Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mailbag: Draft Prospects

"Hi Guys, I'm in a 12 team keeper league. We have 7 stat categories for skaters :Goals (G), Assists (A), Plus/Minus (+/-), Penalty Minutes (PIM), Powerplay Points (PPP), Shots on Goal (SOG) and also we have 6 goalie stat categories: Goals Against (GA), Goals Against Average (GAA), Saves (SV), Save Percentage (SV%), Shutouts (SHO).

We have a 5 round prospect draft coming up, I currently own 3 first round picks (third, sixth, twelve overall) and 1 fourth round pick 42nd overall. The GM with 1st overall has already announced he will draft Tavares, which will leave me with either Hedman or Duchene. My question to you is? Who should I draft with my other 1st round picks? Realistically I'm thinking for 6th about Brayden Schenn, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jonas Gustavsson and for 12 it's between Ryan Ellis and Cody Hodgson (I think he's able to be drafted since he wasn't drafted last year) But I want to know what you would do. Here is my roster.

Centres - Mike Modano, Travis Zajac, Manny Malhotra, Steve Ott
Left Wings - Alexei Ponikarovsky, Henrik Zetterberg(C, LW), David Booth, Alex Burrows
Right Wings - Martin Havlat, Ales Kotalik, Joffrey Lupul, Mikael Samuelsson, Jamie Langenbrunner
Defensemen - Andrei Markov, Zdeno Chara, Shane O'Brien, Paul Martin, Alex Edler
Goalies - Mike Smith, Marc-Andre Fleury
We are aloud 2 centres, 2 right wingers, 2 left wingers, 4 defenceman 1 winger 1 forward 2 utility 2 goalie 4 bench.
Sorry It's kind of long, really appreciate your time!"


Blair, thanks for the detailed email. Your strategy for your prospect draft seems to be right on target. For the third pick overall Hedman or Duchene is a great selection as each player has a bright future ahead of them. While Duchene offers to help you in many categories as a long term keeper, Hedman is an impact player that has been compared Nicklas Lidstrom and is a mature player at such a young age.

With your sixth overall pick I would target Cody Hodgson. His stock has greatly increased since being drafted last year and has the greatest chance at making an immediate impact. Presently he is slated to be the Canucks number two center and will get the opportunity to play on the powerplay as well.

Evander Kane is a player that you should target with your last first round selection if he should fall. While he is still or two away from playing a full time gig in Atlanta, his style of play offers poolies rewards in many of the categories you have listed. Although Gustavsson is a great selection if he is available with this pick, he is slated as a back-up in Toronto and may struggle to adapt to the NHL.


Mailbag: Brunnstrom's Outlook

"Hey Mark, you've been rocking the summer blogs. What sort of output do you think we'll get from Fabian Brunnstrom next season - bad like last year, or is he going to get it together? Thanks in advance and I enjoy the read each day."


Andy, the hype that followed Brunnstrom over from Sweden last off-season you would have expected the next coming of Peter Forsberg. Brunnstrom struggled mightily last year and frustrated owners that drafted him. With 29 points in 55 games, Brunnstrom saw time in the press box and the infirmary.

Don’t expect a break-out season next year. Brunnstrom wasn’t able to capitalize with all the injuries to key players in Dallas and floated between the third and fourth lines. He appears to be a streaky scorer that can score in bunches, though it is not enough to consider picking him up in a draft. Look for Brunnstrom to increase his point totals slightly for next season but you should still pass on this over-hyped Swede.


Tampa Bay Lightning Sign Alex Tanguay

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed winger Alex Tanguay to a 1 year contract for $2.5 Million dollars.

Tampa has landed a top six forward that should be able to help guide the club towards the playoffs. With the buy-out of Vaclav Prospal there was a big void left on the wing. The Lightning hope that Tanguay can prove to be a more consitant scorere with a more managable contract.

There has to be a lingering injury concern with Tanguay as it has taken him 2 months to find a home. In 50 games last season in Montreal, Tanguay scored 41 points before a shoulder injury sidelined the talented player. With the ability to average a point per game, Tanguay may fall in drafts due to a nagging injury. He should be looked at as a high risk, high reward player at theis point. Playing with two premiere forwards in the game will only elevate his value and point totals. Grab Tanguay in middle rounds as even if he is still injured he will still net 50 points.


Canucks Trade for Ehrhoff and Sign Schneider

The Vancouver Canucks have traded and to the San Jose Sharks for defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich. The Canucks have also signed veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider to a 1 year contract.

The Canucks have added a rising defensive star and veteran skill and leadership to their back-end. Building their team from the goaltender out, the Canucks have strengthened the defensive corps to be able to complete with the top teams in the West.

Christian Ehrhoff quietly scored 42 points last season in San Jose while playing 77 games. A factor in 5 on 5 play, Ehrhoff also has the offensive skill to contribute on the powerplay. Ehrhoff will play top 4 minutes in Vancouver and should have similar numbers to last season. Look to draft Ehrhoff in middle rounds of your draft.

Mathieu Schneider was one of the bright spots on a struggling Canadiens team last year. After his trade from Atlanta, Schneider paid huge dividends on the Habs powerplay. Schneider, now 41, still is an effective option in any pool format. As a powerplay specialist, Schneider owns a booming slapshot and accumulates most of his points on the PP. If Schneider is available in later rounds, he is worth taking a flyer on.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

JFH Top 20 Centers

It’s that time of year where everyone is looking to get an edge come draft day. Just Fantasy Hockey wants to help you get the most out of your draft and take your team to the next level.

The center position is one of great importance on your fantasy team as they contribute in all facets of the game and generally lead teams in scoring. Drafting a number one center should be a priority for any team on draft day as there are a limited number of elite stars but plenty point per game centers.

Here is a point forecast for the top 20 JFH centers in the NHL for 2009 - 2010.


Malkin, Evgeni - PIT - 23 - 82 - 35 - 78 - 113 - 110
Crosby, Sidney - PIT - 21 - 77 - 33 - 70 - 103 - 105
Getzlaf, Ryan - ANA - 24 - 81 - 25 - 66 - 91 - 95
Datsyuk, Pavel - DET - 31 - 81 - 32 - 65 - 97 - 92
Backstrom, Nicklas - WAS - 21 - 82 - 22 - 66 - 88 - 91
Lecavalier, Vincent - TAM - 29 - 77 - 29 - 38 - 67 - 91
Savard, Marc - BOS - 32 - 82 - 25 - 63 - 88 - 91
Carter, Jef f - PHI - 24 - 82 - 46 - 38 - 84 - 86
Sedin, Henrik - VAN - 28 - 82 - 22 - 60 - 82 - 84
Spezza, Jason - OTT - 26 - 82 - 32 - 41 - 73 - 84
Thornton, Joe - SJS - 30 - 82 - 25 - 61 - 86 - 84
Richards, Mike - PHI - 24 - 79 - 30 - 50 - 80 - 82
Staal, Eric - CAR - 24 - 82 - 40 - 35 - 75 - 82
Cammalleri, Michael - MON - 27 - 81 - 39 - 43 - 82 - 78
Kopitar, Anze - LAK - 21 - 82- 27 - 39 - 66 - 78
Zetterberg, Henrik - DET - 28 - 77 - 31- 42 -73 - 77
Roy, Derek - BUF - 26 - 82 - 28 - 42 - 70 - 75
Stastny, Paul - COL - 23 - 45 - 11 - 25 - 36 - 75
McDonald, Andy - STL - 31 - 46 - 15 - 29 - 44 - 74
Koivu, Mikko - MIN - 26 - 79 - 20 - 47 - 67 - 73

The question remains for many poolies, “Where do I draft these players?’

There is no simple answer for that question as there are many grey areas when drafting. The best advice that can be offered on draft day is to get the best player available at any position.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

NHL's Top Enforcers

In the world of the new NHL, the word enforcer or ‘goon’ has taken on a whole new meaning. The following list details the top 10 players that spend the most time in the box.

Rank – Name – Team – POS – GP – PIMS – PTS
1. Daniel Carcillo - PHI - LW - 74 - 254 – 14
2. Shane O'Brien - VAN - D - 77 - 196 - 10
3. Colton Orr - TOR - RW - 82 - 193 - 5
4. Zack Stortini - MIN - RW - 52 - 181 - 11
5. Jared Boll - CBJ - RW - 75 - 180 - 14
6. Eric Boulton - ATL - LW - 76 - 176 - 13
7. Riley Cote – PHI - LW - 63 - 174 - 3
8. Eric Godard - PIT - RW - 71 - 171 - 4
9. David Backes - STL - RW - 82 - 165 - 54
10. David Clarkson - NJD - RW - 82 – 164 -32

Of the above-listed players, only David Backes would be considered a candidate to be drafted in the early middle rounds of your draft. At 25, Backes is a legitimate enforcer with a knack for scoring goals, as well. Second with the Blues in scoring last season, Backes should once again have similar numbers to last season.

David Clarkson is another great option to draft in later rounds of your pool as he contributes both in scoring and with his fists. He should see increased ice time in New Jersey next season and contribute more on the score sheet.

The remaining members of the list offer limited ability to score points but offer much more value in the PIMs department. The above-noted players should be available in late rounds of your draft or even on the waiver wire.


