Fantasy Pool Look: Sharks, Blues off-season outlooks

Joe Thornton and PAtrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s the 12th annual off-season review of each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically – but switch starting points each year. This year I’m doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. Today, the Sharks and the Blues are on the docket.

San Jose Sharks
Gone – Martin Havlat, Brad Stuart, Dan Boyle

Incoming – Michael Haley, Tye McGinn, John Scott, Taylor Fedun

Ready for full time – Freddie Hamilton is ready to take on a third- or fourth-line checking role. He probably doesn’t have scoring-line upside in the NHL, but he may be able to carve out a career on the third line as a potential 40-point player. However, that won’t be this year and given the Sharks’ depth at center he may not be called up until mid-season.

Matt Tennyson was a big college free agent signing in 2012 and after two seasons in the minors he’s getting closer. His minus-25 rating with Worcester last season indicates that perhaps he could use at least another half season, but he projects as a second-pairing guy who could chip in on the second power play unit. Read more

THN’s top 200 fantasy players for 2014-15

Matt Larkin
SidneyCrosby

I love the Don Henley track “Boys of Summer.” It’s almost impossible to sing the chorus in karaoke, which sucks, but I dig the way it captures this time of year. Nobody on the road…nobody on the beach…I feel it in the air…the summer’s out of reach.

That feeling – mild chill in the air, slight breeze – gets me thinking about fantasy hockey drafts. It’s that time again. Most of what you need to know for your draft is in our crackerjack THN Ultimate Fantasy Guide, which is on newsstands now. You’ll even find a sorted list of the top 300 projected scorers.

One thing that list doesn’t cover, however, is any league not based entirely on points. What about the head-to-head formats in which you accumulate goaltending stats and penalty minutes on top of your offensive numbers? How do you know when to draft a goalie or defenseman over a forward?

I present to you a new ranking set. This list is based on a standard Yahoo head-to-head format with the following categories: goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power play points, shots on goal, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

Personally, I like scrapping penalty minutes for hits and adding saves to the goalie category, but I’ll stick with the standard configuration to ensure these rankings have a wider reach. Let’s get it on! Watch for updates throughout training camps.

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Fantasy Pool Look: Blackhawks, Penguins off-season outlooks

Kane & Toews (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s the 12th annual off-season look at each team from a fantasy hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically – but switch starting points each year. This year I’m doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. Now we’re really getting into the powerhouses – today we take a look at the Blackhawks and the Penguins.

Chicago Blackhawks

Gone – Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Jason LaBarbera, Brandon Bollig, Sheldon Brookbank, Michal Handzus, Nikolai Khabibulin

Incoming – Michael Leighton, Kyle Cumiskey, Brad Richards, P-C Labrie

Ready for full time – Jeremy Morin is NHL-ready. He was NHL-ready last year. And if you want to know why Kevin Hayes took a pass on signing with the strong Stanley Cup favorites, look no further than Morin. Hayes didn’t want to sit in the minors for two or even three more years when there are many teams that would play him right now. Morin was in the same boat. But he should make the team now and even with minimal ice time is a pretty good dark horse for 40 points, upwards of 200 shots and 90 PIM. Read more

Fantasy Hockey: Who is this year’s…

Matt Larkin
Semyon Varlamov

You can set your watch to certain events every fantasy season. One free agent bust gives way to the next, and one breakout rookie passes the torch to another. The “Who is This Year’s…” game helps poolies because it provides a ton of information by comparing two names. “Jake Allen is good” says a little. “Jake Allen is this year’s Semyon Varlamov” says a lot. Time to play.

 

WHO IS THIS YEAR’S…

 

…RYAN JOHANSEN?
Post-hype breakout

Johansen, the fourth-overall pick in 2010, scored 14 goals in his first 107 games. In 2013-14, he exploded for 33 goals. A young gun set to go off this season is Alex Galchenyuk. He hasn’t been bad, tallying 58 points over his first two seasons, but he’s just scratching the surface of his ability, and he missed 17 games in 2013-14. He’s a future star, and a leap into the 60-point stratosphere is within reach.

…SEMYON VARLAMOV?
Out-of-nowhere goalie sensation
Varlamov wasn’t a nobody entering 2013-14, but he was struggling. Then Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy arrived to coach Colorado. ‘Varly’ was a changed man and a profitable late-round grab in pools. This year, Jake Allen will pay off similarly. He’s guaranteed an NHL job and will post outstanding numbers with the stellar Blues defense in front of him. He’ll earn at least a split of the starts with Brian Elliott, with potential for a lot more.

