Monday, August 20, 2018

Top Prospect Signings (Aug 20)



The New Jersey Devils announced on Monday afternoon, that they signed their top pick in the 2018 entry draft, defenseman Ty Smith.  Smith was the 17th overall selection, scouted as one of the top skaters in his draft class and now becomes the 23rd player in the class to sign his entry-level deal.

Smith played with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL last season, putting up 73 points in 69 regular season games, certainly among the elite defenders in his class, numbers-wise.  The Devils certainly have some bubble players on their blueline, but there won't be any rush to get an 18-year old out there, but I suppose you never know.  I will be waiting to see how far he makes it in camp before I start throwing projections out there, if at all.

The Hockey News Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide 2018-19

I believe the Hockey News Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide is the most popular publication at my hockey pool drafts and rightfully so. It's easy to read and it lays out a lot of information there for you.  Even though I work on my own projections every year now, which I actually publish (click here), I sure do like looking at the other publication's numbers, just as a reference point.  Some of them may come in handy, as I try to possibly revise my numbers for when draft day (click here) actually rolls around.

One of the things I like the most about the other publications is their insight into some deeper players, who they might see making the team, which prospects are on the verge of breaking through and who might be falling off a little bit.  I don't get to watch hockey all of the time, no matter how much I would like to, so sometimes you have to rely on the hard work of other people to get the job done.

This year's guide does see a small improvement in the number of players published, as they have 707 projections in their book, including 62 goalies, so they cover the gamut of players across all 31 NHL teams.  Just doing a comparison between lists, they did offer up projections for some of the unsigned players, like Sam Reinhart and William Nylander, but mine will come when they sign.  They have a lot of projected rookies, mostly defensemen, that I didn't consider in my immediate list, but they're all certainly players to keep an eye on in training camp.

No surprises here, as Connor McDavid in Edmonton again rules the roost, in terms of projections for the 2019 season, coming in at 114 points.  The rest of the top 10 (and ties) isn't really much of a surprise either... Andrei Vasilevskiy and Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning, Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets, Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, Braden Holtby of the Capitals, Brad Marchand of the Bruins, Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets, Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks, Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche and Pekka Rinne of the Predators round out the selection.

In goal, the rest of the top 10 of note are all worthy of a 1st round selection in the pool, if we were to have a 25-team draft again this year.  Matt Murray of the Penguins, Jonathan Quick of the Kings, Frederik Andersen of the Maple Leafs, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Golden Knights and Devan Dubnyk of the Wild are all worthy of your pick in the opening round and it's hard to argue with much of that.  They're betting pretty heavy on Murray in Pittsburgh, which I suggested you could, but his injury concerns are worth discounting his value on a bit.

The forward group had six in the top 11 (thanks to a tie), so the remaining four players of note look a little something like this... John Tavares of the Maple Leafs, Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals, David Pastrnak of the Bruins and Steven Stamkos of the Lightning.  Kucherov, Marchand and Pastrnak are the only three players in the top 10 forwards to not have been taken with the 1st overall selection in their respective draft year. 

The first defenseman on the list doesn't appear until 42nd on list, which means he would be a late 2nd round pick in a 25-team draft and I would imagine that the actual draft may see one of these top defenders go earlier than that and a landslide of blueliners may hit.  Last year, the top defender was taken early in the 2nd, 28th overall, followed by four more in the round.  Erik Karlsson of the Senators, Brent Burns of the Sharks, Victor Hedman of the Lightning, John Klingberg of the Stars, Tyson Barrie of the Avalanche, Seth Jones of the Blue Jackets, Morgan Rielly of the Maple Leafs, P.K. Subban of the Predators, Shayne Gostisbehere of the Flyers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Coyotes would be your top 10.  If you can snag one of these guys, you're probably going to be in good shape through the year.

How about the rookie class?  Are you shopping for those freshmen?  Elias Pettersson of the Canucks leads the Hockey News projections at 58 points, not too far from where I have him slotted, so he'll be one to watch.  The rest of the top 10 rookies, in order, are Andrei Svechnikov of the Hurricanes, Casey Mittlestadt & Rasmus Dahlin of the Sabres, Sam Steel of the Ducks, Ryan Donato of the Bruins, Filip Zadina of the Red Wings, Valentin Zykov of the Hurricanes, Andreas Johnsson of the Maple Leafs and Vladislav Kamenev of the Avalanche.

For just about anyone, I would suggest putting your own list together, but who really has the time to look at 700+ players, especially for my draft, to figure out who you should take and when you feel most comfortable to do so.  The Hockey News does do a pretty good job of putting together a list, where you can cross off players at the back of the magazine, but they do separate the skaters from the goalies too, so you better be prepared for that.

Maybe this year I'll look at a few other magazines out there, I know I have before.  It's kind of fun to compare notes.  It makes for decent reading.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2019 Pool Projections: Sophomores

If you have stuck around the blog a while (thank you, by the way!), you will have noticed that there was something new on the projection pages for each team under the rookie column and that was the letter 'S', which designated that a player played enough games last season to move past his rookie status. For some, it wasn't really the standard way of going about it, like playing a lot of games in their first season, but you can't win them all.

Nevertheless, you pass the rookie qualifications in the previous season, it will make you a sophomore in the next season and that's the way it's going to be.  By my count, that makes 94 players out of the 240 rookies who played last season, played enough games to move out of rookie status and into sophomore status.  Of those 94 players, 91 have contracts currently and two of the three without are restricted free agents just waiting on their new deals.  Of the 91 with contracts, I have 71 of those projected to be in their team's 23-man roster right now.  24 of those players have been deemed worthy, by my projections and they are among the players I have down below.

Player Pos 18/19 Proj Team
Mathew Barzal F 75 NYI
Brock Boeser F 60 VAN
Clayton Keller F 55 ARI
Yanni Gourde F 45 TAM
Kyle Connor F 45 WPG
Jake DeBrusk F 45 BOS
Alex DeBrincat F 45 CHI
Nico Hischier F 45 NJD
Pierre-Luc Dubois F 40 CBJ
Alexander Kerfoot F 35 COL
Charles Hudon F 35 MTL
Danton Heinen F 35 BOS
Will Butcher D 35 NJD
Tristan Jarry G 35 PIT
Mark Jankowski F 35 CAL
Joel Eriksson Ek F 35 MIN
Dylan Strome F 35 ARI
Mikhail Sergachev D 35 TAM
Tyson Jost F 35 COL
Nolan Patrick F 35 PHI
Dominik Simon F 30 PIT
J.T. Compher F 30 COL
Alex Tuch F 30 VGK
Adrian Kempe F 30 LOS
Thomas Chabot D 30 OTT
Jack Roslovic F 30 WPG
Jesper Bratt F 30 NJD
Charlie McAvoy D 30 BOS
Blake Coleman F 25 NJD
Martin Frk F 25 DET
Alex Iafallo F 25 LOS
Brendan Leipsic F 25 VAN
Ryan Pulock D 25 NYI
Tyler Bertuzzi F 25 DET
Jakub Vrana F 25 WAS
Christian Fischer F 25 ARI
Sean Kuraly F 20 BOS
Joakim Ryan D 20 SAN
Chandler Stephenson F 20 WAS
Matt Grzelcyk D 20 BOS
Boo Nieves F 20 NYR
Dominic Toninato F 20 COL
Juuse Saros G 20 NAS
Remi Elie F 20 DAL
John Hayden F 20 CHI
Madison Bowey D 20 WAS
Ian McCoshen D 20 FLA
Sonny Milano F 20 CBJ
Travis Sanheim D 20 PHI
Michael Amadio F 20 LOS
Haydn Fleury D 20 CAR
Vince Dunn D 20 STL
Travis Dermott D 20 TOR
Samuel Girard D 20 COL
Tage Thompson F 20 BUF
Neal Pionk D 20 NYR
Oscar Fantenberg D 15 LOS
Laurent Brossoit G 15 WPG
Pontus Aberg F 15 EDM
Robert Hagg D 15 PHI
Julius Honka D 15 DAL
Victor Mete D 15 MTL
Andreas Borgman D 15 TOR
Joshua Ho-Sang F 15 NYI
Jonny Brodzinski F 10 LOS
Frederick Gaudreau F 10 NAS
Christian Djoos D 10 WAS
Gemel Smith F 10 DAL
Connor Brickley F 10 NAS
Josh Archibald F 10 ARI
Zack Mitchell F 10 LOS
David Kampf F 10 CHI
Anders Bjork F 10 BOS
Marcus Sorensen F 5 SAN
Markus Hannikainen F 5 CBJ
Maxim Mamin F 5 FLA
Peter Cehlarik F 5 BOS
Ben Harpur D 5 OTT
Nikita Scherbak F 5 MTL
Matthew Peca F 5 MTL
Paul Ladue D 5 LOS
Kurtis MacDermid D 5 LOS
Nicholas Baptiste F 5 BUF
Anton Lindholm D 5 COL

