Stamkos

 

Finishing off the series started a few weeks ago on the breakdown of each Eastern Conference team. For the final week we’ll take a deeper look into the Lightning, Leafs and Capitals.

 

Here’s a summation table of the previous 12 teams that we’ve covered if you haven’t had a chance to re-read the articles.

 

Team

Cavalry

Cavalry

Cavalry

Cavalry

Atlanta

Little*

 

 

 

Boston

Sturm

Wheeler

Ryder

Seguin*

Buffalo

Stafford

 

 

 

Carolina

Bowman

Samsonov

Tlusty

Dalpe*

Florida

Bernier

Dvorak

Higgins

 

Montreal

Eller

 

 

 

New Jersey

Zubrus

Clarkson

Tedenby

Josefson

New York Rangers

Christensen

Avery

Anisimov

Stepan**

New York Islanders

Comeau

Nielsen

Petrov

 

Ottawa

Foligno

 

 

 

Philadelphia

Zherdev

Van Riemsdyk

 

 

Pittsburgh

Kennedy

Sterling

Jeffrey*

 

 

Tampa Bay – Top-five fairly locked, stiff competition for the sixth slot


Top Six


Simon Gagne – Vinny Lecavalier – Ryan Malone

Steve Downie (RFA) – Steven Stamkos – Martin St. Louis

 

Cavalry


Teddy Purcell, Dana Tyrell, James Wright, Carter Ashton

 

Bottom Feeders


Dominic Moore, Nate Thompson, Blair Jones, Chris Durno, Johan Harju, Nicklas Persson, and M.A. Pouliot

 

The top-five of the Lightning is pretty much locked, as much of it looks identical to the line up that finished last year, with the exception of Gagne replacing Tanguay. The trio of St. Louis, Stamkos and Malone was on the ice for 108 of the 428 forward points that the Lightning registered last season (25.2 percent), which might lead new coach, Guy Boucher, to keep that trio together once again in 2010-11.

 

Lecavalier and Gagne were members of the 2006 Team Canada squad that bombed out in Turin. Both are world class players, and if they can rekindle some chemistry, they potentially could form a very potent second line in TB.

 

The question that remains is who will be the third to complement that trio? Purcell lined up with Lecavalier 13.9 percent of his time, while Downie occupied 17.6 percent. The difference is that Purcell played just 19 games with the Lightning as opposed to Downie’s 79. Purcell has a more offensive upside than Downie, so he should get first crack in a scoring role with the Lightning. With that said, consider Downie as strong cavalry candidate, as he could definitely steal some time away from Purcell throughout the year. That’s if he signs on the dotted line...

 

Other than those two there’s not much fantasy value in the bottom half of the depth chart in TB.

 

Last year’s pre-season top-five:

 

Lecavalier, St. Louis, Stamkos, Malone and Downie.

 

End of year finish:

 

Stamkos

95

St. Louis

94

Lecavalier

70

Malone

47

Downie

46

Tanguay

37

 

Toronto – Top-six talented, stiff competition from cavalry


Top Six


Kris Versteeg – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel

Nikolai Kulemin –  Mikhail Grabovski – Colby Armstrong

 

Cavalry


Nazem Kadri, Jerry D'Amigo

 

Bottom Feeders


Colton Orr, John Mitchell, Mike Brown, and Luca Caputi, Freddie Sjostrom

 

I don’t know if there is a more mish-mashed top-six in the league than the Leafs. To be honest, I don’t really see any improvement on their dismal 2009-2010 team in the off-season. Their top-line of Versteeg, Bozak and Kessel could do some damage but probably not something that could be comparable to the league’s best like Backstrom, Ovechkin, and Semin or Thornton, Heatley and Marleau.

 

Grabovski’s post-Olympic numbers equated to 17:25 per contest with a 2.35 SOG average. He pretty much has the full reign on the number one center slot in TO, which could make him a great dark horse sleeper candidate. Kessel is a massive stat-monger, his 0.79 point-per-game average along with a 4.24 SOG average is fantasy gold for most leagues but the problem is that he doesn’t have a supporting cast to help further those numbers.

 

Versteeg hid behind the production of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa for the last couple of seasons. 2010-11 will provide him with a prime opportunity to prove to himself and fantasy poolies, that he can generate his own offense. If there are any positives that came out of this off-season, is that it pretty much paved a yellow brick road for Bozak as the number two center and possibly the top center man for Kessel on the PP.

