These ramblings have been brought to you by – Twitter.
But first, to bring to light columnist Ryan Ma’s comment yesterday on the Coyotes, in which he was spot on – the ‘Yotes not only lost Bryzgalov, but they lost Belanger and Fiddler, taking with them an excellent faceoff proficiency. And that’s huge. Ma opined that the team should finish Bottom 5, but perhaps not last. Agreed. I actually have them 25th in the Fantasy Guide.
You’ll see the projected team standings in the next Fantasy Guide update, which I hope to release this afternoon.
So which team do I have first? The Penguins. Yeah, I’ve been beating their drum for years now. And even after this season we won’t have seen them in their prime yet. Sorry guys, the curve for this squad is still inching upward. If Crosby and Malkin stay healthy for an entire season, then this team will be men among boys. Crosby was on pace for 132 points last year. That’s not yet his peak. Malkin hasn’t been healthy since posting 149 points in 106 regular season and playoff games two years ago. That’s not yet his peak. Seriously – Crosby turned 24 yesterday (Happy Birthday!). Malkin turned 25 last week. Both have injuries that could rear their ugly heads again, and hinder their development into generational superstars. But if they can stave off the injuries for a season, then they will reach point totals that all fantasy outlets (even myself) would be too scared to project.
And this would have the following fantasy impact:
- James Neal is probably going to set career highs anyway (currently 55 points). But 80 games from Sid and Geno would result in a pretty hefty increase for Neal.
- Jordan Staal will center Malkin. He would beat his 60-point pace from a year ago.
- Steve Sullivan would, even missing 15 games due to his usual injury issues, still get 50 points and earn himself another contract.
- Kris Letang would become a 70-point defenseman. He was on pace for 72 when Crosby went down at the midpoint.
But, if Sid and/or Malkin miss 35 games, then Neal barely tops his career high, Sullivan barely tops 40 points, Letang gets a sniff off 55 points at best and Staal will struggle to reach even 60. The results from this team fluctuate drastically are very dependent upon two of the best players in the game today.
I know it's hard to bring yourself to "dream" of the possibilities. After all, so many things can go wrong and in fact, odds are that something will. But there is a window here, and not exactly a small one, that says that a lot of impressive point totals could be in the cards for several players. But it will be a domino effect - you just have to hope that one doesn't fall.
Is Toronto draft pick (25th overall) Stuart Percy fantasy relevant? Not draftable this year. Will he ever be relevant in fantasy hockey? If he takes a step forward for St. Mike’s this season in terms of offense, then yes. The other aspects of his game is there in spades, but as it stands now he looks like a potential 30-point, steady No.4 to me.
This year’s Calder race is the most wide open race since I’ve been doing the Guides (six years now). The best rookie – Brayden Schenn – is too buried in Philadelphia and thus will rightfully be brought along slowly. So at best I see 45 points. That doesn’t really win Calder Trophies. And there are so many great rookie defensemen making the jump that I can’t help but feel one will win it. But like I said, it is wide open. In the Guide I have my Top 50 favorites, but I also mention five other names to watch. I’ve never done that before.
Check out the Dobber Sports Facebook page and "like" it for our latest contest - a free fantasy team audit. More contests/giveaways forthcoming for all fans of that page…
@Pitaking asks “given the concussion, is Crosby still the most valuable skater in fantasy?” The answer is yes. Another concussion would make me think twice about that. He took the right precautions and hopefully he can get a better-fitting helmet so the odds of that happening again are lessened.
According to CapGeek, there are three teams who still need to get to the floor. Colorado has $2.8 million left, but Gabriel Landeskog making the squad would fix that right off the bat. The Islanders have $2.3 million to add but not only does Nino Niederreiter fix that, but they also need to sign Josh Bailey. Phoenix has $430,000 to add, and Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker need to be signed. So all teams have made it to the floor.
My fingers are crossed that the NBA has a lockout. That would be fantastic for fantasy hockey and hockey in general. Once you play this game (fantasy sports) you are hooked and a lot of you would look to feed that addiction elsewhere. TV ratings would rise, sports bars in America would have fewer options and would thus put hockey on, a new generation of fans would be cultivated. If the NBA loses an entire year, they may not get a small percentage of fans back from us.
Top 10 Jagr plays ("There's only four people...in the entire rink... that he didn't deke. And three of them were ushers!"):
Keep firing me YouTube clips!