Our annual Fantasy Guide is the best yet. The PDF document is updated every few days up until the drop of the puck (whenever that may be). We worked our butts off to provide you new insights and content this year - I guarantee you will head in to your draft full of confidence after reading it.
My latest CBA debate with Mike Colligan - this time on contract length. Should there be a limit? We weigh in with our thoughts.
"ANGUS: That is an excellent point. The big money is still there for these young players, but they don’t get it until later on if they start out with a club like Detroit or Pittsburgh.
Look at Jordan Eberle as an example. If he were on the Wings, the chances of him scoring 34 goals last season would be pretty low. Not to knock him as a player at all, but on Edmonton he received prime offensive minutes and little pressure to play well defensively (easy to do that on the worst club in the league). Eberle is going to command upwards of $6 million on his next deal, as will Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov a few years later. Edmonton’s tanking strategy benefited them in the way of three or four elite young talents, but they won’t be able to afford them all, as they are already counted on to play significant roles for the NHL club.
The teams that draft well will get rewarded if they develop properly. Setting a limit on contract length won’t “level the playing field” any more than it already is. Your proposed solution of a limit on the amount a salary amount can change during the lifetime of a contract makes a lot of sense."
The Leafs have signed prospect Tyler Biggs to an ELC. Biggs left college after one year, and will play in the OHL or AHL next season.
New Jersey has signed winger Bobby Butler to a one-year, two-way contract. A sold sleeper for dee(e)p leagues.
Dominik Hasek is still looking for an NHL contract – but in the meantime, he has began training with his hometown club in Pardubice. Hasek started his career as a 15-year-old back in 1980 (or 13 years before Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was born) with the very same club.
Hasek is my favorite goalie and my pick as the best goalie of all-time… but I don’t see an NHL contract coming his way any time soon.
The Jeff Skinner contract will have significant ramifications – I mentioned Benn and Ennis yesterday, but what about Eberle and Hall in Edmonton?
More Nick Bjugstad talk (if you can’t tell, I think he’s going to be a great player) here. The 6-5 center is returning to college, and should be a lock for NHL action in 2013-14.
"This is the right spot for me," he said. "I am going to be close to finishing my education and hopefully can accomplish the goal that I have had ever since I was little, which is winning a national championship. We are going to have a good team this year and hopefully get another chance at the national championship and make a run there. I feel I can develop here and become more of a leader on the team as well. Hopefully, I will have a good season."
My latest for the Canucks Army – Max Lapierre starts off the top 10 memorable moments of 2011-12 with a beauty of a goal.
Next season will be a big one for Colin Wilson, the 7th overall pick from 2008. His NHL career has been more down than up so far. He was drafted as an NHL ready forward (much like Gabriel Landeskog) because of his size and strength. He uses it, but not consistently enough.
“Towards the end of the season I started getting more inconsistent,” Wilson said. “The first half of the season, there were very few nights I didn’t have my ‘A’ or ‘B’ game. I’m confident in my consistency going forward. I think I’ve grown in that category since the beginning of my career until now.”
Another disappointing young player has been Zack Boychuk in Carolina. He seems to have regressed over the past three seasons. Shutdown Line takes a look.
“Boychuk's stock is much lower than it was a couple years ago but there is still plenty of hope left for him. Again, he is only 22 and will probably get his chance somewhere down the line. The one major red flag on him is his size since he is only 5"10' and gets knocked off the puck fairly easily but he still has a decent future in the league as a winger. He is a good enough skater and has improved his game in a lot of areas, his puck-possession skills being the main thing he improved this season, so I think he is far from finished and we could see him in the NHL relatively soon. The Hurricanes clearly see some value in him since they re-signed him for another year, although this could be his final chance with the organization.”
There are a few open spots in Carolina, and Boychuk will be competing with Tlusty, Bowman, Dalpe, and a few other young forwards for them. The top six has five spots with Staal, Staal, Semin, Ruutu, and Skinner. Jokinen is likely unless he remains at center, where he could center a third scoring unit.
Canucks prospect Kevin Connauton can’t wait for training camp to begin, as he has his eyes on a roster spot.
“The Canucks’ top three pairings seem set, barring a trade: Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis; Alex Edler and Jason Garrison; Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev; and Andrew Alberts as the No. 7, with newly acquired Derek Joslin filing the role previously held by Aaron Rome.
