Draft List and Fantasy Guide are updated now.
Some camp notes - the Oilers have cut a bunch, including Toni Rajala (back to Finland)
Bobby Ryan (groin) was held off the ice today. He's taking it day by day.
Steve Sullivan (just a groin tweak) did not skate today.
As I speculated in the Guide, Adam Larsson saw some time on the top PP unit. He was with Kovalchuk on the back end - that was surprising as I thought they would try out some other blue liners and a forward would be a Plan B.
Ray Emery will get the start for the Blackhawks tonight - this info you would have over an hour ago over at Goalie Post. Justin, Jeff and myself plan to be the leaders in starting goaltender information over there. If you were a member, and you selected the "Chicago" box as one of your team boxes, then you would receive an email notification the minute this sort of news is released. Never miss a start again in your daily league!
Preseason hockey is here!
This is where we’re teased by strong performances of young players who are on the cusp of a breakout. Sometimes they actually do break out. Often it’s just a forecast of a future season, but just not this one. And sometimes the player just pulls a Brandon Bochenski and winds up with nothing substantial in any NHL regular season.
Last night’s hero – Nathan Gerbe. A goal and two helpers in a 3-1 win. Bad sign here is that he was playing Patrick Kaleta and Paul Gaustad. This success, and continued success like it, will see to it that he remains a third-liner for this season, albeit a productive one. But being on the third line caps his production at 40 points. So Gerbe owners are hoping he can move up the depth chart.
Another big winner from last night is Sergei Kostitsyn, who had a lot to prove a year ago – and still has a lot to prove this year. He has a first-line spot to hold onto and so far so good. Three assists for him.
Jonathon Blum had a goal and an assist. Blum has the potential (key word) to be everything that Shea Weber is in terms of two-way play. Obviously not the size, though. Weber’s huge.
Speaking of big defensemen, Jared Cowen had two goals for the Senators in his bid to make the team. He also managed 19 penalty minutes. It’s assumed that David Rundblad makes this team but Cowen doesn’t have the same assumptions despite having all the tools and the pedigree. Offensively, Cowen lacks Rundblad’s prowess. Rundblad was minus-1.
So far so good for Nikita Filatov – two assists on the two Ottawa goals. The fantasy hockey world is keeping an eye on how this guy does.
Tyler Bozak scored twice and added an assist. To get anywhere on the Leafs, he’ll need to move to the wing. And even then, he won’t get into the top six without an injury. Good thing for him, both Tim Connolly and Joffrey Lupul are Band-Aid Boys. That’s his only hope this year.
One thing a young, unproven player cannot afford in training camp is too many “minus” games. Joe Colborne (Toronto), Patrick Wiercioch (Ottawa) and Zach Boychuk (Carolina) were each minus-2.
Not that I’d run out and get him, but so far Wojtek Wolski is looking pretty good on a line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. Really, he needs to be on that line or in the press box. There is no middle ground here. He needs to float and set up offensive plays. Ask him to check and be gritty and you’ll be disappointed. So if keeps this role he gets 60 or 65 points. If not, then 30 points. Naturally, this is fantasy hockey, where nothing is black or white – meaning he’ll be on that line sometimes and sometimes not. That would put his points – wait for it – somewhere in the middle.
Marc Staal is suffering from post-concussion symptoms and will miss at least most of the preseason. This one could go on a while, it certainly doesn’t sound promising. Ironically, it was brother Eric’s big hit that probably caused the concussion.
Zdeno Chara took a puck off the leg and is day-to-day with a bruised leg. Won’t impact the season.
I’ve never seen a team bend over backwards to tell us everything is okay as much as I’ve seen the Jets pump out the propaganda about Dustin Byfuglien’s weight. Seriously, the guy was up 40 pounds versus last November. But since then, we’ve heard that he “gained weight throughout the season last year” and that he’s “in camp this year at a lower weight than his camp last year” (those two statement contradict, by the way). And now I’m seeing hourly articles on how he is in shape. Listen, I don’t believe he is completely in shape, but I also don’t believe he needs to be. This is how he is and it’s the same guy that got all the points a year ago. He won’t top last year, but he’ll hover around there I’m sure.
Here’s a nice piece about St. Louis prospect Ty Rattie’s strong performance at the recent prospects tournament. He had six points in four games.
Kurtis Foster has a thigh ailment that will sideline him for 2-4 weeks. That probably takes him out for a game or two to start the season.
Here’s an interesting story on Martin Erat’s back ailment and how he “will continue to have back pain for the rest of his career”. I didn’t know it was such a long-standing injury.
Those of you who are interested in running a casual “office pool” type of contest with your co-workers, I have created a Facebook Page and stuck in there three FREE box pool spreadsheets. They range in complication from “Basic” to “Medium” to “Full”. Download ‘em, print ‘em, pass ‘em around and have a little fun. I decided to create this page and every season and every postseason (and Olympics, for that matter) I’ll put together player boxes to save you some work. Just spreading the fantasy hockey excitement any way I can! Please like the page so that the word spreads about these free spreadsheets.
Cowen vs. Phaneuf – if Cowen makes this team I could see 25 points and 100 PIM: