Friday, July 31, 2009

Boston Bruins Sign Derek Morris

The Boston Bruins have signed defenceman Derek Morris to a 1 year, $3.3 Million dollar contract.

The Bruins have added an aggressive d-man with a bit of offensive ability rolled in. By moving Ward to Carolina, Morris will fit into the top 2 pairings in Boston and provide more grit on the back end.

Fantasy owners should be cautious when looking at adding him via the waiver wire. Morris had 20 points in 75 games this season and owners should not expect an outpouring of points in the future. He is a decent depth option if you need to fill a bench spot, but should be passed over in drafts as there will be better options available.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chicago Blackhawks Round-up

The Chicago Blackhawks have re-signed Kris Versteeg to a 3 year, $9.2 Million dollar contract, Cam Barker to a 3 year, $9.25 Million dollar contract, Troy Brouwer to a 2 year, $2 Million dollar contract and Ben Eager to a 1 year, $965 Thousand dollar contract.

The Chicago Blackhawks took the league by surprise last season as they exceeded everyone’s expectations and made it to the Conference finals. The off-season has been one of ups and downs for the Hawks. GM Dale Tallon was successful in landing one of the most coveted free agents in Marian Hossa, but was ultimately relieved of his duties when he cost the team millions with his restricted free agent blunder. The Blackhawks are looking to be the top team in the West this season and fantasy owners should hold on to their Hawks tightly.

Kris Versteeg found himself playing on the top line with Toews and Kane for most part of last season. An offensive threat that plays a big game in his 5’10”, 179 lbs frame, Versteeg scored 53 points in 73 games. He is a great option as a depth player and look to draft him in the mid-rounds if he is not kept as he should improve on his totals for next season.

Cam Barker was a success when he was called up last season. Scoring 40 points in 68 games, Barker helped anchor the power-play and was another weapon on an already deep team. Look for Barker to repeat his point totals next season and possibly going into keeper value as well. Don’t hesitate to draft this kid in middle rounds as he could be a steal there.

Troy Brouwer also made the leap into full time NHLer last season. The 23 year old winger plays a power forward game and added depth to an already deep team. Brouwer shared time between the second and third line and netted 26 points in 69 games and 50 PIMs. Brouwer has limited fantasy value right now but he is a player to keep an eye on in the future.

Ben Eager is one of the resident tough guys on the Blackhawks. He will add the occasional point and pick a fight with you just because he can. With 161 PIMs in 75 games, Eager added 15 points as well last season. If your pool rewards PIMs, look at Eager as an option as he may be busy protecting the young Hawks next season.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Carolina Hurricanes Round-Up

The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed Erik Cole to a 2 year, $5.8 Million dollar contract and re-signed Tuomo Ruutu to a 3 year, $11.4 Million dollar contract.

GM Jim Rutherford wasted no time re-signing two key components that helped lead the Hurricanes to the conference finals. Not an overly offensive team, Carolina is geared towards playing more of a team concept which has proven successful. Coach Paul Maurice has made the most of his opportunity being behind the Hurricanes bench once again. Look for Carolina to be a force again next season.

Erik Cole – Being traded back to Carolina was a blessing for Cole and his fantasy owners. Once he was traded, he lined up on the top line and not only played a big role in Carolina’s playoff run but chipped in at almost a point per game. Not a keeper any longer, Cole should be looked at in later rounds as a decent depth pickup.

Tuomo Ruutu – After his trade from Chicago, Ruutu looked to fit right in on the top lines in Carolina. He was able to net 54 points in 79 games and net 79 PIMS to his totals. He should be looked at as a depth winger next season that will contribute points and PIMS to your totals. Look to draft him in later rounds as he isn’t a household name.


Buffalo Sabres Round-Up

The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed Clarke MacArthur to a 1 year, $522.5 Thousand dollar contract, defenceman Andrej Sekera to a 2 year, 2 Million dollar contract and agitator Patrick Kaleta to a 1 year, $522.5 Thousand dollar contract.

