The Fantasy Guide and Draft list were both updated yesterday. Pick it up here.
So I guess Dan Cleary will be back with the Red Wings after all. Cleary signed a one-year deal worth $1.75 million on Thursday. This further crowds things for the likes of Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar.
Now, some of the Red Wings’ older forwards like Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, Todd Bertuzzi and Patrick Eaves are likely to miss time with injuries and be ineffective otherwise so not all is lost for Nyquist/Tatar owners but it is still problematic for those of us who want to see the future of the Red Wings today.
It didn’t take the Carolina Hurricanes much time to find a replacement for the injured Joni Pitkanen, signing veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey to a one-year deal on Thursday.
Hainsey doesn’t have a ton of upside, though he has three 30-point seasons in his past. His impact will come more from being a roadblock to the NHL for youngsters Danny Biega and Ryan Murphy who I mentioned yesterday.
An optimist would also point out that Hainsey could help push Mike Komisarek out of the regular lineup which would be a huge boost for Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward.
Please ignore the reports that the Canadiens may be looking to sign Simon Gagne. I am not saying that the Canadiens aren’t interested. What I’m saying is that YOU shouldn’t be. For some reason the Canadiens are looking to pick up the Flyers’ washed up former stars, as though somehow that is a viable strategy.
I can understand the Daniel Briere signing – at least he might have something left to offer – but Gagne hasn’t done anything three years and is such a Band-Aid Boy you cannot possibly consider him an everyday player.
Some interesting line pairings early in Ducks camp.
Boudreau said he'll start Penner out with Getzlaf and Perry and see how long it will last. Likes Cogliano-Koivu and Bonino-Selanne as pairs.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 11, 2013
Dustin Penner is never a reliable option but he could be a streaky option whenever he gets time on the Ducks top line.
Apparently Jakob Silfverberg was the third man on the Bonino-Selanne line, which would make for a really intriguing second unit. Nick Bonino and Silfverberg are youngsters with breakout potential. For that line to be truly successful Teemu Selanne will have to have a bounce back season because he looked old last year.
No word on power play time, which should really be the only thing we concern ourselves about in Anaheim. We know Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will be on the top power play unit. Those other three spots are up for grabs and it is anyone’s guess who will win them.
Selanne lost his spot on that top unit by the end of last season. He could be right back in there with yet another renaissance but otherwise there are several youngsters chomping at the bit including Silfverberg, Bonino, Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland, Matt Beleskey and others.
At least one power play spot will go to a defenseman but that is up in the air with Sheldon Souray out for at least the first half of the season. Francois Beauchemin is recovering from an ACL tear but should be ready for the start of the season and is coming off of his best pro season (on a per-game basis). Cam Fowler is in the midst of a precipitous fall from grace but still has plenty of upside. Sami Vatanen looms as a real sleeper, though he may not even make the final roster.
Keep an eye on the Ducks this fall as they definitely are a team with a lot still up in the air.
The part of this chart that really stands out is Yandle's time on ice compared to his colleagues. He puts up impressive numbers while playing between 1:30-3:30 less per game than the other defenders on the list. It's a testament to Yandle's great feel for the offensive part of the game.
He's also one of the league's most durable players. In fact, he is one of only three defensemen who had played in every eligible game since the start of the 2009-10 season. The others are Francois Beauchemin and Jay Bouwmeester. Beauchemin and Bouwmeester were both traded in-season during this time and missed a game as a result. Therefore, Yandle is the only d-man to play in all 294 games since the 2009 season started.
Consistency is definitely a trait I am after from players on my fantasy squad. There are few as consistent as Yandle, particularly at a position as fickle as defense.
The Sabres may be willing to eat some of Tomas Vanek’s salary if the deal is favourable. Vanek is one of the game’s streakiest players. He opened last season scoring a filthy 23 points in his first 11 games then scored just 18 points in 27 games the rest of the way. That’s not just streaky that’s more like a sugar rush followed by the inevitable crash.
Now imagine Vanek on a team with a compatible superstar or two. He could find himself scaling Sugar Mountain.
With trades in mind, the NHL has set the Trade Deadline for March 5, 2014, which is a week after the Olympics. I can’t begin to imagine what this arrangement will have on trade activity and it’s probably too early to speculate but the good news is that it should give you plenty of time to negotiate deals in your league during that Olympic break.
Apparently the spin-o-rama will still be a legal move in the shootout this season, which, I mean, who cares. The bigger issue is that we still have the shootout and three-point games at all, not what players can/should be able to do within that farcical process.
Five important questions for the Sharks to answer from Fear the Fin.
There hasn't been anything resembling official word from the coaching staff on this, but I'd be surprised if Tomas Hertl isn't playing with Thornton and Burns in the season opener. He's a natural center but he shoots left and could probably transition to that wing. He's a step down from Galiardi in terms of foot speed but a step up in almost every other department and using him in this role seems preferable to throwing the kid to the wolves on a line with Marleau and Couture. There are certainly other candidates for this spot, including Torres and Kennedy, but it would appear to be Hertl's job to lose.
I am bullish on Hertl as a prospect. I do not expect him to make a huge splash of a debut but 40 points would be very respectable. The Sharks were once well known for their draft/development skills but that has really fallen to the wayside in recent years as the team sold off many of their high picks in an effort to load up for playoff runs. Hertl, the Sharks’ top pick in 2012, was the highest pick they’ve had since Logan Couture in 2007 so it was hard to imagine them messing that one up. Up to this point Hertl has impressed and he stands a very good chance of not only making the Sharks but of being a real impact player.
Top-10 Spin-o-rama Goals (not all of them in the shootout, thank goodness!)
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