giroux

 

In this final installment, I’ll take a look at the last five Eastern Conference team’s top six talent and guys that might challenge for a spot this season.

 

With a top six forward or top four defence role comes ice time and often power play minutes, two things that are the crucial to fantasy success. Instead of trying to play coach and guess at who is playing on which line, something that can change from period to period, I will list each team’s top six forwards and four defensemen.

Philadelphia

M.Richards
J.Carter
Gagne
Briere
Hartnell
C.Giroux

The top six are pretty set here and I don’t really see any other player having a realistic shot at one of these roster spots.

Pronger
K.Timonen
Coburn
Carle

Randy Jones and Ryan Parent are not likely to crack the Flyers excellent top four.

Pittsburgh

Kunitz – Crosby - Guerin
Fedotenko - Malkin – F.Hydrant

You may not have heard of Fred Hydrant, but playing with Malkin, he is guaranteed to pot at least 20 goals this year. With a great camp, one of Luca Caputi, Eric Tangradi or even Tyler Kennedy could supplant Hydrant in the top six.. Jordan Staal gets top six ice time, but the team seems to prefer to play the defensively responsible Staal as the third line Centre behind Crosby and Malkin on a regular basis. I don’t see a break out season for Staal until either he or Malkin leaves town.

Gonchar
Letang
Orpik
Eaton

As is customary for Stanley Cup winning teams, the Pens have lost a couple of key components (Gill and Scuderi) to free agency. The cupboard isn’t exactly bare, but it would take a heck of a camp for someone to displace the four listed above. Expect Alex Goligoski to stick around for the entire season and get a decent amount of power play time.


Tampa Bay


Lecavalier
St.Louis
Prospal (edit: bought out)
Stamkos
Malone
Downie

Maybe I’m being a tad optimistic in thinking that Steve Downie can keep it together long enough to try and improve on the chemistry he seemed to have for a short time last year playing with Stamkos? Or is he a case of major league talent, minor league brain? It’s probably not wise to count on Downie, but I don’t know if there is another player on the Lightning roster that can legitimately step up and play in the Lightning’s top six. One of Evgeny Artyukhin, Martins Karsums, Jeff Halpern or Lauri Tukonen could surprise.

Ohlund
Hedman
Meszaros
Ranger

Matt Lashoff and Kurtis Foster are more offensive types and will not likely challenge for top four ice time, but may see some time with the man advantage.


Toronto

Grabovski
J.Blake
Hagman
Ponikarovsky
Stajan
Stempniak

Jiri Tlusty may surprise here, as could Nikolai Kulemin, depending on what they do in camp. Rickard Wallin has the talent to challenge for a top six spot, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it.

T.Kaberle
Beauchemin
Schenn
Komisarek

The Maple Leafs have an enviable bevy of NHL defensemen over and above the four I have listed.  Mike Van Ryn, Jeff Finger and Ian White are all in contention for a spot in the top six. Something has to give and I expect at least one of them to be traded before the regular season gets under way.


Washington

Ovechkin
Backstrom
Semin
Knuble
B.Morrison
Fleischmann

Washington is pretty set for top six talent. Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr could push for a top six role, but I don’t see that happening.

Green
Poti
Schultz
Alzner

Shaone Morrisonn and Brian Pothier are the only other candidates who are likely to push for top four ice time.

 


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Comments (31)add comment

The Comish said:

The Comish
Schultzie Don't get me wrong Lanky, I totally respect your opinion regarding the Caps because I know they are the team you watch the most. The numbers point to a top four NHL defenseman. Averaging nearly 20 minutes a game, back to back seasons of +13 and +12 certainly look like a top four guy on paper. With that much ice time, Boudreau seems to trust him enough to play top four minutes.

This kid had 40 points in 68 games in his final junior year, so as you say he's not a pure offensive talent, but he has some offensive abilities. One factor for me is that Schultz is 6'6" and those big guys tend to take a little longer adjusting to the speed of the NHL. Anyway, should be fun to watch and I hope for his sake and the Caps, that Schultz turns into that top four defenseman at such an early age.
August 03, 2009
Votes: +0

lanky522 said:

lanky522
... gosh i hope youre right about schultz and that he does turn out to be better than he has been... because having watched the vast majority of caps games last year, i can honestly say that he doesn't fit in well... or at least didn't last year. He's not a pure offensive guy, so he doesn't have that really going for him... and he blows it frequently on defense and just looks slow and immobile most times, so he's not a pure defensive guy either.

So the best that i can say about him is that he's passable in both zones of the ice. That's not usually what you look for in a top 4 guy imo.

I mean i'm all for young guys that can play in their own end... but i don't really think he satisfies both of those conditions... at least in my opinion from watching 60+ caps games last year.

So yeah. Hopefully you are right, and he does turn out to be decent enough to bolster the caps blueline as a whole... but i've got my own opinions on him... and i'm not holding my breath. Especially with very capable alternatives (including pothier who missed the first half of last season).
August 03, 2009
Votes: +0

The Comish said:

The Comish
A Less Than Stellar Effort So this is what a learning experience looks like!? Criticism is necessary for growth. I was going away for a one week holiday and hurried this article sending it in a week before it was to be posted. Next time around I will not rush an article to get it in on time. I naively thought that this one would pass muster, but I was wrong.

I certainly should have picked up on the Fedotenko signing, but I there were rumblings that Pesonen would re-sign with the Pens and I thought that with his offensive talents, he would stick with the big club this time around.

As Dobber mentioned, the Stralman trade and Prospal buyout happened after I submitted my article. Thanks for setting the record straight Dobber. I know you are extremely busy this time of year and I appreciate the kind words regarding the editing.

This next piece is for Lanky and those who think Schultz isn't a top four defenseman in Washington. Schultz played 64 regular season games and garnered the third most average ice time (19:45) of all Caps defensemen. Morrisonn averaged 17:59; even Alzner averaged 19:25 in 30 games.

Of course it's no slam dunk that either Schultz or Alzner will be in the top four this year, that's just my opinion. Sure Schultz only played in one playoff game last year, but that seems likely to be from a back injury. This season will be Schultz's fourth, so I think he will solidify his position on this team.

Anyway Dobber Nation, rest assured I have taken away a valuable lesson from this experience.smilies/grin.gif
August 03, 2009
Votes: +0

donpaulo said:

donpaulo
... I think there is no need to apologize.
we are all free to read what we like and to draw our own conclusions. We are also free to disagree, but to blindly follow what someone else says is methinks a tad like a lemming.
August 03, 2009
Votes: +0

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
people sure are quick to criticize don't let them get you down, russ.
August 02, 2009
Votes: +1

metaldude26 said:

metaldude26
... Now I haven't read the comments/criticism about this article but I can only assume that it was partly driven by the level of excellence that we are accustomed to from Russ and all the writers here at Dobberhockey. Obviously it's tough to take criticism as a compliment but in this case I think it's possible. Think of it as a pro hockey player missing a penalty shot, you still have to go back out there and play even if you get booed. And I think you can take solice knowing that you've given us such high quality stuff in the past to the point we hold you to a higher standard. And don't fret, us readers will be back!
August 02, 2009
Votes: +0

doulos said:

doulos
Nice... You guys are like vultures. A bit of a braincramp happens and everyone jumps all over the guy and then it turns out that it was an editing mistake.

