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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...

Fantasy Hockey Headlines - Offseason Week 1

by chewy 28. June 2013 06:45

With the 2013 season wrapping up just as the fuse on those Independence Day fireworks were being lit, there won't be much of an "off-season" this time around. Nonetheless, it's easy to overlook the transactions that fall on page 9 of the sports section through the heat of the summer.  In an attempt to keep your mind where it belongs (fantasy hockey), each week, I will bring a play by play of the offseason headlines, and what effect they may have for the 2013-14 fantasy hockey campaign. 

 

 

Friday, June 21

  • Alain Vigneault Hired by Rangers

From a fantasy perspective, things can only get better for the Rangers.  Torts did little to encourage offensive creativity.  Look for the likes of Nash, Stepan and Brassard to boost production next season.

 

  • Lindy Ruff Hired by Dallas

Dallas has little to get a excited about for fantasy owners coming into next season.  Most of the scoring from last season is gone, leaving just Benn and Eriksson to carry the mail.  Perhaps new blood behind the bench will spark some new blood to rise.

 

Sunday, June 23

  • Leafs acquire Bernier from Kings for Frattin and Scrivens

 

Monday, June 24

  • Blackhawks win the Cup.

 

Tuesday, June 25

  • Canucks Hire Tortorella

If your league awards points for blocked shots, this is great news for Canuck owners.  There's not much excitement to be had with this news.  Some people never learn.

 

  • Flyers buyout Bryzgalov

Bryzgalov may have a hard time finding a home on this side of the pond.  Expect him to land in the KHL.  Meanwhile, the Flyers resume their 20 year search for a #1 option in net.  Sergei Bobrovsky looks really good right now.

 

  • Kiprusoff (CGY) Plans to Retire

Kipper had faded from glory over the past few seasons.  The Flames are left with Joey MacDonald to carry the torch.  Expect a very high draft pick in 2014 for Calgary.

 

Wednesday, June 26

  • Horton (BOS) to Have Shoulder Surgery

Should be back in time to start the season.

 

  • Nabokov (NYI) likely won't Return to Isle

Nabokov probably won't land another starting gig, thus losing the fantasy hockey relevance he enjoyed last season.  Unless the Flyers take a chance…

 

Thursday, June 27

  • Tampa buys out Lecavalier

Cold move by the Bolts to unceremoniously release the soul of the franchise.  Vinny will land on his feet somewhere and remain a decent depth forward for fantasy purposes.

 

  • Alex Tanguay traded from Calgary to Colorado for David Jones

Tanguay has been a depth option in fantasy circles for several years and should remain that on a rebuilding Colorado squad.

Jones has flirted with fantasy relevancy, socring 27 goals in 2010-11.  He should be a top-six forward with the Flames, but barely worth considering for your fantasy lineup.

Who Will Win the Conn Smythe Now?

by chewy 19. June 2013 07:45

With just a few games left to be played in this year's playoffs, the field for the MVP honors has narrowed itself down a bit; however, this may be one of the toughest seasons in recent memory to pick a clear-cut winner.  The choice obviously depends most upon who wins the Cup.  After that, there are a number of candidates on both side worthy of consideration.  Here are the front-runners at this point, heading into Game 4:

 

1. Tuukka Rask (BOS)

If there is such thing as a front-runner in this MVP race, it would have to be Rask.  He has been unbelievable in net, largely making up for the paltry goal-scoring of the Bruins over the past 2 series.  His GAA of 1.64 and save percentage of .946 are best in the league by a long shot.  Without his brilliance in round 3, the Bruins couldn't have so easily dispatched of the Pens.

 

2. David Krejci (BOS)

Krejci leads the league in playoff scoring with 23 points.  He's tied with Patrick Sharp for tops in goal scoring with 9.  The production has slowed down in the finals.  He has just 2 assists and no goals in the Finals through 3 games.  Even without his scoring, his puck control and overall play have been outstanding.  The Bruins are a well balanced team, but Krejci has emerged as the go to guy in the playoffs.

 

 

3. Marian Hossa (CHI)

Sometimes the best way to gauge the value of a player is in their absence.  With Hossa out in Game 3 of the Finals, the Hawks struggled to generate opportunities.  His 2-way play has surpassed that of captain Toews, who has been somewhat absent during this postseason.  If Chicago is to come back and claim the Cup, they will need a healthy Hossa to do that.

 

4. Corey Crawford (CHI)

Despite being perceived as a potential weak link, Crawford has been outstanding throughout the playoffs.  Were it not for the overshadowing brilliance in the opposite net, Crawford may be the front runner in this column.  His numbers speak for themselves: GAA of 1.73, Save Percentage of .936.  If he can add 3 wins to that total, Crawford may have a Trophy on his shelf.

