The Shark Blog
4. September 2013 19:01
The goalie position
continues to be the hardest by far to predict with certainty. I can only recommend two names to be sure
winners worthy of a first round pick.
After that, you have a collections of very good options that are almost
interchangeable parts. Because of that,
if you miss out on Lundqvist or Rask, I recommend waiting until the goalie run
is over and picking the 8th or 9th goalie off the board, as there shouldn't be
much drop off from the 3rd best option.
1. Henrik Lundqvist
While he fell just
shy of another Vezina nod last season, you simply cannot get more in terms of
reliability than Hank. I suspect that the coaching change will have an overall
positive effect on his fantasy numbers. He should see significantly more shots
this season, which means more saves. And the shots that Torts dictated be
blocked out front tended to be the easier saves for a goalie. Logically, you
should see a higher save percentage, more saves, and overall total domination
for Lundqvist as this year's top goalie pick.
2. Tuukka Rask
If anyone can
challenge Lundqvist for the top spot on the goalie list, it's Rask. He had to
wait patiently for his opportunity as Boston's #1, but has proven to be worth
the wait. His dominance in the regular season even carried through the
playoffs. With Boston promising to be one of the most dominant teams this
season, he is assured of large helping of Wins. Expect 40, perhaps even 50.
Can't go wrong with Rask.
3. Sergei Bobrovsky
After a revelation
of a season, all eyes will be on Bobrovsky to see if he can repeat the magic.
The Jackets are clearly on rise and will rely on Sergei to keep them moving
that way. There is no reason to doubt he will be a solid contributor once again
fantasy wise, but expecting another Vezina may be overshooting. He is certainly
a safe #1 option in net.
4. Jimmy Howard
Howard has been a
reliable fantasy option for four years now. He stepped it up a notch last
season, arguably carrying them into the playoffs. The Wings have committing to
him for the long haul, so he won't have contract issues on his mind. Detroit's
young defensive crew is coming together nicely and ought to provide enough
support for Howard to make it 5 straight seasons as a solid fantasy keeper.
5. Jonathan Quick
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.
6. Corey Crawford
If it's wins that
you crave, consider holding out for Crawford as your #1 in net. The Hawks will
surely deliver plenty in the W column again in 2013-14, and this time, assuming
he stays healthy, Crawford won't have to share the net with Emery. Khabibulin
will fill in only when Crawford needs a breather. His numbers last year were
among the best in the league. He just needs more starts to rank with the elite.
7. Antti Niemi
According to my
charts, Antti Niemi provided more fantasy points than any other player in the
league. (I'll pause while you absorb that thought). (thought you might need
more time...) Much of this came in the first 3 weeks of the season when San
Jose seemingly couldn't lose a game. He finished the season strong as well,
piling up 24 wins in 43 games. While I don't expect the Sharks to be as good
this time around, he is the undisputed #1 in net for San Jose. He will again
get his fair share of wins and will remain a viable #1 option. Just don't
expect a repeat as the top fantasy man.
8. Craig Anderson
Anderson was the best goalie in the league last season, by far. His 1.69 GAA
and .941 save percentage were silly good. He just needed to stay healthy a
little longer. He didn't show a sign of weakness all season until the 2nd round
of the playoffs, where the Pens made him look human. A full season in good
health will show whether or not he is for real as a #1 option.
9. Pekka Rinne
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. Marc-Andre Fleury
You'll need to focus
hard, but try and forget what happened in last year's playoffs. And the
playoffs the year before that. Focus. In the regular season (which is what we
care about in fantasy town), Fleury has been a very good option. The Pens (for
some unknown reason) insist on standing behind him as their #1, despite having
a far more stable option in Vokoun at the ready. As long as that vote of
confidence remains from the man behind the bench, Fleury will carry significant
fantasy value. The Pens promise to rack up the wins again this year, and the
Flower is the default option to gather those Ws. Because of his post-season
struggles, you will probably see Fleury slide deep come draft time, making him
a potential sleeper win.
To see the rest of
my top 50 goalie rankings, visit: http://www.landsharkhockey.com/LS/tools/DraftRankings.aspx. You can also customize your own list there.
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.
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
Friday, June 28
- Alfredsson Will Return Next
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
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
Saturday, June 29
- Horton Will Leave the Bruins
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
- Vancouver Trades Schneider to
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
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
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
- Islanders Trade Nino
Niederreiter to Wild for Cal Clutterbuck
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
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
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
- Pens Re-sign Letang and
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.
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
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
Thursday, July 4
- Dallas / Boston Swing 7-Man
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.
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
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.
Peverley should remain a viable depth option with occasion goal scoring spurts.
