The games are starting to become more important, the snow is starting to fall (depending on your location), and the trade winds are swirling. As a hockey fan, you cannot ask for more. I have been soaking up the rays in Hawaii for the last few weeks, but managed to slap together some interesting thoughts for you fantasy junkies...
Firstly, let’s talk a bit about Aaron Voros. He has seemingly come out of nowhere and has been putting up some solid offensive numbers for the Wild. He has never been a big time scorer at any level, posting a modest 34 goals back in the BCHL in 01-02. The reason he is sticking on Minnesota has little to do with his production as well. The Wild severely lack grit up front (especially with the recent retirement of Wes Walz), and in today’s game you need some garbage guys to pot the rebound goals. It was becoming apparent that the likes of Gaborik, Bouchard, and Demitra were unwilling to do that, so Voros has filled the void nicely. His long-term value is still questionable, but he seems like he could have some solid short-term impact on your fantasy squad if you need a combination of goals and PIM.
Secondly, I hope you listened to me about Mike Ribeiro. He could potentially hit 90 points this season, and maybe even higher if the Stars acquire a legitimate scoring winger. He has flourished in Big D after being a dud for most of his time in Montreal – especially his diving antics. Put your preconceived opinion of Ribeiro in the trash. He is an extremely valuable fantasy player who for some reason is still flying under the radar. Don’t expect that to last much longer, though.
I won’t delve into the trade rumors, as I am saving that for the mid-season guide . I will give an extremely comprehensive breakdown of the potential moves that each team is looking at as the stretch run approaches, so you definitely do not want to miss that.
Finally, the real reason why I love this time of year the most: the World Juniors. Bugg has already given you guys and gals the lowdown of in my opinion the best hockey tournament around, so I won’t get into specifics. Besides playoff hockey, the World Juniors cannot be topped. Great physical play with a lot of passion. Canada is looking to have another great team, with the young studs Alzner and Doughty on the backend, and the usual cast of studs like Giroux, Tavares, Stamkos and Turris up front. This tournament is a great time to get a read on some future NHL’ers, but most importantly is just plain damn fun to watch!