My fantasy hockey mailbag is open for a few days - ask away here! 




Nathan Gerbe lands in Carolina with a one-year, two-way deal. I love this fit for him - he should easily make the team over the likes of Bowman, Dalpe, and so on. Gerbe is a versatile player who could add some offense to Carolina's top nine.




I didn't mention the Paul Ranger signing a few days ago. But he is with the Leafs for one year at $1 million. Before walking away from hockey back in 2009, he had established himself as a really good two-way puck movers in Tampa Bay. He's a great sleeper for this season, as I see Toronto using him in an offensive capacity. Perhaps 25-30 points from the second pairing?




Any interesting fantasy hockey action in your league right now? Mine is pretty quiet - my keepers and farm team are relatively set, and I don't have any huge needs (outside of Crosby playing 82 games) heading into this coming season.




I could use a third goalie, as behind Luongo/Schneider I have Steve Mason. And I have as much hope in Mason posting solid numbers as I do in a Nashville forward to break the 60-point mark.




Some random fantasy thoughts as I go through my own team-by-team projections:


Carolina’s bottom six forwards are a mess right now. Not much experience or talent. And that leads me to believe that they may think about moving Jeff Skinner to center.


Here are a few different looks:






I assume another winger (Morrow/Raymond – someone like that) is brought in… not really sold on Bowman at all.


With Skinner at center:



Morrow/comparable UFA-Staal-Ruutu



The ‘Canes also have Dalpe, Welsh, Sutter, Nash… again, not much in terms of proven experience.


Carolina was hoping that one of Boychuk/Dalpe/Bowman would emerge as a viable top six (or even top nine) forward. So far, that hasn't happened.




Brandon Pirri has a great shot at playing significant minutes in Chicago this season.


Don’t discount Jeremy Morin, either. He could still produce in the right situation. Great shot, natural goal scorer, but not a great skater.




Over the coming weeks, the rest of my top 10 sleepers for 2013-14 will be released. The list isn't in any specific order - just 10 players who are primed for big years. So far, Schwartz (10) and Clutterbuck (9) have made the cut. Any guesses to the rest of the list?


Here's a hint:


Two young stars ready for superstardom, a veteran due for a monster bounceback, and a number of young players ready to emerge.




You are an NHL GM in need of goaltending. Do you call up Ilya Bryzgalov's agent and offer a one year deal for $2 or $3 million? Why or why not?




Calgary’s forward lines are wide open right now. I imagine the Flames will build a line around Backlund and Bartschi, and another around Hudler and Stajan. That leaves Cammalleri to either move to the right wing or stay at center on another scoring line.


This kid is going to be a special player:





It wouldn’t surprise me to see Mark Pysyk get big minutes in Buffalo this season. He plays a very mature game and the Sabres will want to get the most out of him – great skater, very smart defenseman, good offensive upside.


As for Buffalo’s forwards…. Yikes. Their best defensive center is a natural winger. Ennis will move back to the wing. Is Grigorenko ready for top-six minutes? Cody Hodgson is a very talented offensive player, but he is a significant liability defensively at even strength.


I don’t really get what the Sabres are doing, to be honest. Trading Sekera for McBain was a huge downgrade on the back end. And they aren’t exactly “rebuilding” (at least not right now). They need to think about moving Vanek/Miller, and getting anything they can for underachievers like Drew Stafford.




Two-year deal for Jake Allen in St. Louis. The first year is two-way, the second year is one-way. I imagine one of Elliott or Halak will be gone by the time Allen steps in as the #1 or #2 with the Blues.




The Leafs extended Dave Nonis for five years. He’s had a busy summer, and it will be interesting to see how the Leafs go forward after making some significant changes under his leadership.




My thoughts on Roberto Luongo switching agents recently.


Something along the way fell apart between Luongo and Gillis. One would think that Gillis would have a significant advantage over other NHL general managers with his extensive experience as a player agent. Agents learn how players tick.

They help them with their finances and personal lives. They become friends and confidants. Gillis seemed to leverage this experience during his first few years with the Canucks, negotiating several hometown discounts with important players.

And Pat Brisson spoke to the media yesterday, clarifying that Luongo will indeed report to training camp with the Canucks this fall.




Oh, and this:





Stick tape all-star teams – yes, you read that right. Who are the best players with black tape? How about white? What colour do you use on your stick?




Zach Bogosian is a strong dude:





Taylor Hall has pretty quick hands. Impressive stickhandling display here.




And some more impressive stuff – Matt Martin is a beast in the gym, and he shows off some power with a few very effective/unique exercises.




Check out my latest nutrition post – including a link to hands-down the best nutrition/supplement reference book in existence. The best part is you can search the book by fitness/health goal. Want to sleep better? Find out what supplements help with that. Want to burn fat? Gain muscle? Improve energy? It’s all in there.




Have a great weekend! The home stretch of the 2013-14 DobberHockey Guide is upon us – the release date is next Thursday. Get excited – oh and pick up a copy!