- Danny Briere Signs with
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...
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
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
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
Tuesday, June 25
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
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
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
Wednesday, June 26
- Horton (BOS) to Have Shoulder
be back in time to start the season.
- Nabokov (NYI) likely won't
Return to Isle
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
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
has been a depth option in fantasy circles for several years and should remain
that on a rebuilding Colorado squad.
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.
15. March 2013 10:24
The season is half
way complete, but with the trade deadline a couple weeks away and fantasy
playoffs quickly approaching, you are running out of time to fix your lineup in
time for it to matter.
The obvious entry in
this slot in Crosby's line. Kunitz and
Dupuis are working magic with the best player in the world. Let's move on to the less obvious…
Chris Stewart (STL)
After a slow start
(ok, a slow couple of years), Stewart is showing flashes of the brilliance that
had his name in the conversation for "top power forward". Since the calendar flipped to March, he can
certainly make a case for that title.
Stewart has piled up 6 goals and 7 assists through 8 games this
month. The PIMs and +/- are coming along
as well, making him once again an all-around good guy for your fantasy lineup.
Michael Ryder (MON)
Ryder has been one
of the most under-rated fantasy forwards over the past decade. He continues to quietly put up goals year
after year without fanfare as he moves from town to town. Since arriving in Montreal, he has picked up
his assist totals, amassing 9 points in 8 games. He has 3 multi-point contests in the past 5
Sergei Bobrovsky (G-COB)
No goaltender is as
hot as the man in Columbus. He hasn't
lost a game in regulation since February, going 5-0-2 in the process, while
averaging less than 1 GAA. It's probably
too late for you to cash in on this mad streak, but he deserves a nod in this
Jonas Hiller (G-ANA)
wasn't willing to just step aside and allow Fasth to claim his job after
all. He has reclaimed the crease with an
amazing run, going 7-0-1 over this last 8 starts.
Shea Weber (D-NAS)
Weber got off to a
tragic start, waiting until Valentine's Day to wake up and contribute. Since then, he's back to being an offensive
beast for Nashville. His last couple of
weeks have been particularly productive, with 6 points in his last 5
games. He's back.
Ryan Suter (D-MIN)
Speaking of Weber
and defensive beasts, his former partner has been exploding on offensive over
the same timeframe. In his last 16
games, he has piled up 17 points.
Doesn't get much better than that.
WHO'S COLD / TIME TO DROP?
If you're going to
make room for a new edition, you obviously need to let someone go. Though it's tough to part company, here are
some guys that it may be time to cut ties with...
Joe Pavelski (F-SJ)
Just 1 goal and 1
assist over the past 10 games. He's even
seen his ice time dive down to the 16 minute range as of late. I'm a big believer in Pavelski and expect him
to wake up at some point, but it's hard to keep the faith with these numbers in
a short season.
David Clarkson (F-NJ)
Clarkson was a
monster at the start of the season, even leading the league in goal scoring
through the first month. Since then, he
has disappeared completely. He has zero
goals and just 2 assists through his last 13 games.
Dany Briere (F-PHI)
After a hot streak
through February, Briere has disappeared offensively. He hasn't put up a point in 5 games, with a
-8 rating during that stretch. His ice
time is in the 4th liner territory. Drop
him and don't look back.
- Viktor Fasth (G-ANA) - upper
- Patrick Sharp (F-CHI) - upper
- Jamie Benn (F-DAL) - wrist,
- Entire Florida Panthers
- Raphael Diaz (D-MON) -
- Evgeni Malkin (F-PIT) -upper
Brent Burns (D-SJ)
Burns just returned
from a series of injuries. Before this
week, he had no points and sat at a -5 on the year. In his two games since returning, he has been
utilized as a forward, which has resulted in 2 goals and 1 assist, while
maintaining the valuable "D" designation on the roster. Take advantage now!
Ryan Whitney (D-EDM)
After a dark period
of healthy scratches, Whitney apparently got the message. In his last 8 games, he's put up 3 goals and
Slava Voynov (D-LA)
Last year, Voynov
hit a stretch where he took off as a top fantasy option. He seems to be back there again as of
late. 9 points in his last 8 games for
Jake Allen (G-STL)
It may be a
short-term situation, but Jake Allen has kicked Halak and Elliot to the curb,
as he's gotten the Blues back to winning.
He has gone 7-1 on the season and has gotten the nod in 4 of the last 5
starts for the Blues (all wins), including a shutout last night.
Derek Stepan (F-NYR)
Stepan has been
developing into a feature role with the Rangers for a couple of years now. It seems from a fantasy perspective he has
arrived. He has totaled up 9 points in
his last 8 games.
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