 

Armstrong has never really had much fantasy upside, and with the lack of offensive firepower in TO, probably won’t have much for this year. Ditto for Kulemin and Sjostrom. Kadri could be NHL ready as he doesn’t have anything left to prove in the AHL this season. Last year, in the OHL, he picked up 120 points in 68 contests including the playoffs. He could leapfrog both Armstrong and Kulemin into a top-six role, so definitely keep an eye on him during training camp.

 

Last year’s pre-season top-six:

 

Grabovski, Blake, Hagman, Ponikarovsky, Stajan, and Stempniak.

 

End of year finish:

 

Kessel

55

Stajan

41

Ponikarovsky

41

Kulemin

36

Grabovski

35

Hagman

33

 

Washington- Top-six pretty much locked, no competition from bottom-six.

 

Top Six


Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Semin

Mike Knuble – Tomas Fleischmann – Brooks Laich

 

Cavalry


Eric Fehr, Marcus Johansson, Jason Chimera, and Mathieu Perreault*

 

Bottom Feeders


Dave Steckel, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, and D.J. King.

 

The top-six heading into this season is pretty much identical to the group that finished off last campaign. Their top-six pretty much set the standard in terms of points production as a unit, as they potted a league-high 457 points. The problem lies whether or not there is more room to grow or is it nearing the absolute maximum. (2008-09: Washington: 408, 2007-08: Ottawa: 393, 2006-07: Buffalo: 440, and 2005-06: Ottawa 438)

 

The trio of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin will pretty much lead the Caps in scoring in 2010-11. With 10 players signed beyond this season for a combined cap–hit of $31.5 mil, the Caps face a huge potential roster blow up in the off-season. It could mean that potential UFA’s Semin, Knuble, Fleischmann, and Laich could play with that little extra oomph to head into the summer with the highest possible negotiating power.

 

A lot of the competition will occur between Fleischmann and Laich for the second line center slot. Last season, both players essentially spilt equal time behind Brendan Morrison. This season, Morrison is outta the equation, so it’ll be interesting who wins out in the FOW department. An outside candidate could also be newcomer Perreault, who tallied a whopping 269 points in 156 contests in the final two years of his QMJHL career.

 

Fehr tallied 328 points in 339 career WHL contests, which is pretty impressive if you consider the WHL a more defensive league than the OHL or QMJHL. At 25, he’s finally beginning to understand how to fully utilize his 6’4” 204 pound frame. Most big physical power forwards tend to bloom around the late age of 28, so Fehr probably has a few more years to go before hitting peak values. Chimera is your proto-typical third liner, and won’t gain much fantasy value until an injury occurs.

 

Last year’s pre-season top-six:

 

Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Knuble, Morrison, and Fleischmann

 

End of year finish:

 

Ovechkin

109

Backstrom

101

Semin

84

Laich

59

Knuble

53

Fleischmann

51

 

Thanks for sticking with me the last few weeks. Hopefully you guys found the information useful and are able to utilize it for your drafts in the upcoming season. It has been a pleasure doing the research as well as having some hotly debated topics in the comments/forum sections, so if you have questions or comments like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them below.


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Comments (5)add comment

angus said:

angus
... I'll disagree. Downie is pretty skilled (much more so than Avery). He has a good shot and really sees the ice well. I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a few 55-65 point seasons.
August 12, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Downie

From what I remember, I thought it was Downie that played with Lecavalier and Tanguay, while they kept Malone, Stamkos and St. Louis together...

Malone missed a few games down the stretch with a knee injury, which was why Downie was slotted in with them and Purcell was playing with Lecavalier.

Purcell has much more offensive upside IMO.

Downie is built more like a Sean Avery 35-40 points, 180 PIMs type guy more than a Morrow 75 pts, 100 PIMs, so he's probably built more 3rd liner than Purcell is.
August 12, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Caputi

I debated about him, but didn't think he had enough value to be cavalry to be honest.

I was thinking even if he did get a shot at a top-6 spot, what's a likely number that he'll tally? 40? 45? maybe and that's if the planets align... Unless you're in a very very deep 1-year league he probably won't make an impact anyways, so I left him off.
August 12, 2010
Votes: +0

Dean Read said:

deantime419
... I seem to remember Downie having a really strong finish last season playing with Stamkos and St.Louis while Malone cooled off in the 2nd half. Yzerman apparently likes Downie too. They might feel obligated to keep Malone in a scoring role because of his hefty contract but I think it will take quite a bit to knock Downie out of the top 6.
August 12, 2010
Votes: +0

Ed said:

GoHabsGo
... I see you put Caputi in the bottm feeders section for the Leafs. You don't think that Caputi should be in the Cavalry section? I would think he has chance to get into the top 6; especially if injuries hit the Leafs.
August 12, 2010
Votes: +0
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