…TYLER SEGUIN?
Return to grace
Boston was silly to give up on Tyler Seguin. He was too talented to stay down after a poor year, and he was just 21. Dallas jumped at the chance to get him, and he finished fourth in league scoring. Watch for a bounce-back from Eric Staal. A 61-point campaign after eight straight seasons at a pace of 70 or more? Toss it out. He’s still just 29.

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Fantasy Pool Look: Kings, Canadiens and Lightning off-season looks

Los Angeles Kings

It’s the 12th annual off-season look at each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically – but switch starting points each year. This year I’m doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. This week we take a look at the Kings, the Habs and the Lightning.

Los Angeles Kings
Gone – Willie Mitchell, Linden Vey, Colin Fraser

Incoming – Adam Cracknell

Ready for full time - Tanner Pearson is still eligible as a rookie, just sliding under the wire with 25 games played last season. He made it quite clear in the post-season that he belongs in the NHL for good and in fact played very well as part of “That 70s Line” with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. There isn’t any reason why that line will be broken up in the season ahead, which makes Pearson a dark horse for 45 or 50 points if all three of them remain healthy. Read more

Fantasy Pool Look: Rangers and Wild off-season outlooks

NYR-MIN (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

It’s the 12th annual off-season look at each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically – but switch starting points each year. This year I’m doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. Today we take a look at the 12th-place Rangers) and 11th-place Wild.

NEW YORK RANGERS
Gone – Brian Boyle, Stu Bickel, Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot, Anton Stralman, Derek Dorsett, Daniel Carcillo and Raphael Diaz

Incoming – Lee Stempniak, Matt Lombardi, Dan Boyle, Matt Hunwick, Mike Kostka, Tanner Glass, Chris Mueller

Ready for full-time – The big one is J.T. Miller, who is more than ready for NHL duty. He can still get sent down without passing through waivers and he’s on a two-way contract, which counts against him. But as things stand now, the last forward spot would go to Chris Mueller or Chris Bourque – and Miller should easily beat those two. Expectations for Miller, as with most youngsters, should be kept low in the beginning. But he has the talent to work his way up the lineup quickly and injuries will play a role in that as well. Read more

Fantasy Pool Look: Stars and Red Wings off-season outlooks

Pavel Datsyuk (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s the 12th annual off-season look at each NHL team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically – but switch starting points each year. This year I’m doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. Next up – we kick off our reviews of the playoff teams.

Dallas Stars

Gone – Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Mueller, Alex Chiasson, Cristopher Nilstorp, Toby Petersen, Aaron Rome, Tim Thomas, Ray Whitney

Incoming – Jussi Rynnas, Patrick Eaves, Ales Hemsky, Jason Spezza, Anders Lindback.

Ready for full-time – Travis Morin is a 30-year-old American League veteran who is coming off of a career season with Texas. His 88 points in 66 games led all AHL scorers and beat his career high by 33 percent. It earned him a brief cup of coffee with the team, but he was used in a depth capacity. You may see that in the season ahead, so his fantasy value will be minimal if he makes the team. Read more

Fantasy Pool Look: players changing addresses who have the biggest fantasy impact

Darryl Dobbs
Patric Hornqvist (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Lots of movement last week and not just the free agent signings. There were some pretty big trades going down as well. Here are the biggest – and what they mean to fantasy hockey:

Steve Downie, Pittsburgh Penguins
The only reason Downie isn’t a heavy buy right now is because of his constant injuries. However, when he does play he will be gold on this team. With mentor Rick Tocchet as one of the assistant coaches, Downie should have his act together and better pick his spots. And because of the occasional spot start on a Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin line, his production will increase as well. Mostly he’ll be on the Brandon Sutter line, but in the end if he can play 65 games he should be good for 35 points and 150 PIM.

Christian Ehrhoff, Pittsburgh Penguins
Ehrhoff will go from 33 points and minus-27 last year to 45 points and plus-20 in 2014-15.

Mikhail Grabovski/Nikolai Kulemin, New York Islanders
The fantasy impact here is not so much what these players will do offensively, but how it impacts the lineup. Two more forwards will make it more difficult for Anders Lee and Ryan Strome to see quality ice time. And Cory Conacher’s brief window of hope lasted just under 24 hours. He looked good for a roster spot when he signed on July 1, but the next day when Grabovski and Kulemin were signed Conacher looks like the odd man out. Read more