Saturday, January 31, 2009

Second Waiver Draft Complete

Well, we finally got it all done! It only took until Saturday afternoon to get there, but here we have it. The rosters will now be set on Monday and all of these players will be active for our pool teams for the games on Monday night. Also, I should have the pool draft order with this year's points as well, just so we can compare all of our picks and how they've fared in each round. That should be interesting, stay tuned to the standings for that link to be active.

First up in the final set of picks, Benson decided to drop Marc Staal of the Rangers in order to pick up Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Staal turned out to be more of a defensive specialist, which doesn't help fantasy pools, especially when they rely on goals and assists. Tyutin, on the other hand, has enjoyed a lot more offensive success on a Blue Jackets team that is pushing for their first playoff berth.

Also coming from the Blue Jackets is the next pick, Mike Commodore, who was taken by Marcus, which completes a purely blueline upgrade in this Waiver Draft. For this pick, Marcus dropped Wade Redden, who has been a big disappointment offensively in the Big Apple as well. That made back-to-back Ranger drops for Blue Jackets. I doubt you ever thought you'd see the day that two Rangers were dropped for two Blue Jackets, but there you go. It happened!

Well, here we have Dainius Zubrus, who fell all the way down to the 30th slot in the Draft, which is surprising, because he is having one whale of a season in New Jersey. In 50 games with the Devils, Zubrus has 29 points, including 11 goals. Ryan picked him up in exchange for Christopher Higgins, who has had problems with injuries this season and only has 10 points.

Taking a big gamble with the poorly Ottawa Senators, Clayton dropped Peter Budaj of the Avalanche for Brian Elliot, who has taken over a lot of minutes in the Senators nets. With Martin Gerber sent down to the minors, Elliot will have his chance to shine for the Sens, which could mean some good things for Clayton. Budaj has lost a lot of minutes to Andrew Raycroft in Colorado, so, it can't be a big difference either way.

Jeremy tried to ensure that his defense corps is healthy down the stretch by taking Marc-Andre Bergeron of the Wild, as he dropped Paul Martin of the Devils to make room for him. Bergeron has missed games this season, but also carries a better points-per-game ratio than Martin, who has also missed time this year.

Our final pick, which we waited for until today, we saw Peter drop R.J. Umberger of the high-flying Blue Jackets for Alex Ponikarovsky, the tradable forward from the rebuilding Maple Leafs. This may be an over-simplification, but it is a little curious. In actual fact, Umberger hasn't been the biggest offensive force in Columbus, especially for how much they paid for him. Ponikarovsky is primed to move to a new team here before March 4th, which could be beneficial for Peter.

Kaberle Out 4 Weeks

It's a bad break for the Maple Leafs, as their top defenseman, Tomas Kaberle, has suffered a broken bone in his hand and will likely miss the next four weeks because of the injury. The injury couldn't come at a better time, if you could say that at all, as both Jeff Finger and Mike Van Ryn have both returned to the Leafs' line-up this week, so the team isn't destitute on the blueline for talent.

You have to think that this might hinder his trade value a little bit, as Kaberle has been a hot topic among all the trade rumours already. Kaberle would have to waive his no-trade clause, but that may not be a problem when it comes to having a deal in place already.

Kaberle, a Draft pick of Dale B., will be missed in the pool, despite having a sub-par season with only 29 points in 48 games for the Leafs this year. Missing four weeks will be a hard hole to fill for the Leafs, but for Dale, it isn't the worst case, as he had already made his Waiver picks and probably wouldn't have dropped Kaberle if he had the chance.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Three Bytes on Saturday

The Blue Jackets have sure made the news bytes a lot lately, eh? On Friday night, they decided to scratch Christian Backman again. The Box 12 defenseman has been a healthy scratch on a number of occasions this season and may continue to be through the back half of the year. As an expensive scratch, I am beginning to wonder if he has value during the trade deadline festivities.

Horrible news in Phoenix, as Box 4 forward, Steve Reinprecht, will now be out of the Coyotes' line-up for upwards of 8 weeks, because of a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the week. Reinprecht, lost among some of the younger players in the Draft, only has 28 points in 46 games for the Coyotes, which would justify his lack of Draft position. His veteran leadership will be missed down the stretch, as the Coyotes are in the midst of the playoff race in the West. Getting called up in his place is Andrei Nikulin, who was acquired from Ottawa, earlier in the year.

It looks like musical chairs has started up again in Pittsburgh, as the defenders are taking turns again in the press box. On Friday night, it was Hal Gill and Alex Goligoski who were scratched, Gill being the new face in the press box this week. Gill, a Box 28 defenseman, has been a healthy scratch a few times for the Penguins, but over the holidays, he managed to get into the line-up more often than not.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Friday, January 30, 2009

No Forsberg This Season

Well, I am only waiting for Peter to finish up the second Waiver Draft today and it seems clear that he won't be likely to take Peter Forsberg, who was thought to be returning to the NHL, just in time for the playoffs... again. No, Forsberg has shut down his dream to return to the best league in the world, for this season anyways. Forsberg will likely sign with the Swedish Elite League team, MoDo, for the remainder of their season, to try and test his surgically repaired foot.

