Russ is on hiatus for the summer, so I’ll be filling in for him. You Dobberities won’t miss out on the Eastern half half of the information for your fantasy leagues in these series of columns, so don’t worry!


As many of the Dobber writers have alluded to, most of offensive production boils down to opportunity. A top-line player will receive every possible chance to succeed, while a top-six player will receive decent even strength/second unit power-play ice-time for production. A bottom feeder will most likely receive checking line time and definitely won’t receive ample optimal scoring time. Their big break will only come if there are injuries or struggles of young players from their team’s top-six. We all like to be optimistic with our projections, but there really isn’t a point in projection 80 points for a player who won’t even crack a team’s top-line, let alone top-six. If you haven’t read my projections article, definitely go and take a gander. I know I had an eye-opening experience when digging up all the stats. Note: Take the line combos with a grain of salt. They are just arbitrary and are used primarily to separate a team’s top-six from the bottom-six. I really don’t want to get into arguments about player X had chemistry with player Y, therefore they’ll be on a line together during the season. I must add that I’m not as informed about the East as I am with the West, so if there are any controversial items, be sure to make comments at the bottom of the page to open up some discussion.


The following table was the same from last week’s column, so make sure you pay attention to the numbers.



Offensive Player’s scoring position on team































































Enough of the stats, now onto the good stuff.


Carolina – Top-five fairly locked, but faces decent competition from bottom-six

Top Six

Erik Cole – Eric Staal – Jussi Jokinen

Tuomo Ruutu – Brandon Sutter – Zach Boychuk



Drayson Bowman, Sergei Samsonov, Jiri Tlusty


Bottom Feeders

Chad Larose, Tom Kostopoulos, Jerome Samson, and Pat Dwyer


The Canes boast a good mix of youngsters and veterans within their top-six. Staal is the leader on the ice as well as in the scoring department as he’s averaged 75.7 points, 56 PIMs, 27.3 PPP, along with 319.7 SOG as a stat line during his last three seasons. He isn’t a bad consolation prize if you missed out on the Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin sweepstakes in your drafts. Despite owning a 0.63 career point-per-game average, Cole has missed an average of 14.8 contests per season. A simple statement of, “if he plays, he’ll be gold, if he doesn’t, he’ll be a bust” pretty much sums his fantasy value. Jokinen spent 40.6 percent of his overall ice-time last season alongside Staal.


With Ray Whitney out of the mix from the Hurricane’s top-six, you should expect Jokinen to see an increase in that department for 2010-11. Sutter will be a great sleeper option this season, he was buried a bit behind Rod Brind’Amour and Matt Cullen for the last two years, but shouldn’t face any hurdles as the Canes’ clear cut number two center this campaign. The final top-six spot is where most of the competition for ice-time will occur. It’ll be a battle of former first round picks as Boychuk(14th overall), Samsonov (eighth), and Tlusty (13th) will most likely battle it out. The dark horse, and Dobber favourite, Bowman could also factor in the races as well.


Last year’s pre-season top-six:


Whitney, Staal, Cole, Samonsov, Ruutu, and Matt Cullen.


End of year finish:
















Florida – Top-five fairly set, weak competition from cavalry


Top Six

David Booth – Stephen Weiss – Michael Frolik

Cory Stillman– Steven Reinprecht – Rotislav Olesz



Steve Bernier, Radek Dvorak, and Chris Higgins


Bottom Feeders

Michael Grabner, Shawn Matthias, and Byron Bitz


They might be in for a slow rebuilding process, but at the end of the day new GM Dale Tallon knows how to get the job done. The top-five seems fairly set, but the talent level isn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off this season. With Nathan Horton out the door, the Panthers are now completely Weiss’ team. He won’t put up staggering offensive numbers, but as a number one center I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 60-point 180 SOG season out of the former fourth overall pick. Booth was on a decent season before battling a few nasty concussions in 2009-10. With the cupboards pretty bare, he should also enjoy a few more added responsibilities with the Panthers this campaign.


If you look plainly at the stat lines, you might have drawn a conclusion that Frolik took a step backwards last year following a very respectable rookie season. But if you dig a little deeper, you might have noticed that he actually increased his responsibilities as his ice-time increased from 14:48 to 17:28 and his power-play time also increased from 2:13 to 2:47 between the two campaigns. With potential top-line duties available this season, look for rebound season for Frolik. Reinprecht continues to produce solid under-the-radar numbers, but unfortunately they aren’t of the fantasy value variety. Stillman has a 0.71 point-per-game average for the last two seasons, but the problem lies within the injury bug that keeps biting him.


Olesz, Bernier, Dvorak, Grabner and Higgins are all 35-45 point players, so there isn’t much fantasy value available there. A dark horse candidate that might creep up in the Florida ranks might be Evgeny Dadonov. He picked up seven points in seven contests for the third-placed Russian team at the World Junior Championships this past Christmas, so that situation could bear some watching.


Last year’s pre-season top-six:


Booth, Weiss, Horton, Stillman, Reinprecht, and Frolik.


End of year finish:















Montreal- Top-five locked, faces little competition from bottom-six


Top Six

Mike Cammalleri – Scott Gomez – Brian Gionta

Benoit Pouliot – Tomas Plekanec – Andrei Kostitsyn



Lars Eller


Bottom Feeders

Travis Moen, Maxim Lapierre, Dustin Boyd, Mathieu Darche and Tom Pyatt.


