With fantasy hockey right around the corner, and some drafts starting already, my cousin and I decided to give you a little preview of the upcoming season. It was originally posted on my cousin’s website, but they gave me permission to post it up here. Enjoy.
Question #1: Most over-hyped fantasy player going into the 2008-09 season?
Don’s Answer: Jean Sebastian-Giguere, Anaheim Mighty Ducks. For both ESPN and Yahoo Sports, he was ranked in the top 20 (ESPN had him top 10!) for Fantasy Projections. There’s several things wrong with that. For one, his team has lost the idea that scoring wins games. Aside from a great young first line, the team has no other offense, and their defense is still great but only getting older. I don’t have him in my top 5 goalies even. Chris’s Thoughts: I think Jean Sebastian is a good goalie, and I feel Anaheim will still have a playoff-bound season, but I agree that he is over-hyped. ESPN has him in the top 5, which is completely ridiculous. I definitely wouldn’t waste a first round or even second round pick on him.
Chris’s Answer: Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose Sharks. Coming off a season in which Cheechoo had a weak 37 points in 69 games, Cheechoo is ranked 30th on ESPN. 30th!!! (ABSURD!) Derek Roy, who Donnie picked as the most under-hyped player in the NHL, had 81 points in 78 games, and he is ranked 88th! Cheechoo had one good year, and has faltered since. I am not expecting much out of San Jose this year, and I’m not expecting much out of Cheechoo either. If I were you, I wouldn’t take Cheechoo until maybe the 10th or 11th round. Don’s Thoughts: To be honest, i didnt even consider him because I had assumed he had dropped out of the top 50. His upside is maybe 30 goals if he is lucky, also he is from Moose Factory, ON.
Question #2: Most under-hyped fantasy player going into the 2008-09 season?
Don’s Answer: Derek Roy, Buffalo Sabres. This is going to come across as a total homer pick. But whatever, I don’t care. What is universally known is that during the final half of the NHL Season, Derek Roy was the in the NHL’s top 5 scoring leaders. Not just for the Buffalo Sabres, but for the ENTIRE NHL. In his second full season of expectations (aka contract), I see Derek Roy becoming a 90 point player, potentially 35+ goals. Chris’s Thoughts: I love this pick. Maybe it is because I’m a Sabres’ fan, but that’s besides the point. The point is Derek Roy is a player. He finished the season on fire. He will be on a line with Vanek, who I think is also going to have a monster year. He will have a crapload of assists, and he plays on both the powerplay and in shorthanded situations.
Chris’s Answer: Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks. Barely cracking the top 30 on Yahoo!, I think Getzlaf is by far the most underrated player in the NHL. Getzlaf had 82 points in 77 games last year, along with 94 PIM. He also posted a +32, which was fourth in the league. He’s on a great young line with Perry and Kunitz, and I think he will crack both the 60 assist and the 30 goal marks this year. Look for a big year form Getzlaf, who I think is worth a first or second round pick. Don’s Thoughts: I really don’t like Anahiem this year. Call me crazy but I think there getting older and less offensive. I do love Getzlaf and think he can potentially be a 40 goal scorer. But my fear of their decline is keeping me away from drafting their players, although good PIM’s.
Question #3: What player is going to make or break your team, a true Fantasy MVP?
Don’s Answer: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings. Aside from injuries destroying the roster, there is no reason to think he can’t get 80-90 assists this year (I’m serious!). He will potentially be centering a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Marian Hossa. Sure Alexander Ovechkin will score 50 goals, and Crosby will break 100 pts. But Washington hasn’t done anything to impress me in the off-season, and I fear for a potential Stanley Cup hangover for Pittsburgh, especially with the loss of Hossa. Pavel Datsyuk is in the top 10 regardless, but should seriously be considered for a top 3 pick. Chris’s Thoughts: I’m not a big fan of this pick. Yes Datsyuk is a great player, but for some reason I’m just not feeling the Red Wings this year. Don’t get me wrong, Datsyuk is good, but predicting 80-90 assists is a tad overboard. Spezza centers Heatley and Alfreddson, and he’s never had an MVP calibur season. He’s not in my top 5. I prefer Zetterberg to be quite honest.
