Attention: if you are, or have ever been, a regular user of the Forum, there is an important announcement here. But the long and the short of it is, I will be bringing back the old forum for a day, and then upgrading it to version 4 (old version was version 3 and new version - the big, giant fail - has been version 5). Version 4 is a proven, glitch-free winner. The long, annoying road is almost over.

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I love what the AHL is doing in pitting their All-Stars up against Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League. I'd like to see the NHL and KHL do something like that against each other. It would make the All-Star games 10 times more interesting.

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Update - the Olympics pool is now closed. Link is here to check out your team. 

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Erik Johnson has been suspended for two games for this slash on Frans Nielsen. Frankly, I think he got off easy. The slow-motion replays here make it pretty clear that Johnson was going after the hand! He choked up on his stick so he could swing it more like a baseball bat?

Johnson has gone 13 of the last 15 games without a point. He was having a career year, but his pace has now fallen off and is on target for 33 points. I really thought that this was the year he'd finally show us something. I had always considered his slow development to be similar to Chris Pronger, who was 27 before he did anything. But even Pronger at least showed us 'something' before then. EJ hasn't shown us Jack, nor Squat.

Nielsen, by the way, has a broken hand. That's at least 10 games missed after the Olympics, assuming he doesn't play on March 18 but does play in the next game March 23 (that makes the most sense). So in 72 games he would finish with about 52 points. Still a career high, but not quite what we figured back in November when he had 21 points in 19 games.

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DobberBaseball's fantasy guide is released tomorrow. And for a limited time, I'm selling it for $5.99. At that price, you have to try it out!

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In the ramblings Monday, I solicited questions from you in the comments section. Time to tackle the players listed…

Marian Gaborik (broken collarbone) is probably going to be back immediately after the Olympics and the Columbus Dispatch has reported that he would like to remain with Columbus, rather than be traded. His last two seasons have been train wrecks, but that doesn't mean that he won't bounce back. He's still in his prime. But he's a Band-Aid Boy and I wouldn't consider him as more than a 70-point (in 72 games) type of player.  So in March, when he is back, where does he fit in? At this point, you don't break up the Johansen - Jenner - Horton line. Do you mess with Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson line? I think you do. I think that a line with Gaborik on it instead of Calvert had some success early in the season, and so my money is on Calvert being the odd man out.

I was also asked about Gaborik vs. Matt Moulson, the rest of the way. Gaborik is your risk/reward scenario. He's your better option, but no guarantees. Meanwhile, Moulson will be a 55-point player wherever he ends up and he doesn't get hurt often (actually, this is his first injury). Put me down for Gaborik.

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Jakob Silfverberg I had projected for another 28 points in the second half, but Bruce Boudreau has been burying him on a depth line or scratching him altogether. Obviously, the 28 points is not going to happen. Nor will 10 points happen. With 22 games left, I expect him to play about 18 of them and pick up seven points. A 22-point season is a huge disappointment, but his early-season injury derailed his progress and I wouldn't hold that against him for future years. I consider him a 'buy low' in keeper leagues and look forward to a better season in 2014-15. He may even be one of those playoff surprise stories, come April.

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Jacob Trouba, next three years:

55 to 60 points each year, if healthy (and no reason to think he's fragile. And this might even be conservative. He's a rare breed of defenseman. I mean, we all knew that Erik Karlsson had high upside. But did we see 78 points in his third year? Trouba isn't that good - but he's one of only a handful of defenseman I think could reach 70 points. If you own him, treat him in trade talks as if he's established at 60 points per season. If you don't own him, treat him in talks as if he's a 50-point guy.

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Gustav Nyquist has possibly been my most talked about player in 2014 so far, but his outlook was requested so here goes. I've believed that Nyquist would be a star since I first had him in the Fantasy Prospects Report back in 2009. When Matt Bugg compared his skill level and upside to Pavel Datsyuk and/or Henrik Zetterberg, I raised an eyebrow. I mean, I had never heard of the guy until Bugg told me about him as we were putting the FPR together. Just another reason to buy that FPR every year (shameless plug). But he has done nothing but impress ever since that day and now I'm convinced that, while 50 points for next season is nice and safe, I would not be shocked if he had his breakout earlier than most players. As long as linemate Henrik Zetterberg is healthy, that is. If so, he's a real nice dark horse for 2014-15. I believe he is a potential point-per-game player. Nyquist's updated fantasy profile, complete with scouting reports, write-ups and stats - here.

DobberProspects is a tremendous resource for researching your young players - it's better than Hockey's Future, in terms of fantasy leagues. I stand by that. It's everything I envisioned it would be when I launched it. Players that are actually updated, stats that are updated right there regardless of league. If you are in a keeper league and still don't have this bookmarked, then you're at a disadvantage. I update some profiles myself, Brendan Ross is on top of ramblings and updates, and we have a staff of 20 scouts constantly updating their players.

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Mark Scheifele will be Winnipeg's No.1 center next year. Either that or he Derek Stepans himself into a step back and then becomes the No.1 guy in 2015-16. But he'll be the top dog in Winnipeg and I think next year you see him post well into the 60s in terms of points. That being said, I would not trade Nyquist for him, and I know I'm in the minority there but I'm a little crazy. Scheifele profile here.

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Nikita Kucherov reminds me of Alexander Radulov in terms of his elite upside and how quickly he has adapted to the pro game. And how he can still produce despite limited minutes. Those minutes will increase only slowly, and so I see around 45 points next year, and 55 the year after. Then the big breakout that he will surely have (as long he remains in the NHL and not the KHL, of course). Kucherov profile here.

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Nick Bonino has limited upside, but seems to have pretty much achieved it. He's on pace for 55 points and has established himself as a second-line center. With added ice time and better linemates, I think he can go as high as 65, but for the time being I treat him as a 55-point player with modest upside.

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Derek Stepan is pointless in five games and is on pace for 49 just one year after finishing with 44… in 48 games. I love Stepan because he has played 271 consecutive games, he's still not even close to his prime and he has point-per-game upside. I say he bounces back next year and I would 'buy low' on him while expecting 65 in 2014-15.

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When it comes to Matt Nieto, I consider him like a Nick Bonino in terms of offensive upside and progression. Though one is a winger and one is a centerman, I look at Nieto's potential progress the same way that I look at Bonino's. And he'll get the same opportunity, too. It will be a couple of years before he has fantasy relevance, because the Sharks re-signed all their top guys and Tomas Hertl will be back next year.

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Tyler Toffoli is a sniper who won't be held back. But in a Kings' system can he reach 70 points? You bet your ass he can. But it's this defensive system that will probably prevent him from that kind of number for at least three years. In the meantime, look for 45 to 55 after this year. Toffoli profile here.

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Cody Hodgson or Martin Hanzal for the rest of the season? Put me down for Hodgson. Hanzal is slowing down and he has shown in the past that he slows in the second half.

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I was asked about Darcy Kuemper and Anton Khudobin, and that's a tough one. Goalies are so hard to project. However, I do seem to have a knack for them, just from looking closely at their contract status, their stats and the depth chart. I successfully touted (and acquired in my own leagues) both Jimmy Howard and Corey Crawford well in advance of them hitting the fantasy scene, and I had drafted Mike Smith in all of my leagues right after he first signed with Phoenix. This year's hot prospect that I'm angling to get? Well, there are two of them. One is Alex Stalock. And the other is Khudobin. Stalock is two years away, but I think he's as close to a sure thing as a goalie can be (which is not much, make no mistake). But Khudobin could be rolling next season. He's a UFA this summer, so it greatly depends on where he ends up. Remember, there are only 30 jobs, and probably only three or four will open up in the summer, so he needs to be lucky too.

As for Kuemper, it all depends on Josh Harding's battle with MS, as well as the other injuries that he is often hit with. Kuemper is still the No.3 guy, though he has No.1 upside. But he's a good dark horse because both goalies ahead of him are injury prone. Nothing is assured, but I think Kuemper is a great No.4 goalie to own in keeper leagues.

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Top 10 NHL plays of this season:

 


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Spec7ral said:

Spec7ral
... Thank you very much for the insight on all those prospects and Thank you very much for the time and effort put into what sounds like the right decision in terms of the forums. You're the best!
February 12, 2014
Votes: +0

Dunnder said:

Dunnder
tomorrows questions further on the Rattie question below, who do you like more between Rattie and Jaskin? Who has higher upside, and who is more likely to remain with St L? (since I feel like they will use a prospect or 2 at the deadline to acquire a rental)
February 12, 2014
Votes: +0

TeamFoster4 said:

TeamFoster4
4th goalie in a keeper In my keeper, I have Fleury, Holtby, Pavalec and Jacob Markstrom.
On WW is Dubnyk, Ramo, Bera, Poulin, Lack, Jones, Neuvirth, Grubauer, Zatkoff, Greiss, Peters, C. Johnson, Montoya....

Am I hitching my wagon to the right horses?

We are in a 12 team league. Four G slots, keep all four.
Wins (W) Losses (L)* Shutouts (SO) Goals Against Average (GAA)* Save Percentage (SV%)*
adding Saves and OTL next season.

Who would you think is an ideal list of #4 goalies to stash?
February 12, 2014
Votes: +0

Username said:

Username
... It's time to stop comparing Erik Johnson to Chris Pronger who already was a Hart and Norris winner at Johnson's age (in 1999-00 when he was 25). Just a general thought and not really aimed at you, Dobber. It's just a comparison that you still hear way too often.

How did St. Louis manage to trade him for Shattenkirk and Stewart? Wow. One of the worst (or best depending how you look at it) trades since the 2004-05 lockout.
February 12, 2014
Votes: +0

agentzero said:

agentzero
Forum changes Dobber, I am 100% supportive of the changes you will make to the forum and the necessary sacrifice. Glad to hear the posts from the last 2.5 months can be saved, since after all, the posts are the value of the forum! It would not have been a catastrophe to lose them, but it's a nice move on your part to try and save them and I see value in that. Well worth it if it can happen. I often search back old threads and opinions to keep shaping my scouting of players.

Best hockey fantasy resource out there. Web or not. Good luck with the transfer to v4!

On Silfverberg, I see he has flashes of a great upside but could he be yet another euro-leaguer whose skills just don't translate...?
February 12, 2014
Votes: +1

toddmackay said:

toddmackay
... Thanks for answering my tough question dobbs! I own both Kuemper/Khodobin in my keeper league as my 4th and 5th goalies (still prospect eligible) and will monitor their situation next year!
February 12, 2014
Votes: +0

gfunkb7 said:

gfunkb7
... I have both Khudobin and Kuemper rolling as my one and two!
February 12, 2014
Votes: +0

kekay_20 said:

kekay_20
... Fielding questions for tomorrow???

what is the deal with Rundbald?

and

how soon before Rattie ever gets to the show?
February 12, 2014
Votes: +0
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