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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

Free Agent Frenzy Fantasy Impact (Offseason Update for Week 3)

by chewy 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.

(Note: Players re-signing with their current teams are not included here)

 

 

BIG DEALS

 

Bobby Ryan Traded to Ottawa

Though technically 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)

Another headline 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.

 

 

 

MID-RANGE DEALS

 

Valtteri Filppula (TB)

Apparently Stevie 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)

Ribeiro benefitted 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.

 

 

 

SMALL POTATOES

 

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 circles.

 

Viktor Stalberg (NAS)

Stalberg was 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.

 

 

 

NOTABLY MENTIONS

 

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 Thomas.
  • Ilya Bryzgalov -- this story is not over yet.

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.

 

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