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2013-14 NHL Power Rankings (Summer Edition)

by Chewbacca 9. August 2013 07:16

Before we dive deep into the player projections for the upcoming fantasy hockey season, it helps to get grounded in the real world.  That is, how should you expect the NHL teams to fare this year, particularly in the new division alignment.  It's a whole new world, as the focus shifts squarely on the divisions, so we'll break things down that way.  I'll spare you the analysis and jump right to the projections:

 

Metropolitan

 

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

2. New York Islanders

3. Philadelphia Flyers

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

------------------------------

5. New York Rangers

6. Washington Capitals

7. Carolina Hurricanes

8. New Jersey Devils

 

 

Atlantic

 

1. Boston Bruins

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

3. Ottawa Senators

4. Detroit Redwings

------------------------------

5. Montreal Canadiens

6. Buffalo Sabres

7. Tampa Bay Lightning

8. Florida Panthers

 

 

Central

 

1. Chicago Blackhawks

2. St. Louis Blues

3. Minnesota Wild

4. Dallas Stars

------------------------------

5. Nashville Predators

6. Winnepeg Jets

7. Colorado Avalanche

 

 

Pacific

 

1. L.A. Kings

2. Anaheim Ducks

3. San Jose Sharks

4. Edmonton Oilers

------------------------------

5. Vancouver Canucks

6. Calgary Flames

7. Phoenix Coyotes

 

 

Now for that brief analysis that I owe you.

 

Going Up

Several teams are clearly on their way up, should things play out the way I've prognosticated. 

 

Islanders -- Goal scoring continues to rise, as this team takes on the persona of it's captain.  While they'll need to lock things down a little more on defense to find success in the playoffs, they are poised for a bump in the regular season standings and should be a solid squad to target from a fantasy hockey perspective.

 

Flyers -- This team got off to a horrible start last season, and nearly recovered in time to make the playoffs.  Given a full 82-game schedule, it's a fair bet that they would have qualified.  I expect a significant recovery in 2013.

 

Stars -- Dallas had a pretty good off-season, at least on paper.  They shed some aging veterans for some speedy talent up front.  They're poised for a return to relevance.

 

Oilers -- If not this season, then when?  At some point this talent has to come together. 

 

 

Going Down

 

Canucks -- This have not gone swimmingly for the Canucks in recent memory.  Too many distractions and no good vibes.   They can no longer prey on a weak division.  The playoff streak ends this year.

 

Canadiens -- Despite winning their division, the warts started to show as the season wore on.  This team is too small and not deep enough to compete with the top tier in the Atlantic.

 

Rangers -- It's just not coming together for the Blue Shirts.  A new face behind the bench may rejuvenate this offense, but it may take more than one season to see it all come together.  Somebody has to be edged out.

 

Capitals -- All this team did was get worse since the season ended.  Despite bringing Ovechkin and Green back from the dead, Washington doesn't have enough complementary parts to qualify in their division.

 

 

Overall Power Rankings

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

2. Boston Bruins

3. Chicago Blackhawks

4. LA Kings

5. Anaheim Ducks

6. St. Louis Blues

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

8. New York Islanders

9. Philadelphia Flyers

10. Columbus Blue Jackets

11. San Jose Sharks

12. Ottawa Senators

13. Detroit Redwings

14. New York Rangers

15. Minnesota Wild

16. Edmonton Oilers

17. Washington Capitals

18. Vancouver Canucks

19. Montreal Canadiens

20. Carolina Hurricanes

21. Dallas Stars

22. Nashville Predators

23. Buffalo Sabres

24. Winnepeg Jets

25. Tampa Bay Lightning

26. Colorado Avalanche

27. Calgary Flames

28. Phoenix Coyotes

29. Florida Panthers

30. New Jersey Devils

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...

NHL 2013 Preseason Predictions

by chewy 21. January 2013 10:24

Making preseason predictions is foolish enough in a normal year, so trying to make sense out of what may take place over the next few months in the NHL is completely uncharted foolishness.  So let's get started.

 

TEAMS ON THE MOVE

No point in dwelling on the obvious ends of the spectrum.  Yes, the Penguins, Rangers, Blues, etc. will be the teams to beat again this year, while the Jackets, Flames, Jets, etc. struggle to stay relevant.  What's truly interesting is the teams that could make some serious movement (for better or worse) in the upcoming shortened season.  For whatever reason,  as I look up and down the lineups of each team in the standings from last season, a few squads jump out as teams to watch.

 

GOING UP:

 

Buffalo Sabres - After reshuffling the deck in the summer of 2011, the Sabres had a hard time coming together in the early months of last season.  By mid season, they were a formidable squad that made a near historic run, before just missing the playoffs.  It's been a long spell since, so it's tough to assume that they'll just keep it rolling, but if there's one non-playoff team heading in the right direction, it's the Sabres.  If Miller stays solid, this team could challenge for tops in the East and should win their division.

