Fantasy Guide and Draft List updated as of Monday and updated again later today. iPhone draft app too. After this, I’ll update Friday, Sunday and next Wednesday. There will then be one final one on Friday of next week. So five updates to go!
Some late day injury notes for you - Mike Santorelli is out until mid-October with a shoulder injury. That opens the door for Shawn Matthias... Sam Gagner suffered a high ankle sprain, which will probably sideline him for the first month of the season - who knows with these things, that's a tough injury. That opens the door for Ryan Nugent Hopkins...
Eric Tangradi, Nick Johnson and Brad Thiessen were among today's cuts by the Penguins. Johnson has to clear waivers and if I'm another team, I'm thinking that he's the most appealing name to go on waivers yet this year. Underrated player who deserves more than the minors this year.
Don't forget, if you want to kickstart the hockey pool spirit at the office, I have put together three box pools of varying degrees of depth. FREE. You can find more info here.
Regarding the draft that I had Sunday. That 14-team keeper league is transitioning to 12 forwards, 4 defensemen, 2 goalies and a 15-player bench where we just count the top points to determine pro and farm. We are transitioning there over the course of five years (and adding one more team). For this year, we are at 12 skaters (F or D), 2 d-men and 1 goalie (and next year this will move to 2 goalies) and 12 on the bench. I had, going into the draft, seven draft picks (13, 22, 26, 28, 39, 46 and 62 overall) and six open spots/dropsies.
I traded Jack Skille for a future fourth round pick. That didn’t open a spot, because I would have dropped him. Not that I don’t have faith in him, but I have confidence in my drafting. Then I traded 39 and 46 and got 27 – so I could pick 26, 27, 28 (I love that – makes drafting easier).
My roster before the draft – Crosby, Price, Letang, Roy,Enstrom, J.Staal, Horton, Tarasenko, Weiss, Crawford, Jokinen, Grabovski, Goligoski, Franzen, Gagne, Josefson, Anderson, A.Kostitsyn, Smyth, Jeffrey, Stajan, Beleskey, Skille, Pouliot.
Here is how it went down –
13. Drafted Stefan Elliott, COL – no drop
22. Drafted Kyle Palmieri, ANA – no drop
26. Drafted Sergei Kostitsyn, NSH – no drop
27. Drafted Mike Smith, PHO – no drop
28. Drafted Ty Rattie, STL – dropped Beleskey
62. Drafted Craig Smith, NSH – dropped Stajan
In that final round, it was a round in which we could not trade the draft pick – it was for roster expansion only (part of the transition). Also, from the end of the draft until next September 1, our rosters elasticize – we are allowed to go up or down four bodies (so between 23 and 31). At the start of that round, there were three players who interested me – Paul Byron, Al Montoya and Craig Smith. I arranged a deal in which I would trade somebody a third-round draft pick if they would pick the guy that I want. Someone agreed to that and I had him pick Paul Byron at 60. After the draft, we made the swap official. So here is my “after” team:
Forwards (projected pro):
Crosby, Roy, J.Staal, Horton, Weiss, J.Jokinen, Grabovski, Franzen, Gagne, S.Kostitsyn, Smyth
Defense (projected pro):
Letang, Enstrom, Goligoski (as the 12th skater)
Price, Anderson, Crawford, Smith
Farm team (not including three of the above goalies):
Tarasenko, Josefson, A.Kostitsyn, Jeffrey, S. Elliott, K. Palmieri, Rattie, C. Smith, Pouliot, Byron
Scott Hartnell has been cleared to play by a heart specialist. James van Riemsdyk has a lower body injury that will hold him off the ice for at least a week. And Matt Read is doing "everything right" - great pump-up piece on Read here.
Here are some great reasons to be optimistic about Sergei Kostitsyn this season.
My column in The Hockey News yesterday focuses on five “now or never” players who I’m watching in camp. You can read that here.
The reason I bumped up Mikhail Grabovski in a recent update is the fact that he has looked so good in camp. Very shifty and smart – if he stays healthy he could actually build on his breakthrough from last season (I didn’t project that, but just saying he “could”). Three points last night, and his usual linemates had two each.
