Kost

 

Part four of this ongoing series breaking down the scoring lines and depth options.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

 

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.

 

Minnesota – Top-five fairly locked faces slight competition from cavalry

Top Six
Devin Setoguchi – Mikko Koivu – Dany Heatley
Guillaume Latendresse – Matt CullenP.M. Bouchard

Cavalry

Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Brodziak, Casey Wellman, James Sheppard

Bottom Feeders

Eric Nystrom, Darryl Powe, Colton Gillies, and Brad Staubitz.

 

Minnesota’s top-six heading into 2010-11 will be completely revamped with all of the off-season movement this summer. Koivu has always been a point-per-game threat, but with Heater and Seto as his line mates, you would think that he has a great shot at finally surpassing that elusive 80-point plateau. Heatley is an interesting case, with many polarizing opinions on his fantasy worth. He has been kind of been shafted the last couple of seasons in SJ, (offensive depth), and in Ottawa, (coaching due to on/off ice attitude), but he’ll pretty much run out of excuses with Minny this campaign. If you’ve bought the guide, then you’ve probably read my stance on Seto. Now that he has more control of his production, look for him to breakout.

 

After Koivu and Marek Zidlicky, Cullen picked up the third-most PP TOI in Minny last campaign, which resulted in a surprising 21 points on the man advantage (tied for 48th in the league). The Wild don’t have a lot of puck-moving defensive options, so Cullen should have a great shot at manning the opposite point of Zidlicky on the top PP unit. Look for a 40-45 point season from him. Latendresse was heavily criticized earlier this off-season by GM Chuck Fletcher, so it’ll be interesting to how he responds with his new workout regime initiated. Bouchard completely flew under-the-radar last campaign as he missed most of the first-half dealing with concussion symptoms, but returned to rattle off 38 points in the final 59 contests (pro-rated to 52 points). He could make a great sleeper candidate for 2011-12.

 

There’s not a lot that you can complain about Clutterbuck’s fantasy worth. He led the league in HITs with 336 while also chipping in with 34 points, 79 PIMs and 191 SOG. If you’re looking for a multi-cat monster, you don’t have to look much further than Clutter.

 

Last year’s pre-season top-six:

Brunette, Koivu, Miettinen, Latendresse, Cullen and Havlat

 

End of year finish:

Koivu

62

Havlat

62

Brunette

46

Cullen

39

Bouchard

38

Brodziak

37

 

 

Nashville – Top-five locked, strong competition from youngsters with high potential.

Top Six

Martin Erat – David Legwand – Patric Hornqvist

Blake Geoffrion – Mike Fisher – Sergei Kostitsyn

Cavalry

Nicklas Bergfors, Colin Wilson, Cal O’Reilly, Craig Smith, Nick Spaling, Taylor Beck***

Bottom Feeders

Jordan Tootoo, Jerred Smithson, and Matt Halischuk

 

You can pretty much sum up the Preds’ offense using three words: Offense by committee! During the last three years, Nashville has only churned out one player that has tallied more than 60 points and only eight that have recorded 50 or more (Philly alone had five last season). With Barry Trotz once again at the helm, expect things to remain status quo this season.

 

The good thing about the Preds is that you can expect consistency. Erat and Legwand are as consistent as they come. The key is to not expect anything more or less. Look for 70 GP each and roughly 50 points from Erat and 40 points from Legwand, then you should be good. Hornqvist had a miserable start to the season by registering just 34 points in the first 68 contests, but then rattled off 14 points in the final 11 to finish the regular season. The trio of Fisher, Hornqvist and Kostitsyn had plenty of chemistry during the stretch run and could definitely bear watching for 2011-12.

 

Despite averaging just 8:16 per contest last season, Geoffrion still managed to garner eight points in 20 contests during his brief stint with the big club. There isn’t much left for him to prove outside of the NHL, so look for him have a bigger role of responsibility in Nashville this year. Recently signed Bergfors is starting to run out of NHL options, the Preds will be his fourth team in the last three seasons. I personally think that he’s going to be a career AHLer, but you might be more of a gambling poolie than me. A sleeper candidate that you have to earmark is Beck. He tallied a whopping 188 points in 163 contests with Guelph during his final two years of juniors. A year in the minors could possibly do him wonders, but a great camp could see him make the direct jump to the big club. Either way keeper leaguers definitely make note of his name.

