We’re truly entering the heart of crappy hockey news days for 2012. Let’s recap news from yesterday – TJ Galiardi re-signed with the Sharks, avoiding arbitration … and minor leaguer Andre Deveaux signed a one-year deal with the Panthers. Done. Now I can take the rest of the day to work on my Fantasy Guide.
Alright, some other comments. I really like what the Jets did with their goaltending depth. I like the upside and skill of Al Montoya and Mark Dekanich. I don’t trust Dekanich’s health, and Montoya isn’t fully proven yet. But between the two of them, one should emerge as a very good NHL goaltender capable of shouldering a 40-game workload. They’ll “show” this, at least one of them will, but they won’t “do” this. Pavelec will get his 65 starts, while one of the other two shows enough to perhaps sign as a starter elsewhere next summer.
Ryan Stoa is one of those players who will not get much opportunity with the big club, but will need to seize what little he gets if he’s ever going to stick. At this point, he looks like a career minor leaguer due to his lack of speed. After a fantastic college run, he has failed to do much of anything at the pro level. And I had him as a Top 10 Calder pick when he first turned pro. But Zach Hamill is in a similar situation in Washington, so if there is a chance of either sticking at any point next year, my nod goes to Hamill. He has learned to play a more complete game.
Say what you want about Devan Dubnyk’s contract (it raised my eyebrow, to say the least), but looking at it from a fantasy standpoint it ensures that he will be the Edmonton starter. Instead of having to earn his games by hot stretches, his starts will be his to begin with. On an Oilers team that will shock you either this year or next, he makes a solid draft pick. I often remind you – the Penguins were 28th overall, drafted Jordan Staal, The Hockey News (and others) predicted them to finish 28th again… and they finished eighth. After seeing the Penguins finish in the bottom three or four year after year for the better part of a decade, the ‘chicken’ way out was to predict them to finish in the bottom three or four again. So that’s what fans, experts and media did. They didn’t see Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Whitney, Fleury, Orpik et al getting better. So 28th. They finished eighth. So I’m not going to be a chicken, I’ll put my neck out again – Oilers will be in the Top 16.
Two caveats – 1) they can’t lose 80 man games from Eberle/Hall/RNH again. 2) they can’t lose 150 man games from Eberle, Hall, RNH, Whitney, Hemsky and Dubnyk. If they avoid those two caveats, then the kids get into the playoffs.
Hall Nugent-Hopkins Eberle
Hemsky Horcoff Yakupov
Smyth Belanger Jones
Hartikainen Lander Petrell
Whitney Player X
Depth: Potter, Peckham, Hordichuk, Eager
The Oilers will jump 15 spots in the standings at some point, and when it happens nobody will expect it. Well, when it happens ‘I’ want to be the one to predict it. Even if it means being wrong four years in a row first (ha ha).
Also – everything I said above, except about the Islanders.
One thing about the Isles over the last five months – the muddy goaltender picture has cleared up a little. Montoya has moved on. So here is the depth chart:
The first name on the list will be off the list by Game 2. I think Poulin, Nilsson and Koskinen are each solid young goalies and in a keeper league I would have no problem sitting on any of them. Poulin would be my preference though.
Devan Dubnyk compilation:
Kevin Poulin robbery: