Rick Rypien was found dead in his Alberta home yesterday. The bottom line for him, as a hockey player is this – he wasn’t drafted, and yet he scratched and clawed his way into the NHL by the time he was 21. How many of us can say that? And were it not for injuries and personal issues, who knows what we’d be saying about him today. Another tough loss for hockey this summer. He had recently signed with the Jets.
Once again, I had to go to Twitter for some ramblings content…
So in writing my Goals-For By Team piece for the Fantasy Guide, I discovered that all four teams in the Conference Finals were in the Top 8 in regular season goal scoring. Come on coaches, let’s open it up!
What the Havlat-Heatley trade? I think both teams want to shake things up. Both teams need a completely different culture and they have made big changes to do so. The Sharks wanted someone who could better click with Joe Thornton and now they can take another shot at that with Havlat. Meanwhile, the Wild get a player of equal talent – probably more talent, and with one less year on the contract.
Who will be the No.2 center on the Rangers, Anisimov or Stepan? To me, this is a slam dunk. I think Derek Stepan could be a No.1 guy in two or three years. To the point where he knocks Brad Richards into 1B status to his 1A. Meanwhile, Anisimov’s upside is that of a second-liner. So on this team he’ll just be a very valuable and productive third liner until room is made for him – or until he moves to the wing. That puts a lid on his upside for the next couple of years, anyway.
Justin Goldman of the Goalie Guild wanted my take on TJ Galiardi. He believes him to be a dark horse. That depends on what you expect from him and what would be of value to you. I don’t have any interest in him. I’m worried about his fragility a little bit – very thin. I’m not impressed with his junior numbers, because as a 19-year-old I think a point-per-game says to me that he tops out as a second liner in the NHL. So he’s an option to play in the top six with some good linemates, but if Mueller is healthy then Galiardi is competing with Landeskog and Jones for the last two top-six spots. So I am reluctant to believe that he can play 75 games, and I’m reluctant to believe that he can log any significant time in the top six. But assuming he plays 74 games and Mueller is hurt (or Galiardi gets into the top six some other way), then I do think he could be a dark horse for 50 or even 55 points. But that’s a ton of ifs. And I would drop him in a points-only keeper league.
I was asked which teams are the ones to beat in each conference. I get into that in the Guide, but the answer is Pittsburgh and Vancouver. Naturally, if Sid and Geno fail to combine for 140 games again, then they topple down the standings. Again.
Compare the signing of Zherdev last year vs. the signing of Jagr. I guess he’s asking – why should he trust that Jagr will do well when Zherdev imploded. Well, Jagr is a veteran and they generally have less to prove. Zherdev was always under the gun. He could go two games without a point and without creating any great chances. But stretch that to three games and his ice time is cut. So is his PP. And by Game 5, he could be in the press box. Whereas with Jagr, he could probably get one point in the first 12 games and still see PP time. He would have to truly, monumentally suck it up for 20 games before the press box gets considered. And then there is the size factor. Jagr has like 40 pounds on Zherdev. That makes a huge difference. If Jagr is slumping, and eager to get out of it – I’d like to see the opposition try to stop him.
The Habs have signed Jeff Woywitka to a two-way contract. Excellent depth signing for the Habs.
In honor of Rick Rypien: