Zach Parise led the Devils with 45 goals last season. (Getty Images)
For the past six summers, Fantasy Pool Look has given you some insight on what each NHL team has done during the summer – from a fantasy hockey standpoint, of course. Last year we ran through the teams every week starting with ‘A for Anaheim’ and finishing with Washington. This summer, we’re reversing that.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Gone – John Madden, Brian Gionta, Mike Rupp, Scott Clemmensen, Niclas Havelid, Kevin Weekes, Brendan Shanahan
Incoming – Cory Murphy, Ben Walter, Yann Danis
Ready for full time – Whether they’re ready or not, some Devils prospects will see NHL duty with all of these holes to fill. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond is a good bet to stick on the fourth line for the full season and therefore is a good bet for 150 penalty minutes or more.
Nicklas Bergfors should also crack the lineup and could see some duty on the second line, although expecting 40 points from him this season is a stretch.
Defenseman Matthew Corrente has a 50-50 shot to make the team, as he will have to beat out Murphy. If he does, he is another good PIM option.
Another candidate is center David McIntyre. He has the opportunity, with room up the middle, to make the roster. The former college star is coming off a solid development camp.
Fantasy Outlook – We’ll need to see how well some of the youngsters do before we know for sure what kind of offense this team has, but with Jacques Lemaire back as head coach, many poolies are shying away from the non-Parise, non-Brodeur and non-Elias players. With the goals-for stat in decline, so is New Jersey’s fantasy grade. Fantasy Grade: C (last year was B-)
Gone – Radek Bonk, Jed Ortmeyer, Scott Nichol, Ville Koistinen, Vern Fiddler, Greg Zanon, Greg de Vries
Incoming – Ben Eaves, Ben Guite, Peter Olvecky
Ready for full time – Much like the Devils, the Preds have several holes they will fill from within. Unlike the Devils, the Preds have a slew of kids with the potential to contribute immediately and training camp will be rich with roster spot battles. First off are the two holes on defense. Alexander Sulzer will take one of them, barring a massive setback. The other one will be decided between Cody Franson, Jonathan Blum and Teemu Laakso. In fact, there could be a third spot available if the Preds don’t add another veteran via free agency. I give the edge to Franson here, although from a fantasy standpoint the two offensive defensemen (Sulzer and Franson) will not give you much in their first campaign.
There are also two spots available up front and maybe three if you include a 13th forward. Competition will pit Cal O’Reilly against Colin Wilson for the third-line center role, and Ryan Jones, Patric Hornqvist, Nick Spaling and Antti Pihlstrom for two open spots on the wing, with Jones holding the inside track for one of them. Also in the mix for any open spots are Peter Olvecky and Mike Santorelli.
Spaling had a lights-out kind of development camp and may have stolen the job out from under Hornqvist, but training camp will ultimately determine the outcome. Spaling offers an all-around, two-way game that Hornqvist doesn’t have.
Fantasy Outlook – Once again this team will not boast an 80-point player, so building your keeper-league team around it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Still, the Preds have some monsters on the blueline who are among the best in the fantasy world and a handful of promising kids on the way. Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was C)
Gone – Tom Kostopoulos, Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay, Alex Kovalev, Mike Komisarek, Chris Higgins, Mathieu Dandenault, Patrice Brisebois, Francis Bouillon, Marc Denis, Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider
Incoming – Curtis Sanford, Travis Moen, Paul Mara, Mathieu Darche, Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek, Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez
Ready for full time – Players who made the team at the end of last year or who saw extensive cups of coffee throughout the campaign should make the jump permanently. These guys are Max Pacioretty, Matt D’Agostini and Kyle Chipchura. Of the three, only Pacioretty and D’Agostini will get to the 30- to 35-point range.
On the blueline, Ryan O’Byrne will probably take the final spot available, although offensive rearguard Yannick Weber will battle hard for it. P.K. Subban is close, but would benefit from a year in the American League.
Fantasy Outlook - This is a new team with lots of offensive options, but unfortunately they have a defensive coach in Jacques Martin. This is great for Carey Price owners, but not so great if you own Cammalleri, Gionta or one of the Kostitsyn brothers. Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was A-)
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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.