Jiri Hudler will return to the Detroit Red Wings in 2010-11 after spending a season in the Kontinental League. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
For the past seven years, Fantasy Pool Look has offered insight on what each NHL team has on tap for the summer – from a fantasy hockey standpoint, of course. After a two-week hiatus to review the draft and free agency, we’re returning to this feature with the Red Wings and the Oilers.
Gone – Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Brett Lebda, Jason Williams
Incoming – Jiri Hudler, Evgeny Ryasensky, Ilari Filppula, Joey MacDonald, Chris Minard
Ready for full time – Defenseman Jakub Kindl will get a long look, as will fellow rearguards Ryansensky and Brendan Smith. Kindl and Smith have offensive upside, but this is a patient organization and any points you see out of them may be three or four years off, much like what the Wings did with Niklas Kronwall.
The yo-yo between the NHL and the American League should finally stop for Justin Abdelkader, as he’ll likely stick full time. Defensive pivot Joakim Andersson will get some cups of coffee with the club as well.
Fantasy Outlook – The Red Wings struggled to find secondary scoring last season and tried to solve the problem by committee, adding Patrick Eaves and Jason Williams. Their weakness was exposed when both Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen suffered long-term injuries. Without secondary scoring, the first line under-produced and all the dominoes fell. Now, with Jiri Hudler back in the fold and everybody healthy, that problem has solved itself. The NHL roster will bounce back offensively.
The conveyer belt of prospects will continue to feed this team a couple of good ones every year, nicely filling needs as they arise. Looking closely at the system, that doesn’t look like it will change any time soon. Fantasy Grade: B+ (last year was B+)
Gone – Ryan Stone, Ethan Moreau, Patrick O’Sullivan, Riley Nash, Chris Minard
Incoming – Alexandre Giroux, Kurtis Foster, Steve MacIntyre, Jim Vandermeer, Colin Fraser, Ben Ondrus, Brad Moran, Richard Petiot
Ready for full time – Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will be on the big club and both bring the potential for 90 points or more at some point in their promising careers. Either one could tally 70 as early as next season, but then again, they could come out and manage only 45 or 50. Nobody knows how a rookie will adapt, but things look promising for these two youngsters.
Magnus Paajarvi is an exciting, speedy winger with a ton of skill and great hands who can make plays while in full flight. The thinking is he’s a year away, but the team won’t hesitate to hang onto him if he shows he belongs in training camp. He is also bulking up, which doesn’t hurt his chances.
Also getting a long look will be human highlight reel Linus Omark. The 5-foot-9 dynamo has high-end upside, but his smaller stature may require him to put in a year in the AHL first. But if he’s in the show, it won’t be to kill penalties.
Fantasy Outlook – Add three stars to any team and its offense will jump 20 percent. With Eberle, Hall and Ales Hemsky, the Oilers have their three stars. If Paajarvi makes the jump, you have four. The Oilers are exciting again and on the right track. They’re not close to a Stanley Cup, but in fantasy circles they are very close – a year or two – to becoming a top 10 offensive team. Fantasy Grade: B (last year was C)
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.