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In looking at the Bodog odds to win the Stanley Cup I see several opportunities:

Pittsburgh Penguins                   8/1

New York Rangers                     9/1

Vancouver Canucks                   11/1

Los Angeles Kings                     12/1

Philadelphia Flyers                     13/1

Chicago Blackhawks                  14/1

Detroit Red Wings                      15/1

Boston Bruins                            16/1

St. Louis Blues                          16/1

Minnesota Wild                          18/1

San Jose Sharks                       20/1

Buffalo Sabres                           22/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    22/1

Nashville Predators                    25/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                  25/1

Washington Capitals                  25/1

New Jersey Devils                      28/1

Edmonton Oilers                        30/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                   35/1

Florida Panthers                        40/1

Anaheim Ducks                         40/1

Colorado Avalanche                    40/1

Montreal Canadiens                   40/1

Ottawa Senators                        40/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       40/1

Calgary Flames                         50/1

Dallas Stars                              50/1

Winnipeg Jets                            50/1

New York Islanders                    75/1

Columbus Blue Jackets              100/1


The biggest one is that the Caps need to be higher up this chart and the Sharks and Sabres lower. And while I’m not high on Winnipeg’s one-year outlook, I do believe that they are better than third worst in the league.


So many teams have made a lot of changes, but changes where unknowns were brought in. So how do you gauge that? If the unknowns fail, the team does far worse than thought. If the unknown does exactly what was hoped, then the team does much better. I’m talking about how much of a factor will age be in terms of the new Dallas wingers? Or how big a splash will Silfverberg make in Ottawa or Cervenka in Calgary? If Corey Crawford doesn’t bounce back and Ray Emery stumbles, then you can knock Chicago down about 10 spots. Even now, the sixth favorite is a little high for that club.


The NHL knew that the NHLPA would want to look at financials. All of the financials. Couldn’t they have gathered that up in March? Wasting precious time. Very short-sighted. And if this is all part of the negotiating strategy, then it’s the trick of a high school student. Childish games.


The Hockey Writers takes a stab at predicting the Western Conference standings. I have two rules of thumb here. First, no matter what, don’t be hard on the Coyotes. They are an easy pick to suck, and they are an easy pick to suck every year. And every year they don’t suck. I don’t care if they lost Doan and Whitney this year. It’s obviously safe to take them down a notch – but don’t take the chicken way out and put them 14th - ahead of the worst team in the league. I was torn a new one last summer – one of the harshest feedback in terms of quantity and quality, because I ‘dared’ to not knock the Coyotes far enough back. I had them for 89 points, which was only a drop of 10. Well, they ended with 97. I’m not sure why I haven’t heard from those naysayers this year. Anyway, don’t fall for it. The team is about coaching, and the coach wasn’t traded or lost to free agency.


Second rule of thumb – no matter what, don’t be hard on the Predators. For all the same reasons as above. An easy team to knock down on your projections and then feign surprise when they’re still in the playoff hunt in March. Don’t do it. Teams that are revolving around coaching are impacted less when they lose so-called impact players. THW had Phoenix 14, Nashville 13 – an easy, obvious move. Won’t happen. Those THW projected ranks add up to 27 – in reality their ranks in the end won’t add up to 22.


At which team’s expense? It will surprise you. And me. A fall from grace that we didn’t see coming. My guess would be San Jose, but my faith in that guess is almost zero percent.


Copper and Blue counts down their Top 25 Oilers under the age of 25. At number eight is Magnus Paajarvi. It’s an interesting read. And the correct opinion backed up by the right advanced stats. But occasionally writer Derek Zona goes too deep, when the obvious is more than sufficient an explanation. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it certainly makes for a better article - but Paajarvi’s poor season can be explained without all that. He had some bad bounces in the early games, was slowly demoted to weaker linemates, thereby increasing the odds of suffering more bad bounces. Then he was demoted out of the league. Not to mention written off by many fantasy owners. Simple. And that was my opinion before looking at a single advanced stat. But when I looked at his PDO – which essentially measures ‘luck’ – I see that it is low. But digging deeper, the team even-strength shot percentage when he was on the ice was 3.56 was 11th lowest in the entire league (minimum 30 games). That’s as “unlucky” as a player can get. The team around you (to be fair – this includes Paajarvi himself) has a 3.56 shot percentage? There are not a lot of points to be had in such a circumstance.


So simple luck – team ES shot percentage should be closer to 7.8. So instead of zero points in his first eight games, maybe Paajarvi gets three points if the pucks are going in with ‘normal’ regularity. If that happens, then his ice time doesn’t dip from 18:40 in Game 1 to 8:39 in Game 9. If that happens, then certainly a couple more points could be had by Game 13…and if that happens then he doesn’t get scratched for Games 14 and 15. You can see the domino effect I’m trying to describe.


That being said, if Paajarvi is snakebitten again for the first five games of this season, then you may see a repeat. If he gets those bounces early, things will be completely different this year.


In case you haven’t seen this yet, a great read (if you have a twenty minutes) at The Hockey Writers about how the Phoenix Coyotes are doing extremely well considering the odds. Not just on the ice, but the off-ice battles as well.


The Leafs signed defensemen Morgan Rielly to an ELC. By all accounts he looked great in development camp and impressed his way onto a shot at a roster spot. A realistic shot, but not a likely one. Odds are he will be given a year of junior hockey, considering he missed much of the last one. You can read the profile on Rielly right here (from DobberProspects).


Hey, good news for Nathan Horton owners. He is cleared for contact now.


Magnus Paajarvi’s hat trick…




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Comments (6)add comment


... Hilarious...Coyotes at the bottom again. They could win the Cup and then be picked to miss the playoffs the next year.
August 06, 2012
Votes: +0

angus said:

... I placed three bets last year when in LV:

Kings to win the Cup (15 to 1)
NYR to win the Cup (28 to 1)
Malkin to win the Art Ross (17 to 1)

By far my best year for betting ever. Almost had both teams in the Cup.

Still too far away to place any bets... but of those odds, I like:

Bruins 16 to 1
August 06, 2012
Votes: +0

number54 said:

... Wow, do I ever want to bet a ton of money against Pittsburgh winning the cup... 8:1 is just way too good for any team. If you think about it, the "average" team has 30:1 odds, so the pens would have to be almost 3.75 times more likely to win than the average team to justify those odds.

On the flip-side, Edmonton's been a basement team for 4 years now, and they actually have 30:1 odds. Either Yakupov puts them over the top, or they're not worth betting on at these odds, because they're generally a below-average team.
August 06, 2012
Votes: +0

Big Ev said:

Big Ev
paajarvi I don't think it's about luck with him, it's about the fact that he has poor hockey sense and isn't a good goal scorer. He can be a capable third liner down the line, but I could see him playing in Europe more than the NHL.
August 06, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Oops ...
5. LA, 6. MIN, 7. DET, 8. EDM, 9. DAL
August 06, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

... My Picks

WEST: 1. VAN, 2. STL, 3. SJ, 4. CHI, 5. LA, 5. MIN, 6. DET, 7. DAL, 8. EDM
9. DAL, 10. NAS, 11. PHX, 12. ANA, 13. CGY, 14. COL, 15. CBJ

My best picks for bang-for-your-buck Stanley Cup selections:
VAN 11-1
CHI 14-1
STL 16-1
BOS 16-1
(I actually think the West is very weak... but I'd rather invest in a Western team, rather than the crapshoot that is 5-6 very strong teams in the East.)
August 06, 2012
Votes: +0
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