 

Carolina Hurricanes- The Canes tried to remake their image last July with the addition of Jordan Staal and Alex Semin.  The key to this team will be Cam Ward and the defense.  It's a tough bunch to predict, but the Canes could easily emerge first from a horribly weak division.

 

Edmonton Oilers - The streak of drafting first overall has certainly come to end.  The same should be said for the playoff drought. Expect the youngsters to put up goals in droves and even win some games in the process this time around.

 

 

GOING DOWN:

 

Detroit Redwings - After two decades of NHL dominance, the Motor City reign of terror is has come to an end.  Lidstrom is gone and it's finally time to start over for the Wings.  They've toyed with missing the postseason the last two years.  They won't bother teasing this time around.  Crash and burn.

 

New Jersey Devils - Ironically, the two teams that met in the finals the last time we went down this 48 game road are my picks for biggest losers coming out of this one.  With Parise gone, Kovalchuk not wanting to come back, ownership troubles, and a one-two punch in net that's older than your mom, it's tough to find encouraging signs for the Devils.  No chance this team makes the playoffs.

 

 

 

FINAL STANDINGS (by points)

 

Starting in the East:

 

1. Pittsburgh *

2. New York Rangers

3. Buffalo Sabres *

4. Boston Bruins

5. Carolina Hurricanes *

6. Philadelphia Flyers

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

8. Tampa Bay Lightning

--------------------------

9. Washington Capitals

10. Florida Panthers

11. Ottawa Senators

12. Montreal Canadiens

13. New York Islanders

14. Winnepeg Jets

15. New Jersey Devils

 

Yes, once again, it looks like the "winner" from the Southeast Division will unjustly claim 3rd seed, while the 2nd best team in the East gets bumped down to fourth.  This time, the Rangers will get the shaft, instead of the Penguins.  The Leafs will end their playoff absence, while the Caps will be on the outside this time around. 

 

 

Now, on to the West:

 

1. St. Louis Blues *

2. LA Kings *

3. Nashville Predators

4. Edmonton Oilers *

5. Vancouver Canucks

6. Chicago Blackhawks

7. Phoenix Coyotes

8. San Jose Sharks

--------------------------

9. Dallas Stars

10. Detroit Redwings

11. Minnesota Wild

12. Colorado Avalanche

13. Anaheim Ducks

14. Calgary Flames

15. Columbus Blue Jackets

 

A few notes from the West.  Yes, it will be tight as always, but it's not because the West is so much better than the East.  It's because there are so many mediocre teams that you can pull them out of a hat once you get past 5th place.  The Ducks always start slow, so they'll run out of time before the annual playoff push this year.  I'm not drinking the Wild koolaid based on one big day of UFA signings.  Ultimately, it's going to come down to goaltending to decide the winners and losers here.

 

 

THE HARDWARE

 

MVP / Art Ross

Crosby.  End. Of. Discussion.

 

Rocket Richard

Despite a handful of worthy competitors, Stamkos will be holding on to this one for a few years.

 

Norris

Shea Weber will claim his first of many this year.  Expect some votes for Letang and Karlsson.

 

Vezina

The committee always seems to be a year behind in naming the winner here.  Jonathan Quick gets his due in 2013.

 

Presidents Trophy

The Blues will be so good defensively, they'll win this with a week to go in the season.

 

Stanley Cup

Last year, I predicted a California / Pennsylvania matchup in this space.  I was right on one end. 

My vague, cloudy crystal ball shows me the winner this time will emerge from either PA or NY state and will take on a team from the Central Division.  {pause while I crumble up papers.  Place them in the hat…}… and the gutsy prediction is:

 

The Buffalo Sabres will claim their first Cup over the St. Louis Blues.

 

 

 

 

 

FREE entry for $250 Contest on Daily Joust

by chewy 26. October 2011 14:46

DailyJoust is hosting a FREE NHL contest today (10/27) for new users.  You can get in on $250 of prizes.  Here is the link:

http://dailyjoust.com/contests/enter/nhl-league-thu-oct-27th-king-arthurs250-nhl-free-entry-tournament/?refer=landsharkhockey

 

Conn Smythe Trophy Favorites

by chewy 16. May 2011 13:58

 

Now that two rounds are complete and we're off and running with the Conference Finals, it seems an opportune time to start mapping out the early favorites for this season's Conn Smythe Trophy winner.  This year may be one of the most challenging to predict in the early going.   Many of the best individual performers so far have already been eliminated, while many of the top stars on the remaining teams haven't been dominating the scoresheet.

