Friday, September 30, 2011

Sheet Player News (Sep 30)

The Calgary Flames announced that they have sent their representative in Box 9, Lance Bouma, down to Abbotsford of the AHL. Bouma, who was vying for a bottom six job with possibly some top six perks, was outworked in camp and he'll join fellow sheet player, T.J. Brodie in the minors for the start of the season.  With selection sheet entries now starting to come in, now is a good time to continue watching the blog for more players being sent down to the minors.

Also getting his ticket punched out of training camp on Friday was Jets forward Carl Klingberg.  Klingberg has been sent back down to Juniors, where he'll remain for the remainder of the season, likely thanks to the strong training camp and preseason from 2011 1st round draft pick, Mark Scheifele.  As youngsters went going into training camp, Klingberg was the favourite to possibly crack the line-up, but the 20-year old Swede did not live up to his new teammate and thus lost the battle for a job this Fall.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kings Bridge Gap With Doughty

According to reports on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Kings have come to an agreement (verbal in the evening) with holdout restricted free agent defenseman Drew Doughty. The early reports are saying that the deal is for 8 years, worth $56 million, a $7 million cap hit per season.  This deal makes Drew Doughty the largest cap hit on the team in the 2012 season, slightly eclipsing teammate Anze Kopitar, who signed his deal in 2008.

Doughty had a bit of an off-year in 2011, ranking only 25th in defensemen scoring with 11 goals and 29 assists in 76 games with the club.  Doughty still has a very high fantasy value, despite his low season.

If Doughty can make his way back to the top of the scoring heap, the holdout could act like a moot point this season.  With a new deal of this magnitude, expectations will also be raised, which Doughty will have to be aware of.

Salary CapSo, with another $7 million tacked onto the Kings' projected salary cap number, I currently have them at $60.5 million for 21 players, which also leaves a little bit of room for another forward, if needed.  The Kings were poised to become a top-spending team this year, but again, with high salaries come high expectations, so the Kings will be a team to watch this year.

ImplicationsWell, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that someone was going to take Drew Doughty in the draft this past week, as he was taken in the 5th round, 91st overall by Ryan M., which is likely much lower than where he would normally project, but with a holdout pending, he was bound to drop.  With that being said, Doughty will now likely become one of the best bargains in the draft this year.

Canes Cut Down to 24

The Carolina Hurricanes made 12 cuts on Thursday afternoon, bringing their training camp roster down to 24 players, just one more than the maximum 23 players an active regular season roster can have.

Included in the cuts was forward Zach Boychuk, who has been included as a forward on the selection sheet this season, currently sitting in Box 24.  Boychuk has been beaten out by young Zac Dalpe, who has worked himself into final consideration, which isn't terrible, because Dalpe is currently in Box 25 on the sheet.

Avoid selecting Boychuk right now, because it's hard to say when he might get another shot at cracking the line-up.

Chimera Signs Extension

The Washington Capitals announced that they have signed veteran depth forward, Jason Chimera, to a new 2-year contract extension, which will have him signed through the 2014 season. It has been reported that the deal has a cap hit of $1.75 million per season.

Chimera, a bottom six player with the Capitals, topped out at 26 points in 81 games in the 2011 season, which didn't raise his value enough to be drafted or put on the selection sheet for the coming season.  His depth and defensive play are his better attributes, keeping a spot safe for him for the next few years.

Kadri Out With Knee Sprain

After an MRI on Wednesday, it has been determined that Nazem Kadri does have a knee sprain and the team expects to be without one of their top prospects for the next 3-to-4 weeks.

Kadri, who was expected to make a solid run at a spot on the opening night roster, has been sidelined since Tuesday night, when he suffered the injury against the Senators in preseason action.  Kadri was one of the favourites through camp, having his speed and his overall game improve over the last year and he could have been shuffled into the line-up in any number of spots, ranging from the top line to the third line.

Kadri is a member of the selection sheet pool in Box 22, so missing a month should be enough for you to skip over him, if you are thinking of selecting him.  Kadri was not drafted on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Arnott to Miss One Week

The St. Louis Blues will not have veteran forward Jason Arnott available to them for the remainder of the preseason, as he is scheduled to have minor eye surgery on Wednesday to remove a cataract.

The Box 7 forward on the selection sheet should be back in time to start the season, which opens against the Minnesota Wild on October 8th.  Recovery from the surgery is expected to be about a week, which will put him back on the ice in good time to dress for opening night.