 

Last year’s pre-season top-six:

Erat, Lombardi, Dumont, Sullivan, Legwand and Kostitsyn

 

End of year finish:

Kostitsyn

50

Erat

50

Hornqvist

48

Legwand

41

Fisher

36

Wilson

34

 

 

Phoenix- Top-four fairly locked, potential surprises in competition from bottom-six

 

Top Six
Ray Whitney – Martin Hanzal – Shane Doan

Radim Vrbata – Lee Stempniak – Lauri Korpikoski

Cavalry

Kyle Turris (RFA), Andy Miele, Mikkel Boedker (RFA) and Brett MacLean

Bottom Feeders
Raffi Torres, Boyd Gordon, Viktor Tikhonov (RFA), Taylor Pyatt, Paul Bissonette, Kyle Chipchura, and Petteri Nokelainen.

 

Considering how defensive the Coyotes played last season, they actually finished the year ranked as the 14th best offense in the league (2.76 goals scored per contest). Much like the Preds, the name of the game in Phoenix is also offense by committee, as the range of the leading scorer to the seventh was a mere 22 points. With Dave Tippet at the helm, expect much of the same in Phoenix.

 

The big three of Doan, Whitney and Vrbata should lead the way in scoring once again. Vrbata has surpassed the 215 SOG plateau in four of the past five seasons. The SH% won’t be very pretty, but if you’re after plain old SOG, he’s a great under-the-radar target to invest in. Doan and Whitney are both starting to get up there in age, but they aren’t at a point where their production will dramatically crash.

 

After the departures of Eric Belanger and Vernon Fiddler, there’s a massive gaping hole up the middle in the Yotes’ line up. There’s a bit of debate as to who will assume that role. There’s a strong case for youngster Turris, but I think that gig will land squarely on the lap of Hanzal. This was a thread that I wrote comparing him to early days Ryan Kesler back in April. The RFA trio of Turris, Boedker and Tikhonov might be hard pressed to make the big squad this campaign as Tippet heavily favours veteran players who play a two-way game, which perfectly fits the MO of Torres, Gordon, Pyatt, Chipchura, Nokelainen and BizNasty. I could honestly see Boedker and Tikhonov starting the season in San Antonio, which will dramatically hamper their fantasy value.

 

If pedigree is what you’re after, then you’re probably going to be pretty high on both Miele and MacLean. Miele absolutely blew the competition out of the water when he posted a mind-boggling 71 points in 39 contests all while securing the Hobey Baker award last campaign. The only knock on him is his size, as 5’8” isn’t exactly the most ideal height for an NHLer. On the other hand, MacLean, who stands a respectable 6’2”, probably doesn’t have much left to prove outside of the NHL. He’s posted 265 points in 177 contests in juniors while following that up with 155 points in 201 in the AHL. The Yotes will be making a big mistake if they don’t give him a long leash at training camp.

 

Last year’s pre-season top-six:

Whitney, Wolski, Doan, Vrbata, Fiddler, and Upshall

 

End of year finish:

Doan

60

Whitney

57

Vrbata

48

Korpikoski

40

Belanger

40

Stempniak

38

 

The last instalment next week: the Sharks, Blues, and Canucks.

 

Questions or comments? As always - I’ll be willing to discuss them in the comments section below.

 


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Comments (3)add comment

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... Sorry forgot the points...

I think he can be a boom or bust, I could see him having an upside of 55 if he manages to get a top-line gig with Doan, but realistically I probably see him around 40-45 since his ice-time is going to be pretty much shared evenly with a lot of the other guys.

August 02, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Turris

I definitely think that he has a good chance, the thing is the Coyotes are really really thin up the middle. Turris was a 50% FW winner last campaign, with Korpikoski and Stempniak only 43.8% and 40% FW winners respectively. The thing is Tippett needs to give him more rope. He's averaged just 11:16 per game last year, and I don't care if you're Crosby or Ovechkin, if you average just that much per game, you're not going to be fantasy worthy.

Also Tippett is a coach that heavily favours two-way vets. He gave a lot of the ice-time to guys like Fiddler and Belanger, so I could see him doing the same with Gordon and Torres this season.
August 02, 2011
Votes: +0

Jonas Edman said:

Alex 10
... Do you think Turris can center the second line? How many points do you think he will score this season?
August 02, 2011
Votes: +0
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