After failing to make the playoffs in the last two seasons, the Sabres have failed to bring in a desperately needed playmaker since they lost Briere and Drury. GM Darcy Regier has been very successful with re-signing the young Sabres to small dollar figure contracts, but has failed to keep any of their big name free agents in Buffalo. Without an all-star offensive playmaker and a powerplay quarterback on the team, Buffalo will once again struggle to make the playoffs.

Clarke MacArthur played in his first full season with the Sabres last year. He has a nose for the net but was a streaky scorer at the best of times last year. In 71 games, MacArthur scored 31 points, far below expectations. MacArthur will once again be bounced around the Sabres lines as coach Ruff looks for chemistry. He is worth a look in deeper leagues or as a waiver pick-up.

Andrej Sekera is another young Sabre that was given a lot of responsibility last year. Paired with Spacek on the first powerplay unit, Sekera had 19 points in 69 games. Now the default number one guy on the powerplay, he may be worth a flyer in later rounds in deeper drafts or as a waiver claim.

Patrick Kaleta quickly became one of the most hated players in the league last year. His bang and crash style of play get under the skin of his opponents and goats them into penalties. Kaleta will never be an offensive force but he will hit anything that moves. In 51 games last season, Kaleta had 9 points and 89 PIMs. If you pool rewards penalty minutes or hits, Kalets is a great choice in later rounds.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mixed Bag of Signings

Tomas Plekanec would like to have a do-over from last season. Starting out as Montreal’s number one pivot, Plekanec finished the year on the fourth line, with his ice time cut. In 80 games last season, Plekanec had 39 points, far removed from the 69 points from 2 seasons ago. Draft Plekanec with caution. He is worth a flyer in later rounds of your draft, as you never know which player will show up.

Travis Zajac made a huge leap forward last year. In his third year in the league, Zajac appeared in all 82 games and tallied 62 points. The 24 year old adds size and skill to the Devils line-up and compliments the veterans well. Look for Zajac to repeat his point total next season as the absence of Gomez and Gionta will result in more ice-time.

Martin Biron’s career appears to have taken a step back at this point. With signing a one year with the Islanders, Biron is now technically third on the depth chart. A talented goaltender that has not left a mark as a true number one, Biron is streaky and is as good as the team in front of him. Owners should not draft Biron in any format. At best he will be a tandem goaltender with Roloson, if DiPietro is in fact injured.

Ryane Clowe offers many great qualities when it comes to a fantasy player. Clowe plays a power forward style and playing on the top team in the league only enhances his value. In 71 games last season, Clowe scored 52 points, 24 on the powerplay, and 51 PIMs. The only drawback to making Clowe a great player is his injury problems. Clowe is worth the risk in drafting him in the middle rounds in your draft as he may have a breakout season next year.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Anaheim Ducks Round-Up

The Anaheim Ducks have signed Saku Koivu to a 1 year, $3.25 Million dollar contract and signed defenceman Nick Boynton a 1 year, $1.5 Million dollar contract.

After a very successful post season run last year the Ducks continue to alter their line-up with the addition of two experienced veterans. The loss of Pronger will hurt the organization as he added leadership and logged a ton of minutes, but had an enormous contract which limited the Ducks in adding depth. Koivu and Boynton will add leadership and a much needed second line center.

Saku Koivu has had to make one of the hardest decisions of his career this off-season. Playing with the Canadiens for 13 seasons, over-coming cancer and not being a french speaking captain for one of the most prestigious teams is just some of the accomplishments of his career. In Anaheim, Koivu will not have the pressure to carry the organization and his stats should reflect that. In 65 games last season, Koivu netted 50 points, a total he should surpass next season playing with Selanne. Keep Koivu on your radar in your draft, as he is a great option for a depth centerman that could end up being a steal.

Nick Boynton is joining his fifth team in his last five seasons and this may be his last kick at the can. A veteran on the blueline, the 30 year old has limited fantasy value. In 68 games last season, Boyton scored 21 points and 91 PIMs. Depending on where he lands on the Anaheim depth chart, Boyton may be worth a pick in deeper leagues or a waiver pick-up.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mixed Bag of Defensive Signings

Matt Hunwick was called up due to injuries and never made it back down to the AHL. Hunwick has an offensive flare that allows him to play both wing and defence. In 53 games last season, Hunwick scored 27 points and was a +15. This Bruin made an impact on the team last year and should be considered in later rounds in all formats as a depth option.

Denis Grebeshkov made an impact on a young Oilers blueline last season. In his second full season in the NHL, Grebeshkov played in 72 games, adding 39 points. He is another excellent choice to draft in later rounds as he should put up similar totals to last year.

Jack Johnson’s season was cut short last year with a season ending shoulder injury. Appearing in 41 games, Johnson scored 11 points and had 46 PIMs. Johnson is a young defenceman that oozes with potential. He may not be an offensive powerhouse but his hitting ability will make him a late round draft choice.

Keith Yandle played in his first complete season last year and impressed the Coyotes coaching staff. Yandle is a young rear-guard that is offensively minded. In 69 games, Yandle scored 30 points, 12 of them were on the powerplay and took 118 shots. Yandle is another excellent sleeper pick in later rounds of your draft as he may break out with 40 points next season.

Shane O’Brien hits first and asks questions later. Not much of an offensive contributor, O’Brien is no stranger to the sin bin. In 76 games last year, O’Brien had 10 points and a whopping 196 PIMs making him a great selection in later rounds if your pool reward penalty minutes.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Washington Capital Round-Up

The Washington Capitals have signed center Brendan Morrison to a 1 year, $1.5 Million dollar contract, re-signed forward Boyd Gordon to a 1 year, $761 Thousand dollar contract, re-signed winger Eric Fehr to a 1 year, $771.75 Thousand dollar contract, defenceman Shaone Morrisonn to a 1 year, $1.975 Million dollar contract and defenceman Jeff Schultz to a 1 year, $715 Thousand dollar contract.

Owner Ted Leonsis has made it clear to the Capitals fans and the league that he wants to win and will make every attempt to get there. By re-signing the core of his Southeast Division Champions and bringing in Knuble and Morrison to replace Kozlov and Fedorov, the Capitals look to be a great bet to repeat as divisional champs as well as Eastern Conference Champions.

Brendan Morrison is far removed from the 2002-03 season where he scored 71 points with the Vancouver Canucks. Last season Morrison split time between Anaheim and Dallas where he struggled to find chemistry at the best of times. With 31 points in 81 games, Morrison has limited fantasy value. Owners should not be mesmerized by the fact that he may play with Semin on the second line as Washington is a deep squad with many options. He may be worth a look if he finds chemistry.

Boyd Gordon and Jeff Schultz are quality depth players that helped Washington excel as divisional champs and into two game sevens in the playoffs. Neither offers fantasy value at this time in any pool format.

Eric Fehr appeared in 61 games last season, his most as a professional to date. Fehr bounced around the top three lines last season and never had time to develop a true chemistry with linemates. With 25 points in 61 games, Fehr is a sniper and has a true nose for the net. Owners should keep Fehr on their list come draft day as he could be a steal in late rounds.

Shaone Morrisonn is a capable depth defenceman that moved around the depth chart in Washington last season. With four full seasons in the league, Morrisonn averages 13 points a season with 70+ PIMs. At times last season Morrisonn found himself on the first powerplay unit with Green due to injuries. At this point he has limited fantasy value, but that may change due to injuries on the Washington blueline.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Atlanta Thrashers Round-Up

The Atlanta Thrasher have resigned Colby Armstrong to a 2 year, $2.4 Million dollar contract and resigned goaltender Kari Lehtonen to a 1 year, $3 Million dollar contract.

It appears as the Thrashers GM, Don Waddell, is making every attempt to try and woo all-star winger Ilya Kovalchuk to re-sign a long term contract with the team. Waddell has signed Antropov, Armstrong, Lehtonen and traded for defenceman Pavel Kubina as persuasion to get a contract done. Although it may seem as if the effort was there to make the Thrasher a more competitive hockey team, the results on the ice should be similar to what they were last season.

Colby Armstrong was arguably the the prize in the Hossa trade two seasons ago. Armstrong, at 26, scored 40 points in 82 games last season. He will at top 6 forward in Atlanta and play in all situations. With the improved offense in Atlanta, Armstrong should improve on his totals next season. Owners should expect 50 points out of the winger and will be able to grab him as a depth guy in later rounds of your draft.

