Veterans Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne have expiring contracts and may retire this summer. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
For the past seven years, 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 Washington and finishing with Anaheim, so in 2010 we will once again reverse that.
Potential UFAs – Sheldon Brookbank, Kyle Calder, Saku Koivu, Joey MacDonald, Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, Aaron Ward
Potential RFAs – Kyle Chipchura, Brendan Mikkelson, Bobby Ryan, James Wisniewski
Looking to Add – The Ducks have been bringing aboard second-line centers on one-year contracts each year lately (Koivu, Brendan Morrison). They will do that again until one of Peter Holland or Nick Bonino prove ready for the job. If Niedermayer retires, the team will need another defenseman, though not necessarily an offensive one because Lubomir Visnovsky and Wisniewski fit the bill.
Ready for full time – Dan Sexton is ready for full-time duty. He surprised everyone with his performance this season, though he tapered off in the end. He is a capable second-line winger who will have his hot and cold streaks next season. Bonino is also ready, although he would start in the bottom six as a rookie. If he can score enough in limited duty, he could get a shot at the second line as early as 2011-12.
Nicolas Deschamps had a fantastic junior season, but is a long shot. He is not ready yet. Defenseman Luca Sbisa will get a long look and already has 47 NHL games under his belt, but he would be best served with a year in the American League.
Fantasy Outlook – Depending on how good the center the Ducks eventually sign is and how well Joffrey Lupul bounces back from his back injury, the Ducks will probably fare the same in 2010-11 as they did in 2009-10. Selanne will need to be signed or replaced, but if Ryan Getzlaf remains healthy the scoring will be there. There are several strong prospects in the pipeline that should start filtering in over the next three years. Fantasy Grade: C (last year was C+)
Potential UFAs – Maxim Afinogenov, Colby Armstrong, Evgeny Artyukhin, Eric Boulton, Chris Chelios, Johan Hedberg, Slava Kozlov, Pavel Kubina, Mark Popovic, Christoph Schubert, Jim Slater
Potential RFAs – Niclas Bergfors, Bryan Little, Clarke MacArthur, Ondrej Pavelec
Looking to Add – With lots of cap space, the Thrashers could feasibly go for the best player available this summer. That would include Patrick Marleau (and you can obviously discount Ilya Kovalchuk). The Thrashers have so much space, they could sign a big-name restricted free agent to an offer sheet. Help is needed in all areas.
Ready for full time – Ivan Vishnevskiy, the offensive defenseman the team picked up in the Kari Lehtonen deal, will probably make the jump. There is a risk of him returning to Russia if he doesn’t. He has potential in several years to be a high-end power play quarterback.
Two-way winger Spencer Machacek will get a long look in camp. He could find a home on the third line. For the most part, this team will continue to nurture the promising careers of Little, Bergfors and Evander Kane and there is no pressing need to flood the roster with prospects beyond those three youngsters.
Fantasy Outlook – Surprising contributions from Afinogenov and Rich Peverley, as well as a strong season from Tobias Enstrom, helped the Thrashers become an offensive threat. If the team re-signs Afinogenov, brings in a stable goaltender to spot Pavelec and adds a big-name star via free agency, they could match or improve their attack. Their prospect system – led by junior star Jeremy Morin, who is probably two years away – doesn’t look too bad either. Fantasy Grade: C (last year was D+)
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.