There are a lot of varying opinions on where the Rangers will end up in the standings this 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. This summer, we’re reversing that.
Gone – Alex Auld, Brendan Bell, Mike Comrie
Incoming – Alex Kovalev, Martin St. Pierre
Ready for full-time – Defensemen Brian Lee and Erik Karlsson will get long looks in training camp. One or both could make the team and get an opportunity to help run the second power play unit. That’s just to start. There will be more to come from these promising youngsters in the future, especially Karlsson. I’d be shocked to see either of them tally as many as 35 points, but 25 to 30 is certainly feasible.
This will finally be the year Ryan Shannon gets into the NHL full time. Not only is coach Cory Clouston a fan of his from their Binghamton days, but Shannon also has a one-way contract tucked in his back pocket. He had 14 points in the final 19 games last season and will line up on the second line.
Ilya Zubov will also get a long look in training camp. He needs to be in the top six to be effective, though, and there may not be room. An injury (or a Dany Heatley trade) would really open things up.
Fantasy Outlook – The Sens do not have the offensive depth they had once upon a time. But they do have some top offensive players and a couple of players who make good sleepers. In net, the injury prone Pascal Leclaire will be spotted by the still-unproven Brian Elliott – once again, potentially decent, but nothing certain. That will be the story of the Senators for a couple of years. Fantasy Grade: D+ (last year was C+)
NEW YORK RANGERS
Gone – Lauri Korpikoski, Paul Mara, Doug Janik, Nik Antropov, Colton Orr, Fredrik Sjostrom, Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund, Mark Bell, Derek Morris
Incoming – Enver Lisin, Ales Kotalik, Tyler Arnason, Marian Gaborik, Donald Brashear, Chris Higgins, Brian Boyle, Matt Gilroy
Ready for full-time – The Rangers made room up the middle for both Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov to make the squad. Both players have the potential to get into the top six. It won’t happen this year, but the promise is there. Modest expectations would be to see Anisimov top 45 points and Boyle 35 this season.
The team is fairly deep on the wing, but they are not counting out Evgeni Grachev. The young Russian boasts a rare combination of NHL size (6-foot-3, 202) and skill. If he makes the team, it would be fun to see an all-Russian unit with him alongside Anisimov and Nik Zherdev (if they decide to sign him).
On the blueline there are a couple of spots open and the team has penciled in college signee Matt Gilroy, who has the ability to run the second power play. The other spot will be a battle between Bobby Sanguinetti, 21, and Michael Del Zotto, 19. Both youngsters have the potential to be elite offensive rearguards in five or six years. As for this year, give the edge to Sanguinetti due to his age.
Fantasy Outlook – The Rangers will have a completely different look this season. Let’s hope it works out better than it did in Tampa Bay last season. It should, given the personalities involved. The team also has several blue-chippers in the system who, as mentioned above, are pretty close. Fantasy Grade: B (last year was B-)
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Gone – Yann Danis, Mike Iggulden, Peter Mannino, Ben Walter, Andy Hilbert, Joey MacDonald, Dean McAmmond, Mike Sillinger
Incoming – Matt Moulson, Jeremy Reich, Dwayne Roloson
Ready for full-time – Nothing brings a team from a D in the fantasy hockey world to a C+ like adding an 18-year-old franchise player. John Tavares will have to go pointless in five exhibition games, post a minus-10 rating and flip the bird to the crowd before the team would even consider not putting him on their first line. Assume that won’t happen and look for a 70-point season similar to what Patrick Kane did two years ago.
Power forward Jesse Joensuu made a solid pro debut last season and did not look out of place during a cameo on the Island. He’ll get a long look and, at worst, will be a mid-season call-up. It will be several years before you start seeing 65 points out of him, though.
Defenseman Jack Hillen is looking for a one-way contract, so he turned down his qualifying offer. If he gets the deal, he should make the team as a No. 6 or 7 rearguard who runs the second PP unit.
Fantasy Outlook – On the team or in the system, the Isles boast a handful of very promising fantasy studs under the age of 22. The “here and now” needs a little work, but if you’re rebuilding for well into the future you could do worse than stock up on some of these players. 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 throughout the off-season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.