Chris’s Answer: Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning. This may come as a bit of a surprise, but Vinny will be the fantasy MVP this year. He is only rated 19th on Yahoo! and I believe 24th on ESPN, but I don’t understand why. Tampa Bay is chalked full of offensive talent this year. St. Louis, Malone, Stamkos, Prospal, and Vrbata. Lecavailer will get at least 40 goals and 100 points this year. His plus/minus may not be great, but he will make up for it with his great offense. Don’s Thoughts: The Tampa Bay Lightning are the Cleveland Brown’s of this year. They are way too sexy of a pick, and I am not buying. Sure Pittsburgh one year went from worst to playoff’s but I don’t think Tampa Bay has that same talent (Olaf Kolzig is their starting goalie?, really?). I’m honestly interested in seeing what new coach Barry Melrose does with Vinny. This also hinges on what Martin St. Louis they get, last year’s or the 2003 MVP.
Question #4: Best Fantasy Goalie for 2008-09?
Don’s Answer: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers. This is his Vezina year. Martin Broduer is only getting older (35 this year) so eventually age has to creep up and take away his stats (right?). Luongo has absolutely no scoring help (Pavol Demitra can’t stay healthy for more than 40 games). Lundqvist is bound to put up 40+ wins and potentially 10+ shut outs. Chris’s Thoughts: I think Lundqvist is going to have a great year. I don’t even know who his backup is, so he’s going to play a lot of games. He’s been playing consistently well since he won the gold in 2006. They’re going to lose some offense, with Jagr going to Russia, Avery going to Dallas, and Shanahan remaining unsigned. I don’t think Lundqvist will win the Vezina, but he’ll definitely be in the running.
Chris’s Answer: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins. Fleury has been flying under the radar this offseason, being drafted in the 3rd or 4th rounds of drafts all around the world. Well, at least North America. After coming back form his injury, Fleury won 10 out of 13, and led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals. Now that Conklin is gone, Fleury will be the number one guy all year, and has the possibility to win 40 games at least. He had four shutouts in 31 starts last year, so look for him to be right around the 8 or 9 shutout range as well. Is Fluery french for Vezina? I think so. Don’s Thoughts: As stated above, I think the Penguins will have a stretch of bad luck with a Stanley Cup hangover. In fact the last 2 stanley cup losers had pretty poor seasons the year following the finals (Edmonton, Ottawa). Also, at points last year Fluery wasn’t even the best goaltender on the team. He has a big new contract and hopefully won’t choke under pressure, he’ll have a good year but I have him ranked 5th/6th for my goalies.
Question #5: Best Player with a new team for the 2008-09 season?
Don’s Answer: Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks. This is all conditional on his health. Pre-injury he was a top 5 offensive defensemen pick. He is going from a team that had only 1 solid offensive line to a team stacked with young offense. A good power play, and a team that encourages offense. All of these combined should provide a good 20 goal/ 60 point season. Chris’s Thoughts: I’m a big Dan Boyle fan. I don’t think San Jose is the right place for an offensive defenseman though. Brian Campbell only had 3 goals in 20 games with San Jose. Boyle will get some assists if he stays healthy, but I don’t think he will be the scoring threat he was in Tampa.
Chris’s Answer: Ryan Malone, Tampa Bay Lightning. I pick Malone for the same reason I picked Lecavalier, Tampa Bay has so many offensive weapons. If Malone isn’t paired with Vinny and St. Louis, he will be on a line with a combination of either Prospal, Vrabata, and Stamkos. He is going to be on a great line, and I expect him to have a great year. He will really bring some fire power to Tampa Bay. Don’s Thoughts: I think this blog clearly states my thoughts on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning (not a fan of either). Ryan Malone is this year’s Dustin Penner. By that, I mean a player inflated by the team he played on. Sure, Malone will be surrounded by offensive players around him but I do not see him making a step up and having a “top 50″ player type year.