It should, however, go without saying, that if his foot (or feet) stand up to the test in Sweden, that the Forsberg Sweepstakes might be an interesting story for the summer here in 2009.

We are currently running a poll on the sidebar asking you what you would say to Peter Forsberg, if he wanted to join the NHL again. Of course, the poll was started before this decision to shut it down and it will be featured on Monday's Newsletter, so I'll wait to detail it any further.

Nevertheless, Forsberg will not play a part in the 2009 season or playoffs and has no fantasy value this year. Next year, mind you, he could be a prime candidate as a mild sleeper... if anyone remembers that he might be coming back.

Friday Morning Notes

At home to Tampa Bay last night, the Hurricanes didn't dress Box 30 defenseman, Dennis Seidenberg, thanks to a lower body injury. Seidenberg is listed as out day-to-day with the injury and there isn't any more explicit detail about it, so we can only assume that the injury isn't major and he should be back in the line-up soon.

The soon-to-be dropped Mark Parrish was out of the Stars' line-up again on Thursday night, this time because of the flu. Parrish hasn't shone quite as brightly as when he first arrived on the scene with the Stars, which has left Larry no choice but to drop him in the Draft this week. In 20 games since being picked up in the first Waiver Draft, Parrish has only registered 3 points.

It also looks like Larry will be without Peter Mueller for about a week (if not more), as he has been listed as out with a concussion. Mueller was not in the line-up for Phoenix, as they took on the Sharks on Thursday night and the injury report this morning suggests that he is suffering from a concussion. The minimum amount of time for that injury is a week and he will likely be re-evaluated some time before the weekend next week to work out his return timetable.

The Lightning again decided to let Steven Stamkos watch from the press box on Thursday night, as the team took on the Hurricanes. Stamkos, when scratched, is supposed to take notes about the game and then discuss them with the coaching staff after the match. Stamkos will also be dropped at the end of the week from Chris' team, which shouldn't come as a terrible surprise, as he's only registered 19 points in 45 games for the Lightning.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fritsche Dealt to Minnesota

A small deal went down on Thursday, as the Rangers sent oft-scratched Dan Fritsche to the Minnesota Wild for another scratchable player, defenseman Eric Reitz. Fritsche, a Box 23 forward, hasn't seen a great deal of action with the Rangers this season, often skipped over for Petr Prucha, when in need of another forward in the line-up.

This deal has little to do with the pools, as Fritsche doesn't actually have many supporters on the Sheet pool, but may have a small increase in value, if he can get some of the ice-time he wants now in Minnesota. Reitz will be lucky to crack the Rangers blueline this season.

2008-2009 Stats2009
To MinnesotaAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Dan Fritsche, F23164$875,000
To RangersAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Eric Reitz, D26312$500,000

Wings Place Stuart on IR

The Red Wings placed Brad Stuart on the Injured Reserve on Thursday, likely placing him on the Long-Term Injury Reserve, which would cause him to miss a minimum of 10 games, thus removing those games against the cap. Stuart, a Box 13 defenseman, has been bothered by bruised ribs, also carries a cap hit of $3.75 million this season, which does hinder the team from making many moves. In his place, the team called up forwards Ville Leino and Aaron Downey, who between them have a cap hit of $1.425 million (annually).

Stuart has been an offensive flop since signing his new long-term deal, despite playing over 20 minutes per game for the Wings. In 45 games, Stuart has only registered 8 points and the team is likely looking to maximize it's forward ability by bringing in two forwards at half the cost of Stuart on a per game basis. With negotiations under way for some of the team's other forwards, it will be interesting to see what Stuart's future with the team will be like, especially since he is carrying a deal that has three more seasons on it. Will any team bite on that deal? It doesn't seem likely with the salary cap not expected to go up next season.

Second Round Rolling Along

We've continued to mosey along in the Waiver Draft, making great headway in the second round. Once the first round was completed, we managed to snake our way through ten of the seventeen picks necessary to complete the second round, which was made even easier with two early passes. Grant gave the quote of the year when he passed his second round pick, "In continuation of my bad judgment this year . . . I will PASS and think my team is now fixed." Next in line was Dennis and he also chose to keep the remainder of his team intact for the duration of the season.

Joining the addition of Manny Fernandez to Dale B.'s team, he added some more veteran presence with the likes of Bill Guerin, who has been enjoying a bit of a bounce-back season on Long Island. Guerin came into the Waiver Week with 32 points in 47 games, which ranked him fourth among forwards available for the Draft. That makes a pretty productive Waiver Draft for Dale, who also picked up the second ranked goaltender.

For Larry and his injury-riddled team, it should come as no surprise to see him drop Sergei Zubov, after being patient with him for so long. In his stead, Larry decided to stay in Dallas and pick up an All-Star, Stephane Robidas. Robidas featured in the All-Star Game for the Western Conference, his first appearance at the mid-season classic. He came into the Waiver Week as the sixth best defenseman available.

