My first post-lockout ramblings. Yesterday doesn't count, I just tacked stuff onto Michael's. It's been a wild couple of days, seeing as I'm starting this at 1am after dedicating most of four days updating all the projections and digging up all the injury info that I can. I promised and I delivered - the only fantasy guide (to my knowledge at this moment) that you can get that is updated for the 48-game season with analysis of how the players did in the other leagues, injuries, etc. Both the Fantasy Guide and Draft List are updated, buy them here.
The Android DobberHockey Draft App is now updated with full 48-game projections and injury info. Get it here.
The iPhone DobberHockey Draft App is now updated with full 48-game projections and injury info. Get it here.
Jonathan Quick will probably be available for the home opener.
The Florida Panthers have extended Alexei Kovalev an invite to training camp - and he accepted! Line combos for Florida that I have in the guide:
Fleischmann- Weiss- Versteeg
Mueller- Huberdeau- Skille
Upshall- Matthias- Bergenheim
Kopecky- Goc- Parros
With Smithson as the 13th forward and Drew Shore as the extra player to make this team if someone is injured, which almost always happens. The next guy in line is Casey Wellman. Well, Kovalev getting a contract would slot him on the second line and push Skille back. It would reduce the odds of Shore playing 10 games this year, and Wellman won't play at all. The domino effect...
Kristian Huselius has announced his retirement. He tried to play, getting into three games in Sweden, but injuries have taken their toll. His best season was in 2006-07 with Calgary in which he scored 34 goals and added 43 assists and was plus-21.
Marco Scandella is said to be nursing a groin injury, out indefinitely. Per Michael Russo
Nikolai Kulemin will report to Toronto, per his agent.
Check in all day! This stuff will also be updated in the Guide, which will be updated daily - or more - until the puck drops.
My Hockey News article from yesterday - here. In this link are also instructions on how to fire me your fantasy hockey question's for Thursday's THN column
The big player news is the Lubomir Visnovsky stuff. He wants to stay in Slovakia and finish off his KHL season rather than report to the Islanders. He's sorry. "It's not you, it's me" he says. Well, the NHL is pissed off about that. They have a deal with the KHL that says they will respect each other's contracts. So the KHL will probably not allow Visnovsky to play there. So will he sulk and stay in Slovakia and just not play for anyone? That's the outcome I predict. The only other option is to play for the Islanders.
His absence opens up a void on the Island. I have Mark Streit, Travis Hamonic, Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, Andrew MacDonald and Matt Carkner. After that it's either Ty Wishart or Griffin Reinhart - who is not NHL ready. So I'm thinking they hit the free agent market, and even though they weren't thrilled with Mark Eaton - at least they know him and with a better team this year perhaps they'll sign him and hope for improved play. Other options include Pavel Kubina…or even the trade market.
Would you make Ilya Kovalchuk captain? Is he captain material? Come on, quick sucking up to the guy. He's a superstar, not a captain. (I'm talking to New Jersey fans and media)
Time to address some injuries. Okay, all the injuries. That I know of…
Anze Kopitar's knee injury will keep him sidelined 2-3 weeks, which takes him out of about four games and all of camp. It opens the door for Andrei Loktionov to see some ice time on a scoring line. Which is a shame since he's been honing his checking game at the AHL level. Whatever he's doing down there, it's not scoring. Still, he has to seize this.
As far as I know, Daniel Briere's wrist injury is okay now and he should be in training camp. That being said, I don't think he'll have a strong season. Basically because he hasn't done so in years. I think you'll be lucky to get 30 out of him, and frankly you should set your sights on 25.
Adam Henrique's cast is off his thumb. But he needs to rehab and that will be another three weeks or so. He'll miss about five or six games, which is great news for Jacob Josefson owners. Josefson has been healthy (!) and playing well in the AHL with 20 points in 30 games.
Jake Gardiner's concussion and Korbinian Holzer's broken toe mean two things - one, that Morgan Rielly makes this team. Two, that Paul Ranger makes this team. Of course, the Leafs would have to sign Ranger first. But they'd be crazy not to and I think he wants to play for them. Gardiner is out indefinitely. I think Holzer will be back in a couple of weeks, but his roster spot isn't in stone and any missed camp time will hurt him - and help Ranger. AHL stud Mike Kostka also should not be discounted. The guy is a Top 10 AHL scorer and he's a defenseman! He deserves a look and I think he finally gets that NHL sniff this year for a game or two. Finally. At the age of 27.
Brent Burns is eerily mum about his recover from last May's sports hernia surgery. Normally that surgery takes a player out of action for about six months. It's been seven. I don't like it, I don't trust it, and I would let someone else draft him.
Gabriel Bourque has been struggling with a lower body injury all season long. So although he may be healthy and in camp, he has been in and out of the lineup since Day 1. So don't expect a full season from the Nashville youngster.
Dmitri Orlov is day to day with an upper-body injury (do you miss those terms? Upper body, lower body…I kinda missed them). My gut says he'll be back for camp.
Andrej Meszaros suffered a sliced Achilles last summer and was out for eight months. Season done, right? Wrong. It's been almost eight months now. He should be back by the start of the season or shortly thereafter. Imagine that kind of injury and playing a full year? Thank you lockout.
Jordan Caron is out until February with an upper-body injury. Chris Bourque probably gets his spot, but he'll have to earn it. A second chance for Bourque, who blew it in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago.
Hamonic has been out with a concussion but speculation is he will be fine for camp. Which is a good thing, because I was Garth Snow's next phone call to play D for him.
Ryan Jones took a puck to the eye and he will be out until early February at best. I'm thinking Magnus Paajarvi will take his spot. He has proven capable of being a solid, speedy, checking-line player.
With both Justin Braun (hand) and Jason Demers (wrist) sidelined for the Sharks, they are down to five defensemen much like the Islanders. It opens the door for Sena Acolatse, an undrafted signee who is 22 years old. Acolatse would hold fantasy value in penalty minutes. In fact, if he plays 10 games, I guarantee 20 PIM. Okay, I don't guarantee it. But I'm thinking it.
Jonas Brodin is still recovering from a broken clavicle but he's getting closer. I hope he gets some training camp time. I think he'll be a special player.
Also in that article - Tomas Holmstrom will announce his retirement. Holmstrom's best fantasy season was in 2005-06 when he had 29 goals and 59 points to go with 66 PIM and a plus-14.
On the Forecheck takes a look at five key questions facing the Nashville Predators.
Oh, almost forgot. I'm ready to put money on the Penguins here. The odds of winning the Cup, courtesy of Bovada:
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/1
New York Rangers 17/2
Vancouver Canucks 9/1
Los Angeles Kings 12/1
Philadelphia Flyers 12/1
Chicago Blackhawks 14/1
Boston Bruins 16/1
Detroit Red Wings 16/1
St. Louis Blues 16/1
Minnesota Wild 18/1
San Jose Sharks 20/1
Carolina Hurricanes 22/1
Washington Capitals 22/1
Buffalo Sabres 25/1
Edmonton Oilers 25/1
Nashville Predators 28/1
Tampa Bay Lightning 28/1
Montreal Canadiens 30/1
New Jersey Devils 30/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 30/1
Anaheim Ducks 40/1
Colorado Avalanche 40/1
Dallas Stars 40/1
Florida Panthers 40/1
Ottawa Senators 40/1
Phoenix Coyotes 40/1
Calgary Flames 50/1
Winnipeg Jets 50/1
New York Islanders 66/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 100/1
Tomas Holmstrom tribute: