By Dobber. Originally posted February 12 by The Hockey News, ESPN.com, and MSN.ca.With plenty of fantasy players worth owning for years to come, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the best squad in the NHL if you’re looking to rebuild your keeper-league team. From forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to rearguard Ryan Whitney – this group of youngsters is unparalleled in the league and owning four or five of them will pay big dividends for several years.
Next up would be Nashville and Buffalo. With the depth both boast, you would have to put the Preds and Sabres into the must-own category, as well.
Another team looking really strong for the future is the Los Angeles Kings. It is hard to turn your back on a core that will include Anze Kopitar, Alexander Frolov, Mike Cammalleri, Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson, Patrick O’Sullivan, Lauri Tukonen, Trevor Lewis and Marc-Andre Cliche.
But there is a new team that is starting to come onto my radar. A team with a fresh-faced GM, untainted by the politics that come from filling the same position for other teams or of being a former player.
Peter Chiarelli signed on with the Boston Bruins this past summer and he has yet to make a bad move. More importantly, he has an eye to the future.
In signing Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard to long-term deals and re-signing franchise player Patrice Bergeron, Chiarelli has his core for the next four years already set. With Phil Kessel in the lineup and Petr Kalus and David Krejci perhaps arriving as early as the fall, the Bruins added another ‘K’ youngster in Chuck Kobasew Saturday.
The 24-year-old former NCAA star has yet to really show the 70-point talent he is capable of, but much like Brandon Bochenski (who was acquired from the Hawks last week), he will get more of an opportunity in Beantown.
With his big three stars already signed to contracts eating up much of the B’s cap space, Chiarelli needed to complement his top-end talent with a few young wildcards (read: cheap) who could surprise with some offense – much like Brad Boyes did last year. Picking up Bochenski, Kobasew and Stanislav Chistov increased the odds of finding another diamond in the rough. One of those three players will turn in a big year next season, with Kobasew being this writer’s favorite.
An aggressive GM who builds around youth and concentrates on development is what brought the Penguins, Predators and Sabres to where they are today.
If keeper-league owners banked on this two years ago, they would no doubt be doing quite well today.
What I say to you now is – Los Angeles is up next and, with the way things are going, Boston could be on deck. Keep an eye on any changes for the Bruins between now and the trade deadline, but so far so good…