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Avoid These Draft Day Busts

by chewy 20. September 2013 06:27
Everyone likes a big bust.  Until draft day.  On draft day, a big bust can ruin your day.  The guys in this list will get drafted far earlier than they should. Don't get caught up in the hype. Sit back and let the less-informed GM's waste a pick, while you go for value.

Offense

Chris Kunitz             PIT     
Last season was special for Kunitz.
It was fantastic. But it will never happen again. Kunitz finished 2nd overall in fantasy points and was a legitimate challenger for the Art Ross Trophy once it was clear that Crosby wouldn't return. But without Crosby, the production slowed down considerably. He should continue to provide piggy-back value from Crosby and/or Malkin, but a repeat of last year's magic is extremely unlikely.

Daniel Sedin             VAN     
It's been two straight down seasons for Daniel Sedin, following his monster effort in 2010-11. With the culture (and coaching) shift in Vancouver, it's not a warm-fuzzy feeling about the prospects for a Sedin revival. He, and brother Henrik, will probably be drafted too early based on name-recognition. Don't overreach here.

Martin St. Louis             TAM     
Sure it was somewhat cheapened by Crosby's absence, but a scoring title is a scoring title. At age 38, it was one of the great accomplishments in hockey in the last 25 years or more. Just don't bank on a repeat. He will absolutely be drafted too early based on last season's success. As long as he stays paired with Stamkos, you can count on another good season (many assists), but another scoring title has to be out of reach.


Defense

Francois Beauchemin             ANA     
Beauchemin had a surprise breakthrough / comeback season last year, even earning some consideration for the Norris at various points. At 33 years of age, it's hard to envision any amount of upside beyond a 35-point production. The positive buzz last season will likely carry over, causing some poor soul to reach too early. Wait on him as a depth option.

Drew Doughty             LOS     
Each season, expectations are out there that Doughty will be a fantasy beast, the way he was in 2009-10. After three straight mediocre seasons, the shine has started to fade. He's still a solid #1 option, but cannot be considered among the elite at this point (at least in fantasy circles).

Victor Hedman             TAM     
Hedman entered the NHL with enormous fantasy expectations, due mostly to his high draft status. While he has been serviceable for the Lightning in the real world, he has yet to become a significant factor in the fantasy world. His points per game did tick in the positive direction last season, but not enough to get overly excited. If you're satisfied with 8 goals and 32 points, he's your man.


Goalies

Carey Price             MON     
Montreal put together a surprising start, but were somewhat exposed towards the end of the season and into the playoffs. At the same time, Price was steady, but not spectacular. His stats were actually the worst he's posted since 2009. Your view on Price's value will largely be driven by your view on Montreal's direction. I see them moving in the opposite direction this season and missing the playoffs. Likewise, I don't see Price being much more than a mediocre #2 option for your fantasy squad.

Cam Ward             CAR     
With Ward, it's important to know your particular league's point system. If saves are heavily rewarded, he's your man. Ward faces more rubber each night than most, playing behind the pourous Carolina defense. However, if more traditional stats, such as GAA and Wins drive your point system, Ward may be a bit overrated. Through 8 seasons, he has gone below a 2.5 GAA just once. Last season, in limited action, he posted a 2.84. Not exactly "good" by today's NHL standards. His job in Carolina is never in doubt, so he will get his chances. Consider him a serviceable #2 goalie option.

Rebound Players for 2013-14

by chewy 16. September 2013 06:49

 Sometimes you have to just forgive and forget. Last season is in the past and let's move on. Here are some guys who should see a significant rebound in their production this season.

 

Offense

 

Jordan Eberle                     EDM         

Eberle's production slipped a bit in his 3rd NHL season, failing to build on his previous year's success. He was still a decent fantasy winger. Look for a major rebound in his numbers in 2013-14. He should deliver near point-per-game output and is a very good bet for 30 goals. If the stars align, he could join teammate Taylor Hall in the hunt for a scoring title this season.