Welcome to the 2011/2012 Hockey Pool Draft

A big thank you to everyone who showed on Tuesday night, it looks like we'll have a very successful draft this year, as we have increased pool participation from 20 in the 2011 season to 22 for the 2012 season.

Welcome to a new NHL season and a brand new pool, I hope everyone enjoys themselves this season.  I hope to have the whole website, with full team pages, up this weekend and working before the season starts next week.  It will be good for everyone to stare down their opponents before the season starts, I'm also hoping to have a new Trash Talk page up, so the regular two or three people can chat on there all season.

With 22 teams in the pool, we have a prize pot of $1,100 and some of that will go to some jersey prizes again this season and the remainder will go to prizes for the end of the year.  Please stay tuned a little bit later on in the season to see what the prizes look like.  Cash prizes won't be announced until the jersey prizes are purchased.

For those wondering, in accordance to the poll I had at the top of the blog for the last couple of weeks, Sidney Crosby did end up being a 1st round pick, going 14th overall.  That would put him as 'late 1st round,' where one vote was cast for it.

Other players of note in the draft... The 1st overall pick this year was Steven Stamkos, so the pressure is on him to be the best player in the pool this year.  The first Winnipeg Jets player taken was Ondrej Pavelec, who went 60th overall in the 3rd round and there were 11 Jets taken through the draft.  Jaromir Jagr was taken 70th overall in the 4th round.  Gabriel Landeskog was the first 2011 draft pick taken in the pool, taken in the 13th round, 266th overall, followed closely by Adam Larsson.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the last player taken in the draft.

Yes, it looks like it'll be a close one again this year.  308 players were taken this year, which means we had to dig deep for some of our last players, which should bring the talent in together and hopefully we don't have a runaway winner, like we did last season.

Have fun everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gagner Out With Ankle Injury

I might be a little late to the party on this one, but I thought I would get the full diagnosis of this injury before posting anything about it, especially since my hockey pool draft is tonight. The Oilers are expecting to be without centre Sam Gagner for the next week or two (if not a bit more), as the 22-year old has suffered a sprained ankle, not quite a high ankle sprain, but close, which will have him on the shelf on a week-to-week basis.

It doesn't sound like Gagner will be able to dress for the team's opening game and possibly a little bit more, so you will have to tread carefully with him, especially if you are going to take him on.

Although it may be disputed in some circles, this should give the Oilers some freedom to include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in their opening night line-up, possibly starting him for the season and seeing how he fares.  I am still not terribly convinced that he will stick around, but he is slowly winning me over.

Rangers Off to Europe

The New York Rangers made their last couple of cuts before they headed off to Europe on Monday night, as they sent both Andre Deveaux and Andreas Thuresson down to the AHL, rounding off their roster to 33 players, including the injured Marc Staal, who actually is staying in New York to deal with the last of his post-concussion syndrome symptoms.

The Rangers will be allowed to carry an excess of players through their European trip, to save on any extra costs that may occur due to injury, as they open the season in Stockholm, Sweden against the Los Angeles Kings.  The team will only be able to dress the game maximum of 20 players at once, but the extra bodies around is a comfort for these travelling teams.

Below is how the Rangers line-up currently looks with their extra players:

Brad Richards85Dan Girardi35Henrik Lundqvist100
Marian Gaborik75Marc Staal25Martin Biron10
Ryan Callahan60Michael Del Zotto25
Artem Anisimov55Michael Sauer15
Brandon Dubinsky50Ryan McDonagh15
Derek Stepan40Steve Eminger10
Brian Boyle35
Wojtek Wolski35
Mats Zuccarello35
Brandon Prust30
Erik Christensen30
Ruslan Fedotenko20
Sean Avery20
Mike Rupp15
Dale Weise15Tim Erixon15Scott Stajcer5
John Mitchell5Dylan McIlrath10
Kris Newbury5Brendan Bell5
Ryan Bourque5Stu Bickell5
Carl Hagelin5Blake Parlett5

With Staal being out of the line-up, I think it is fair to believe that Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath will be pushing for the 6-7 spots on the blueline, as they have been all training camp.  Erixon, the more offensive of the two, will likely get the extra push, but that's just a guess on this end.  Erixon may be a good pick for the draft, especially if the draft gets deep.