Kari Lehtonen is a highly skilled Finnish goaltender that has one drawback from making him a star, injuries. Over the 4 seasons in the league, Lehtonen has suffered from back and groin issues. At 25, he is entering the prime of his career as a goaltender and it remains to be seen if he can play a full season. Oozing with potential, he has the ability to make Atlanta into a competitive team. With an improved defensive squad, and more talent up front, Lehtonen’s time to shine is now. Signing a one year contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, he may stay healthy and have huge season. As of now, Lehtonen should slide in all drafts as he is on a weaker team. He is worth taking a flyer on even if he stays on your bench all season. The potential of him getting traded to a better team or being signed next off-season is high and may be worth taking a risk on.


New York Rangers Round-Up

The New York Rangers have signed Ales Kotalik to a 3 year, $9 Million dollar contract, signed newly acquired Christopher Higgins to a 1 year, $2.25 Million dollar contract and re-signed Ryan Callahan to a 2 year, $4.6 Million dollar contract.

Glen Sather continues his preposterous spending in his attempt to add an element of chemistry to the Rangers. In an earlier off-season trade he moved overpaid, under-performing center Scott Gomez to the Canadiens for Christopher Higgins. This has forced team leader Chris Drury into the number one pivot role, a role he is not suited for.

Ales Kotalik has potential to be a good winger, with the emphasis on good. He is a very skilled and speedy forward that seems to disappear for large stretches at a time. Last season saw him spilt time in Edmonton and Buffalo, where the lack of points and chemistry were an indication that he wasn’t a fit for the respective teams. In Edmonton, Kotalik was given top line minutes only to squander the opportunity playing with fellow countryman Ales Hemsky. With 43 points in 75 games last season, Kotalik has only gone over the 60 point mark once. He should line up as a top 6 forward in New York but will frustrate coach Tortorella, just like Nik Zherdev. He may be an option as a depth guy in your draft but owner should only expect 50 points out of the winger regardless of the line he ends up on.

Christopher Higgins is looking to start over in a city where he could once again become a 20 goal man. Last season was horrendous for Higgins, with 23 points in 53 games. Higgins should be able to quietly increase his point totals to the 40 point mark. Owners should keep an eye on him and see how he performs with his new teammates; he may get hot and would be worth a waiver claim at best.

Ryan Callahan is entering the magic third year as a full time NHLer and his value has increased each year. Last season he saw time on the top line and was a banger and crasher who created open ice and opportunities for his teammates. With 40 points in 81 games, Callahan has increased his point totals each season in the league and is a favourite of coach Tortorella. If he ends up playing with Gaborik on the top line, his point total may exceed 60 points. He is a more draft worthy candidate at this point than his other 2 newly acquired teammates as his potential is not yet know. Grab him in later rounds as 50 points should be achievable by the youngster.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Senatorial Support

The Ottawa Senators have signed highly talented winger Alexei Kovalev to a 2 year, $10 Million dollar contract and have resigned resident tough guy Chris Neil to a 4 year, $8 Million dollar contract.

The 2009 off-season has been filled with drama for the Senators. The Dany Heatley situation has been the talk of the town and has left the team in turmoil and looking for answers. While working out a deal with the Edmonton Oilers, the Senators dug deep to keep agitator and under performer Chris Neil on the team.

Chris Neil will continue his career with his only professional team he has played with. As a fantasy option, Neil will provide an average of 200 penalty minutes a season and a safe 10–16 points, anything more should be considered a huge bonus. His numbers have declined over the past couple seasons and may do so once again. He will continue to be an agitator in Ottawa but owners should pass on this one-trick-pony on draft day as there are a lot of better options for points and PIMs in deeper leagues.

Alexei Kovalev remains a mystery in the NHL. At times he appears to be one of the most talented players in the league, and at other times, he doesn’t show up to play. With 65 points in 74 games last season in Montreal, Kovalev would rather have just forgot last season existed. At times he was the best player on the team and then was banished to his home on an important road-trip. The question for next season is, what should owners expect when drafting this sniper. At worst he will get you 65 points and may top out around 80 points. A lot now hinges on the pressure he puts on himself, his motivation or lack thereof and linemates.

