The more I research hockey this offseason, the more I like the Blues. Not because they’re a potential fantasy powerhouse, but because they are much better than they have shown. Translation: there are deals to be had.


Let’s start with the easy reasons. T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen. The latter led the Blues in scoring over the final 49 games with 43 points. While Steen is historically inconsistent, he should still be good for 60 points. Oshie, on the other hand, was arguably the only Blue to take a step forward last campaign. Expecting an additional 10 points on the 48 he had is not a crazy thought.


Now the less-tangible reasons. Patrik Berglund is not a 26-point player, give me a break. Would it shock you if he got 60 next year? He certainly has the talent. But even the most pessimistic poolie would concede that increasing his numbers from 26 to 40 is a safe bet.


Can rookie Lars Eller replace Paul Kariya’s 43 points next season? Sure. He could. But it is a little bold to assume so. Let’s assume he gets reasonably close enough to those numbers – say 38 points – to call it a wash.


So if Oshie, Berglund and Steen pad their point totals accordingly – again, it’s an assumption, but a fairly safe one – and Perron continues to flat line or improve on that 50-point range and Eller has a decent rookie season, how will this impact the rest of the lineup? Think domino effect.


Andy McDonald hasn’t had a decent season in three years. I think he’ll get 70 points, give or take, in the season ahead. How cheap would he be in your keeper league? Think about it – if the supporting cast around him improves and the coaching style is a non-Andy Murray one, then his numbers are bound to improve. He had 57 points last year, so is 70 really a stretch given that the aforementioned Steen, Perron, Oshie and Berglund each add anywhere from 10 to 20 points to their totals?


The same could be said about Brad Boyes, or the player whom the Blues acquire for Boyes if they are somehow able to trade his bloated contract and use the money on a free agent.


And I haven’t even mentioned future superstar Erik Johnson, who is obviously on the upswing.


There are another 30 to 45 goals in this team and the fact that only one player topped 50 points last season only means that there are a handful of players in the perfect “buy low” situation. Like all strategies, this one is certainly no guarantee, but it’s the one I’ll be going with in my keeper leagues this offseason.




Carey Price owners be very afraid (disclosure, I am a Price owner in two of my three keeper leagues). Nothing good can come of this. After weeks of reading about how Price will be traded – mostly during the Halak-is-God era of the postseason – I am now reading about how Halak will be gone. Both goaltenders feel they should be NHL starters.


Halak owners can rest easy. He is hot right now and has proven quite a lot when there is much on the line. But Price owners are in trouble no matter what.


Situation 1 – Price gets moved.


On a new team he will be hailed as a savior. Wherever he goes, it will be to a team in desperate need of him. This is the lesser of the two evils, but he’ll be going in with lot of expectations that he is a couple of years too young to fill. Will Philadelphia or St. Louis (two teams oft-mentioned in rumors) fans have the patience to watch him struggle through a year before finding his groove? No. And as such, he may never find that groove. However, if he joins the new team and makes an impact quickly – the best possible scenario for Price owners – he’ll be fine.


Situation 2 – Halak gets moved.


Montreal fans are split on who they prefer, but the betting here is that Halak is their preference when it gets right down to it. If the team decides to roll with Price, how much patience will fans have for him? Answer: maybe the first period of Game 1.


Price has shown in the past that he can handle a lot of pressure, and the upcoming season will be the ultimate test. There are two paths ahead of him and the big, wide, paved one is leading towards “struggle for a few years and then bust”. That narrow, weed-infested, dirt road that goes in the other direction is the one that leads to stardom.


As a Price owner, I’m stuck with him. I can’t trade him for the pittance I would get and I certainly can’t drop him because of his incredibly high upside – perhaps the highest upside of anyone in the league. I just have to hang on and hope that he has more resilience than ever.


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Comments (8)add comment

Dobber said:

... Nice Shoeless - haha

Backes - I see a small jump in him as well, but he always does his thing in the second half so be forewarned.
May 31, 2010
Votes: +1

Shoeless said:

Dobber influence on fantasy hockey There are days when I wish you would STFU, Dobber. Honestly, in the last year you have foiled more than one of my strategic moves with the timing of your articles. Have you ever thought about selling early warning insurance on this site? I would happily pay $50 to get a 1 week warning on your 'strategic' articles.

Ahh for the good old days of nobody in my leagues having a subscription to Dobberhockey.

Nice to have you back by the way. Angus is good, but together you guys make this place hum!

May 30, 2010
Votes: +0

Haddock said:

Perspective from Montréal I live in Montréal and I don't see Price getting moved at all. Not saying Halak will be moved either, but Price has been held as the franchise goaltender by the organization for three years now. Gainey might not be the GM anymore, but he's still with the team and his boy Pierre Gauthier as a very similar approach and philosophy for his club. Price did his mea-culpa in front of the journalist at the end of the season and is now, finally I might add, showing signs of maturity and understanding of what it takes to play in this league and especially in this city. A good pr job he did. Halak on the other hand, while excellent for us this year, doesn't seem to appreciate the limelight as much as Price.
May 30, 2010
Votes: +3

Rob said:

Price Long-Term I still think Price will have a better career than Halak at the end of the day. Montreal is going to have to swallow its pride with one of the two and commit to the goaltender. I think going with Halak makes sense because he has proven himself (albeit in a small sample size) and he is the safe choice at the moment. I think going with Price is a good move because he has better indications of a longer and more successful career.

I want to see Price starting somewhere as I am an owner of him as well. I think if he was traded to a smaller or less intense market he could really thrive given his mental makeup which has caused concern in Montreal. Either way, it will be interesting to see what Montreal does because both are RFA's
May 30, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

James Lee said:

... How about Berglund for Price?
May 30, 2010
Votes: -1

bball said:

... How about SJ as a destination for Price? They are up against the cap so they could use a lower priced (no pun intended) goalie with all signs pointing toward Nabokov being shown the door. Letting him grow there might not be so bad because with the offense that they have, they will get him 3-4 goals a game. Maybe the give up something like Setoguchi and a pick (Not sure that would be enough but his stock IS at an all time low). Frees up cap room for them to bring back Marleau, Couture steps into a top 6 role and their problems in goal are solved, theoretically.
May 30, 2010
Votes: +0

notoriousjim said:

... The Price thing is not a shock. I think that Philly would not put up with a player like Price. He comes across as pampered and as a golden boy.... not the philly image. Pronger is the philly image in every sport for 40 years.
May 30, 2010
Votes: +0

AFlyers66 said:

... Dobber, no mention of Backes in the Blues piece. What do you see for him next year? Among power forward types for roto keeper leagues (points/PIMs combo guys), how would you rank Backes, Downie & Horton?
May 30, 2010
Votes: +0
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