Despite another playoff failure this season, the Sharks will once again be a top club in 2009-10. (Getty Images)
For the past six summers, Fantasy Pool Look has given you insight on what each NHL team has on tap for the summer – from a fantasy hockey standpoint, of course. Last year we ran a weekly segment analyzing the teams, starting from Anaheim and finishing with Washington. This summer, we’re reversing that.
St. Louis Blues
Potential UFAs – Dan Hinote, Brad Winchester, Trent Whitfield, Mike Weaver, Manny Legace
Potential RFAs – B.J. Crombeen, Chris Porter, Steve Regier, Jeff Woywitka, Roman Polak, Steve Wagner, Chris Holt, Marek Schwarz
Looking to Add – Now that the roster is back to full health, the Blues are set up front after re-signing Keith Tkachuk. The team is also solid on the back end, with Erik Johnson returning after missing all of this season with a knee injury. They may pursue a backup goaltender to Chris Mason, although Ben Bishop could get a long look for the role. Marek Schwarz has decided to return to Europe for the coming season.
Ready for full time – While Lars Eller is close, but he could use another year of seasoning. With the successful NHL debuts of Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie, St. Louis has the luxury of taking their time with kids such as Eller and Brett Sonne. Winger Aaron Palushaj could see significant games (50 or 60) on the third line.
Fantasy Outlook – The Blues have plenty of skill both on the big club and in the pipeline. They have the talent to put up offense, although coach Andy Murray’s style puts a bit of a drag on that. However, this team will give you modest production. Fantasy Grade: B+ (Last year: C+)
San Jose Sharks
Potential UFAs – Mike Grier, Jeremy Roenick, Claude Lemieux, Travis Moen, Tom Cavanagh, Ryan Vesce, Rob Blake, Alexei Semenov, Kent Huskins, Brian Boucher
Potential RFAs – Ryane Clowe, Marcel Goc, Torrey Mitchell, Tomas Plihal, Brad Staubitz, Lukas Kaspar, Riley Armstrong, Thomas Greiss
Looking to Add – The Sharks will not look for anything significant via free agency – not with the recovery of Torrey Mitchell and a couple of potential player promotions. Something could – and if you believe GM Doug Wilson’s talk of a big shake-up, will – happen on the trade front.
Ready for full time – Jamie McGinn is set to follow in the footsteps of recent Shark graduates. Steve Bernier, Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi all made good impacts when they were introduced to the NHL by playing a limited number of games and followed it up with solid performances in their first full seasons. McGinn played 35 games this season and, although his impact wasn’t the same as the other three, he showed enough promise in minimal ice time to warrant a longer look this campaign. Logan Couture will also get a long look, but may be best served by a season in the American League, while getting a nibble here and there at the NHL.
Goaltender Thomas Greiss is underrated and deserves a shot at the backup role. The team, however, may want to rest Evgeni Nabokov a little more next season and therefore may go after a more experienced backup to shoulder the load.
Fantasy Outlook - The Sharks were the top NHL team in the regular season and will be in the hunt for the Presidents’ Trophy again next year. Although Joe Thornton’s production has fallen off, he should rebound. The farm system is rather lean when it comes to offensive prospects, but every year San Jose manages to graduate one into the NHL successfully. Fantasy Grade: B (Last year: B+)
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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 throughout the off-season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.