 

Before we parade out our favorites, let's pay homage to those who did their part in the early rounds, but were forced home prematurely:

  • Joel Ward (NAS) -- 7 goals in 12 games for the unheralded Predators forward
  • Teemu Selanne (ANA) -- goal a game in the Round 1 loss.  Don't blame him.
  • Pavel Datsyuk (DET) -- this guy just seems to get better all the time.  15 points in 11 games.
  • Claude Giroux (PHI) -- add him to your shortlist for early draft picks next season.  11 assists in 11 games.
  • James van Riemsdyk (PHI) -- ready for primetime next season after posting 7 goals and 27 hits for the Flyers
  • Carey Price (MON) -- looked every bit as good as Halak from last season.  Needed more scoring help to move on.

 

And now, here the top picks going forward, based on the play through the first two rounds:

 

1. Dwayne Roloson (G-TB)

I feel like I have to put Roloson first at this point, just to get it off my conscience.  I didn't believe he could ever get the Lightning this far, and I still have a hard time believing he can keep this run going.  However, the results speak for themselves.  Roloson has been the single biggest factor in the first and second round victories for the Lightning, doing his best Halak impersonation over Pittsburgh and Washington.  For Tampa to get past Boston, he's going to have to keep it rolling, and if they do advance, it will have to be largely on Roloson's shoulders.  Of the team's remaining, Tampa is the only one without a reliable #2 option to turn to if he stumbles.  So far, he's earned the role of favorite for the Trophy.

 

2. Ryan Kesler (VAN)

Heading into the Conference finals, you hardly heard talk of the Sedin twins, largely because Kesler has overshadowed them.  The Sharks have to focus all their top talent at containing their "2nd line" center.  Kesler leads the NHL in playoff scoring to this point, and his contributions go well beyond those 16 points.  He's been money on faceoffs, has racked up 45 hits and 14 blocked shots, and continues to shutdown whatever line he comes up against. 

 

3. Martin St. Louis (TB)

If you put any stock in plus-minus (which I absolutely do not), you might have a problem listing him in the top 3; however, St. Louis has clearly led the charge on offense for the Lightning this post-season.  He leads Tampa with 14 points in 12 games, picking up where he left off in the regular season.  While young sniper Stamkos continues to be MIA with just 6 points, the veteran hasn't missed a beat and is deserving trophy consideration at this point.

 

4. Joe Thornton (SJ)

So far so good, as Thornton attempts to shed the monkey from his back.  Even if the Sharks fall flat to the Canucks in Round 3, it's hard to imagine the blame falling to the captain this time.  He's been a physical force, is shutting down some of the best forwards in the game, and even has been spotted shooting the puck a few times.  2 of his 3 playoff goals are game winners.

 

5. Tim Thomas (G-BOS)

Boston has gotten this far with an amazing balance of scoring up front, adequate play from their defense, and more than anything, outstanding goaltending from Tim Thomas (putting aside 2 minutes of game 1 on Saturday).  His .932 save percentage is second only to Roloson's .941, as is his 2.19 GAA, among the remaining #1 goalies.  Without a doubt, if the Bruins are to overcome Tampa's powerplay and advance to the finals, Thomas will have to continue to be their Conn Smythe candidate of choice.

 

6. Dominic Moore (TB)

As a Penguin fan in round 1, it wasn't Stamkos, St.Louis, or Lecavalier that scared me with the Lightning.  It was the vastly underrated Dominic Moore that kept me up at night.  While he'll never be at the top of the scoring leaders and he ultimately won't get much serious consideration for this Trophy, nobody does more with the ice time he gets than Moore.  Picking up where he left off last spring with Montreal, Moore continues to provide the timeliest of goals and assists to break the backs of his opponents, while playing a key shutdown role on the other end of the rink.  His back-to-back behind the goal wizardry passes to Bergenheim in round 1 nicely spotlight what this guy brings to the Bolts.  If you're looking for a darkhorse candidate, go with Moore.

 

And here are a few others who still have time to step it up in Rounds 3 and 4 and enter the conversation:

  • Roberto Luongo (G-VAN) -- Despite the earlier controversy over whether he should even be playing in net, Luongo proved his worth against Nashville and is the only goalie with 2 shutouts to this point.
  • Vincent Lecavalier (TB) -- He's quietly earning the respect this spring that seemed to wane away in the past 5 years.  Point-per-game pace so far.
  • Dan Boyle (SJ) -- token defenseman option.  Boyle leads at this position with 12 points in 14 games, to go with his 23 blocked shots.
  • Antti Niemi (G-SJ) -- Would have to steal a few games against Vancouver to merit consideration, but any goalie who makes the finals has been considered.
  • Sean Bergenheim (TB) -- Continues to surprise with big time goals (leads the league to this point), despite limited playing time.  Adding a couple assists to those totals might help things here.

 

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