Summer is here Â– time to run down next season's fantasy outlook, team-by-team.
Coming Â– Andy Hilbert, Chris Simon, Tom Poti, Mike Sillinger, Brendan Witt.
Going Â– Garth Snow.
Team Outlook Â– A team in some turmoil off the ice, but on it things are pretty straightforward. Between the pipes they have an above average goaltender in Rick DiPietro who has the potential to be truly elite, and this could be the year when he reaches that height. On defense, there are several rearguards with some offensive flair, but nobody who will go out and grab 50 points this year. Bruno Gervais and Chris Campoli could grow into that role down the road, and Poti still has untapped potential, but for this season the blueline holds little fantasy value.
Up front, there is some scoring potential, but it is up to coach Ted Nolan to bring it out. Alexei Yashin should reach the 70-point mark year after year, but somehow he finds a way not to. Miroslav Satan is as steady a producer as they come, and Jason Blake continues to play over his head. In the system, there is quite a bit of talent, and this year the likes of Robert Nilsson, Sean Bergenheim, and Jeff Tambellini will be regulars; one or two of them could contribute as much as 50 points. Overall, the Isles are not one of the better teams to center a fantasy squad around, but at least things are straightforward Â– what you see is what you get.
Team Fantasy Grade: C-
Coming Â– Brendan Shanahan, Matt Cullen, Adam Hall, Karel Rachunek (returning from Europe).
Going Â– Martin Rucinsky, Petr Sykora, Steve Rucchin, Tom Poti, Dominic Moore.
Team Outlook Â– A surprise team last year, the Rangers had an excellent season, but showed their weakness come playoff time when they were unable to hold their own after Jaromir Jagr and Henrik Lundqvist were hurt. They have upgraded their forwards and added grit and leadership in Shanahan. This signing will go a long way towards ensuring the same doesn't happen again this season.
As long as Jagr is on the team, the game plan will be offense. The power play, and anyone involved in it, will flourish. Henrik Lundqvist is one of the better goaltenders in the game to grab for your fantasy team and hang onto for as long as possible, and Kevin Weekes is one of the best backup goalies out there. On defense, from an offensive perspective, things are a little weak. However, Rachunek's return should help, and if Sandis Ozolinsh can put his personal issues behind him it will add another dimension to the New York power play. In the system, they have some good prospects, but nothing truly elite on the way.
Team Fantasy Grade: B
Coming Â– Tom Preissing, Joe Corvo, Martin Gerber.
Going Â– Dominik Hasek, Martin Havlat, Bryan Smolinski, Zdeno Chara, Tyler Arnason, Vaclav Varada, and Brian Pothier.
Team Outlook Â– The once-mighty Sens are still a very good team, it's just that when you retool a little for the future (and to save cap space) the quality is going to suffer a little -- at least for the time being. They lost a lot of offense when they dealt away Havlat, but he wasn't around for a lot of games last season anyway due to injuries. Patrick Eaves and Antoine Vermette will fill some of the offensive void. Where the team really took a hit was on the back end. Though the Sens did well to bring in Preissing and Corvo, Chara will be missed dearly.
Gerber is an upgrade to Hasek between the pipes. No, he's not a better goaltender. He's just healthier and will form a nice one-two punch in net with backup Ray Emery. In the system, there are a couple of sleeper prospects (Josh Hennessey, Alexei Kaigorodov), but no more Jason Spezzas to be had.
Team Fantasy Grade: B
Darryl Dobbs' Fantasy Hockey 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 Wednesday afternoon. Also, get the top 250 roto-player rankings on the 1st of every month in THN's Fantasy section.
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