It’s tough to see Connauton cracking that group. But stranger things have happed on the Canucks’ backend the past couple of years.”
Hockey Prospectus takes a look at the top 10 prospects in Winnipeg. Here are a few excerpts:
“Jacob Trouba, Defense
The Good: Trouba had a solid season, especially internationally, where he played unusually well for a 17-year-old defenseman at the World Juniors as a key part of the US Under-18 team winning another Gold Medal. He's a high-end skater and physical player who can defend very well because he stays with the fastest of forwards and he plays the body pretty well. Trouba is a smart defensive player who makes good reads. He's also a solid puck-mover with decent hands.
Carl Klingberg, Right Wing
Klingberg is able to hit a very desirable top gear, especially for a bigger man. He certainly has an above-average top speed, arguably even high-end. Klingberg has a decent amount of strength and he couples that along with his size to play a hard-working, physical brand of hockey which translates to him being high-end in that aspect of the game. He also has a plus shot and can really lean into some blasts.”
Speaking of Hall – he is back on the ice after shoulder surgery a few months ago. Hall is excited with what the surgery means for his future.
“The surgery was tough. They didn’t just do it arthroscopically, they cut me open and moved the bone around. I have a three-inch scar on my shoulder,” Hall said. He later added, “But now it feels like I have a brand new shoulder. It’s exciting for me because I haven’t really had that in the last two years.”
“Sometimes when I went into the boards I would have to lose the battle because I knew if I put my shoulder a certain way it would kind of pop out,” Hall said. “Now I won’t have that.”
The Flyers locked up defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon to a two-year contract (with a cap hit of $600k). Bourdon played pretty good last year in a depth role, and he will likely find his way into the mix for a roster spot again this year with the injuries on the back end (Meszaros, Pronger), and the departure of Matt Carle.
Justin Bourne thinks Chris Kreider will win the Calder. Can’t disagree with his reasoning.
“Nail Yakupov is 5’11″ and 185 pounds. Alex Galchenyuk is 6’1″, 198 pounds. Chris Kreider is 6’3″, 230. He’s a 230 pound NHL rookie goal scorer.
This past season we saw Gabriel Landeskog edge out Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the Calder, mostly because he plays a better all-around game, and is the more physical player. Kreider is going to have that edge on the other two forwards we’re discussing (I’m aware there are other sleepers out there, by the way, just focusing on the favourites here) in that regard, not to mention the other thing: if you want to score goals, you have to be able to get to dangerous areas of the ice, and not get pushed off the puck – being big and strong certainly helps in that regard. It doesn’t hurt that Kreider’s release is deadly once he gets there.”
No surprise here – Detroit prospects Teemu Pulkkinen and Calle Jarnkrok will be playing in Finland and Sweden next season, respectively.
NHL.com takes a look at Brandon Sutter attempting to replace Jordan Staal in Pittsburgh.
"I think here I was before, I liked my role there and I feel it’s going to be kind of similar here," Sutter told reporters shortly after the trade. "I think at the same time, there was times where I didn’t get very much offensive opportunity at all. There was no power play, no nothing ever. Which is fine if you’re winning, but when you’re not winning that can be kind of frustrating, I guess."
Sutter won’t get a ton of offensive opportunities in Pittsburgh, but he will get some power play time. He has a good shot and sees the ice well. He knows why Pittsburgh acquired him though, and it isn’t for his goal scoring prowess.
How many teams boast the prospect depth on the back end that Pittsburgh does? Morrow, Despres, Dumoulin, Maatta, Pouliot, Harrington, and more. Pretty impressive. Despres is likely the closest to NHL action. Dumoulin isn’t far behind. Morrow has tremendous offensive upside.
I don’t understand Calgary’s reasoning for trading Bouwmeester. Sure, they have a lot of defensemen signed, but why move the one guy who can handle 25+ minutes a night? Wideman isn’t a replacement – they are completely different players. Wideman is offensive, while Bouwmeester is rock solid in his own zone. You find other ways to get under the cap than moving away a solid defenseman who helps a lot more than he hurts.
I am heading down to Portland, Oregon for the weekend. Things to do, drink, eat, and see? Any recommendations?
Gates here - The 2012-13 DobberHockey banner polls are down the final two for each position. Giroux vs. Stamkos, Quick vs. Price and Pietrangelo vs. Karlsson. The winners will be featured on the main page banner for this upcoming season. Vote now!
The Lapierre goal I wrote about in my above piece: