Fantasy Guide is now updated. Including: the Experts League Draft analysis. Buy it here!
My fantasy mailbag over at THN is back today. Find it here.
Injury news: Ales Hemsky and Ryan Whitney are not 100% yet. It still sounds like both will be ready for the season opener, but both will miss part or all of camp. Whitney's foot/ankle problems are starting to remind me of someone...
Some great insight from Mike Bacock on his Wings. Including "he'll be an NHL player" for sure, regarding Nyquist. White will be Lidstrom's defense partner to start. And he spoke volumes when talking about line combinations - something I've been preaching for years. They change all the time and aren't worth analyzing. He even said that Datsyuk and Zetterberg will be linemates one game and two games later they won't be.
And so, after 11 consecutive days of rambles, I leave you. Angus is back tomorrow and Nichols makes his debut Sunday. Hope you enjoyed the run!
Corey Crawford is in Chicago early and he’s excited for the season. Given his contract, he’ll get every opportunity to hold onto his job. In fact, he would probably have to lose the No.1 job four or five times before it’s finally gone. Salak and Emery may be strong competition, but it’s an uphill battle for them.
Undrafted prospect Brenden Dillon is impressing Joe Nieuwendyk, to the point where his name was mentioned during a conversation about prospects who could make the jump. Dillon is an offensive blueliner and the team already has two very good ones. But given Souray’s constant injuries, Dillon could see some cups of coffee.
One dark horse rookie I’m extremely high on is Kyle Palmieri. He had 15 goals and 20 points in his final 14 AHL games. Yes, draftable in deep leagues in one of the later rounds. And a “must” in all keeper formats this season.
Time to plug the Fantasy pool manager – Hockey Knight. They are opening their site as a BETA for business as they add more features. Become a KEY part of this by adding your pool with them! Then get your say and help mold what they do. The vision – create the ultimate keeper-league pool manager. Already set up in a league? I ask that you set it up a second time over at HK. The more leagues/feedback we get in there the better it will be. Like I said, it’s FREE for this year while it’s in BETA mode so I’m not profiting a penny. I really just want to get this thing right and you can help us do that.
If you’re looking for a dark horse enforcer, perhaps Zac Rinaldo should be on your radar. Philly.com is pretty high on him and how he is doing in rookie camp.
Chris Pronger should be ready for the home opener, according to the GM. That’s a 2-3 week improvement from the last firm projection. Draft away!
Another small, undrafted player in Jonathan Audy-Marchessault is making his mark on a tryout for the Rangers in Traverse. He leads them with five points in three games. Whatever player he turns out to be – from Brandon Reid to Martin St. Louis – we won’t know for about five years. But as always, put your money on ‘no’. With that in mind, he is firmly on my radar (I’m starting to use the ‘fine print’ more often, to make sure that what I ramble about casually isn’t taken as a sure thing by newer readers). Another undrafted invite, this one for the Stars, Matt Fraser has five points to lead that team. Unlike J.A.M. (hey, cool!), Fraser is a pretty big guy and thus stands a better chance of getting somewhere.
By the way, Tim Erixon and Christian Thomas each have four points in that tourney (three games).
Meanwhile, St. Louis’ newest top pick Ty Rattie is leading their team with five points and is a plus-3. Other notables – Scott Glennie has three assists (DAL), Victor Rask (CAR) has just one point and ditto for Ryan Murphy. Zack Kassian (BUF) has three assists in the three games. Detroit’s Gustav Nyqvist and Brendan Smith have three and two points respectively. Minny prospect Kris Foucault leads their team with four points. Recent acquisition David McIntyre is not having the greatest tourney – he’s a minus-6.
Columbus rearguard David Savard, by many accounts, has been the best player on the Jackets. He leads the team with five points and Ryan Johansen is next with four. Cam Atkinson and Tomas Kubalik have three each.
Give Craig Smith two more goals in the rookie tournie. Did the Preds just dig themselves up a star? Remember, at the worlds he was playing against men. Craig – you have my full attention. GM David Poile on him: “He was as dominant a player I’ve seen in a rookie tournament in all the years I’ve been with the Predators,” Poile said. ”Everything is pointing towards a player who has a tremendous amount of potential and I can’t wait to see him play some preseason games with the Predators.”
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (JAM) has some fight in him too, despite his size. He’s in white: