As the number of keeper league hockey pools increase each year, fantasy junkies are becoming more active in the off-season as they prepare for the coming year. Rebuild? Retool? Tweak? Whatever your intentions, it helps to get all the information you can about your players. FPL will look at a pair of teams each week and give you the fantasy lowdown. This week, we’ll look through our fantasy hockey goggles at the outlooks for the two New York teams.
Also – don’t forget to send your off-season questions to the THN Fantasy Mailbag, which is posted the last Wednesday of each month during the summer.
New York Islanders
Gone – Aaron Johnson, Rob Davison, Miroslav Satan, Josef Vasicek, Ruslan Fedotenko, Bryan Berard, Shawn Bates, Wade Dubielewicz.
Incoming – Doug Weight, Mark Streit, Yann Danis, Joey MacDonald.
Ready for full time – Coach Ted Nolan is now out of the mix, which means a lot of kids will see a lot of ice time. Kyle Okposo will see first-line duty and Jeff Tambellini will finally be given the responsibility he has earned. Blake Comeau is also ready.
Jack Hillen is a highly-touted rearguard coming out of college and is a decent dark horse for both points and penalty minutes.
Between the pipes, a lot of people have ordained MacDonald as the backup, but I think it’s Danis, who has more potential and should win that job in training camp. This could be important in fantasy leagues, given Rick DiPietro’s injury history.
Fantasy Outlook – Other than Mike Comrie, there probably won’t be a player on the Islanders’ roster to reach the 60-point mark this season. Okposo should get into the 50s, while youngster Sean Bergenheim will surprise with some added responsibility. Don’t expect much this campaign, but there are a lot – a lot – of promising kids in the pipeline so there is hope for the future.
Fantasy Grade: D (last year was C-)
New York Rangers
Gone – Jaromir Jagr, Sean Avery, Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka, Jason Strudwick, Ryan Hollweg, Fedor Tyutin, Christian Backman, Marek Malik.
Incoming – Markus Naslund, Wade Redden, Dmitri Kalinin, Aaron Voros, Patrick Rissmiller, Dan Fritsche, Nikolai Zherdev.
Ready for full time – Lauri Korpikoski is ready to make the jump, but he will have to steal a roster spot. If he does, it could be at the expense of Petr Prucha, who is coming off a very inconsistent and unproductive season. Artem Anisimov is also on the cusp of making it to the NHL, but he must have a monster camp given the team’s depth at center.
Fantasy Outlook – From a fantasy standpoint, the Rangers’ productivity rides on the shoulders of Zherdev. If he builds on last season, his 80-point potential will make this team a very promising one to build your keeper league on. If he reverts back to the Zherdev of 2006-07, the Rangers will struggle to have a 70-point producer now that Jagr is gone.
Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was B+)
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 Thursday through the off-season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the 1st of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.
Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.
Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out dobberhockey.com.