Last Night's Preseason Action (Sep 27)

The Kraft Hockeyville game went in St. John's, Newfoundland on Monday night between the Winnipeg Jets and the Ottawa Senators, in front of a capacity crowd at the Mile One Centre and it was Canada's newest team that took the game, 3-1. No one really stood out, as per the usual guidelines for the blog post, but rookie Mark Schiefele scored another goal in this preseason, continuing to raise some eyebrows in Jets camp.  It looks like Ondrej Pavelec was in net for the whole game, but I couldn't find actual confirmation of that.

Michal Neuvirth made 22 saves for the Capitals in a 3-1 victory over the Blue Jackets on Monday night, giving himself a last minute mention before tonight's draft. Neuvirth is going to push Tomas Vokoun for the top job in Washington this year and rightfully so. Prospect forward Chris Bourque had a good game as well, assisting on all three Capitals goals, while Mathieu Perreault made another push for an opening night spot with a goal and an assist in the win.

Good game in Philadelphia on Monday night, as the Flyers and Rangers went back and forth for three periods, but it was the home team that prevailed on Winter Classic Announcement Day, 5-3. Jaromir Jagr had 2 goals and an assist, while both Daniel Briere and Claude Giroux each had a trio of assists. Rookie forward Matt Read made yet another splash with a goal and an assist and he could be worthy of a late round pick-up this year, as he showed some real poise on the ice.  Ilya Bryzgalov made 17 saves for the victory.

On the losing side of the game, it was only Brian Boyle who picked up 2 points in the game, scoring a goal and an assist.  Boyle showed some real fantasy value in the 2011 season and I don't think there is any reason why you wouldn't want to pick him up at a reasonable point this season.  The Rangers are likely to score this season and since Boyle scored 21 goals last season, I could see him doing it again.

The Boston Bruins are boasting a pair of good goalies going into defend their championship and Tuukka Rask may be leaned on a little bit more, trying to keep Tim Thomas fresh. Well, Rask provided reason to have confidence in him, beating Montreal 2-1 on the road on Monday night, making 31 saves in the process.  It's hard to say exactly how many games he'll get, but there's a good chance he'll win most of what he gets.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sabres Send Kotalik and Morrisonn Down

The Sabres had another set of demotions to announce on Monday, as both forward Ales Kotalik and defenseman Shaone Morrisonn cleared waivers and were then assigned to Rochester of the AHL. Both players were not exactly expected to make the cut when training camps started, as they were easy cuts to make to a team that is working as close to the salary cap ceiling as possible.

This move sends $5 million in cap space down to the minors today, helping the team's overall cause.  They shouldn't have been considered as players to be taken for your hockey pool team, but this move now cements that thinking.

This move now opens a spot for Marc-Andre Gragnani on the blueline, one which the team must be getting excited about, because I think I'll have him on my radar for some of the later rounds.

Habs Add Campoli

With the uncertainty of Andrei Markov's return, the Montreal Canadiens did what they could to help shore up their blueline before the start of the regular season. On Monday afternoon, the team signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Chris Campoli to a 1-year, $1.75 million deal, which should insert the 27-year old defender in the line-up today.

In the 2011 season, Campoli played 77 games with the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks, scoring 4 goals and adding 17 assists.  Those numbers were good enough for 82nd among all defensemen, which would put him around the bubble for being pool-worthy this season and you could adjust his numbers for playing on a different for the coming year.

With this signing, I don't think his numbers will improve much at all, rather I have projected him in at 20 points for the coming year, unsure that he will even stick around for too long when Markov returns to the line-up.

Tomas Plekanec65P.K. Subban45Carey Price90
Mike Cammalleri60Andrei Markov40Peter Budaj15
Erik Cole55Jaroslav Spacek20
Brian Gionta50Yannick Weber15
Andrei Kostitsyn45Josh Gorges15
Scott Gomez40Jeff Woywitka10
Max Pacioretty40Hal Gill5
Mathieu Darche35
David Desharnais35
Lars Eller25
Travis Moen15
Louis Leblanc30Chris Campoli20
Ryan White20
Aaron Palushaj10
Brian Willsie5

The Canadiens are long on injuries at the moment, hence the red names on the list, but they also have a lot of players still left in training camp, hoping that there are a few more cuts to help decide the fates of some other players comes soon.

Flames Cut 14

The Flames made some significant cuts to their training camp roster, sending 14 players between the minors and juniors on Monday. Included in those cuts were defenseman T.J. Brodie, forward Greg Nemisz and 2011 1st round pick, Sven Baertschi.

Brodie, a Box 10 defenseman in the selection sheet pool, was thought to be a lock for the team's seventh defenseman out of camp this year, but a poor showing in training camp gave him an early boot out of camp and a quick cut to his overall projections this season.