Mailbag: New York Islanders Goaltending

Hey guys, what in the world is going on with the Isles? Dipietro, Roloson, AND NOW BIRON? Is Dipietro still injured? What will happen come the start of the season?
Thanks, Kevin

Hi Kevin, thanks for the question. It seems that there are still some questions with Rick DiPietro’s health. There has been very little in way of information regarding his knee injury from last season. Knee problems are the type of injury that will linger and last for a career. I would not expect DiPietro to be on the opening-day roster as he is not attending the 2009 United States Men’s Orientation Camp—a clear indication that he still has injury problems. When healthy, DiPietro remains a top-rated fantasy goalie on a team that is less than fantastic. His value is reduced to a late-round selection or a waiver pick-up at this point, until he can prove he is 100%.

With the addition of Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron, the Islanders have now secured themselves with two legitimate starting goaltenders. Each goalie will allow the Islanders to compete on a nightly basis, but their fantasy value is minimal at best.

Send all questions to and check back often for further updates and to get your FREE Just Fantasy Hockey Forecaster.


Detroit Red Wings Sign Bertuzzi

The Detroit Red wings have signed Todd Bertuzzi to a 1 year contract.

Todd Bertuzzi is returning to the Red Wings after a 3 year absence that has seen him play for 4 different teams in 3 years. Bertuzzi still plays a power-forward style of game that offered him success in the league 7 seasons ago.

Now an injury risk, Bertuzzi still has a fantasy upside. In 66 games last season, Bertuzzi scored 44 points and added 74 PIMs to his totals. He will be bounced around the top three lines in Detroit and should offer similar number to last season. Draft Bertuzzi with caution, if he is available in later rounds he is worth taking a risk on.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

New York Rangers Sign Prospal

The New York Rangers have signed winger Vaclav Prospal to a 1 year, $1.1 Million Dollar contract.

The Rangers have added a top 6 winger at with an affordable contract after walking away from the Nikolai Zherdev salary arbitration award. Coach Tortorella and Prospal will be reunited yet again and will hopefully be able to ignite the Czech winger once again.

Vaclav Prospal’s yo-yo scoring statistics over the years have frustrated fantasy owners time and time again. Last season in Tampa, Prospal netted 45 points in 82 games which was his lowest total since 2000-01. Prospal is now due for another bounce back season and will end up playing on the top 2 lines in New York. Owners should expect Prospal to flirt with 60 points next season and he is a risky pick in middle rounds of your draft.


Tampa Trades Artyukhin to Anaheim

The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded tough guy Evgeny Artyukhin to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Drew Milller and a third round draft pick in 2010.

Evgeny Artyukhin is an intimidating force on the ice, not because he can score, but because he can fight. With 151 PIMs in 73 games, Artyukhin added a mere 16 points. With more fighting sense than hockey sense, Artyukhin has limited fantasy value in all formats and can be had in late rounds or on waivers.

Drew Miller, the brother of all-star goaltender Ryan, has no fantasy value and is used primarily as a depth player in the NHL. The Lightning should use Miller on the third and fourth lines which give him no fantasy relevance.


Detroit Red Wings Sign Williams and Eaves

The Detroit Red Wings have Jason Williams to a 1 year, $1.5 Million dollar contract and Patrick Eaves to a 1 year, $500 Thousand dollar contract.

The Red Wings have been put into difficult position by losing Hossa, Hudler and Kopecky this offseason. The need to fill their top offensive lines became a priority, but with limited salary cap room the Red Wings had to make smart moves on how to add skilled depth to the line-up.

Jason Williams split last season with the Thrashers and Blue Jackets. With 47 points in 80 games, Williams should be inserted on the top 2 lines in Detroit. At 29 years old, Williams could be an excellent pick in middle rounds as a depth winger. Owners should expect to see him hit 55 points next season, any more will exceed expectations.

Patrick Eaves is a 25 year old winger that has never hit his potential. Last season in Carolina, Eaves scored 14 points in 74 games and averaged 11 minutes of ice-time. Look for Eaves to have similar numbers again next season in Detroit. He should line up on the third or fourth line and have limited scoring potential.


Buffalo Sabres Sign Mike Grier

The Buffalo Sabres have signed winger Mike Grier to a one year contract.

Mike Grier returns to Buffalo after a 3 year west coast stint with the San Jose Sharks. During his time in California, Grier was used as a vital piece in helping lead the Sharks to their Presidents Trophy season. With his return to Buffalo, the Sabres add a veteran leadership in and out of the dressing room, something they have been missing since the departure of Briere and Drury.

Mike Grier offers no fantasy value to owners but will help the youngsters in Buffalo get closer to their potential on the ice.