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Fantasy Pool Look: Canadiens, Predators and Islanders off-season report

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

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 Canadiens, Predators and Islanders. We’ll skip the Devils this week, as the Ilya Kovalchuk issue obviously has a major impact in how the team shakes out in fantasy circles.

Montreal Canadiens

Gone – Gregory Stewart, Sergei Kostitsyn, Jaroslav Halak, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Paul Mara, Glen Metropolit, Dominic Moore, Georges Laraque.

Incoming – Alex Auld, Dustin Boyd, Lars Eller.

Ready for full-time –
Eller is ready to make the jump and although he’ll probably be on the third line to start, he should work his way into the top six by mid-season. He has adapted well to the North American game and should eventually become a 70-point player with upside.

Russian enigma Alexander Avtsin will probably play junior hockey this year, but he has just enough mystery about him and whispers of his top-level skill to make a fantasy owner curious about how strong a training camp he will have. It will speak volumes if he sticks around even for a nine-game trial.

Gritty Ryan White could earn a spot and has the ability to post well into the triple digits in terms of penalty minutes.

Not only will defenseman P.K. Subban make the team, but he’ll be the second best defenseman and arguably one of the four or five most important players on the Habs. He injects energy into the lineup, yet is a stabilizing presence. Adding 45 points (or even more) to that is just icing on the cake. Subban is one of the top dozen or so defensemen to own in a keeper league. Don’t scoff and shake your head at me – just trust in what I say.

Fantasy Outlook –
Subban will surprise you with the difference he makes on this team and the Habs also have a decent pipeline in terms of potential offense. However, the coach is a defensive one and fantasy owners never like that. Their playoff hopes ride on how well (or poorly) goaltender Carey Price plays. My money is on “well,” so I’ll bump them up slightly over last summer. Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was C+)

Nashville Predators

Gone – Dustin Boyd, Dan Ellis, Dan Hamhuis, Jason Arnott, Denis Grebeshkov, Dave Scatchard.

Incoming – Matt Lombardi, Sergei Kostitsyn, Ryan Parent, Matt Halischuk, Linus Klasen, Jamie Lundmark.

Ready for full-time –
As it stands now, goaltender Mark Dekanich will back up Pekka Rinne. In case you have any doubts, Dekanich will do just fine. Remember that the Preds play a team system that lends itself very well to developing puckstoppers. See Dan Ellis and Chris Mason for details.

The team signed Jonas Andersson, a late-bloomer who was drafted in 1999 in the second round (33rd overall). He has found his offensive game over in the Kontinental League, but the Preds are deep with prospects/players who are capable of doing well on the second line. He is just one of a dozen, so he’ll need a strong camp to make any waves. Ditto for undrafted Swede Linus Klasen. The diminutive Klasen is fresh off a point-per-game performance in the Elitserien, but he’ll need to outplay the likes of Colin Wilson, Nick Spaling and Sergei Kostitsyn.

Jonathon Blum and Roman Josi are two skilled defensemen who could steal the last spot on the blueline. Neither will make a first-season impact, as the Preds bring their youth along slowly, particularly on the point. But both have very high upside in the long term, especially Blum.

Fantasy Outlook –
Scoring by committee may get the team into the playoffs, but it sure doesn’t help fantasy leagues. The Preds could have zero 65-point players, but seven or eight guys with between 45 and 60. Lots of depth options here up front, not to mention some of the better defensemen to own. The pipeline is full of potential studs, but unless there is a coaching change, they may never see their upside in Nashville. Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was C+)

New York Islanders

Gone – Tim Jackman, Jeff Tambellini, Martin Biron, Sean Bergenheim, Freddy Meyer, Richard Park, Jon Sim.

Incoming – Milan Jurcina, Zenon Konopka, Mark Eaton, P-A Parenteau.

Ready for full-time –
Career minor-leaguer Parenteau will be an NHLer full time, I almost guarantee it. The Isles turned American Leaguer Matt Moulson into a 30-goal scorer, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Parenteau up over the 40-point mark this year.

Power forward Jesse Joensuu will get an opportunity to make the team in camp, though he is not yet ready for a scoring-line job just yet. Kirill Petrov is a highly skilled, though fragile Russian who will get a long look. He could have a surprise rookie campaign if he stays healthy.

And it’s hard to discount 2010 draftee Nino Niederreiter. An exciting winger, he would do best by playing another year of junior before making the jump. But a strong camp could change that.

Fantasy Outlook –
This team has kept total salary down, while at the same time filling the NHL and minor league rosters with young, exciting talent. The future looks bright and you may not have to wait as long as you would think. Fantasy Grade: B (last year was C+) 

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.

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