Nemisz, a bit of a longer shot out of camp, needed to outwork some solid NHL veterans to get on this Flames team this year, but the depth likely overcame him.  Some work in the minors will only help his footing getting in, either later on this season or getting a better shot for next season.

Baertschi showed some real flash, but much like Nemisz, he would have had to do some amazing things against the bigger boys to work himself into the line-up.  As a 19-year old, he has plenty of time to develop and raise his game.

Ducks Send More Packing

The Ducks made some significant cuts on Monday, trimming down their roster by seven players, including forwards Dan Sexton and Kyle Palmieri, who were listed on the projection list for the Ducks going into this season.

Sexton, I had on my expected roster going into the season, so his early demotion, before the last week of preseason games, does come as a bit of a surprise, but Anaheim is loaded with talent, so it isn't too bad.  Some of that talent that could have unseated Sexton belonged to Palmieri, but his demotion may come as a little bit more of a shock than not.

With these two demotions, their projections have now bottomed out as regular season call-ups at best, so be sure not to think of these two as sleepers, as of today.

Ryan Getzlaf90Lubomir Visnovsky55Jonas Hiller75
Corey Perry85Cam Fowler35Dan Ellis20
Bobby Ryan80Kurtis Foster30
Teemu Selanne70Toni Lydman25
Saku Koivu45Francois Beauchemin15
Jason Blake40Luca Sbisa15
Andrew Cogliano30Sheldon Brookbank5
Brandon McMillan25
Matt Beleskey20
J-F Jacques5
George Parros5
Devante Smith-Pelly20Matt Smaby5Jeff Deslauriers5
Andrew Gordon10Nate Guenin5
Brian McGrattan5
Dan Sexton5
Kyle Palmieri5

There have been a couple of additions to the Ducks' table today, as Devante Smith-Pelly has turned a few heads and he currently remains in camp.  There is definitely some potential for him down the road, but the top six is pretty well full at this point, so there is no point in giving him more points than he will likely see ice-time for.

Sabres Re-Assign Foligno & Kassian

The Sabres made 14 cuts to their active training camp roster on Monday, including forwards Marcus Foligno and Zack Kassian, two young forwards that have been on the cusp of the big leagues for some time now.

The Sabres are another one of those teams that spent a lot of money in the off-season, picking up some more free agents, instead of moving forward with some of their young talent that they have in the system.  Having new ownership, with deep pockets, will help that feeling along.  From the outset, Foligno and Kassian were likely behind the 8-ball going into the camp, so they will try and figure a way onto the big club's line-up from the minors this season.

Expect call-ups through the year, but do not project their numbers any higher than regular called up players.

Avalanche Demote Three

On Monday, the Avalanche made a few more cuts, including a player that I had featured on my projections list. Defenseman Jonas Holos was a bit of a long shot to make the club, especially with all the additions made over the Summer and a good camp from Tyson Barrie thus far, so his demotion shouldn't come as a big surprise. I have now limited his projections to 5 points, just to cover his demotion.

Also being demoted was forward Ryan Stoa and defenseman Cameron Gaunce, neither of which I had figured on the my list.

Clemmensen Undergoes Knee Surgery

On Monday morning, Florida Panthers projected back-up goalie Scott Clemmensen underwent a minor knee procedure to help correct some irritation problems he has been dealing with, which may actually link back to some issues he was having last season as well. There is no clear estimate as to when he will be expected back in the Panthers' line-up, so there should be no rush to go out and look for his services for your pool team right away.

With the Panthers looking to lean on Jose Theodore as their number one guy in net this season, it does leave a bit of a gap where Clemmensen looked like a good back-up goalie to have selected for your team, gambling on a poor performance from Theodore.  Now, with knee troubles in sight, you should now balk at the Panthers back-up goaltending situation, until they actually have something set in stone.

If Clemmensen is out for a long period of time, I would look to a kid like Jacob Markstrom, who is pencilled in to be the team's goalie of the future, who might get his shot sooner, rather than later.

Cuma Among Wild Cuts

On Sunday, the Minnesota Wild made a large number of training camp cuts, which included defenseman Tyler Cuma, who I had listed as a possibility of being a good pool defenseman, if he had indeed made the team for opening night.

The Wild blueline isn't exactly stacked with great talent, but it didn't appear that the 21-year old blueliner did enough to impress the coaching staff, hence his demotion on Sunday.  With that, his projection gets dropped down to something more that resembles a call-up during the year and he should likely be avoided at the draft this year.