One thing is assured as a fantasy owner, make sure you dress Kovalev when he plays Montreal next season; he will try and light them up.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Eight Year Pact

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed 25 year old superstar, Rick Nash, to a 8 year, $62.5 Million dollar contract.

The ownership of the Blue Jackets have made a clear statement that Rick Nash will lead the team into the prime years of his career. Nash, a natural goal scorer, possesses tremendous finishing ability and has led the Blue Jackets in goals the past five seasons. Nash is a four time NHL all-star, Canadian Olympic athlete and was tied for the NHL lead in goals in the 2003-04 season.

In 78 games last season, Nash had 79 points with 40 of those being goals. He excels in every category and should be a first round selection in all drafts and an easy selection as a keeper. Look for Nash to surpass his 79 points next season as Columbus surrounds him with young talent.

Derick Brassard will be one of those young beneficiaries that should play with Nash all season. Playing in 31 games last season, Brassard amassed 25 points and valuable chemistry playing with Nash. The duo should form a dynamic pair next season and propel Columbus into playoff contention yet again.


Budding New Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had an active offseason by signing tough guy Colton Orr to a 4 year, $4 Million dollar contract, signing defenceman Francois Beauchemin to a 3 year, $11.4 Million dollar contract, signing Swedish centerman Rickard Wallin to a 1 year contract, resigning speedster Mikhail Grabovski to a 3 year, $8.7 Million dollar contract and trading talented d-man Pavel Kubina to Atlanta for Garnet Exelby.

Brian Burke has slowly started to mold the Toronto Maple Leafs into a team which will eventually compete for the Stanley Cup. The main building block in the foundation seems to be intimidation. Burke has focused on bringing in players that have the ability to play a well balanced game and can hit you through the boards.

Colton Orr played in all 82 games with the Rangers last season and has little fantasy appeal. If your league rewards penalty minutes, Orr may be worth a look in deeper roto leagues as he gather close to 200 last year.

Francois Beauchemin is coming off an injury plagued season last year. Playing in a mere 20 games, he scored 5 points and had 45 shots in Anaheim. In Toronto, Beauchemin will be looked at for leadership as well as his consistency on the blueline. The 29 year old offers minimal fantasy value and may be worth a look in deeper leagues.

Rickard Wallin has spent the last 4 seasons playing in Europe and saw his last NHL game back in the 2003-04 season with Minnesota. The captain of Farjestad, Wallin will offer the Leafs leadership up front and will be given every opportunity to play on the top lines. Wallin is a wildcard at this point. With 45 points in 55 games in the Swedish Elite league, a 60 point campaign may not be out of the question for the unknown Leaf.

Mikhail Grabovski flew onto the scene last season in Toronto. He started out very strong as opposing teams were caught by surprise with his speed and quick shot. Unfortunately for Grabovski, teams quickly learned that his one dimensional play could be slowed by being physical and his stats suffered. With 48 points in 78 games, is a good option as depth guy in all formats. He will get plenty of ice time in Toronto and contributes in all categories.

Garnet Exelby was brought in from Atlanta as a salary dump but offers the Leafs a great young defenceman that can hit hard and is eager to prove he can play at the NHL Level. At this point Exelby is a depth d-man and offers no fantasy value.

Pavel Kubina, had arguably, his best season as a Leaf last year. He maintained a career high in points with 40 while playing in all 82 games. In going to Atlanta, Kubina will continue to offer high reward to fantasy owners. The offensive minded Kubina will help lead a young Thasher defence corps that should be near the top of the league when it comes to defensive points on the powerplay. Another 40 point, 100 PIM season is not out of the question which makes him a must draft on draft day.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monster in Hogtown

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed goalie Jonas Gustavsson to a 1 year Entry Level Contract.

The prized Free Agent goalie of this year's crop has landed in Toronto. Gustavsson was highly regarded as the best goalie outside of the NHL this past season. At 24, he is just starting to grow into his huge 6'3 frame. A late bloomer, Gustavsson has improved his game in leaps and bounds over the past few years. He moves exceptionally well for a man his size and shows great instincts between the posts. After dominateing the SEL regular season and playoffs last year for Farjestads, Gustavsson will come to the NHL and hope to develop into a Number 1 goalie with the Leafs.

