toews

 

Part four in a seven-part review takes a look at the teams that failed to reach the postseason and what kind of impact each of them will have on your keeper-league squad. This week, we take a look at Washington and Chicago.

 

Backstrom

Washington Capitals
Possibly on the way out…
Other than Bryan Muir, the Caps are not losing anyone to unrestricted free agency. There are tons of players that they may not qualify, such as Kris Beech (I think they’ll qualify him), Rico Fata (gone) and several other bit parts, but nothing major.

The team will be looking to add…
A pair of elite centermen and a top-notch right winger, plus a power play quarterback. Since this team is in the rebuilding phase, don’t look for them to go too crazy solving the pivot problem. So far, their answers have been second-tier players such as Andrew Cassels (bust) and Dainius Zubrus (pretty successful). The Caps will go this route again. A long-shot possibility: trading a draft pick to the Bruins for the rights to Sergei Zinovjev. The 27-year-old has expressed an interest in returning to the NHL, but has priced himself out of the Bruins’ good graces. Zinovjev has proven chemistry with Alexander Ovechkin, so this is a fit that could work. For the quarterback problem, Roman Hamrlik, Brad Stuart and Ric Jackman are both unrestricted, as are the two Montreal boys (you know who they are). Youngster Mike Green is ready to take the next step…but not quite all the way up to No.1 guy on the PP.

General fantasy outlook…
The arrival of Nicklas Backstrom, a Calder favorite, is just one more piece to the puzzle, and will solve half of their pivot needs. Tomas Fleischmann and/or Eric Fehr are a pair of prospects who could help on the right side. Fleischmann is a left winger, but he’ll continue to try things out on the other side. The Caps are on the right track and should be set to compete for the 2008-09 season. One more year of suffering during the rebuilding phase, Caps fans. In the meantime, the offense will pick up.


Chicago Blackhawks
Possibly on the way out…
Michal Handzus is all but gone. He was never there, really…but when he did play way back in October he displayed tremendous chemistry with Martin Havlat – the ‘Hawks will need to find that again. Peter Bondra, Michal Holmqvist and Jeff Hamilton are all unrestricted free agents. Holmqvist and Hamilton could be back.

The team will be looking to add…
If Chicago brought in a No.1 center, they would suddenly inject two of them into the lineup. With the recent signing of Jonathan Toews, the team has already added a Calder candidate. There is already talk that he will be matched up with Havlat. To have a second elite center on the squad would add some much needed depth up front. The ‘Hawks are also hoping that Cam Barker finally gets through a training camp without being struck by injury or ailment. They need a quarterback for the power play and would like to give he and Brent Seabrook a shot.

General fantasy outlook…
Like Washington, this team just needs to mature. They have several top prospects in the pipeline – besides Toews and Barker, Jack Skille will be in camp in the fall and will challenge for a spot, as well as the likes of Martin St. Pierre (who should make it) and David Bolland. Unlike the Caps, this team also needs to be healthy. With Tuomo Ruutu, Havlat and Barker, the core of the team is injury prone. That needs to change or they will not make the playoffs this year. Again.


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