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. Fantasy Pool Look will examine 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 Capitals and Canucks.
Also – don’t forget to send your off-season questions to the THN Fantasy Mailbag, which, starting Wednesday will resume it's weekly format.
Gone – Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, Brad Isbister, Aaron Miller and Ryan Shannon.
Incoming – Steve Bernier, Pavol Demitra, Kyle Wellwood, Darcy Hordichuk, Rob Davison and Jason Krog.
Ready for full time – You probably won’t see any prospects graduate to the big club from training camp this year. Veteran minor-leaguer Jason Krog will get a look as the second-line center, but he will have to beat out Kyle Wellwood. If he doesn’t, he’ll go back to Manitoba, despite his one-way deal. The Canucks need scoring from the wing, so they certainly won’t ignore Michael Grabner in training camp. However, the young sniper still needs at least another year or two of seasoning.
Goaltender Cory Schneider is getting close, but there is a stumbling block in front of him named Roberto Luongo. You know, one of the best goaltenders in the league?
Fantasy Outlook – Vancouver’s defense was decimated by injuries last campaign. Now they are healthy and ready to go. Believe it or not, that should help the offense. The forwards can loosen up a little knowing the veteran blueliners are back in place. That being said, the Canucks still haven’t solved their depth problem at forward – there are just a lot of “ifs” and “maybes.” In the pipeline, the prospects (from a fantasy standpoint) are average at best.
Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was C)
Gone – Matt Cooke, Olaf Kolzig and Cristobal Huet.
Incoming – Jose Theodore.
Ready for full time – Keep an eye on defenseman Sami Lepisto, he could be the second coming of Sergei Gonchar. Not right away, of course, but eventually his upside could be higher than Mike Green’s. Not to worry Green owners, he’ll be the No. 1 guy on the blueline for years to come thanks to his many attributes. But in a couple of years Lepisto could put up offensive numbers as good or even better.
Defenseman Karl Alzner will also get a long look, but he’ll never run their power play, so, from a fantasy standpoint, you should not overrate him.
Fantasy Outlook – The Capitals will be an offensive force this year and they will remain that way for as long as Alex Ovechkin is there. Much like the Penguins, this is a group of players that you would be wise to stock up on. The pipeline looks great, too.
Fantasy Grade: A (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.