As the number of keeper league hockey pools increase each year, fantasy junkies are becoming more active in the off-season as they prepare for the coming year. Rebuild? Retool? Tweak? Whatever your intentions, it helps to get all the information you can about your players. FPL will look at a pair of teams each week and give you the fantasy lowdown. This week, we’ll look through our fantasy hockey goggles at the outlooks for the two New York teams.
(Originally posted by The Hockey News on August 7th - Dobber archives some of his older THN articles here in case you missed them there!)
Also – don’t forget to send your off-season questions to the THN Fantasy Mailbag, which is posted the last Wednesday of each month during the summer.
New York Islanders
Gone – Aaron Johnson, Rob Davison, Miroslav Satan, Josef Vasicek, Ruslan Fedotenko, Bryan Berard, Shawn Bates, Wade Dubielewicz.
Incoming – Doug Weight, Mark Streit, Yann Danis, Joey MacDonald.
Ready for full time – Coach Ted Nolan is now out of the mix, which means a lot of kids will see a lot of ice time. Kyle Okposo will see first-line duty and Jeff Tambellini will finally be given the responsibility he has earned. Blake Comeau is also ready.
Jack Hillen is a highly-touted rearguard coming out of college and is a decent dark horse for both points and penalty minutes.
Between the pipes, a lot of people have ordained MacDonald as the backup, but I think it’s Danis, who has more potential and should win that job in training camp. This could be important in fantasy leagues, given Rick DiPietro’s injury history.
Fantasy Outlook – Other than Mike Comrie, there probably won’t be a player on the Islanders’ roster to reach the 60-point mark this season. Okposo should get into the 50s, while youngster Sean Bergenheim will surprise with some added responsibility. Don’t expect much this campaign, but there are a lot – a lot – of promising kids in the pipeline so there is hope for the future.
Fantasy Grade: D (last year was C-)
New York Rangers
Gone – Jaromir Jagr, Sean Avery, Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka, Jason Strudwick, Ryan Hollweg, Fedor Tyutin, Christian Backman, Marek Malik.
Incoming – Markus Naslund, Wade Redden, Dmitri Kalinin, Aaron Voros, Patrick Rissmiller, Dan Fritsche, Nikolai Zherdev.
Ready for full time – Lauri Korpikoski is ready to make the jump, but he will have to steal a roster spot. If he does, it could be at the expense of Petr Prucha, who is coming off a very inconsistent and unproductive season. Artem Anisimov is also on the cusp of making it to the NHL, but he must have a monster camp given the team’s depth at center.
Fantasy Outlook – From a fantasy standpoint, the Rangers’ productivity rides on the shoulders of Zherdev. If he builds on last season, his 80-point potential will make this team a very promising one to build your keeper league on. If he reverts back to the Zherdev of 2006-07, the Rangers will struggle to have a 70-point producer now that Jagr is gone.
Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was B+)