Fantasy Guide and Draft List are updated as of today (Sept. 12). Re-download the document and it will be the updated one. Or buy it here.
Sorry for my brief departure from the site. I was deployed down to Montana to help with the escalating fire situation down there. It was a really great experience but I am excited to be back so I can dive full throttle into my new position as Associate Editor. I very thankful for the work of our guest ramblers (Mike and Rick) who stepped in while I was away – great stuff guys!
The big takeaway from the trip down south for me was learning the different ways they fight fire down south. It was nice reminder of how it is always great to get different perspectives on subjects, which is certainly a lesson to take into your preparation for your fantasy drafts this fall. Try to gain as much perspective as possible to avoid tunnel vision.
Of course, there is a lot of white noise during training camps as well and since we had a year off from it with last season’s lockout you may not remember how everything gets blown way out of proportion during the fall. Just be on alert for the hype machine and try not to get too caught up in it. I can remember a few falls back when Mike Comrie led the pre-season in scoring, what a bust he was.
The best advice I can give is to not pay too much attention to scoring because any shmuck can have a hot five or six games. What’s more important is whether or not a player will make it into the lineup and if he has a real shot at getting good ice time.
Also, pay attention to injuries and the opportunities those injuries will provide for other players.
Consider the news of Pitkanen’s broken heel. He will apparently miss the entire season and frankly I would consider his injury career threatening, it was a pretty horrific tumble into the boards after all. I will spare you the rant about the NHL’s need to move to some form of hybrid icing as they are already exploring different options and appear to be on the verge of some sort of rule change in the near future.
Dobber broke down the fantasy impact of this injury news yesterday. I would hope that you weren’t counting on Pitkanen for much anyway given the extent of his injury history on top of him still recovering from that broken ankle. Obviously this was a freak accident but a Band-Aid Boy is a Band-Aid Boy.
It is sad to see a once promising player go down like that – remember Pitkanen scored 46 points in 58 games once and had several other productive seasons. I really don’t think he will ever be the same player. You might be thinking to yourself that Pitkanen is still just 29 and has plenty of time to recover but just look at how foot injuries derailed Ryan Whitney who can barely skate any more. He’s the same age as Pitkanen and can’t get anything more than a tryout contract with the Blues this fall.
My biggest concern regarding the loss of Pitkanen is how it deeply depletes the Hurricanes’ already mediocre blue line. I mean, they were already counting on having Mike Komisarek as a lineup regular before Pitkanen went down, now he may get thrust into a top four role – YIKES!
The exciting news is that it could clear a path for rookies like Ryan Murphy or Danny Biega to make the squad but they will still have to earn the role.
I’ve got my eye on Mark Flood who is recently returned from a year in the KHL. I’m not so much concerned with his fantasy relevance but rather that he is a seasoned veteran with a lot of pro experience who could step in right away with a polished game. Flood is still just 28 years old and has shown some flashes of offense scoring double digit goals and cracking 40 points twice at the AHL level. Flood also proved himself a capable NHL defenseman when he filled in for 33 games for the Jets back in 2011-12 (though he managed just seven points in those games).
Flood is really only worth mentioning as a possible roadblock to the progress of Murphy and Biega but it’s worth considering everything at this point.
For the third straight day, Brendan Ross has ANOTHER prospect rambling over at DobberProspect. Bookmark this page (as if you needed another reason) as the guys are bringing tons of information to our readers.
Cody Hodgson is the latest RFA to sign an extension, re-upping with the Sabres for six years at $4.25 million per season. I think it is very important for a young player like Hodgson to get into training camp as early as possible with this being the Sabres’ first training camp under new head coach Ron Rolston. Any sort of holdout could have had significantly detrimental effects on Hodgson’s progress coming off of his breakout sophomore campaign.
So apparently Dan Cleary will NOT be signing with the Flyers after all. Bullet dodged. It’s not that Cleary is a terrible player but I am not so certain he has much gas left in the tank. He is at the point in his career where he should be on a diet of one-year deals because he could be done at any time.
Not that Cleary has ever really had much in the way of fantasy value anyhow but he would have stolen a spot from a rookie with potential like Scott Laughton (who oozes rotisserie studliness).
The latest from DownGoesBrown:
Teams would need to meet his contract demands, which are rumored to be significant
Multiple draft picks would change hands as compensation
Gary Bettman mysteriously appears over the other GM’s shoulder whispering, “Don’t forget that we all agreed never to do this.”
Elliotte Friedman is back for another season of his great 30 Thoughts columns:
4. Ryan Whitney (St. Louis) and Mason Raymond (Toronto) are among the notables accepting tryout offers. During the summer, a number of players said they would refuse this route, waiting for injuries/ineffectiveness to force team's hands or take a more lucrative KHL offer. Will players hold to that? As one exec said: "The teams with money don't have room, the teams with cap space don't have money."
Ian White is set to try out for the Winnipeg Jets this fall. Personally, I don’t see how he makes it and even if he does he will have next to no fantasy relevance. The Jets are stacked on the blue line and that’s even after you consider their possibly moving Dustin Byfuglien back to forward.
RJ Umberger has apparently come to camp lighter and quicker this season. The whole “best shape of his career” thing is one of my favourite sports clichés. I honestly do not know if this will have any relevance. Umberger is coming off of back-to-back disappointing seasons and this could simply be a case of his acknowledging that and coming in with more motivation. A quick start will be especially important for Umberger considering the depth added to the Columbus lineup when Nathan Horton eventually returns. It would not be at all unreasonable to see Umberger on the outside looking in for top six minutes if he doesn’t produce right away.
Andrei Loktionov: When Loktionov came over in a trade for a fifth-rounder last season, he blew the doors off of everyone's expectations with points in five of his first six games and another streak of six points in seven games later on. These came in the midst of a season where the Devils often couldn't buy a goal, so people were understandably excited. The young Russian's career numbers, however, are just a notch above where Jacob Josefson stands, though, so he certainly has more progress to make. His possession numbers were pretty strong last year, even when playing with the otherwise-possession-negative Ilya Kovalchuk. If he can build on some of the highlights of last season, that would go a long way towards making this year's Devils a success.
You can follow me on Twitter @stevelaidlaw. Thanks for reading!