schroeder, RW
23. Calgary Flames - Jacob Josefson, C
24. Washington Capitals - Marcus Johansson, C
25. Boston Bruins - Jordan Caron, C
26. Anaheim Ducks - Kyle Palmieri, RW/C
27. Carolina Hurricanes - Philippe Paradis, C
28. Chicago Blackhawks - Dylan Olsen, D
29. Tampa Bay - Carter Ashton, LW
30. Pittsburgh Penguins - Simon Depres, D

Players with 2009-2010 Fantasy Impact:

John Tavares, NYI: Tavares immediately walks on to one of the Isles top 2 lines and their top PP unit. Surrounded by young talent, Tavares should quickly assume a leadership role with the team and become their top offensive threat. Doug Weight should be back in Long Island and find himself setting-up and mentoring Tavares. With an underrated Frans Neilson and a promising young pivot in Josh Bailey on the depth chart, it is likely that Tavares will move to the wing opposite Kyle Okposo. Look for Weight to start the season between Tavares and Okposo. This instantly improves both Weight and Okposo's value and also does wonders for the Isle's PP QB Mark Streit.

Forecast: 79 GP, 37 G, 32A = 69 Points

Victor Hedman, TB: GM Brian Lawton has already stated that he expects Hedman in the team's line-up next season. While he should log a lot of minutes by season's end, the Lightning will ease Hedman into NHL duty, similar to Drew Doughty last season. With only Meszaros and Ranger ahead of him on the PP depth chart, Hedman should get plenty of opportunity on a talented 2nd PP unit to start the year. Don't expect instant success for Hedman but he should come on strong in the 2nd half once he gets adjusted.

Forecast: 82 GP, 5 G, 20A = 25 Points

Brayden Schenn, LA: Schenn already has a complete game and could push for a spot in Hollywood. Their top 6 is loaded but the Kings know they have a special player here and may decide to keep him in LA in a 3rd line role. Schenn will not get huge minutes but could see some 2nd PP unit time. Look for him to put up decent numbers but have minimal fantasy impact next year.

Forecast: 72GP, 12, 19A = 31 Points

Zack Kassian, BUF: Kassian is a big bodied player that could fit nicely on Buffalo's 3rd or 4th line. He is already over-sized for the OHL and can develop his puck skills with the big club. While not expected to put up huge point totals, he could immediately become the Sabre's enforcer and take on all comers - similar to Lucic in his rookie year. Look for Kassian to put up big PIMs this year and target him in leagues that reward it.

78GP, 6G, 17A = 22 Points & 175 PIMs

Other Notables: While I have stated before that Duchene, Kane and Cowan will all be given a shot at making their respective NHL teams, I believe all three will be returned to Junior to further develop their game and play key roles on the Canadian WJHC team's title defence. If they do manage to stick with their NHL clubs, please review my forecasts from my mock draft to get a sense of their fantasy impact.


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