 

5. Zdeno Chara (BOS)

His offensive production has been very good (12 points in 19 games), but it is his hulking defensive presence that has him in the running for the MVP honors.  He has owned the region in and around Rask's crease, helping the Bruins keep some of the best offensive talents in the league in check.

 

Other possibilities, should they do something special in the last few games:

  • Nathan Horton (BOS) - like Hossa, he was missed greatly when absent from his lineup.  His +22 is tops.
  • Patrick Sharp (CHI) - leads the Hawks in points and goals
  • Milan Lucic (BOS) - 85 hits are best in the league.  He came up clutch early in the playoffs.

 

And in the category of unsung hero, as much as it pains me to say this… Jaromir Jagr (BOS) has been everything and more the Bruins had hoped for.  Had just one or two of his 55 shots on goals gone in the net, he may have made the conversation above.  He has been dominate on both ends of the rink, despite his advanced age.

 

Correction

by chewy 12. June 2013 19:12
So, turns out, I was wrong.

Tags:

Which Penguin Will Win the Conn Smythe?

by chewy 31. May 2013 14:07

So, two rounds in the books and despite some interesting twists, it should come as no surprise at who the final four contestants will be.  All four teams have been there and won it and are looking for their 2nd go at the Cup in 5 years. 

Despite the presence of four worthy teams, I'd have to go out of my way not to recognize that the Penguins are still heavy favorites here.  And from those Penguins come at least 7 worthy candidates for the title of Playoff MVP.  Normally, at this time of year, I present the top 10 contenders for the Conn Smythe, drawing a few from each squad; however, given my belief that Pittsburgh will likely wrap this thing up with relative ease, it's pointless to go through that exercise.  Instead, I will focus on the most likely scenario:  Who should get the trophy when the Penguins win the Cup. 

 

 

1. Thomas Vokoun

It's hard to fathom now, but the Penguins truly were in trouble in that opening round series with Fleury between the pipes.  Thanks to off-season Shero brilliance, Coach Bylsma had an obvious answer.  And it worked.  With so much fire power up front, what this team needed more than anything was for someone to just stop the bleeding.  Vokoun did that and more.  He has arguably been the best goalie in the playoffs, and the one indispensable piece in this Penguin lineup.  He's going to have to be good versus the Bruins, and potentially great against the Hawks (should that happen), but that just means he'll have to keep doing what he's been doing his whole career.

 

2. Kris Letang

Letang is currently one point away from leading the league in points this post-season.  Should that hold true through the end of June, it may be an easy choice.  To have a team this loaded with talent be led in scoring by a defensemen speaks volumes of Letang's presence, yet it just scratches the surface of what he brings to this team.  It didn't always show in Round 1, but nobody was better in Round 2 than Letang.

 

3. Sidney Crosby

Had he suited up to start the playoffs, he would likely be at the top of the scoring.  Having only played 10 games, he trails by a few points.  But that will change, should he stay healthy.  Crosby is the heart of this team and undisputed best player in the world.  It's almost too easy to give him this trophy.

 

4. Evgeni Malkin

The last time the Pens won the Cup it was Malkin, not Crosby, that held this honor.  Through 2 rounds, he's certainly making a good case for a repeat.  Provided you don't consider the blind passes to no-one, dumb penalties, and other mental lapses at all areas of the rink, his every-other-shift offensive brilliance may be enough to make up for his shortcomings.

 

5. Jarome Iginla

It feels like Iginla is just building momentum with each round, to the point where he may single-handedly dominate the Finals.  Should they face any serious adversity in the final two rounds, it just may be the new guy that bails them out.

 

6. James Neal

Before the playoffs, I picked the Real Deal to hold this trophy.  He made me look silly for a while there, as the goals just wouldn't come.  But alas, the sniper has awoken.  5 goals in the last 2 games.  If the pace continues, he'll climb this list quickly.

 

7. Pascal Dupuis

For most of the post-season thus far, it's been the underrated winger Dupuis that led the team, and the league in goals.  He now stands tied with Crosby and Patrick Sharp with 7 for tops.  Aside from Crosby, Dupuis has been the best all-around player for the Pens this spring.  Seems a long-shot, but he deserves consideration.

 

8. Kris Kunitz

A sane argument could be made that Kunitz is the one piece to the offense that this team cannot afford to lose.  Simply put, he makes things happen for the stars.  He's the enabler.  That's why both Malkin and Crosby have been vocal in stating they prefer to play with Kunitz.  He opens space.   He lets them do their magic.  And he has shown plenty of magic of his own.  He would have to go on a pretty good goal scoring tear to leapfrog the big guns, but it could be done.

 

9/10. Jonathan Quick or Corey Crawford

Splitting the vote.  Truth is, with the top 6 forwards on this team going at equal pace, they just may split the vote.  That leaves open the odd scenario where the losing team gets the trophy.  Should that happen, it typically only goes to a goalie.

 

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