I have rambled on, to great lengths, about the sophomore slump or jinx, which is still a fairly common occurrence in the NHL and as much as us hockey poolies don't enjoy those seasons, when we get caught with an exciting rookie from last season on our team, only to see him go through his growing pains, it's an important step for a lot of these guys to be reminded of the work ethic it takes to remain in the top tier of any professional sport.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

2019 Pool Projections: Rookies

I counted, at this time last year, that there were 254 rookies to appear in at least one NHL game in the 2017 season, but only 28 of them were pool worthy players: 15 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goalies.  In the 2018 season, there were 240 players, qualified as rookies, to appear in at least one NHL game and 27 of them were considered to be pool worthy: 15 forwards, eight defensemen and four goalies.

"To be considered a rookie, a player must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding seasons. Any player at least 26 years of age (by September 15th of that season) is not considered a rookie."

With that being said, one of our pool worthy goalies from last season, Vegas' Malcolm Subban still qualifies as a rookie for this season, as he has only appeared in a total of 24 NHL games in three seasons and is still only 24 years old.

Okay, moving on... the rookie mini-game hasn't landed on the wheel in the last couple of seasons, so there hasn't been a great motive to take the risk on some rookies or load up on rookies at the Waiver Draft.  Nevertheless, I have comprised my list of the freshmen that I have given projection numbers to and I think it is an adequate representation of my excitement level for these kids.

It is pretty difficult to gauge what these kids are really going to do from an overall season perspective, the best thing that you can do heading into the draft, is figure out where you would be most comfortable picking some of these guys.

Last year's swing and miss was Mathew Barzal, who had a hard time trying to crack the roster in the 2017 season, so it was really hard to suggest that he would blast off onto the scene and be worthy of a 1st round pick by the end of the year.  It does go to show you that some of thse kids only need just a little bit more time at the lower levels to physically evolve enough to compete with the big boys and some patience is required.

This year's list will evolve with the move towards rookie camp, training camp and preseason games, as they will show the cream rising to the top, ever so slowly, and don't forget about the unforeseen circumstances.  The injury bug can be a cruel animal, as it takes down rookies and veterans alike, but with that comes opportunity and that needs to be considered and your numbers adjusted for.

So, without any further ado, here is this year's list of rookies...

Player Pos 18/19 Proj Team
Casey Mittelstadt F 60 BUF
Ryan Donato F 55 BOS
Elias Pettersson F 55 VAN
Eeli Tolvanen F 50 NAS
Anthony Cirelli F 45 TAM
Andrei Svechnikov F 45 CAR
Rasmus Dahlin D 40 BUF
Victor Ejdsell F 40 CHI
Martin Necas F 40 CAR
Filip Zadina F 40 DET
Lias Andersson F 35 NYR
Jordan Greenway F 35 MIN
Daniel Sprong F 35 PIT
Evgeny Svechnikov F 35 DET
Troy Terry F 35 ANA
Miro Heiskanen D 30 DAL
Linus Ullmark G 30 BUF
Gabriel Vilardi F 30 LOS
Kailer Yamamoto F 30 EDM
Henrik Borgstrom F 25 FLA
Daniel Brickley D 25 LOS
Logan Brown F 25 OTT
Rourke Chartier F 25 SAN
Spencer Foo F 25 CAL
Dylan Gambrell F 25 SAN
Adam Gaudette F 25 VAN
Barrett Hayton F 25 ARI
Oskar Lindblom F 25 PHI
Michael McLeod F 25 NJD
Michael Rasmussen F 25 DET
Sam Steel F 25 ANA
Malcolm Subban G 25 VGK
Colin White F 25 OTT
Julien Gauthier F 20 CAR
Henri Jokiharju D 20 CHI
Noah Juulsen D 20 MTL
Vladislav Kamenev F 20 COL
Luke Kunin F 20 MIN
Tucker Poolman D 20 WPG
John Quenneville F 20 NJD
Sebastian Aho (D) D 15 NYI
Ethan Bear D 15 EDM
Gabriel Carlsson D 15 CBJ
Pierre Engvall F 15 TOR
Jon Gillies G 15 CAL
Carl Grundstrom F 15 TOR
Calle Rosen D 15 TOR
Ilya Samsonov G 15 WAS
Filip Chlapik F 10 OTT
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson F 10 BOS
Alexandre Fortin F 10 CHI
Blake Hillman F 10 CHI
Andreas Johnsson F 10 TOR
Janne Kuokkanen F 10 CAR
Trevor Moore F 10 TOR
Alexander Nylander F 10 BUF
Christian Wolanin D 10 OTT
Rasmus Andersson D 5 CAL
Zach Aston-Reese F 5 PIT
Sammy Blais F 5 STL
Colby Cave F 5 BOS
Carl Dahlstrom D 5 CHI
Michael Downing D 5 FLA
Andreas Englund D 5 OTT
Warren Foegele F 5 CAR
Alex Formenton F 5 OTT
Shane Gersich F 5 WAS
A.J. Greer F 5 COL
Henrik Haapala F 5 FLA
Adin Hill G 5 ARI
Ross Johnston F 5 NYI
Dean Kukan D 5 CBJ
Brendan Lemieux F 5 WPG
Roland McKeown D 5 CAR
Dakota Mermis D 5 ARI
Trevor Murphy D 5 ARI
Danny O'Regan F 5 BUF
Nick Paul F 5 OTT
Kevin Rooney F 5 NJD
Blake Speers F 5 NJD
Mike Vecchione F 5 PHI
Nathan Walker F 5 WAS
Valentin Zykov F 5 CAR
Daniel Sprong F 35 PIT
Adam Tambellini F 0 OTT
Sergey Tolchinsky F 0 ZFA
Lucas Wallmark F 0 CAR
Colin White F 25 OTT
Valentin Zykov F 5 CAR

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Recent Contract Extensions (Aug 16)



I think the Nashville Predators are going to get themselves a pretty good season out of defenseman Ryan Ellis and that was before he signed an 8-year, $50 million extension on Tuesday.  Maybe some job security will make the guy play a whole lot better, but the Predators brass will certainly feel much better, now that the deal is done and dusted, before the story gets out of hand.

The now 27-year old got a late start to last season, thanks to a preseason knee injury, so he only played in 44 games, scoring 9 goals and 32 points.  That is certainly an impressive scoring rate for the blueliner, one that he would certainly like to keep up in the coming year.