Peter Regin left early last night with a shoulder injury.
Mika Zibanejad, I almost guarantee, will be playing at least nine games this season. He is better than most of his teammates, hands down. And yes, in one-year leagues if the rosters are deep enough, I draft him as my fourth center – and if he gets cut, I make sure I’m covered with a reasonable centerman on my bench.
Two points for Tomas Fleischmann. Now there is a player who is very underrated. Poolies are leery about him because he is an “injury risk”. But I don’t believe that the blood clots will be an issue again, so that eliminates most of the question marks. He’s entering his prime and has a track record of improving at every level with each season that he plays. And I stand by my projection of him for this season.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers as well, and much like Zibanejad I think he’ll get a nine-game look. Unlike Zibanejad, I don’t think he’ll stick for the season though.
The Florida power play was Campbell, Kulikov, Booth, Fleischmann and, uh, Versteeg. ♪One of these things is not like the other♪… Huberdeau, Skille, Kopecky and Goc also saw a lot. Interesting to see Matthias, Bergenheim and Kennedy see very little. If it’s me, I put any of those three out there over Goc, Kopecky or even Versteeg. But just keep in mind where the coach is leaning here – Versteeg and Skille see some PP, Matthias and Bergenheim do not.
Word is that Jacob Markstrom will become the backup for Theodore while Clemmensen is sidelined for eight weeks. And if Theodore stumbles, which won’t shock me, then he could pick up some starts and really solidify his NHL presence. In 15 games or so, he could start as many as six – more towards the latter part of that 15. And if they guy plays lights out the Panthers find that they can’t win without him, then you have your Calder Trophy winner right there. The other candidate for the backup job, Tyler Plante, came on in the second period when he allowed three goals on 11 shots before settling down.
Mike Santorelli left the contest with an undisclosed injury.
Meanwhile Kari Lehtonen was lights out for the Stars, stopping 43 of 46 shots. My only concern with him is his health. He’s a fantastic goaltender, I’m just far too wary about his fragility. That being said, last season he was only hurt with a couple of minor injuries and played most of the season.
That Heatley, Koivu and Setoguchi line is looking pretty ridiculous. Oh man, if they can sustain even half of this for the season, watch out. Setoguchi owners rejoice.
Evgeni Grachev is really showing his potential this camp. His size and skill set are a rare combo and after a season in which he looked like it would take years to put it all together, he is looking like it’s all together now! I don’t know if there is room for him…but given the fragility of some of the Blues forwards he’ll get some long looks. As a keeper owner, before camp I may have considered dropping him for a more promising prospect. Now, there is no way I would do that.
Interesting to see D’Agostini on the power play over Steen. A sign of things to come? If D’Agostini gets that kind of recognition and the presence of Shattenkirk has truly taken Steen out of the PP mix, then I would be inclined to add a few points to D’Agostini’s projection and remove a few from Steen’s.
The Nuge is looking good to stick with the Oilers this year. Forget the nine games. My confidence in him sticking, after dropping to a low of 51%, is now bouncing back up to 65% - and 99% he stays for at least the nine games. Three points last night for RNH and linemate Taylor Hall.
Two more points for Patrick O’Sullivan. His wife had a baby last year, could that have played a role in his sudden decline? I’m still not sold enough to draft him in some very deep leagues – he was available in both of them last weekend. I’ll post my keeper teams here later when I have time.
Ales Hemsky was back in the lineup for the Oilers.
Mike Fisher is targeting next week for a return to practice. Still a ways from game shape though.
BOS – Zach Hamill (waived)
CBJ – Cody Goloubef, Allen York, Cody Bass
DET – Thomas McCollum
FLA – Quinton Howden, Michal Repik
LA – Richard Clune
WPG – Akim Aliu, Riley Holzapfel, Jason Jaffray, Arturs Kulda, Eric O’Dell
This from Sentium – Gustav Nyquist fools everybody, but then flubs it: