The NHL’s coaching carousel continues to spin, with Pat Quinn hopping back on and Jacques Martin finding a seat in Montreal.
A new coach means a new team philosophy and style of play. A new team philosophy and style of play will impact the production level of players – some more than others. That, of course, will have a very real impact on your fantasy squad.
Let’s take a look at Quinn, the new coach of the Oilers. He is notorious – deserved or otherwise – for leaning on his veterans and not playing the kids. Edmonton, however, is a team full of youngsters. Are guys like Robert Nilsson, Patrick O’Sullivan, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov in trouble? Don’t be so sure.
Quinn’s last two jobs included coaching Team Canada at the world under-18s and more recently coaching Canada to gold at the under-20 tournament. Those experiences are bound to change his philosophy.
The good news for owners of any Oiler players is that Quinn preaches offense. His last NHL coaching gig saw his team – the Toronto Maple Leafs – average approximately sixth overall in goals for during the seven years he was there.
He does tend to lean on his main guys a lot more than most coaches. This is great news for Ales Hemsky owners; you should see career highs from the 25-year-old. Shawn Horcoff and O’Sullivan also stand to benefit, unless the team re-signs Ales Kotalik, who would take Patty O’s place on the left side.
As for secondary scoring, I think there is only room above the 50-point mark for three other forwards. Gagner and Cogliano are likely going to be two of them, which will leave Nilsson and Penner duking it out for a top-six role. Once again, re-signing Kotalik, or bringing in any offensive forward, will knock one of the above out of the mix.
On the back end, Quinn had no problem playing the heck out of a young Tomas Kaberle in Toronto, so I don’t see him shying away from using Gilbert and Grebeshkov. However, veteran Sheldon Souray will be the quarterback on the power play and whichever of the two youngsters clicks with him will be the one who flourishes. My money is on Gilbert.
Now let’s investigate Martin’s plan of attack. Two words: ‘D’ and ‘Fence.’ Let me put it this way – under Martin, Daniel Alfredsson never tallied more than 80 points; the first year Martin was gone, Alffy recorded 103.
To be fair, Olli Jokinen saw career highs under Martin in Florida, but whoever finished second in scoring on those teams was always a long way behind. The bottom line is this won’t be good for any player’s numbers. Sure, the up-and-coming forwards such as Max Pacioretty or Andrei Kostitsyn should post big increases, but those increases would be even greater under a coach with a run-and-gun style.
There is one owner, however, who is doing cartwheels: the Carey Price owner. Nothing gets a goaltender to bounce back in a huge way like a new coach with defense-first system. The potential here is scary.
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.
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