Montreal’s Cinderella run certainly created plenty of hype for Hab fans this spring. They’ll pretty much return the same top-five that they had during the post-season. Size wasn’t a factor during the playoffs as the top-line of Cammalleri, Gomez and Gionta were brilliant, so expect much of the same from the trio this campaign. Plekanec and Kostitsyn provide for a great supporting cast. Plekanec used his contract year to his full advantage and translated that into a six-year, $30 mil deal. I’d be wary of his motivation to repeat that performance heading into 2010-11.


The Habs management weren’t happy about the younger Kostitsyn’s approach to hockey, so they shipped him off to Nashville for essentially a bucket of pucks. I don’t know how much of the negative influence actually rubbed off on Andrei, but a drop off from 53 to 41 to 33 certainly wasn’t ideal for the young Belarusian. I’d look for him to get back towards the 45-point mark this season. Pouliot had a career resurrection after being traded from the Wild to the Habs last November as he tallied 24 points in 39 contests during the regular season, but it’s the two in 18 during the post-season that really scares me. Eller could certainly be a dark horse candidate to assume a top-six role in Montreal if Pouliot fails.


Last year’s pre-season top-six:


Cammalleri, Gomez, Gionta, A. Kostitsyn, Plekanec, and Sergei Kostistyn.


End of year finish:










A. Kostitsyn





Next week: the New York trio of Devils, Rangers, and Islanders.


Questions or comments? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them in the comments section below.

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Comments (8)add comment

Ryan Ma said:

... No worries always good to expand on my thoughts and open up some discussion, that's what great about this site.

At least it keeps me in check when I make mistakes, makes me rethink some of the things I write.
July 23, 2010
Votes: +0

angus said:

... Grabner is never going to be a 60-70 point player unless he routinely hits 45+ goals. Which isn't happening. He doesn't get assists at all.
July 22, 2010
Votes: +0

Andrew K said:

RE: Ryan Ma Thanks for the replies. I appreciate you telling me your thought process on the whole thing!

July 22, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... RE: Grabner

I'm completely looking at next year... obviously I don't expect the top-six to stay the same for the next 3-4 years.

When doing my research I just didn't think he was going to get optimal ice-time in FLA, and that's a big statement considering how relatively weak their team is compared to the rest of the league.

Also looking at historical numbers, they don't exactly yell out "star on the making to me".

130 points in 186 career WHL games. (1 in 6 during playoffs) Doesn't exactly spell out star.
140 in 212 in the AHL. (20 in 32 during playoffs) Looking better but still not exactly 60-70 point material IMO.

The thing with FLA as mentioned in the article is health issues, all of the players maybe except Frolik are potential band-aid boys this season, so he definitely could gain a top-six role. Also during the off-season Tallon signed a few "grittier" type guys with Higgins, Bernier and chuck in Dvorak and they have a half decent veteran line who could be utilized first if injuries happen, or as replacements if Grabner sucks...

Either way I'm heading into the season thinking he's a 35-40 point player, and if someone wants to take the gamble ahead of me, by all means. If he cracks 50 I'll be the first to congratulate the person who took the gamble and paid off, they're certainly braver than me.

Also putting him in the 60-70 point range and you're comparing him to Voracek, Nash, Ryan, Penner, Doan... and to be honest I'd take those guys over Grabs any day.

Maybe get Angus to put in his 2 cents he's a Nucks fan and probably can tell you more about Grabner's upside.
July 22, 2010
Votes: +2

Ryan Ma said:

... RE: Dalpe

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not as familiar with the East as I am with the West, this is Miller's forte I'm just filling in for the next few weeks. So I don't know all the ins and outs of the Eastern terms.

Carolina is one team that I haven't followed at all, so I have no idea of the prospects. I went through Capgeek and checked to see who was signed and who wasn't and who were the names that popped in my head and say ok top-six, cavalry or bottom-feeder. Dalpe didn't come to mind at all. I know Dobber and Angus are quite high on Bowman and Boychuk, so I would think they'd get first dibs on a top-six job.

But it's great that we have such knowledgeable people on the boards, now you have another name of Zac Dalpe to consider.

Thanks Andrew!

July 22, 2010
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

... RE: Line Combos

Derrek what's the big bolded words at the beginning of the article say???

Note: Take the line combos with a grain of salt. They are just arbitrary and are used primarily to separate a team’s top-six from the bottom-six.

Line combos change all the time, from game-to-game, hell even by period-to-period or even shift-by-shift. You'd be stupid to head into the season thinking that player X will play 100% of his shifts with player Y.

My thoughts are that Plekanec has just signed a long-termed deal, his motivation is going to be less than what he had last season when it was a contract year. I don't have any factual base to come up with that conclusion, but call it a hunch if you will that he's going to be "less" productive this season.

We've seen it before, 47, 69, 39, 70... Prospal???
July 22, 2010
Votes: +2

Andrew K said:

Are you effing crazy??? No way in hell is Grabner a 35-45 point player. Maybe next year but even then he has the ability to pot 20-25 goals ALONE. He's a future 60-70 point player. I think many would agree he has a better shot at being on the 2nd line RW than Olesz does especially with Olesz's injury history.

And where is Zac Dalpe on your list for Carolina? He has a legit shot at the top 6 after seeing what he did in the AHL last season.
July 22, 2010
Votes: -2

Derrek said:

Line Combos Where do you get all of your line combinations from??? Montreal is the only one i know for certain is not what you have there. Plekanec player with Cammy all season and playoffs (45% of shifts in the post-season).
A. Kost was lining up on the other wing with them and Pouliot started off on fire like you said with the Habs. Eller can get Pouliot's spot, where as Andrei has been chance after chance to perform on the top lines. If Pouliot doesn't bounce back from his playoffs, where he was eventually scratched, Eller could get his spot with Gomez and Gionta.
July 22, 2010
Votes: -1
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