I wonder how many of you have taken the time to put yourselves out on the line and write in front of people. it's not easy. Russ has done a ton of great stuff and then a bunch of people throw him under the bus for one bad article. Brutal.
August 02, 2009
Votes: -1

Dobber said:

Dobber
... I apologize to Russel and my readers. Russ sent me this article on Friday, July 23 and then went away on holidays.
I posted the article without reading it. Do I make a habit of this? No, but 1) Russ is my one writer who requires the least editing and 2) The article went up 48 hours before the release of the Guide. So I was busy. Too busy to spend five minutes reviewing an article? No...I can always spend five minutes. But due to Point 1, as well as my own laziness, I did not read the article through.
I apologize for Russ for this embarrassment. He doesn't deserve your criticism. I would have caught the Pesonen, Fedotenko and Stralman errors. (although, Lanky, you are wrong about Schultz! He's young and has potential)
August 02, 2009
Votes: +0

lanky522 said:

lanky522
... I agree with you to a certain extent Gotlaid and Shoeless, in that the bashing comments aren't really necessary and aren't really constructive. As someone who's written a couple of things for this site before too (as Ryan can speak to), there is sometimes stuff that happens that "dates" your article after it's submitted to dobber, but before it gets posted.

With that said, I still have a problem with a couple of the predictions (that weren't the effect of timeline issues).

Jeff Schultz is not... has not been... and doesn't have the talent to be a top four defender even on the capitals shallow back end. This is just poor poor study if you ask me. Schultz was by far the most expendable of the capitals regulars last year and he only played about half as many shifts as Morrisonn did. Then, he blew a tire in terrible fashion in the playoffs... so what has he done to warrant the top four spot in ANYONE's mind?

Like i said in my last post. With Jurcina and Carlson and Pothier, Schultz will be lucky if he's even in the starting lineup on a regular basis next year.

There were a few other things that i felt were a bit off (based on my opinions) through the rest of the articles... but nothing worth actually mentioning (because "to each his own" right?) until this Schultz writeup.

So i don't fault anyone for timeline errors, but this particular beef is not that sort of steak.
August 01, 2009
Votes: -1

bluejays said:

bluejays
... Whatever, its a hard article to write. There will be criticism with any article yet alone a "top 6"! Probably just missed it or it was a late article. I've been very happy with the past one's, so no big deal IMO. Let's remember we're not curing Cancer here, its a fantasy hockey article in the middle of summer!
July 31, 2009
Votes: +0

Shoeless said:

Shoeless
... Can't agree with you less Gotlaid. I have tremendous respect for Russ and his body of work on this site, but someone fumbled the ball badly here. I think the user comments are reasonable in light of the standards this site has set for itself and performed at over the last few years. But let's put it in perspective - it was a fumble not bad crafting.
July 31, 2009
Votes: +0

Gotlaid said:

Maaaasquito
... Whoa whoa whoa ease up guys... my guess is that Russ probably sent this in as a 3 part package early to Dobber and didn't adjust them for the news that happened this week. During the off-season Dobber usually has us put an article up once every 2-3 weeks, so for Russ and I to be putting up articles weekly really is going above and beyond what was expected of us. Russ has given plenty of great advice throughout the season, up to and including this article, so I don't think blasting him over just one is justified... especially with the "worst article ever", "pretty weak work" comments, I mean c'mon guys, it takes time to writeup and research some of this stuff, and considering you didn't have to pay a dime for the article, you really want to blast someone for offering their advice free of charge?
July 31, 2009
Votes: -1

gmw said:

gmw
.. This is a terrible write up. absolutely terrible. come on dobber. this site is better than this.
July 31, 2009
Votes: +2

bluejays said:

bluejays
... This was written today! Stralman gone, Prospal bought out.
Re: Pitts: How Janne Pesonen is rated top 6? He is still a UFA and even if signed who knows whether Pit gives him a shot, there's a good chance he gets barried in the "A" again. The writting's on the wall for Caputi. Tang is hurt and won't be ready, plus he's more a power frwd and will need time. Its Caputi's to loose. Kennedy is nothing more that a 3rd liner.
Re: TB I see them getting someone in that top 6 and Downie replaced by Karsums.
Re: Tlusty should be a top 6 now, move Stempniak down.
Re: If Wsh ever gives the 2nd line C job to Morrison they are doomed. He is by far the biggest underachiever. No idea why they signed him. Even when Centering Naslund & Bert at their best, it was difficult to get 70 pts. He's brutal and Laich is much better. That was a poor signing IMO.
July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

Princeton said:

Princeton
horrible Worst evaluation I have read on this site ever.

Stralman.....already traded
Prospal........bought out
The Fire hydrant??????????????????
Schultz.........April 1st?
July 30, 2009
Votes: -1

phaneuf_fan_3 said:

phaneuf_fan_3
... pretty weak amount of work went into that writeup I would say. Fedotenko clearly is top 6 for the Pens. Pesonen likely if he is back which is a huge if, will either start out in the AHL or be in a huge battle...he's anything but a lock to be back or in the top 6 for the Pens.
July 30, 2009
Votes: +1

Ron` said:

Ron`
... I agree with Scribe, no indication of Pesonen returning to the Pens. Last I knew he would likely be back overseas.
July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

SirKnight said:

SirKnight
... Two guys somewhere in the world just drafted Fred Hydrant in their fantasy leagues... When questioned by their peers both proclaimed they had a solid source that told them he was Malkin's LW unless one of the kids stepped up. Too Funny.

Prospal's spot goes to whomever the Bolts have lined up off of the UFA list. So just think of Prospal as a place holder for the next headline out of TB.
July 30, 2009
Votes: +2

lanky522 said:

lanky522
... Jeff Schultz is absolutely terrible. He's lucky if he's top 6. He was a "healthy" (as far as i'm concerned - the team and media can report what they like) scratch in the playoffs after tripping over himself and allowing a goal against the rangers in the first round...

I'd expect to see Morrisonn playing with Mike Green again (as was the case for the vast majority of the season). Even so, when Morrisonn wasn't playing with Green, he played with Poti (those two partners accounted for close to 70% of Morrisonn's even strength shits last season). If you have Green and Poti in the top 4, then Morrisonn should be too. Not Schultz... he's just terrible.
July 30, 2009
Votes: -2

kevinsrangers said:

kevinsrangers
nylander ? poor Nylander doesnt even get a mention, ill bet he misses Jagr. hehehe.
July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

slacker_george said:

July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

Scribe said:

Scribe
Possible linemate for Hydrant Maybe Pittsburgh will lure Rich Pylon out of retirement and convert him to the wing.
July 30, 2009
Votes: +1

Rad64 said:

Rad64
... My take was that F. Hydrant was a play on words for fire Hydrant as even even a fire hydrant could pot 20 goals on Malkins wing. smilies/cheesy.gif

July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

Rollie1967 said:

Rollie1967
... on washingtons d: other than Green,Poti- not much fantasy value, maybe Alzner one day-even still he and Shultz fall behind Jurcina and a healthy Pothier in ice time for this year.
Eaton in Pittsburgh has no fantasy value- I'd rather take a chance on Goligoski on that roster.
July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

dbrownin said:

hockeypl8yr
... Where can I find information on Fred Hydrant?
July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

Dennis4022 said:

Dennis4022
... The Penguins 2nd line will never look like this. NEVER EVER!!
July 30, 2009
Votes: -1

Scribe said:

Scribe
Fedotenko Forgot to mention Ruslan Fedotenko in previous post. He's re-signed with Penguins.
July 30, 2009
Votes: -1

tradejunkie said:

tradejunkie
Stralman Stralman's already been traded to Calgary...
July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

Scribe said:

Scribe
Pesonen with Pens? Really? Janne Pesonen is a UFA and I'd be shocked if he re-signed with the Penguins.
July 30, 2009
Votes: -1

Guinnies_Moustache said:

Mr Zizzla
... I am new to this site so i am going to assume that FRED HYDRANT means any player? No mention of Fedotenko making the top 6 as he found chemistry in the playoffs with Malkin and Talbot.

Once Talbot is back, will he be put back on Malkin's line or is he back to his usual 4th line minutes?

Also, Is Pesonen set to resign (i don't believe he has yet)??
July 30, 2009
Votes: +0

Zorro said:

Zorro
... Who takes Prospal's spot in the top six in Tampa? Somebody had to say it..
July 30, 2009
Votes: +1
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