Ready to shake off the summer slumber and get to work on your
draft prep yet? First step: Figure out
which teams to target and which teams to avoid.
Let's get to it then.
Teams to Target in 2014:
The Avalanche surprised most last season, charging down the
mountain from the first puck drop to be a dominant force in the West and a
fantasy gold rush. Nobody should be
surprised to see that continue in year 2 of the Roy Regime. From MacKinnon, Duchene, Landeskog and Iginla
up front, to Barrie and Johnson on the back end, and throw in a rising
O'Reilly, the goals will flow freely in Denver this year. Get a piece of this action early and often in
It seems redundant to list the Penguins as a team to target in
fantasy circles. It has been that way
since about 1984. The new front office
may be reforming the image of this squad for better Spring results, but you
still can't go wrong with Crosby, Malkin and a host of adequate complimentary
wingers to finish those passes. The addition
of Ehrhoff more than offsets the loss of Niskanen on defense, and a full season
from Letang could land him back in the Norris party.
The Flyers took their time getting started last season, but
finished among the best in the NHL. I'll
avoid grabbing for the obligatory Giroux jokes and say that he remains a top 3
fantasy option, making Voracek and anyone else that finds their way to his line
worth drafting. The fantasy-worthy
options stretch into the third line in Philadelphia.
Who cares about the playoffs, right? Just keep picking Sharks for their regular
season success and you'll be a happy drafter.
The evil-opposite of the Sharks don't care a lick about the
regular season. Nonetheless, with 3
lines of top end offensive talent, including a slew of first and second year
speedsters, you should keep the Kings on your radar. Look for potentially monster seasons from the
likes of Kopitar, Carter and Gaborik.
Doughty is due for a big fantasy campaign as well.
Like LA - The Hawks like to spread it around and get the
wins. Some of their top names will be
overrated and overdrafted as they approach the back end of their career. Don't overreach for anyone on this squad, but
if the value is there come draft time, there should be about 10 Chicago players
going off the board in your draft.
My surprise pick for fantasy explosion this season is coming out
of Texas. The top line may be the best
in hockey this season. The Stars have
quickly transformed to a to a resurgent powerhouse over the last several
seasons. Don't expect much from the
With two Calder runners-up last season, and strong Calder favorite
in Drouin this season, the Bolts are building a fantasy power from youth. And then there's potential MVP Stamkos. Hedman continues his slow ascent to the elite
This has to be the year Edmonton finally breaks through,
right? They could have 3 forwards in the
top 10 by the end of the year. And 2
more in the top 50.
In any other division, Minnesota would be a clear favorite to
finish first. It won't come easy, but
they will give the big 3 a run for their money.
Along the way, look for some very solid fantasy options to emerge,
including the obvious (Parise, Suter, Pominville, Vanek), and the not so
obvious (Grandlund, Niederreiter, Coyle).
If they could ever get a full year's work out of a goalie, one of them
may emerge as a top 5 option in net. All
around, this is a solid, rising Wild squad.
Teams to Avoid:
The only coach they've ever known has moved on, leaving the team
seeking a new identity. Perhaps that is
reason to hope that this team could finally turn a history of sweet defensive
prospects into fantasy meaning. The
roster up front gives little hope for 2014 relevancy.
When your only viable fantasy option is 42, you have no viable
fantasy options. Even Schneider will
struggle to find wins.
Phoenix (I mean, Arizona)
Defense first. If he has a
C or W next to his name, look elsewhere.
Nothing to see here. Move
The Panthers seem content to throw silly money at average players,
just to meet the salary floor. Many of
these guys could do well if paired with elite talent; however, given their
location, they will see their totals dive down.
A handful of promising youngsters give a slight glimmer of hope on the