Fantasy Outlook:
The Leafs have made it clear that the oft-injured Vesa Toskala will come to camp as the Number 1 goalie. That said, both Brian Burke and Ron Wilson are hoping Gustavsson is pressing for the number 1 spot by Christmas, at which point they will look to trade Vesa to a playoff contender. Expect Gustavsson to have some rough patches as he adjust to the North American game, however he is a well-seasoned 24 year-old that could make a Lundqvist-type impact by season end. Lundqvist by the way, was a year younger when he came over to the NHL and dominated with the Rangers.

Fearless Forecast:
37GP, 24W, 4SO, 2.64 GAA, .911 Save%


Re-tooling the Habs D

The Montreal Canadians have signed Jaroslav Spacek to a 3 year, $11.5 Million deal and Paul Mara to a 1 year, $1.675 Million deal.

Jaroslav Spacek

Montreal jumped all over Spacek on
July 1st as they envision him as an affordable number 2 Defenceman that can play with Andrei Markov on the Powerplay. The 35 year-old Spacek matched his career high with 45 points last year in Buffalo. He brings a good transition game and a steady defensive presence.

Fantasy Outlook: At 35, Spacek can't be relied upon for big-time minutes in Montreal. He should immediately help their Powerplay and continue to put up decent points. Look for him in the late rounds to shore up your Defence depth.

Fearless Forecast: 75GP, 9G, 31A, 40PTS

Paul Mara

A former 7th overall pick by Tampa in 1997, Mara has great size, decent skill and moves well. After a career high of 47 points with Phoenix in 2005-2006, Mara looked to be one of the bright young Dmen in the league. Since then, Mara has travelled to Boston and New York where he has struggled to stay healthy. He reached 21 points last season which was his highest since his days in the desert. Has this former 1st rounder lost his offensive game with his confidence or can he bounce back in Montreal?

Fantasy Outlook:
Mara heads into Montreal with low expectations. They hope he can be a top 4 Dman who can play some PP time. This could be a great environment for Mara to get his game back. Don't draft him but keep an eye on him through the waiver wire as he could surprise with some decent points and PIMS.

Fearless Forecast: 75GP, 7G, 22A, 29PTS, 105PIMS


Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Mike Komisarek to a 5 year, 22.5 Million contract.

Komisarek leaves the Habs for their bitter rivals in the Big Smoke. Wanting the opportunity to play for US Olympic Head Coach Ron Wilson and GM Brian Burke, Komi has signed on to guard the crease in Toronto. Known for his tough, physical play, Mike is coming off a tough year which included a bum shoulder and humiliation at the hands of Milan Lucic. Look for Komisarek to provide a steady defensive presence on the revamped Leafs blueline.

Fantasy Outlook:  Komisarek is never going to put up huge fantasy points. While he skates well and moves the puck better then pundits credit him, he is best when playing a simple, chip the puck out game. He should also see his PIMs drop as he will no longer be the sheriff of a small Montreal team and is surrounded by a newly revamped, truculent Leafs line-up . This reduces his limited fantasy value even more. Look to draft Komi in the late rounds of roto leagues that reward penalties/hits etc. 

Fearless Forecast: 80GP, 3G, 18A, 21P, 90 PIMS


Big Nik in the ATL

The Atlanta Thrashers have signed Nik Antropov to a 4 year, $16 Million deal.

Desperate to find somebody that can play with sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, the Thrashers went for a big playmaking centre with soft hands. Coming off a career season of 28 Goals and 59 Points, Big Nik has been able to shake the injuries that haunted him early in his career. At 6'6, 230, Nik can control the puck down low like few in the game and is an underrated playmaker. He seems like a great fit to play with Kovalchuk on the top line.

Fantasy Outlook: Expect Big Nik to find instant chemistry with Kovalchuk as Antropov is more of a passer then a shooter and will have no problem dishing it to a sniper of Ilya's rank. Look for both players to have productive fantasy seasons. I see Antropov setting career bests in assists and points as he logs a ton of icetime in Hotlanta. Look to steal him in the mid-rounds of your draft and enjoy the ride.

