Didn't get an opportunity to weigh in on the Blake Wheeler signing. Here are some quick thoughts:
I like the term and dollar amount. Wheeler isn't a household name, but he has been a very productive forward for a number of years now. And I think he is really only scratching the surface of his true offensive potential.
Since Wheeler's rookie season of 2008-09, he has ranked 45th in the NHL in even strength production (per 60 minutes).
He's strong on the PK.
The Jets are buying up five UFA years with this contract (hence the dollar amount).
Winnipeg's issue was overpaying for Ondrej Pavelec - a talented but inconsistent goaltender. The Little and Wheeler contracts have both been very solid for the team.
I’m covering the ramblings and website for Dobber today and Tuesday. I’m off on vacation later this week, so we switched days.
The timing couldn’t have been better, as it gives Dobber a few days to hammer out the final details for the 2013-14 DobberHockey Fantasy Guide.
My fantasy hockey mailbag is open until Tuesday night.
Friend of the site Rob Vollman (who runs HockeyAbstract.com) has released a phenomenal product – the Hockey Abstract.
Rob is a smart dude on the cutting edge of a lot of the statistical developments of this sport. But his best attribute as an analyst is to explain the “why” and the “how” behind the metrics and statistics he uses. They aren’t just numbers created to fit his ideas or thoughts.
I have relied upon him extensively for my writing over the years as well as my DobberHockey Fantasy Guide contributions.
Statistical analysis is coming to hockey in a wave very similar to the one that hit baseball years ago. To prepare the baseball world for the boom in statistics, they needed a guide book that could act as a foundation, and that was Bill James' Baseball Abstract. Hockey, too, needs that guide book: a Hockey Abstract that can show how the sport can be viewed through that same type of objective lens that James brought to baseball. At last, it is here.
Hockey Abstract is not a textbook, but a guide for how to use analytics to study hockey. Ten questions are answered in a fun and informative way, including who is the best player, goalie or coach, which team will finish first next year, and which was the most lopsided trade in history. Each answer is built on the common foundation of certain key statistics and concepts that are explained in almost as many pages and chapters at the back.
Rob’s business model is a lot like DobberHockey’s – a wealth of phenomenal free content that is supported by periodical releases (our guides, and the Hockey Abstract book in his case). Pick it up and help support a fantastic site.
Some random Monday morning fantasy hockey thoughts:
Love the potential Columbus lines once Nathan Horton is healthy. Don’t see the Jackets splitting up the Calvert/Atkinson duo, and I really think Letestu is a big time sleeper because of the fact that he can play both C and LW.
My lines for Columbus assuming everyone is healthy:
A good mix of speed, skill, and defensive ability
A power line in every sense of the word. Grit, net presence, board battles. Johansen is the key here – is he ready to take the next step?
This is a gritty, tenacious, and speedy line that can score, check, and do a lot of good things. Atkinson isn’t a third line player, and he will see a lot of PP ice time.
Umberger is probably the only “loser” in Columbus with all of their phenomenal offseason additions.
The team I am having the toughest time pegging line combos is Dallas.
Who plays RW with Seguin and Benn? My pick is Peverley – he’s defensively responsible, crafty, and great at faceoffs. But where does that leave Valeri Nichushkin and Alex Chiasson?
Erik Cole is a RW. I could see Cody Eakin perhaps moving to LW. Here are my line combos as things stand right now:
Whitney and Chiasson had great chemistry last season. Horcoff isn’t a star scorer but he can log tough minutes and he won’t anchor this line down.
I’m not sure if Nichushkin can play LW, but Cole prefers the RW. Good mix of size, skill, speed, and grit.
That would leave the likes of Roussel, Fiddler, MacDermid, and Garbutt to battle it out for line four minutes.
I think Dougie Hamilton is going to have a monster offensive season for the Bruins. They can insulate him in terms of playing a relatively easy role, and they have a real need for a PP guy on the back end.
I’m not sure if he has a lot of value (or any) in one year leagues, but I don’t think Nate Gerbe could have picked a better spot to land than Carolina. A team desperate for skill and ability on the wings…. He is an instant upgrade on Boychuk/Dalpe/Bowman.
There is talk of Chicago perhaps trying Brandon Saad out at center on line two. I could see that working, but I really think the Hawks need to give Pirri a shot there. It would really give their lineup terrific balance, and he has been fantastic over the past two+ years in the AHL.
Sharp-Pirri-Hossa (two fantastic two-way wingers to help with the transition)
With Jeremy Morin also in the mix (I know I mentioned Morin and Pirri on the weekend, but after putting together some mock lines I like both of their chances this season).
Speaking of Morin – he’s a guy who many (myself included) had written off as being too slow for the NHL. Colour me impressed with his fantastic 2012-13 season in the AHL. He will never be a burner with his skating, but he can really find the back of the net.
As you can probably tell, I was researching Dallas, Chicago and Columbus over the weekend….
Brock Otten’s fantastic OHL prospect series continues – the Ottawa Senators.
A very interesting read on evaluating and projecting goaltenders in fantasy hockey – from Michael Clifford.
Wrote this a few months ago – interesting to look back after some big moves this summer. The top 50 NHL Trade Values.
The top 10 Oilers prospects – from Corey Pronman.
Zach Bogosian is a strong dude: