You can bank on one thing with the Capitals next season: Alex Ovechkin will have a high-flying season. (Getty Images).
For the past six summers, Fantasy Pool Look has given you some insight on what each NHL team has on tap for the summer – from a fantasy hockey standpoint, of course. Last year, we ran through the teams every week starting from “Anaheim” and finishing with “Washington,” so in 2009, let’s reverse that.
Potential UFAs – Sergei Fedorov, Viktor Kozlov, Quintin Laing, Donald Brashear, Alexandre Giroux, Graham Mink, Bryan Helmer, Staffan Kronwall, Brent Johnson
Potential RFAs – Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon, Chris Bourque, Shaone Morrisonn, Milan Jurcina, Jeff Schultz, Sami Lepisto, Daren Machesney, Travis Morin, Andrew Joudrey, Steven Pinizzotto, Sasha Pokulok
Looking to Add – An elite second-line center, as well as a left-shooting offensive rearguard to complement Mike Green on the power play.
Ready for full time – Chris Bourque is ready to make the jump as a third-line left winger, assuming that Tomas Fleischmann can handle a right wing job in the top six. Bourque is coming off a 73-point American League season. Recent signee Anton Gustafsson could get a look for that second-line center job, but he is likely still a year away.
On the back end, Sami Lepisto is ready, as he showed with four points in seven NHL games this season. However, fellow prospect John Carlson made a huge splash in the Ontario League and may have passed him on the depth chart. Lepisto shoots left and Carlson doesn’t, which could give Lepisto an edge.
Finally, between the pipes, it is clear Simeon Varlamov is in the hunt to become the No. 1 goalie. Veteran Jose Theodore plans to contend that and 21-year-old Michal Neuvirth also refuses to be forgotten.
Fantasy Outlook – This team will be an offensive juggernaut and with two prize goaltenders in the system, they will do well at keeping pucks out, too. There are more than a handful of decent prospects in the system. There’s not a lot to pick apart with this team from a fantasy - or reality - standpoint. Fantasy Grade: A (last year was A)
Potential UFAs – Mats Sundin, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Rick Rypien, Taylor Pyatt, Jason Jaffray, Michel Ouellet, Jason Krog, Mattias Ohlund, Rob Davison, Ossi Vaananen, Nolan Baumgartner, Jason LaBarbera, Curtis Sanford, Jeff Cowan, Mark Cullen
Potential RFAs – Kyle Wellwood, Jannik Hansen, Shane O’Brien, Nathan McIver
Looking to Add – Three top-six forwards, a puck-moving defenseman and a backup goaltender. The core of this team will have a completely different look.
Ready for full time – Although Cory Schneider had a couple of shaky NHL games this season, there is no denying he is one of the most promising and talented netminders not currently a full-timer in the league.
The backup job is his to lose and, if he plays like he can, Schneider could limit Roberto Luongo to 65 games. From a playoff standpoint, that should be a good thing for the Canucks.
Centerman prospect Cody Hodgson is more than ready to make the jump to the NHL and his impact will be felt immediately. He is best suited for a second-line role and it would not surprise me if he tallied 55 points as a rookie. He’ll be a future captain on this team.
Fantasy Outlook - It’s tough to nail down a fantasy outlook or fantasy grade when the team’s three best offensive players are likely gone via free agency. However, with the money that would be freed up, the Canucks will likely be able to replace them within reason. The team philosophy will still revolve around Luongo (and thus – defense) and the pipeline is a little bare of offensive prospects, other than Hodgson and Michael Grabner. Fantasy Grade: C (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 throughout the off-season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.