 

Marian Gaborik                     COB         

Gaborik struggled through a rocky season in 2013 with the Rangers before being dealt to the Jackets at the deadline. He is now the showcase attraction in town once more. It remains to be seen what he will do in a full season with Columbus, but you should figure on a serous rebound from last year's disappointing numbers. Two straight healthy seasons have me willing to take a gamble on him.

 

Milan Lucic                     BOS         

Lucic completely disappeared as the season wore on, to the point where he was a healthy scratch going into the playoffs. That all got sorted out nicely in the postseason, as he returned to his beastly self. Look for a big rebound in 2013-14.

 

Corey Perry                     ANA         

After a dominating 50-goal, MVP season in 2010-11, Perry followed it up with 2 disappointing efforts. With Bobby Ryan out of town, and Selanne fading or retired, all eyes will be on Perry to provide the goal scoring for the Ducks. Expect a nice rebound this season. Even if the goals don't pile up, he contributes enough in every category (especially PIMs), to make him one of the most reliable fantasy wingers in the game.

 

Tyler Seguin                     DAL         

Is he mature enough to be the leader most projected him to be when drafted #2 overall? Who cares, as long as he rebounds from last season's poor fantasy showing. Which I say he will. The fresh start in Dallas should spur him on to fantasy stardom. I'm expecting big things from Seguin in Dallas this season.

 

Jeff Skinner                     CAR         

After winning the Calder Trophy in his rookie season, Skinner has slipped back, due to several bouts with concussions. Should he shake the headaches, Skinner certainly has the potential to reemerge as a fantasy star for the Canes. Look for a big rebound this season.

 

 

Defense

 

Tyler Myers                     BUF         

A dude this big and talented can't continue to plummet like this. Following an enormous fantasy season, his production has dipped steadily with each passing season. It's now or never for Myers to redeem some of that promise that earned him that Calder hardware in 2009-10.

 

Alex Pietrangelo                     STL         

Following two fantastic seasons to kick off his career with St. Louis, Pietrangelo was a slight disappointment last season. He ranked 35th in total fantasy points among defensemen.  Expect a significant rebound from Pietrangelo this season.

 

 

Goalies

 

Roberto Luongo                     VAN         T

he goalie trade finally materialized for the Canucks, but of course, it didn't go according to the plan. Luongo now finds himself as the surprise unchallenged starter for Vancouver. Assuming everyone can kiss and make up, this has the makings of a potentially strong comeback season for Luongo on the fantasy front. On the downside, if Coach Torts has his way, Luongo will see less shots than he has been accustomed to, meaning the saves column will take a hit. Still, the increased volume of play will make him a viable #1 option in net once more. The added incentive to play his way into the #1 job for Team Canada won't hurt much either.

 

Jonathan Quick                     LOS         

Simply put, Quick tanked last season. He showed no signs of the man who dominated the position for the prior two years. That changed in the playoffs, as he returned to form and carried the team for 2 rounds. That run brings hope to fantasy owners looking for a top notch goalie that may be underrated at this year's draft. He didn't even crack the top 20 in fantasy points by the end of last season. Look for a rapid return to the top 5 this year.

 

Pekka Rinne                     NAS         

Rinne, along with the entire Nashville team, took a big step backwards last season. Maybe they missed Suter that much. Despite the slip, Rinne remains the epitome of the word "workhorse". He will continue to own the pipes for 85% of the action in Nashville, which means wins should continue to pile up. Look for a bounce back in other categories, with a Preds team that just has to be better this season.

Breakout Fantasy Players for 2013-14

by chewy 10. September 2013 06:23

If you're in it to win, and not just have a good showing, you need to capitalize on a breakout player or two.  Finding these guys is a challenge.  Here are a few players that seem poised to post huge jumps in a numbers over their previous highs:

 

Offense

 

Jamie Benn                     DAL         

Benn has been on the cusp of breaking out as a fantasy star for several seasons. With the retooling in Dallas, this could finally be the year he wins you a championship. If all pans out and he meshes well with newcomers like Seguin, he should easily set some career highs.