Chris decided to stay with the aged ones in the Waiver Draft second round, as he took Brendan Shanahan to go with his first round selection of Mats Sundin. He scoffed at the idea that both players were left for him in th Waiver Draft and was quick to snap them up when he could. On the way out for him is Steven Stamkos, who has been a rookie season bust for the Lightning this year.

Jason Blake makes a triumphant second round return to the hockey pool draft, as Don picked him up to take Daniel Briere's spot on his roster. Blake has 14 goals this season for the revamping Leafs and has shown some flashes of his old 40-goal self, but the team around him has not been able to help him flourish. Unfortunately for Don, Briere just couldn't get his act together this season and is unsure of his health for the remainder of the year.

Wes decided to take a chance on the return of Andy McDonald to the Blues line-up for his second pick in the Waiver Draft. McDonald is on the verge of returning from his broken leg. McDonald has reportedly returned to the ice at practice and will try to return to his 1.13 ppg average.

The veteran presence continued to pile up in the Waiver Draft, as Derek took the next best available forward in Mark Recchi. Derek was getting no production from Mike Fisher in Ottawa, who has been having a very disappointing season for the Senators, but who hasn't really? Recchi has seen some success playing as a veteran depth player in Tampa, actually being one of the bright spots on a team that is mired in the Eastern basement.

The Lee Stempniak experiment for John P. is over and his replacement comes from Stempniak's old team in St. Louis., Patrik Berglund. Berglund starred in the YoungStars game over the weekend, picking up three assists in the youth contest and has a shot at the Calder Trophy at the end of the year. He entered Waiver Week ranked 12th in the forwards column and now he's the taken in the 26th spot. That's a pretty good bargain.

For Dale C., it became a matter of upgrading his defensemen and the second ranked defenseman was still available for selection. Dale grabbed Denis Grebeshkov, who has flown under the radar in Edmonton, picking up points here and there, averaging half a point per game this season. Grebeshkov has been hot of late, having 4 points in his last 5 games for the Oilers, which likely increases his potential for the rest of the season.

Now, there's only six selections left to check out, as John B. will likely pass his last pick as well. Stay tuned for the remainder of the Draft.

Thursday Morning Notes

The Penguins are getting closer and closer to getting healthy, with Pascal Dupuis and Maxime Talbot returning to the line-up from injury and the blueline is being paired down to six, which sees Brooks Orpik and Alex Goligoski up in the press box as healthy scratches. Orpik and Goligoski sat as the Penguins beat up on the Rangers on Wednesday night, which may start the rumour engines about the team.

The Capitals blueline is expected to be a bit healthier this weekend, as Tom Poti is finally expected to return to the line-up. On that note, Karl Alzer was sent back down to the minors on Wednesday to help his development out a little bit more. Soon enough, however, Alzner will be a full-time defender for Washington, surprisingly, it's not this season.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kolzig Out Indefinitely

It looks as though Olaf Kolzig was the right person to drop for Dale B. in the Waiver Draft, as it has been announced today that he'll likely miss the remainder of the regular season with a ruptured tendon in his arm. Kolzig, who hasn't played much at all for the Lightning, will be out for 3-to-4 months with this new injury, which means 12 to 16 weeks and with only 10 weeks left, that's pretty much it for him. The Lightning sit 8 points out of 8th spot in the East, which doesn't bode well for their chances to see Kolzig play again this year, so avoid him at all costs now.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Zetterberg Signed Long-Term

Well, the Detroit free-agent summer workload has been diminished by one this afternoon as the Red Wings announced that they have signed Henrik Zetterberg to a brand new contract extension, which is the richest in Red Wings club history. Zetterberg signed a 12-year, $72 million contract extension, which will have him play through the 2020/'21 season, which would likely near the end of his career at 40 years old.

This contract extension means a big raise from his $2.65 million cap hit that he provided the Wings this year, but there is every indication that this will be money well spent. In terms of pool scoring, Zetterberg has been a top 100 player in the last five seasons, including this one, and finished 9th in pool scoring last season. He also was nominated for the Selke Trophy in the off-season as one of the best defensive forwards in the game, so he is one of the best two-way forwards in the league. At $6 million against the cap for that kind of player, the Red Wings are getting a bargain to continue winning.

Pavel DatsyukNicklas LidstromChris Osgood
Henrik ZetterbergBrian RafalskiJimmy Howard
Tomas HolmstromNiklas Kronwall
Dan ClearyBrett Lebda
Valtteri FilppulaAndreas Lilja
Kirk MaltbyBrad Stuart
Kris DraperDerek Meech

Now, the inclusion of Jimmy Howard and Derek Meech are maybe a little too ambitious at this point, but to put the roster in some perspective I have included them. This roster above, missing out on six forwards, will have a salary cap hit of $47.9 million, which doesn't likely leave them with much money to sign some of their key free agents in the summer. This is certainly an issue that was forseen this past summer and it will be rather interesting to see what the team will do with forwards like Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler.

Next season will likely be a big year for players like Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl, who will likely force the hand of management to move some of their larger salaried veterans to make room for more mediocre depth players.