Next up on the list for the Predators, deciding on what to do with Pekka Rinne, the next UFA of concern for next summer.

Oilers Lose Sekera Long-Term Again



Of course, the day before I actually had my projection posts set to publish, news came down of a major injury and I didn't find the time or the wherewithal to post about it before my schedule picked up that night.

The Edmonton Oilers announced that defenseman Andrej Sekera, who was already working himself back to 100% health after a knee injury finished his season off early and there was likely some extra work to work out the kinks... he suffers an Achilles injury, one that requires surgery.

The timetable for a return sets him back into the New Year, so he will be no good to anyone at the draft in September, which is a big hit for the Oilers and the hockey pool, as he has been a pretty good offensive player, when he has been healthy.

This injury now becomes an opportunity for someone to step up and take some minutes, but the most likely of the candidates is still unsigned in Darnell Nurse.  Right now, I've bumped Kevin Gravel into the healthy 23-man roster and given him another handful of points, but Nurse would be the guy to get some minutes and post some points, but the negotiations are still ongoing.  Sekera's projected number now gets cut in half, down to 15 points, well out of hockey pool range for an entire season.

Ducks and Kase Agree to Terms



The Anaheim Ducks have re-signed restricted free agent forward Ondrej Kase on Wednesday, giving him a 3-year deal, reportedly carrying a salary cap hit of $2.6 million in each season.

The 22-year old finished his second complete season with the Ducks in 2018, playing in 66 games, scoring 20 goals and 38 points, well within the hockey pool conversation.

The small-ish winger has found a good home with the Ducks, after being drafted late in 2014.  He has had some injury problems in the past and some up and down streaks, but he appears to be a regular roster player now, so you can certainly have him in your lists.

Looking forward, the young forward is certainly trending in the right direction and I could see him having a good third season in Anaheim, so I am boosting his projections up to the 45-point range, likely where I would be wanting to take him.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2019 Pool Projections

Well, it's quickly becoming a middle of August tradition on the blog, getting the pool projections out, taking yet another stab at publishing my numbers ahead of time.

So, let's go over the scoring system that I work with in my hockey pool draft... 1 point for a goal/assist, 2 points for a win/shutout.  I also like to base my numbers on 5-point ranges, because arbitrarily giving odd numbers just seems crazy, you can certainly be happy with ranges, kind of picking and choosing where you think you're going to see players.

As for considering who is pool worthy and who isn't... I like to base the worthiness on last year's pool participation, which was 25 teams of 8 forwards, 4 defensemen and a pair of goalies.  The top 200 (and ties) forwards, the top 100 defensemen and the top 50 goalies.  The forwards will be pool worthy into the 35-point range and up, the defensemen start at 25 points and head up, while the lowest goalie will be at 20 points.

Okay, so there you have it... you can click on the logos below to get to each team's specific post, if you'd like or the links on the right hand side of the page will also help you out.  Please enjoy and share, if you'd like.  I suppose, if you wanted to leave feedback, the comment section is always open too.

2019 Pool Projections: Anahem

In Anaheim, the Ducks had been pretty busy in the off-season, tinkering with their roster in the depth positions, trying to find some improvement that will match that pesky newcomer to the division, which plays in Vegas.  The biggest move of them all might have been bringing back the Mighty Ducks logo to their current jersey lineup, as they will have a retro look to their 25th NHL season.

The Ducks were a strong team in the 2018 season, relying heavily on the team game and a strong system, in front of a top quality goaltender.  Health played such a big part of that, since many of their top players spent some time on the shelf with injury, so the rest of the team really had to step up and work even harder to get the job done.  Anaheim finished 2nd in their division, because of all that hard work and it would have been interesting to see what would have happened, if everyone was healthy all year.