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Comments (9)add comment

rataylor22 said:

Canes Have to think if Skinner goes back to center, it will be on the second line not the third. Staal is the defensive guy, not Skinner. You're also leaving Lindholm out of your lines and everyone in Carolina says he's basically guaranteed to make the team.
July 26, 2013
Votes: +0

leaftodd said:

... Do you think Ranger gets any ice at all?

Phaneuf, Dion
Liles, J.
Gunnarsson, Carl
Gardiner, Jake
Ranger, Paul
Holzer, Korbinian
Franson, Cody
Fraser, Mark
Brennen, TJ

That's not even with Reilly making the team. It just seems that barring a big trade there's a real logjam at D there.
July 26, 2013
Votes: -1

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
Sabres No team is going to give up much for Vanek right now because he has only one year left on his contract and makes a huge salary. The one-year thing turns away teams who would otherwise look to possibly build around the still-fairly-young Vanek while the huge cap hit will keep the big spending contenders from acquiring him until the trade deadline.

Miller just has not been very good since 2011 and his decline from a top-flight goalie to inconsistent one might be the biggest reason why they are now rebuilding just two years after loading up on free agents and looking to become a contender.

If I was running the Sabres, I would figure out a way to extend Vanek right now and then take what I could get for Miller at the deadline. a player as exciting as Vanek can make a rebuilding team at least worth watching and he is still young enough to be a part of this rebuild.
July 26, 2013
Votes: +0

number54 said:

... Some interesting action:

My roster: Crosby, Malkin, the douche formerly known as Kovalchuk, Couture, Voracek, Kesler, M. Richards, Carter, Hartnell, Backes, Steen, Alfredsson, Bozak, Kulemin, Pietrangelo, Doughty, Nyquist, Granlund, Tatar.

Points only, top 12 count (10-team league).

With Kovalchuk, I was a very serious contender. Without him, there are 2 teams I won't be able to beat for the championship (and you thought MY team was stacked!). I have NO idea where to take my team now. I can't tank and rebuild with Crosby and Malkin on my roster, and they're almost un-tradable if my aim is to lose points and gain potential/youth.
July 26, 2013
Votes: +0

bullwinkle said:

You are dead right about the Sabres They made the Sekera/McBain trade to get Compher, I guess they were high on him.

But their forwards are truly a mess. Darcy wants to trade Vanek & Miller, but obviously he wants a very good return - and he usually gets it (see Pominville). However this time he's going to have to wait a while...maybe up to the trade deadline to get the deal he wants.

He told us months ago to expect to suffer, and I guess he's fulfilling his promise.
July 26, 2013
Votes: +0

agentzero said:

Fitness et al.. How in the heck does Bogosian lift all that?? I remember at his draft combine, he was very impressive, but this is unreal to me. Amazing Strength. Matt Martin too. They don't look it, but they are strong.

I would tend to think Luongo's switching agents might have more to do with branding and marketing than it does with contract talk/playing in VAN... How in the heck would they trade him now? To Buffalo for Miller? lol. It could happen I guess... but no way Bobby Lu waives his no trade for that..

I would give Bryz 3M easy. Just get him to focus on hockey. He's still an above average NHL goaltender in my books. A but like Luongo, painted with a bad (worse?) brush because of his contract..

Vanek wants out of BUF is my sense. I tend to think DET would be an awesome fit for him, but I don't think they can afford him, can they? Maybe after Alfie leaves yes. SO next year as a UFA?

With Paul Ranger there, the leafs now have Phaneuf, Franson, Liles and Ranger as the top 4 most mobile D.. Liles played his way back in late last year, but I don't know if he can keep that going. Talent is there, but physical tools may no longer be. If he does factor in, can all 4 of those D exceed 30 pts each? 25? I don't remember a team that last had 4 D exceed 30 pts... The Isles had 3 with Hamrlik, Jonsson...Aucoin.. There might be plenty of examples out there, but that would be a pretty good achievement. That Isles team was crap anyway.

Thanks for the great content in the middle of summer, Angus!

July 26, 2013
Votes: +0

angus said:

... That's how desperate I am for goaltending, Pen. I was killed last year with having 1.5 starting goalies....
July 26, 2013
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Great rambling... ...but, what are you doing with Steve Mason on your fantasy team.
I thought you posted about how incredibly terrible he was last April.
Not even worth a spot... right?
July 26, 2013
Votes: +0

frozenpools said:

... Bogosian looks like a skinny dude. Wirey guy to be lifting like that!

Sleepers - I'll guess Benn, Nuge, Kesler as "Two young stars ready for superstardom, a veteran due for a monster bounceback," Seguin, Tifoli, Wisneski, Little, Kulikov, O'Reily, Landeskog, Fowler, Eriksson, Weiss as the rest to round it out. Looking forward to the rest of that list!
July 26, 2013
Votes: +2
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