 

Beau Bennett                     PIT         

Bennett should be the one name on everyone's list of potential breakout players in 2013-14. He showed flashes of offensive magic in limited action last season, but couldn't stick on the top 2 stacked lines in Pittsburgh. The Pens made a point of announcing that he will have a much larger role this time around, immediately following the embarrassing playoff sweep.

 

Jonathan Drouin                     TAM         

It's scary to think how productive this rookie could be, should he find his way onto a line with Stamkos and St. Louis. He's my pick for Rookie of the Year and one of the only rookies I would spend a draft pick on this year.

 

Alex Galchenyuk                     MON         

Galchenyuk had a fine rookie season and is poised for a potential breakout campaign in his second year with Montreal. Despite playing 3rd line minutes, he made a strong case for the Calder. He should move up the depth chart for the Habs this season and become a worthy fantasy factor.

 

Evander Kane                     WIN         

Kane had a bit of a breakout in 2011-12 with a 30 goal effort, but with a relatively paltry assist total, he finished with just 57 points. This should be the year that Kane breaks out into clear star status. Another 30 goals should be a given, but expect a better showing in the 2nd column.

 

Nail Yakupov                     EDM         

Yakupov was good enough in his rookie campaign to give fantasy owners something to be excited about this time around. As the season progressed, he started to earn much more ice time. He finished the year with 6 goals in the final 3 games. Take a chance on a monster breakout season.

 

 

Defense

 

Jonas Brodin                     MIN         

While he has yet to display much goal scoring acumen, the rookie performed quite well for the Wild last season. He logged huge minutes for a first year defenseman and moved the puck well. There is much offensive upside. As the Wild improve, so will Brodin's fantasy value. Look for a potential breakout season here.

 

Simon Despres                     PIT         

The Pens intentionally held Despres back last season, despite his enormous potential. Minutes after being bumped from the playoffs, the team made a point of saying that Despres will enjoy a much bigger role with the team in 2013-14. With the amount of goal scoring that goes on in Pittsburgh, that means plenty of potential. This will be the breakout season for Despres.

 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson                     PHO         

Ekman-Larsson continues to progress, heading into his fourth season in the NHL. He has been a bit overshadowed by Yandle in Phoenix, but that shouldn't stop you from snatching him up mid-draft. He should set a career high in points, and may make a go at 50.

 

Dougie Hamilton                     BOS         

Hamilton entered his rookie season with high expectations. At times, he met those, at other times, he faded from view. Ultimately, he had a respectable set of numbers by season's end. Look for the progression to continue this season. He could easily bust out with a big 40-50 point season.

 

Travis Hamonic                     NYI         

As an all-around fantasy contributor, Hamonic has the potential to break out this season. Despite his stature, he piles up the pentalty minutes. The playoffs last season showed what an enormous pest he can be. Too bad there's no fantasy stat for annoying. Sticking to the stats that are counted, his production continues to improve entering his fourth NHL campaign. Definite upside here.

 

Justin Schultz                     EDM         

An ugly number in the plus/minus column scarred an otherwise solid rookie season last year. Given a full slate of games and a more mature team around him, Schultz could become a household fantasy name in 2013-14. He'll be the go-to guy on the backend for an Oilers team prime to score a metric buttload of goals. Don't be surprised if he tops 15 goals himself.

 

Slava Voynov                     LOS         

Voynov has flown somewhat under the radar outside of the LA in his first two NHL seasons. During that time, he put together two very solid seasons, logging big minutes and putting up decent point totals for the Kings. He was rewarded this summer with a big six year deal, so the Kings believe he's their man on the blueline. His numbers in the playoffs were even better, as he contributed 2 goals in each of LA's 3 playoffs series. Look for a potential breakout season for Voynov as he starts to get the fantasy attention he has earned.

Free Agent Frenzy Fantasy Impact (Offseason Update for Week 3)

by chewy 12. July 2013 06:30

This past Friday was one of the busiest days in NHL history in terms of significant transactions, rivaling the best trade deadline days in recent memory.  It started at the noon buzzer and ran straight through the evening.  Many of the deals will have little to no fantasy impact (see Anaheim signing Nolan Yonkman for more); however, many of the deals will play into your draft prep later this summer.  Here are the moves this week (mostly from July 5) that you need to be aware of before heading to the draft table, ranked roughly in terms of fantasy impact.

(Note: Players re-signing with their current teams are not included here)

 

 

BIG DEALS

 

Bobby Ryan Traded to Ottawa

Though technically not a free agent signing, this move was the biggest of the day.  This deal will have fantasy implications for years to come, particularly on the Anaheim side.  But in the near term, this deal is all about Bobby Ryan landing in Ottawa.  He will automatically slide in as the #1 LW for the Sens, reserving a spot with Spezza (when healthy) or Turris (when not).  Mr. Ryan has to this point left us wanting more from a fantasy perspective.  The highlight reels would suggest that his point totals should be higher.  Perhaps the change in scenery will give him the boost to return to 30 goal scorer status.  He's declined over the last 2 seasons, so this may be the jump he needs.

 

Ray Emery (PHI)

On the surface, seeing the Flyers bring the goalie of the year into town, particularly one who has followed such a rocky road throughout his career, doesn't seem like much.  But don't be fooled.  This may ultimately be the most significant move of the off-season.  Yes, I just typed that.  Consider this:  had the Flyers received above-average goaltending over the past two seasons, the could have written a significantly different history.  This is a good team with bad goaltending.  Emery has proven over the past few seasons that he is a good soldier, and a very good goaltender.  What he needs is opportunity and good health.  The Flyers gave him the first piece.  If he can keep the doctor away, we may have a serious value pick with Emery.

 

Nathan Horton (COB)

Another headline move, Horton brings his tremendous talent (and history of injuries)  to the rising Jackets.  Question his motives if you like, but this feels like a nice fit.  The Jackets (and you, if you draft him) will have to wait a few months for his services, but once he arrives, he should bolster a team that may be fantasy relevant for the first time ever.

 

Jarome Iginla (BOS)

If you're a Bruins fan, this move happened just a couple months too late.  Iginla was never proper utilized in Pittsburgh, being forced into the off wing.  His time (and results) with the Pens could have been so much more.  Too many cooks, or something like that.  He's coming into a situation in Boston with a sudden need for a first or second line Right Winger to play with top notch talent at center and LW.  This should be a perfect fit and the opportunity Iginla needed to revive his fantasy status.  Look for a bump in numbers.

 

 

 

MID-RANGE DEALS

 

Valtteri Filppula (TB)

Apparently Stevie Yzerman saw enough of Filppula during their brief overlap in Detroit to convince him to pay the money Detroit wasn't willing to dish out.  With Lecavalier sliding out, Filppula defaults into the #2 center role.  A slight increase in playing time may be a bonus for a player who has been a marginal fanstasy factor throughout his career.

 

Mike Ribeiro (PHO)

Ribeiro benefitted from his surroundings in Washington, more than he will in Phoenix.  Expect a  "dive" in his points.  (Sorry, I will always see this punk as the league's top diver).

 

Pierre-Marc Bouchard (NYI)

This was another under-the-radar move that may ultimately play out into a major factor in the upcoming season.  Bouchard has occasionally shown flashes of really-goodness during his time with the Wild.  He joins a crew of fast, gifted skaters who are given the freedom to be creative, which suits his game better than the Minnesota system.  Look for Bouchard's stock to rise in fantasy circles next season.

 

David Clarkson (TOR)

Clarkson was a big signing for the Leafs, but like most analysts, I tend to think he was overpaid in dollars and term.  This will ultimately haunt Toronto in a few years.  As for next season, Clarkson should benefit from the move to Toronto.  The top 6 talent in Toronto is fairly stronger than the group he left in Jersey.

 

Derek Roy (STL)

This signing came a day or two late and was largely ignored.  But don't count Roy out just yet.  He's capable of a point a game production, and St. Louis is in need of a playmaker like him at the center position.  While he's been around seemingly for ever, he just turned 30 in May.  There is still plenty of offensive tread on these tires and should surprise many with a solid fantasy season for the Blues this year.

 

Stephen Weiss (DET)

The other new face in Detroit, (see below), may finally emerge as a legit fantasy option.  Fans who followed hockey in Miami know that Weiss is a talented player who had very little talent to help boost his production.  A few powerplay minutes a game with Datsyuk may be enough to re-introduce this first round draft pick to the hockey community.  Expect career numbers for Weiss with his new squad.

 

 

 

SMALL POTATOES

 

Daniel Alfredsson (DET)

Yes, it was big news in terms of legacy and hurt feelings.  If you're drafting a roster based on such emotions, you're on the wrong website.  Alfredsson's experiment in Detroit will be fun to watch, but it will barely register in fantasy hockey circles.

 

Viktor Stalberg (NAS)

Stalberg was somewhat trapped on the depth chart in Chicago, having to play behind Kane and Hossa on the right side.  The move to Nashville at least opens to door to more minutes and more opportunity.  He's one of the fastest skaters in the league and should see his stock rise this season.

 

Michael Ryder (NJ)

Ryder is donning his fourth different jersey in four seasons.  And all he's done at each stop is score goals.  He will be counted on to fill the void left by Clarkson.  At 33 years old, he probably has one or two solid chances at 30 goals seasons left in the tank.

 

Anton Khudobin (CAR)

The relevance of this moves is dependent upon the health of Mr. Cam Ward.  Ward is the undisputed man in net for the Canes.  Should he return fully healed of his knee ailments, he will dominate the crease minutes, leaving Khudobin in the same situation he left in Boston.  However, if the injury woes persist for Ward, Khudobin is a fine plan B that Carolina has traditionally lacked.  If the cards fall his way, Khudobin could be a sweet sleeper option.

 

 

 

NOTABLY MENTIONS

 

Ilya Kovalchuk Flees to KHL

Talk about screwing the Devils.  They signed this guy to a monster deal and so couldn't afford Parise or Clarkson.  He leaves after free agency, leaving New Jersey with nothing.  This move effectively makes New Jersey a fantasy hockey graveyard.  I can't see a single Devil being drafted in fantasy hockey next season.

 

Alexander Burmistrov (WPG) off to KHL

So much talent that never seemed to click in the NHL.  Burmistrov provided some top notch highlights, but just not enough of them.  If you're preparing for your KHL fantasy hockey draft, take note.  Otherwise, get your pen out and cross him off your cheatsheet now.

 

 

What's To Come

 

While most of the news has already been written, there are a few names of fantasy note still sitting without a contract for next season.  Here are the most intriguing to watch over the coming weeks:

 

  • Jaromir Jagr -- while the goals refused to come, he showed he is still a top playmaker at age 41
  • Mikhail Grabovski -- despite the potty-mouth and insubordination, he can score points.
  • Ryan Whitney -- maybe someday that potential will be realized. 
  • Tim Thomas -- this guy has to come back.  Somebody please sign Tim Thomas.
  • Ilya Bryzgalov -- this story is not over yet.

Fantasy Hockey Headlines - Offseason Week 2

by chewy 5. July 2013 06:54

Busy week, with the draft and teams scrambling to get their houses in order leading up to Free Agent Frenzy this weekend.  Two major trades dominated the headlines this week, while a few others may impact your draft preparations.

 

 

Friday, June 28

  • Alfredsson Will Return Next Season:

At age 40, the Captain shouldn't be considered a huge fantasy factor at this point; however, he finds ways to keep himself relevant.  He will remain an option on offense for deeper leagues as long as he refuses to retire.  The possible is out there that Ottawa may not be his home...

 

  • Brad Richards Will NOT Be Bought Out

Another Sather move that boggles the mind.  Richards will return next season.  Maybe a new coach will revive his career.  Consider him a borderline fantasy center next year.

