- Hockey Rambling
- Written by Michael Amato
Heatley, Rinne, the Sharks getting younger, and more
So Bruce Boudreau wants to play Dany Heatley with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry next season, making him a fairly valuable commodity to have on your roster. Dustin Penner had success there last year posting 13 goals in 49 games and then Patrick Maroon took advantage of ice time with the duo later in the season.
I'd expect Heatley to have similar success and he could be in for a 25-30 goal season. The question is how early should you draft him in a one-year league? Heatley probably falls into the category of a sleeper at this point, but with news like this he is going to start to get talked about more and more and he's likely going to vault up many people's draft board.
As an example, for those of you into fantasy football, Jay Cutler was in a similar position. Earlier in the summer he was looking like a nice sleeper that you could snag outside of the quarterback elites like Rodgers, Manning, and Brees, but as we got closer to draft time more and more buzz started to generate about the numbers Cutler could put up throwing to Brandon Marshall and an emerging Alshon Jeffery, he was going above his initial ADP (average draft position).
Something tells me if you want Heatley this year you are probably going to have to draft him a round or two ahead of where he should probably be taken, because come late September he's going to be on everybody's sleeper list. It's getting harder and harder to find real sleepers these days with all the information available.
Speaking of where players will be taken in drafts, where exactly does Pekka Rinne land? He might be an interesting one to look at because there should be some uncertainty in Nashville this season.
With Barry Trotz and his goalie friendly system no longer with the Preds, does that hurt Rinne at all? Also keep in mind he's going to be coming off the hip issue that cost him most of 2013-14.
Rinne played 43-of-48 games in the lockout shortened season and 73-of-82 the year before that, but I have a hard time believing he stays on that pace given last year's injury and his age. Carter Hutton also demonstrated himself to be serviceable at times last year, which might make Nashville more apt to give Rinne an extra night off here and there.
Still, Rinne is a great goaltender and the aforementioned factors might make a few poolies go in another direction when drafting this time around, meaning you might be able to get a bit of a bargain when drafting him. If you're able to wait an extra round or two before scooping Rinne you could bolster other areas of your roster first and give yourself a bit of an advantage.
Here's a nice piece from Jason Kay of The Hockey News looking at long-term deals and if the make sense based on when players hit their peak.
The answer depends on your perspective. If you’re demanding equal value across all seasons, prepare to be disappointed. The evidence shows that, apart from notable exceptions, returns diminish on players beginning in their early 30s.
Anecdotally, if you retrace steps over an eight-season span (from the summer of 2006 to the summer of 2014), the tales mostly reflect the numbers. Joe Thornton, Brad Richards and Dany Heatley – all in their mid-20s back then – were three of the league’s biggest stars. Today they range from declining cornerstone to question mark to last chance saloon.
The San Jose Sharks will be returning largely the same team that collapsed last spring against the Los Angeles Kings, but it could include some new youngsters in the lineup. The team plans to give some prospects a good look in training camp to see if they will make the team.
Keep an eye on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot during training camp. He played under new head coach Mike Johnston in Portland and the bench boss believes he is ready to make the jump to the NHL.
“Yeah, I do. For sure,” Johnston said. “Not only his play in Portland, but the thing that convinced me the most was last year at the World Juniors. I really thought Derrick was the best defenseman in the tournament. If you can play at that level on the world stage, yeah, you're ready.”
St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock thinks Ian Cole could be in the team's top six full-time next season.
“This is a real opportunity for Ian,” Hitchcock said. “He’s paid his dues. He spent time in the minors. He’s spent time as the seventh defenseman. He’s matured as a person and as a player. It’s his time. There’s an open spot, a regular shift. There’s everything there waiting for him, just step up and grab it.”
Some of Pouliot's work