Moving on to 2019, the outlook is pretty good for healthy bodies, but there is some skepticism, as to whether or not they could actually stay healthy.  If there was some sort of guarantee that most of these guys would play 75+ games in a season, the numbers might be a little bit better, but I think I am more willing to hedge my bets and project the numbers that we'll actually see, more than the numbers that could happen with an unblemished season.  The numbers still aren't too bad, there are plenty of guys worth taking on this team, but it does come with a 'Buyer Beware' sticker slapped on.

Player Pos 18/19 Proj Rookie
John Gibson G 75 N
Ryan Getzlaf F 70 N
Rickard Rakell F 65 N
Corey Perry F 55 N
Adam Henrique F 50 N
Jakob Silfverberg F 50 N
Cam Fowler D 45 N
Ryan Kesler F 40 N
Hampus Lindholm D 40 N
Andrew Cogliano F 35 N
Brandon Montour D 35 N
Troy Terry F 35 Y
Patrick Eaves F 30 N
Josh Manson D 30 N
Ryan Miller G 30 N
Brian Gibbons F 25 N
Sam Steel F 25 Y
Joseph Blandisi F 20 N
Carter Rowney F 10 N
Luke Schenn D 10 N
Andrej Sustr D 10 N
Korbinian Holzer D 5 N
Ben Street F 5 N

Table last updated on August 6th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

In the rookie watch department, I'm looking at Troy Terry to possibly step up and make an impact with the Ducks this season.  The well-decorated collegiate athlete has a national title under his belt, not to mention a World Juniors gold medal around his neck as well.

Before joining the Ducks last season, he finished his NCAA career with 14 goals and 48 points in 39 games and he played for USA at the PyeongChang Olympics.  This 20-year old seems to have a lot of the tools needed for play in the NHL, so it will definitely be interesting to see where he fits in.

First Round Picks

The initial round of projections did seat any Ducks in the 80+ point range for the designation of a possible opening round pick this year, but that isn't to say that the run of goaltending, which usually occurs early at the draft won't see a guy like John Gibson go that early.  I do have him right on the cusp of the role, but with a good backup behind him, there's no use in really over-extending the number one guy, if they don't have to.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

The current count of pool worthy forwards for the Ducks is eight, but there is still some tinkering to be done there, where we could probably see that go a little bit higher.  It's much of the usual suspects, led by Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry, asked to lead this group through another long grind of a season.  Adam Henrique, Jakob Silfverberg, Ryan Kesler, Andre Gogliano and the rookie Troy Terry round out my worthy forwards on the list, as this squad should be pretty deep, when it comes to scoring again this year.

Other Pool Worthy Defensemen

I think the Ducks' blueline is still somewhat underrated today, as it continues to develop and produce at the top level.  Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm have been mainstays for a few seasons now for the Ducks and we all know them quite well, but both Brandon Montour and Josh Manson are emerging as very reliable hockey pool options as well.  All four of these guys really could add some pop to your pool team this year.

Goaltending Situation

Ryan Miller is set to be the backup for a second straight season in Anaheim, as the 38-year old winds down his NHL career in California.  I think he'll definitely be a worthy keeper and if all goes according to plan, the split should be much of the same as last season, where he pulled 28 appearances, winning 12.  He'll be among the worthy backups this year.

Team to Pick From Late?

If you've missed out on the pool worthy players early on in the draft and you're just looking for a reputable team to pick from late on in the draft, looking for that last forward or last defenseman, you might want to look past the Ducks, as the depth beyond is very questionable.  There could be a sleeper rookie in Sam Steel, if he can make the club on a regular basis, but that's certainly up in the air today.  You might be better suited elsewhere.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

The Ducks are still short on pool worthy restricted free agent and another fringe player, in Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie, both unsigned at the time of writing this post.  Neither should be looking for too big of contract this summer, but they just need to get a deal done.  My current projected 23-man roster does come in with $5.5 million in cap space to spare, so both should fit in there, no problem, but it will be a matter of what kind of deal do either of them expect.

