The Shark Blog
30. September 2013 12:50
Take your chances with these guys. May pay off, or it may backfire. In other words, we're not offering any guarantees on these puppies.
Joe Pavelski SAN
Pavelski is rather streaky in terms of fantasy production. He has gone on incredible tears (particularly in the playoffs), but he has also hit some massive dry spells. He has become the more important Joe in San Jose and should he find consistency, could be a steal.
Jason Pominville MIN
Pominville has been a consistently good, but not great, fantasy forward for about a decade. Upon arriving in Minnesota, he had a nice offensive outburst before being hit by a concussion in the playoffs. He will be counted on to contribute on the top 2 lines for the Wild, but it remains to be seen if the head problems will linger.
Alexander Semin CAR
While Semin acquitted himself nicely on his first venture outside of Washington, he still carries a level of risk for investing an early pick. He put up good numbers last season and did his best impersonation of a team player. If he can stay content and rekindle his scoring touch, he could still have plenty of upside. Big swing in terms of how good and how bad he could be this season.
Chris Stewart STL
If you're looking for safe, consistent production each week, you may not have the stomach for drafting Stewart. Since coming to St. Louis, he has failed to live up to his potential that he flashed in Colorado, except in small spurts where he looks brilliant. Should he find consistency, he could be a steal. However, it's far from certain. Consider him a gamble worth taking.
Jiri Tlusty CAR
Tlusty suprised many with his consistent goal scoring last year, elevating expectations for fantasy owners. Perhaps higher than they should. Don't overreach based on one good season. On the other hand, should he remain paired up with Erik Staal for any length of time, he just may do it again.
Andrei Markov MON
Last season, Markov was shockingly healthy and remarkably productive. His talent and reliability have never been an issue when he's on the ice. However, last season's full slate of games was clearly an anomoly. You're rolling those dice to believe he can do it twice in a row. If the gamble pays off, you could have a top 5 fantasy option. More likely, you'll get production for 3/4 of the season and nothing for the rest.
Brian Elliott STL
Elliot seemed to regain control of the goalie situation down the stretch and into the playoffs last seasons. He failed to live up to the insane standard he set the previous year, but made a strong case for #1 job. However, Hitchcock has proven to be quick to change, given his options in net. Should he secure the net full time, his stock could rise. Seems more likely to endure another split crease in 2013-14, which severely limits his viability.
Ray Emery PHI
High Risk, High Reward is the overused phrase that most applies to Ray Emery in the goalie discussion. Emery has paid his dues and shaken the poor reputation he earned early in his career. He put together a fantastic effort as 1B in Chicago last season, and he's ready to make a go at being the Main Man again. His only hurdle will be to dispose of Mason in training camp. His value comes down to two factors: 1. Health. 2. Flyer Rebound. Philly has to be better this year, but that depends on them finding their way defensively. Assuming they prove 2013 to be a fluke, the Flyers should re-establish themselves as a contender, making Emery a very nice (and probably cheap) option for your fantasy squad. Snag him mid-draft and look very smart come Winter.
Jaroslav Halak STL
Should the Blues ever settle on a goalie, the winner of that lottery will emerge as a solid fantasy starter. Halak, Elliot, and newcomer Allen split the action 3 ways last season, to the detriment of each other. It's a bit of crap-shoot predicting the front runner, but I'm betting on Halak re-emerging this season as the top option for St. Louis. His GAA over the past two seasons has been among the best in the league. Don't bank on him as your #1 man to start the season, but you can take a flier on him late in the draft and potentially strike gold.
Jonas Hiller ANA
Should the specter of the shared crease be vanquished, Hiller could see his stock rise. However, given the effective split with Fasth last season, and the success Anaheim enjoyed with the pair, it's unwise to bank on a full slate of games from Hiller.
Steve Mason PHI
The Flyers aren't committing to either Mason or Emery heading into camp. So in theory, Mason could find himself as the starting goalie on a decent NHL squad this season. Comparing his performance over the past 4 seasons versus that of Emery, it seems more likely that Mason rides it out as a backup. Consider it a significant gamble to put your faith in Mason this season.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
re-signing with their current teams are not included here)
Bobby Ryan Traded to Ottawa
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)
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.
Valtteri Filppula (TB)
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)
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.
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
Viktor Stalberg (NAS)
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.
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
- Ilya Bryzgalov -- this story
is not over yet.
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