I have done some recent interviews with a few of my favourite sites– Fear the Fin, the Copper & Blue, and RLD Hockey. Check ‘em out.

 

Fantasy Guide was updated yesterday. The Goalie Rankings will be updated as soon as Goalie Post subscriptions go on sale – which should be by the end of this week or Monday at the latest.

 

A huge and well-deserved congrats to Justin Goldman, who will now be a writer on NHL.com. Justin is far and away the best goaltending resource on the internet, and I am very happy for him.

 

Dobber mentioned Mike Colligan’s point the other day – Bylsma plans to use four forwards and one defenseman on the top unit. With Crosby, I’d go: Crosby-Malkin-Neal up front, and Sullivan-Letang on the back end.

 

Without Crosby, Kunitz or Staal slides up there. Interesting opportunity ahead for Sullivan – he could record quite a few assists if he settles in to the role of power play specialist.

 

The Penguins will likely employ an umbrella type of formation, with Letang roving the blueline, and Sullivan and Crosby on either side feeding him one-timers. I’d expect the Penguins to give up a lot of shorthanded goals/chances with this formation, though.

 

A solid read from NHL.com on Dave Bolland – the Hawks may toy with the idea of moving Sharp back to wing (it depends on Marcus Kruger’s development). Ideally, Bolland is a second line center who is matched up against opposing top lines. He’s too good to be playing a third line role (the Blackhawks will try and get him as much PP time as they can, especially if he isn’t playing as much at even strength).

 

Sam Gagner has been spinning his wheels, according to David Staples. I don’t disagree – it’s been tough for him to really improve or develop playing on such awful teams. He is still so young and has so many games of experience under his belt. I wouldn’t write him off just yet, but he needs to take a step forward pretty soon if he still wants to be considered as a future offensive star.

 

Steve Zipay (Rangers beat writer) thinks Wolski gets the first shot on the LW with Richards and Gaborik. He wishes Stepan was playing there. I’d disagree with both.

 

Wolski has had a ton of chances at the NHL level, and he has failed miserably aside from a few short stints of good play in Colorado. He has so much skill for a big guy, but lacks the intensity required. Tortorella may ride him hard early in the season to see what he is made of.

 

With Stepan, he’s a cerebral player but I like him more at center. A lot of moving pieces, though. If Wolski somehow earns the top spot, the Rangers would probably keep Dubinsky and Callahan on the second line with Anisimov. That leaves Stepan to play with Avery and Zuccarello or Prust on line three. Perhaps they move him to the wing temporarily in order to increase his ice time?

 

Where do you see Matt Duchene’s production for this coming season? 60? 70? In my personal projections, I have him at 71 points.

 

The comments section from the above post features a good discussion. A lot depends on Peter Mueller’s health. Colorado’s top two RW in Jones and Hejduk are both band-aid boys, as well.

 

An interesting read on Cody Hodgson, from the Province. It mentions that he has a huge opportunity with Kesler banged up, how he hasn’t been this healthy in over three years, and how he is working with Gary Roberts (physical) and Claude Lemieux (the mental side of the game). The Lemieux bit was particularly noteworthy to me.

 

My next 15 Points to Consider will be out before the end of August!

 

A nice sample of Duchene’s speed and skill:

 

Cody Hodgson’s highlight reel from Manitoba last season:

 

Some vets and prospects working out with Roberts and the BioSteel crew - check out Yakupov at the end of the video... wow!


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Comments (10)add comment

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... He's older... so what? Why do all young players get better every single year?

Colorado may be just as bad this year - they've invested a lot in an unknown goalie and an extremely injury prone forward group.
August 25, 2011
Votes: +1

BGJ said:

bletchley
... I expect Duchene to get 85 points. 71? Come on...he had 67 last year on a bad team, he's older and his team can't be as bad.
August 25, 2011
Votes: +0

Princeton said:

Princeton
Yaks Love the biosteel clip.

The deke by Yakupov at the end was sick.
August 25, 2011
Votes: +0

Dean Youngblood said:

Dean Youngblood
Yakopov Yaaaa.....He's Gooooooooooood

I am so priviledged to watch him play so much in Sarnia.
August 25, 2011
Votes: -1

slufoot said:

slufoot
great ramblings Great ramblings today Angus. Must be getting closer to hockey season.

I think its a huge year for Hodgson. A ppg AHL season and/or making the team out of camp as Kesler's temporary replacement would both be considered success. Anything else though, and we're left with just as many questions as we have now.

Duchene around 70 sounds about right. So many are predicting Stastny to return to his former ways but his icetime dropped close to 2:00 per game last year. I think we're going to see Duchene start to emerge as the 1A center this year and unless the Avs' wingers improve, only 1 of the 2 will crack 70. My money is on Duchene.

If not Wolski or Stepan as 1LW, who would you go with? Dubinsky?
For the record I think wolski is the logical choice, but I don`t see him sticking. Like you said Tortorella will ride him hard for 10 games there until he cracks once again.

Staples is one of the most out-of-touch hockey writers I`ve read. I think Gagner has a big year this season centering Smyth and Hemsky.

and as far as Sullivan goes, I think he was signed for the primary purpose of PP specialist. 15-16 min per night with 25% of it on the PP.
August 25, 2011
Votes: +1

ultrawhiteness said:

ultrawhiteness
Gagner Tyler Dellows had a good post on Gagner's progression:

http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3774

And congrats JG! You deserve it man.
August 25, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan said:

letnry
... Congrats Justin! But wasn't he already writing for NHL.com last season?
August 25, 2011
Votes: +0

Chris said:

Dr.Smurf
Congrats Congrats Justin! I look forward to reading eve more of your brilliant insight and analysis!
August 25, 2011
Votes: +0

Sanstanya said:

sanstanya
Error report Duchene link leads to Gagner story.
August 25, 2011
Votes: +0

ducat2 said:

ducat2
... Congrats to Justin. Will he still be writing for Dobber also?
August 25, 2011
Votes: +0
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