 

 

Saturday, June 29

  • Horton Will Leave the Bruins

Horton had a decent run with Boston from a fantasy perspective.  His health will always be a factor, but he should bring goal-scoring to his next destination.

 

 

Sunday, June 30

  • NHL Draft
  • Vancouver Trades Schneider to New Jersey

This year's trade floor shocker was a dandy.  Lou isn't content to roll with a pair of senior citizens again at the Rock, so he dealt for the Vancouver goalie that wasn't supposed to be on the block.  Schneider won't be the clear-cut in New Jersey (a situation he's vaguely familiar with), but has a better shot at fantasy relevance this year, and especially two years from now.  This move certainly boosts Luongo back into the top 10, while dropping Brodeur way down to backup fantasy duty.

 

  • Hurricanes Trade McBain to Buffalo

McBain should see a small boost in his fantasy value.  He has potential to be a decent starting defenseman, and Buffalo boasts a little more offensive gusto than the Canes.  This move cements Justin Faulk as the top dog in Carolina.

 

  • Chicago Trades Bolland and Frolik

While these guys have garnered headlines in recent weeks, once there are 30 teams playing hockey in October, you'll likely forget where they landed.  Which, incidentally, was Toronto and Winnepeg, respectively.

 

  • Islanders Trade Nino Niederreiter to Wild for Cal Clutterbuck

Forget the fantasy factor, It's a rare treat to have a deal that involves two of the best names in hockey.  Nino goes from irrelevance to potential top-6 talent in Minnesota.  Clutterbuck will mostly be drafted in leagues that value PIMs with an occasional goal or two.

 

 

Monday, July 1

  • Tim Thomas Ready to Revive Career

Few players can bring out such diverse, strong emotions as the Vezina/Conn Smythe/Obama snubber.  Personally, I'm a fan, so I hope to see him land somewhere special.  Don't expect his fantasy value to be very high regardless of destination.  Unless, that is, he becomes the next Flyers experiment in net.

 

 

Tuesday, July 2

  • Isles Buy Out DiPietro

With Nabokov likely flying back to Russia, Thomas looking for a new home, and now DiPietro hitting the road, the Islanders go into this weekend on the hunt for a #1 goalie.

 

  • Pens Re-sign Letang and Dupuis

It was looking questionable at times, but the Pens now have their full complement of offensive weapons locked up.  This means another few seasons of fantasy dominance by the Penguins.

 

  • Flyers Sign Lecavalier

After cutting ties with Briere, the Flyers added Lecavalier to the set of offensive weapons at their disposal.  As for the fantasy impact, I wouldn't plan on any significant change to his production in the new home.  He should continue to exist as a depth option on offense for the next few seasons.

 

Wednesday, July 3

  • Toronto Puts Grabovski on Waivers

Just a couple months after signing him to a 5 year deal, the Leafs have apparently changed their minds.  Depending on where he lands, Grabovski should remain a border-line offensive option in the fantasy world.

 

 

Thursday, July 4

  • Dallas / Boston Swing 7-Man Deal

While this deal with have fantasy implication for years to come (with the likes of Joe Morrow some day being a potential fantasy star, now in Boston), a couple of significant fantasy players will have new homes and new roles. 

Tyler Seguin leaves what was becoming an awkward situation for him in Boston, to become the undisputed #1 center and star for the Stars.  While he will see a drop off in surrounding talent, he should see time with Jamie Benn, which ought to help both of their numbers.

Loui Eriksson had faded in recent seasons, but the presence of quality centers in Boston may help him return to the top tier right winger status.

Rich Peverley should remain a viable depth option with occasion goal scoring spurts.

 

  • Danny Briere Signs with Montreal

Briere has become a non-factor in regular season fantasy circles.  He seems to save all his scoring for the post-season.  Don't expect anything earth shaking from this deal.  He may see a short term bump as he tries to proves himself in the homeland early in the season.  Worth a late-round look.

 

 

Look for a flurry of fantasy-relevant deals over the weekend, as Free Agent season opens at noon...

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