Fearless Forecast: 76GP, 28G, 41A, 69P


Le Cammo

The Montreal Canadiens have signed Michael Cammalleri to a 5 year, $30 Million deal.

After acquiring playmaking centre Scott Gomez, Bob Gainey was looking for a couple of snipers on July 1st. He settled for a former 48 goal scorer in Brian Gionta and a guy who scored 39 Goals last year - Mike Cammalleri. Cammalleri also scored 34 goals two years ago and the Canadiens are confident he can be the finisher Gomez needs. At 27, Cammo is young enough to be a top 3 forward for the Habs through the length of his contract. The question is, can he still produce without big bodies like Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen creating space for him?

Fantasy Outlook: Cammalleri should be just fine in Montreal. He played a lot on Calgary's 2nd line last year but did most of his damage on the Powerplay. Montreal desperately needed a PP triggerman and Cammalleri is just that. While 5 on 5 should be a struggle for a potential hobbit line of Gionta-Gomez-Cammo, they should be able to leverage Andrei Markov's PP quarterbacking and produce great numbers. Look for all 3 players to be in the 70 point range. Cammalleri has the most potential of the 3 and could flirt with a PPG. Draft him in rounds 4-8 and hope he gets lots of PP time.

Fearless Forecast: 82GP, 36G, 42A, 78P


New Groin, New Groin

The New York Rangers have invested in Marian Gaborik's newly repaired groin by signing the Free Agent winger to a 5 year contract for $37.5 Million ($7.5 per).

Gaborik is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward Free Agent in this year's class. When healthy, he can be as electrifying as Alex Ovechkin...when healthy. Gaborik has played in over 65 games only once in the past 5 seasons. He has been haunted by groin issues that landed him on the IR for most of last season. Gaborik decided to have groin surgery to repair the chronic issues and thus played in only 17 games last year. That said, in those 17 games, Gabby scored 13 goals, 23 points - many thought he was the best player in the league down the stretch.

Fantasy Outlook: Gabby went for big money in New York and will now have to earn his paycheck. He is the dynamic player the Rangers have been missing since Jaromir Jagr left. While there isn't a great playmaker like Scott Gomez to get him the puck, Gabby should be able to open up after years of playing in Jacques Lemaire's Defensive system. The results could be electrifying and he should bump up the value of Rangers forwards Nik Zherdev, Brandon Dubinsky, Chris Higgins and Chris Drury. Look for Gabby to finally stay healthy and put up huge points - career highs. His injury problems should allow him to drop a little on draft day so target him in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of standard and keeper drafts.

Fearless Forecast: 78GP, 51G, 44A, 95 P

Blackhawk Down - for 12

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed Marian Hossa to a 12 year - $62.8 Million contract.

Hossa adds another weapon to an emerging, explosive Blackhawks team. Already loaded with top-end talent in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Hossa brings a more consistent offensive presence then the departing Martin Havlat. Add Hossa to a healthy Patrick Sharp and emerging forwards Kris Versteeg and Dave Bolland and you have one of the most lethal top 6's in the game. How Dave Tallon manages the cap when Toews and Kane get their big raises next season is another story.

Fantasy Outlook: Hossa is coming from one of the most talented top 6-s in Detroit so don't expect much of a jump in points. His presence will act mainly to give Toews and Kane more space. That said, he should line up with at least one, if not both of them, and finish at a point-per-game. Draft him in rounds 2-4 in standard and keeper formats.

Fearless Forecast: 76GP, 39G, 38A, 77 P


Sunday, July 5, 2009

From Snowny Mounains to Sunny Beaches

The Colorado Avalanche have traded Ryan Smyth to the Los Angeles Kings for puck-moving defenceman Kyle Quincey, blueliner Tom Preissing and a fifth-round pick.

Fantasy Outlook: Smyth offers grit and leadership to a young Kings team. At 33 years old, Smyth still has the abilty to play in all situations and be a factor as a top 6 forward. With 59 points in 77 games he should be looked at as a depth forward that can also offer penalty minutes. Draft him in late rounds as there should be younger options available to you to fill your roster.

