The Minnesota Wild missed the post-season for the first time since 2006 with 89 points last season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
For the past six summers, Fantasy Pool Look has given you insights 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 with Anaheim and finishing with Washington. This summer, we’re reversing that. Keep in mind the ratings reflect the current and potential offense of teams and how it reflects fantasy value, not necessarily wins and losses.
Gone – Dan Fritsche, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Martin Skoula, Marian Gaborik, Peter Olvecky, Stephane Veilleux, Kurtis Foster, Jacques Lemaire (coach)
Incoming – Martin Havlat, Greg Zanon, Wade Dubielewicz, Shane Hnidy, Kyle Brodziak
Ready for full time – The Wild has one of the weakest farm systems in the league. While Benoit Pouliot is getting closer and making strides, he would still be a season away in most organizations. In Minnesota, however, he’s the cream of the crop. He should play a large portion of the season with the big club, but his fantasy value won’t surface for a good three years…if it does at all.
Fantasy Outlook – A lot is riding on an 80-game season from Havlat (last seen shaking off a couple of concussions back in May) as well as the aging bodies of Owen Nolan and Andrew Brunette. Mikko Koivu can’t do it all himself – and the team can’t exactly turn to their pipeline for scoring help either. Fantasy Grade: D (last year was B-)
Los Angeles Kings
Gone – Matt Moulson, Kyle Quincey, Tom Preissing, Brian Boyle, Kyle Calder, Derek Armstrong, Denis Gauthier
Incoming – Ryan Smyth, Rob Scuderi, Juraj Mikus
Ready for full time – At times last season, Oscar Moller and Ted Purcell played like full-time NHLers. This year, Purcell will be with the big club throughout the season and Moller will either be the same, or get frequent, extended call-ups. The arrival of Smyth will make it difficult for either one to top the 40-point mark this year, but both youngsters have solid upside in the long term.
On defense, there is one spot available for either Slava Voynov or Thomas Hickey. Look for the poised Russian to win out and Hickey to make the jump in 2010. Both have decent upside, but neither will tally 20 points as rookies.
Fantasy Outlook – I have been harping all summer long on how I feel this team is ready to surprise. The elements are in place offensively and if their goaltending stands up – and Jonathan Quick and Erik Ersberg are very underrated – the Kings will make some noise. The pipeline is also flush with offensive potential, so L.A. will be a solid team to build your keeper squad around for years to come. Fantasy Grade: B+ (last year was A)
Gone – Ville Peltonen, Anthony Stewart, Nick Boynton, Karlis Skrastins, Craig Anderson, Jay Bouwmeester, Stefan Meyer, Richard Zednik, Jassen Cullimore, Steve Eminger, Brett McLean
Incoming – Jeff Taffe, Scott Clemmensen, Steven Reinprecht, Ville Koistinen, Jordan Leopold
Ready for full time – The closest candidate is the speedy Michal Repik. He should stick on the third line for now, but has second-line potential. Don’t count on more than 35 points, though.
Shawn Matthias is coming off of a rough rookie campaign as a professional. It is doubtful he will make the squad in the fall, but with a strong start in the American League he could certainly play for the Panthers in the second half.
Russian Evgeni Dadonov spurned the Kontinental League to take a crack at the NHL, so there will be some pressure to keep him on the roster. At the very least, the talented winger will get a few regular season games in as an audition.
Fantasy Outlook – Unless Nathan Horton can take that next step and become a star capable of 80 points, the Panthers will once again be a team with a lot of second-liners. Michael Frolik is another player with “star” upside. David Booth is more of a top second-liner or complementary first-liner than he is a leading scorer. This team needs Horton or Frolik to shine. As for the farm system, the cupboards are bare beyond the aforementioned three forwards and 18-year-old defenseman Dimitry Kulikov. 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 throughout the off-season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.