Thursday, March 12, 2009
Every new NHL season adds a new crop of rookies and a bunch of new opportunities for owners to grab the next player that may help their team go forward. At this point, we should all be aware of the sophomore slump, as we have seen many current NHLers go through it and either rise above or crumble under the pressure.
This year in the NHL we have observed many rookies make immediate impact on their clubs. But just because they play a lot of minutes does not necessarily make them keeper-worthy. The long-term value has to be great to keep these players over others that may have already found their role in the league.
1. Bobby Ryan – Ryan has finally emerged and found a place on the top two lines in Anaheim. He currently has 43 points in 49 games and 22 PIMS and looks stronger every game he plays. Ryan will be a looked-upon a cornerstone in the Ducks organization in the coming years and will mesh well with current stars Getzlaf and Perry.
2. Kris Versteeg – Versteeg came out of nowhere this years and surprised fantasy owners. Surely a waiver pickup in your league, he leads all rookies in scoring with 45 points in 65 games. Versteeg plays a power-forward type of game that allows him to create room on the top two lines in Chicago. A fantasy bonus is that he also puts up PIMS. Look for him to continue his strong play next year and upgrade his numbers.
3. Derick Brassard – Brassard was lost earlier this season to injury. He was on a great pace of 25 points in 31 games on a Columbus team that is dying for a number-one centre. Brassard possesses excellent scoring instincts and fits well with sniper Rick Nash. Look for him to be a point-per-game scorer next season barring any major injuries.
Worth a long look – these guys almost made the grade, and if you cannot find a better option, then these players are worth taking a risk on.
1. Steve Mason – Mason is having a sensational rookie campaign and is leading Columbus right into a playoff position. Leading the league with nine shutouts, Mason has truly excelled in the Ken Hitchcock system of hockey. Columbus has given Mason the reins by trading Pascal Leclaire to the Senators. He will be the starting goalie for the Jackets next season; the only question is whether or not another rookie will displace him as he did Leclaire.
2. Pekka Rinne – Rinne was virtually unknown in the NHL at the start of the season. Sitting on the bench for the first half of the season, Rinne has beat out fellow teammate Dan Ellis as the starter in Nashville. Rinne is a huge goalie at 6’5”, covers a large amount of net, and has put up great number at every level of play. The concern with Rinne is that next year he will be in a tandem with Ellis as Nashville looks for a true number-one guy.
3. Drew Doughty – Doughty has excelled in his first year of play, outplaying fellow first-round defenders Schenn and Bogosian. He has put up 21 points in 65 games and 42 PIMS on a young and improving Kings team. Averaging 23 minutes off ice time a night, Doughty will only get better with time. Look at Doughty to be in the top pairing on the Kings for years to come.
Being in a keeper fantasy pool is a lot of responsibility. As a dedicated owner, you need to ensure that you have amassed the best possible talent carrying forward. The above-mentioned players should help you keep your team moving in the right direction and help you reach your goal.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The AHL board of governors have voted to uphold a suspension to Steve Downie of the Norfolk Admirals.
Read the complete TSN article here.
Fantasy Outlook: Steve Downie was suspended for 20 games on March 5 for striking an official with his stick. The initial suspension was appealed by Norfolk but the decision was upheld.
Fantasy owners may have thought that Downie being moved from the deep Philadelphia organization to the thin Tampa squad would result in more playing time. Since being traded to Tampa, Downie has played in 23 games. Not a scoring threat, he has 3 goals and 3 assists with the Lightning. Downie has also amassed 54 penalty minutes in that time. While in Norfolk, Downie has 8 goals and 17 assists, along with 107 PIMS.
Owners should beware when drafting Downie next year. If your league rewards PIMs and you can grab him in a late round in your draft, do it. That being said, don't expect him to be a full-time player. The NHL is moving towards greatly reducing fighting, and that could severly penalize Downie's fantasy value. He has the ability to be a character guy but he has a target on him. Any slip up in the NHL or AHL and he will be looking at another lengthy suspension.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Marks' Take: Carcillo will get every chance to fit in with the Flyers. However, they have walked down this road previously with Steve Downie. If Carcillo can't control himself and be productive, he could very well find himself playing in the AHL.
Marks' Take: Moore priced himself out of Toronto and was shipped down the road. He will fit in nicely in Buffalo by replacing Kotaliks' speed with grit and consistency. Look for Moore be a character player helping the Sabres reach their goal of the playoffs. He will add the odd point but his production will fall.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The Edmonton Oilers acquire Ales Kotalik from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2nd round draft pick.
Fantasy Outlook: The Oilers continue to search for experienced depth and a winger that can mesh with Ales Hemsky.
Kotalik will fit well into Edmonton's fast paced brand of hockey. He has great speed and a rocket shot. A skilled winger, Kotalik is a streaky player and leaves fantasy owners frustrated over his inconsistent output.
Keep an eye on this Kotalik. If he is able to fit in on the top line in Edmonton, he may be able to put up more consistent numbers. Current owners should not expect too much right away. Be patient to see which line he ends up on and if he can develop chemistry with his new linemates.
Fantasy Outlook: Pahlsson was a key component with the Anaheim Ducks, helping them win their Stanley Cup two seasons ago. He will primarily be used as a shut-down guy on the Blackhawks, but will also be able to help with his playoff experience in a young Chicago dressing room.
Fantasy owners should not pass over Pahlsson in a roto league format. He is is tied for 2oth in the league in faceoff percentage and takes key draws. He is an option in a deeper draft if you are looking to upgrade your faceoff category prominence.
James Wisniewski will have the opportunity to learn from two top defencemen in today's NHL. He goes to Anaheim as a depth guy for the time being. He will have to sit tight as Anaheim sorts out their defensive depth chart this off season.
If Wisniewski ends up staying in Anaheim, he could end up third on the depth chart, providing one of Pronger or Niedermayer leave. He would be a good option late in a draft next season as he in an offensive minded player. Current owners should expect that he puts up the average point and pairs with either Neidermayer or Pronger.
The San Jose Sharks have traded defencemen Kyle McLaren to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 6th round draft pick.
Fantasy Outlook: McLaren was banished to the AHL even before the regular season started and was forgotten, until now.
This is a marriage for the Flyers as McLaren fits the perfect mold of a Broadstreet Bully. He is a hard hitting defenceman that will add depth to a depleted Philadelphia blueline. McLaren has a chance to reacquaint himself with the NHL and should be able to fit in nicely.
* Breaking News
Kyle McLaren has has failed his physical with the Philadelphia Flyers and the trade with the Sharks has been voided.
If your league values penalty minutes, McLaren may be an option next season. Look for him late in the draft as a depth defenceman if he can hang on with a team.Mark
The Phoenix Coyotes have traded defenceman Derek Morris to the New York Rangers for defencemen Dmitri Kalinin and forwards Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha.
Fantasy Outlook: The New York Rangers were able to add an aggressive d-man with a bit of offensive ability rolled in.
Morris will fit into the top 2 pairings in New York and provide some grit that they were missing on the back end.
Fantasy owners should be cautious when looking at adding him via the waiver wire. Morris has 12 points in 57 games this season and should not expect an outpouring of points the rest of the way. He is a decent depth option in you need to fill a bench spot.
The Phoenix Coyotes have reloaded their roster obtaining players that have been exiled from their previous teams because they under perform or their contracts are too heavy.
The 3 new Coyotes have no fantasy appeal and owners should steer clear of of these desert dogs.
Fantasy Outlook: It was just a matter of time before Guerin was traded. After the whole ordeal of sitting out the game between the Islanders and Sabres because of a pending deal, he was finally traded.
Even though his better days are behind him, Guerin's leadership and goal scoring prowess should only increase playing on the wing of one of the two leading point scorers in the league.
Guerin will provide adequate support to the Penguins top 6 and should be able help a fantasy owner if they already have him on his roster. Guerin has no keeper value as he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and is a question mark as to where he will end up. If he is available on your waiver wire I would advise you to pick him up, but I would suggest you do not trade for him as the owners of this vet will be asking for a steep price, selling him as Crosby's winger.
The Boston Bruins have acquired veteran Mark Recchi and a 2nd round pick in 2010 from Tampa Bay for defenceman Matt Lashoff and forward Martins Karsums.
Fantasy Outlook: The Bruins have added an invaluable leadership presence to a team that is looking to make a deep run in the playoffs. Recchi, 41, is not a stranger to being traded on deadline day having been moved 5 times late in the season.
This veteran will surely bring the leadership the Bruins were expecting when trading for him. However, owners should not readily run out and pick him up if he is available, until he has developed chemistry and consistent linemates on his new team.
The Boston Bruins trade Petteri Nokelainen to the Anaheim Ducks for defenceman Steve Montador.
Fantasy Outlook: The Boston Bruins have added a hard hitting, depth defencemen for a prospect center.
The Anaheim Ducks continue to remodel their club by moving out another veteran and adding youth and a cheaper contract. Montador didn't look like he fit into their long terms plans after the acquisition of Ryan Whitney from Pittsburgh.
Montador has little fantasy value but will be looked upon to add stability and grit to the Bruins rock solid team. Owners that currently have him on their team should expect more of the same from the big d-man.
Fantasy Outlook: In what is looked at as a small deal in the NHL world, Sabres fans should be relieved. Darcy Regehr has a addressed an issue that has been looming since star goalie Ryan Miller went down with a high ankle sprain.
This move may mean one of two things: Ryan Miller's ankle is sprain is worse than Buffalo is letting on, or the Sabres have given up hope on Patrick Lalime.
The reason this has fantasy implications is because it affects Buffalo's confidence and owners of Ryan Miller should be concerned.
Do not look at Tellqvist as an adequate replacement for Miller. If you have the opportunity to replace Miller with another #1 guy, go for it. If not, add Tellqvist from the waiver wire - only if you have room on your bench.
The Colorado Avalanche trade defenceman Jordon Leopold to the Calgary Flames for Lawrence Nycholat, prospect Ryan Wilson and a 2009 second round pick.
Fantasy Outlook: Calgary made a huge move to secure a top 5 blueline corps. Leopold will help Calgary be one off the monsters in the Western conference.
Colorado was looking to dump salary and Calgary was the beneficiary. The Avalanche receive a late 2nd round pick in 2009 which should help ease the wound from losing Leopold to free agency in July.
This transaction has limited fantasy appeal. Leopold will play well helping the Flames strive for the Stanely Cup. He is, however, buried behind Phaneuf as the power play quarterback and will put up limited points in the final games.
Look for Leopold to be with a new team come July 1st as this is a playoff rental. He will have a better fantasy outlook come July 1st as he will be looked upon a young veteran on another team.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Ottawa trades Antoine Vermette to Columbus for Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd round pick in 2009.
Leclaire put up an impressive 9 shut-outs in 2007-2008, which coincides with the healthiest year of his career. A constant band-aid boy, Leclaire (why do I get the urge to call him Lalime?) has always had a solid pedigree but struggled to put together two good, healthy seasons. With Steve Mason's accelerated development, Columbus felt Leclaire was expendable. The big question though is how much of Leclaire's and Mason's success comes from their talent and how much comes from Ken Hitchcock's meticulous defensive system? In my opinion both goalies have had inflated success in that system and I think Leclaire will be exposed in a soft Sens system. Leclaire doesn't feel he will be able to return this season due to his ankle injury. Next season, I see him as an average starter on an average team, say 28 wins, 2.86 GAA, .907 Save %. With those numbers, he should be available in the middle rounds of your draft and has minimal keeper value.
Keep checking back for more breakdowns and how it affects your fantasy team.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I think that Avery's value has dipped and I caution owners to beware when they are contemplating the keeper value of him. IF he can contribute, and IF he stays away from controversy then he will remain a keeper because of his points and penalty minutes.
Click here for full details from TSN.
Fantasy Outlook: The Wild have locked up the cornerstone of their franchise for another 4 years. In three season in Minnesota he has an amazing record of 84-39-18 with a 2.19 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
He will never be looked at in the top 5 goalies in the league because of the team he is on, but draftees should keep an eye on this guy as he can put up top 5 numbers and possibly fall in any draft past the first couple rounds. If he is available in any league jump on him and hold him close.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Fantasy owners can now rejoice, the first trade of this deadline week has finally been completed. Atlanta has traded veteran defenceman Niclas Havelid to New Jersey for rookie d-man Anssi Salmela.
Fanatsy outlook: Hang on tight fantasy owners. Don't rush out and pickup Havelid. The 35 year old rear guard was strictly brought in for depth purposes. New Jersey is a defence first oriented system and that will only hinder Havelids non-spectacular numbers to date.
If there is any fantasy upside on this deal, it is that Salmela could be looked at as a future fantasy keeper in very deep leagues.
The whole league is holding their breathe waiting for the dominoes to fall.
The rumour mill has been working overtime and with less than 48 hours left before the deadline, I am sure the stories will get even crazier.
Here at Just Fantasy Hockey, we will be breaking down every trade and how they affect you on your fantasy hockey team.
Please check back often to get the latest on the breakdowns ...
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Pittsburgh trades Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.
New Jersey trades David Clarkson, Matt Halischuk, 2009 1st round pick, 2009 2nd round pick and 2010 2nd round pick to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle and Jamal Mayers.