Minnesota's Marek Zidlicky and Los Angeles' Drew Doughty battle. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
For the past seven years, 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 through the teams every week starting from Washington and finishing with Anaheim, so in 2010 we will reverse that. This week we look at the Panthers, the Kings and the Wild.
Gone – Steve MacIntyre, Keith Ballard, Gregory Campbell, Nathan Horton, Kamil Kreps, Ville Koistinen, Nick Tarnasky, Craig Weller
Incoming – Nathan Paetsch, Chris Higgins, Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier, Dennis Wideman
Ready for full time – Grabner will probably make the team full time and he’ll get several looks on the second line. If he shows chemistry with his linemates he could be a dark horse for 45 or even 50 points as a rookie. The team is very deep on the right side, which could mean another year of waiting for Michal Repik and Evgeny Dadonov. Consider them long shots to make the club this season. All three of this year’s first-rounders – Quinton Howden, Nick Bjugstad and Erik Gudbranson – are also long shots.
If and when Tomas Vokoun gets dealt (he is an unrestricted free agent next summer), both of the skilled young goalies in the system, Jacob Markstrom and Alexander Salak, will get looks.
Fantasy Outlook – The Panthers are rebuilding and although they did well at the draft, they have a lot of shelf space to re-stock as far as fantasy-worthy prospects go. As far as this season is concerned, you probably won’t see a 65-point player. Fantasy Grade: D (last year was D+)
Gone – Alexander Frolov, Raitis Ivanans, Sean O’Donnell, Fredrik Modin, Jeff Halpern, Randy Jones
Incoming – Nobody. But now that Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the Devils, look for them to bring in a top-six forward.
Ready for full time – Brayden Schenn will get a long look as the third-line center. If he’s ready, the job is his and he could be a Calder Trophy candidate. Oscar Moller should finally be ready for full-time duty now, at least in a checking capacity.
Top prospect Jonathan Bernier is ready to be an NHL starter – he’s that good. But a talented Jonathan Quick and an up-and-down Erik Ersberg currently fill the roster spots, so Bernier would have to unseat Ersberg.
There is room for another defenseman and Alec Martinez, Thomas Hickey and Slava Voinov will vie for the spot. My vote goes to Voinov, who may flee to Russia if he’s not in the NHL. He has some offensive upside, though he won’t get on the Kings’ top power play unit.
Fantasy Outlook – This is a good young team with a lot of promising prospects in the system. Certainly the potential for a lot of goals is there, both now and in the future. Anze Kopitar could use some more help, though. Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was B+)
Gone – Andrew Ebbett, Jaime Sifers, Derek Boogaard, John Scott, Andy Hilbert, Shane Hnidy, Danny Irmen, Owen Nolan.
Incoming – Eric Nystrom, Matt Cullen, Brad Staubitz
Ready for full time – Free agent signee Casey Wellman did not look out of place at the end of last season. The 22-year-old capped off his college career with Massachusetts (Hockey East) with 45 points in 36 games. The Wild need scoring and Wellman managed four points in 12 games with Minnesota back in March. He could be one to keep an eye on.
Winger Jarod Palmer, 24, is another college free agent signee and will also get a long look in training camp. And finally, defenseman Nate Prosser completes the college free agent trifecta for the Wild. An offensive rearguard, Prosser posted 28 points in 39 games for Colorado College and had a point in three late-season games in Minnesota.
Fantasy Outlook – The new Wild management didn’t have a lot to work with over the past year, but these three college signings were pretty astute and what can I say about the deal that brought Guillaume Latendresse into town? Still, the organization has a long way to go both in the NHL and in the farm system. Fantasy Grade: D+ (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.