Kyle Quincy had a successful rookie campainge with 38 points in 72 last season. Quincy will now have the opportunity to star in Colorado as the teams powerplay quarterback and will learn from experienced defenceman Adam Foote. Quincy should be able to upgrade on his point totals from last season, draft him with confidence.


Going Wild

The Minnesota Wild have signed linger martin Havlat to a 6 year, $30 Million dollar contract.

Last season Havlat played a complete season for the first time in his career. In 81 games, Havlat scored 77 points and was a plus 29 rating. The dynamically talented Havlat meshed well with the young and talented Blackhawks and elevated his game in his contract year.

Fantasy Outlook: Faithful owners of Havlat should be pleased that he was able to play a full season and was close to a point per game pace. Look for Havlat to be a major contributor on the Wild’s top line and powerplay unit. His stats may take a step back due to the fact he is now secure with a new contract and will have to elevate his game with the lack of overall talent in Minnesota. Havlat is always an injury risk because of his history. Owners should consider him once the elite superstars have been selected in your draft.


Capital Investment

The Washington Capitals have signed Mike Knuble to a 2 year, $5.6 Million dollar contract.

After spending the last 4 seasons in Philadelphia, Knuble is off to play with some of the most gifted hockey players in Washington. With 47 points in 82 games last season, Knuble has seen a steady decline in his stats over the years. At 36 years old, Knuble will offer veteran leadership and depth to the Capitals.

Fantasy Outlook: Knuble will undoubtedly be used as a top 6 forward and on the powerplay as well. Playing with Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom should rejuvenate Knuble and as a result, elevate his point totals. Owners should not expect Knuble’s stats to be in the 70 –80 point range; rather in the 60 point range is reasonable.


The Bulin Wall Goes North

The Edmonton Oilers have signed goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a 4 year, $15 Million dollar contract.

The ‘Bulin Wall’ finished last season with 25 wins, 8 losses and 3 shutouts, considered a very good campaigne by most. At 36 years old, Khabibulin has assured that he has job security for the next four years, and the Oilers are getting a very good goaltender in return.

Fantasy Outlook: Moving from the Blackhawks to the Oilers will put a dent in his fantasy value. The Oilers failed to address their lack of scoring, which decreases Khabibulin’s value based on wins and losses. Kabby will ultimately be the top guy in Edmonton for his tenure, and if Edmonton can create more of a goal scoring presence, his value will rise.


Everything is Just Ducky

The Anaheim Ducks have resigned All-Star defenceman Scott Neidermayer to a 1 year, $6 Million dollar contract.

Scott Niedermayer has pledged to the Ducks to return for one more season. This allowed the Ducks to trade hard-nosed dman Chris Pronger and move forward with a youth movement.

Fantasy Outlook: Niedermayer offers a lot in terms of a fantasy player. He scored 59 points and had 70 PIMs in 82 games. While playing in future seasons is still unknown, treat Niedermayer as a keeper and a premier defenceman in your draft. He should produce over 60 points next season and be at the top of his game come training camp.


Fantasy Quick Hits Goalies

Craig Anderson: This back-up goalie out played Vokoun at times last season and has moved to Colorado where he will be the top goalie there. Anderson should be involved in 50-60 games this season and the only thing holding him back is the quality of his team. Keep an eye on his performance as he has little fantasy value to start the season.

Scott Clemmensen: Stepping away from the backup role in New Jersey to sunny Florida, Clemmensen will get the opportunity to play in a lot more games and tandem with Vokoun. His fantasy value is minimal, but keep an eye on him in case Vokoun goes down to injury or gets traded.

Brian Boucher: This perennial back-up goes back to Philly to play behind Emery. If Emery struggles or get suspended, Boucher will get the call and enough playing time to make him happy he left San Jose. No fantasy value at this time.

Dwayne Roloson: He left the Oilers in favour of money and job security. A two year contract will see him back-up DiPietro, who has health issues. Roloson has little fantasy value now that he is playing for the worst team in the league.

Ty Conklin: This well travelled back-up has landed in St. Louis for a 2 year stint. Look for Conklin to split time with Mason and push him for the number one spot. He has little to no fantasy value at this time.