Mikko Koivu65Marek Zidlicky40Niklas Backstrom60
Dany Heatley55Jared Spurgeon25Josh Harding30
Pierre-Marc Bouchard50Mike Lundin15
Devin Setoguchi40Nick Schultz10
Cal Clutterbuck40Clayton Stoner10
Matt Cullen35Greg Zanon5
Kyle Brodziak35
Guillaume Latendresse35
Eric Nystrom20
Darroll Powe15
Brad Staubitz5
Cody Almond10Marco Scandella15
Casey Wellman10Justin Falk10
Brett Bulmer10Nate Prosser10
Colton Gillies5

I thought I would update the pool projections for the Minnesota Wild, including most players that are still in camp. I don't foresee any of the young players that are left in camp as being big pool prospects this season, so I would be looking at the regular roster players for inspiration this year.

Last Night's Presesaon Performers (Sep 25)

Steve Mason made 19 saves in a full 60-minute effort on Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres, as the Blue Jackets came away with a 4-1 win. Mason will be relied upon as heavily as any goalie has before, if the Jackets are going to make the playoffs this year and an effort like this will go a long way to get there. Also having a good night for Columbus, forward Dane Byers, who had a goal and 2 assists and defenseman Grant Clitsome, who had a goal and an assist.

Cam Ward was the star of the Hurricanes' 4-0 shutout win over the Jets in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday afternoon. Ward made 36 stops in the game for the displaced home team, while the team in front of him managed to string together some solid offense for a convincing win. Ward will be a very good pick for your hockey pool team, but I imagine he'll be going quite high this year.  I don't think it would be crazy to pick him a little earlier than expected.

The Red Wings and Blackhawks went head to head in a Central Division clash on Sunday afternoon, where it was a pretty even game from both sides and it ended in a 4-3 shootout victory for Detroit. Valtteri Filppula led the winning side during regulation with a goal and 2 assists, while Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg each had a goal and an assist in the game.  The Red Wings already look to be a force in this preseason and are seemingly just warming up.

On the losing side of the equation, rookie Brandon Pirri gave a good argument as to why he should be sticking around a little bit longer in Blackhawks camp, after scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist in regulation time, not to mention a goal in the shootout, for a pretty good showing.  Also having a good game for the visiting side, forward Jimmy Hayes, who had a goal and an assist in the game.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia on Sunday night, the defending Cup champs laid a lickin' on their long-time rivals, as the Boston Bruins trounced the Montreal Canadiens, 7-3.  Zdeno Chara was the only notable player on the score sheet for either team on the night, coming up with a goal and an assist, but the boxscore wasn't great, to say the least.  Nevertheless, the Bruins did a good job of filling the net and that should be taken into account when you're looking at players for your draft.

On back-to-back nights, the Edmonton Oilers got the best of their provincial rivals in preseason action, taking the second half of a home and home series, 3-0 on the road on Sunday. Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves for the shutout, really giving Nikolai Khabibulin a run for his money in net this year. Jordan Eberle and Linus Omark each had a goal and an assist in the win, while rookie defenseman Taylor Fedun had a couple of assists.  The Oilers are coming around in this preseason, especially since the kids are seeing a lot of ice-time to get started.

Another shutout was put in the books on Sunday night, as J-S Giguere made 16 saves for his new team, the Colorado Avalanche, in a preseason victory over the Dallas Stars. The Avalanche won the game, 3-0, thanks to a 2-goal game from forward Ryan O'Reilly and a pair of assists from Kyle Quincey.  The Avalanche are going to be an interesting team to watch this season, as they have some good players in place, but will they be able to find the chemistry to string together wins?

The Sharks continued to roll in preseason action, travelling to Vancouver and taking on a very preseason team, laden with lots of tryouts and AHL players. Thomas Greiss picked up another win in this one, as his Sharks picked up a 4-3 victory.  If there were any concerns about the goaltending for the Sharks, all of these wins should settle those fears down.  The offensive star for the Sharks on Sunday was Tommy Wingels, who scored a pair of goals in the victory, as he pushes for one of the few spots left on the roster.

Finally, the Ducks beat their cross-state rivals, the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night, 3-1, and the only player worth mentioning in this one is Jeff Deslauriers, who made 32 saves for the victory, as he fights for a chance to back-up Jonas Hiller this season.  Deslauriers is up against Dan Ellis for the honour, but likely won't have the inside track going in, but a win like this should give the coaching staff some confidence to get it done.