Injuries

There were some reports out there in May, that Ryan Kesler and his wonky hip could be close to being done in the NHL, but some recent tweets from the agitating centre seem to suggest that he should be ready to go at training camp.  I would lean towards the player in this case and I'll keep my projection where it is for him, until he says otherwise.  Patrick Eaves is another player on the health bubble, after undergoing shoulder surgery before the end of the regular season.  His status remains unclear in the middle of the summer, but there does appear to be a chance that he'll arrive to the Ducks' lineup after the season gets started.

2019 Pool Projections: Arizona

Third jerseys are back!  There's nothing more exciting than the Arizona Coyotes bringing back the Kachina logo from their first season down in the desert.

With something old rolling into town, it may not have been a better time to drive some hype, than now, with a bunch of new faces and a little bit more excitement surrounding this club, moving into the 2019 season.

The Coyotes have been busy again in this off-season, still cleaning up some other team's messes here and there, but overall, they've seemingly found players that give the impression that they could be a little bit quicker and a little bit grittier on the ice, not very far off the initial model of the Vegas Golden Knights.  The Coyotes have had a lot longer to prepare, they have a number of draft picks in their system that are jumping at the chance to finally make it, but will they?

We've been writing off the Coyotes for a long time, some of had a little bit more hope than others at the start of some years and I'm not going to say that I will be one of those people right here and right now, but I will offer up the thought that it could be a possibility.

Maybe the better perspective would be, I think that they have improved their team, but dare I say how much?

Player Pos 18/19 Proj Rookie
Alex Galchenyuk F 55 N
Clayton Keller F 55 S
Derek Stepan F 55 N
Oliver Ekman-Larsson D 50 N
Antti Raanta G 50 N
Jakob Chychrun D 35 N
Christian Dvorak F 35 N
Alex Goligoski D 35 N
Dylan Strome F 35 N
Jason Demers D 30 N
Michael Grabner F 30 N
Vinnie Hinostroza F 30 N
Darcy Kuemper G 30 N
Richard Panik F 30 N
Brendan Perlini F 30 N
Nick Cousins F 25 N
Lawson Crouse F 25 N
Christian Fischer F 25 S
Barrett Hayton F 25 Y
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 20 N
Jordan Oesterle D 20 N
Brad Richardson F 20 N
Kevin Connauton D 15 N
Josh Archibald F 10 S
Mario Kempe F 10 N
Adin Hill G 5 Y
Dakota Mermis D 5 Y
Trevor Murphy D 5 Y

Table last updated on August 6th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

The fall of Alex Galchenyuk in Montreal has been well-documented and arguably, fair in some points. Like, for instance, living up to expectations.  The 3rd overall pick in the 2012 entry draft has been far from living up to those high expectations in Montreal, but the counterpoint is that Montreal is a tough market to play in.

There in lies the intrigue of the move down to the desert, a much softer market to play in, but a market desperately in need for some flash and dash, something that Galchenyuk could certainly offer.  I think he could do really well in Arizona and he could have the players to play with too.

First Round Picks

As exciting as the Coyotes may or may not be this season, they still just don't seem to be the team that will harness the scoring abilities of some of their top players to their peak potential.  So, I wouldn't be looking for these guys in the opening round of the draft quite yet.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

There is real potential in these Coyotes to break through some of these projections that I have on them at the moment, as they are reasonably conservative today.  Clayton Keller's sophomore season does slide his numbers a little bit, but if there was a guy that could avoid the slump, it could be him.  Derek Stepan, Christian Dvorak and Dylan Strome all have the potential to be reasonable forwards in the hockey pool, but the latter two might be better served as later picks.

Other Pool Worthy Defensemen

The Arizona blueline, however, that does have some good pickups on it and these are the guys that might drive the bus, when the season is all said and done.  Oliver Ekman-Larsson was rewarded with a big contract extension in the off-season and he'll lead the way, for a group that includes Jakob Chychrun, Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers.  This group could be fairly impressive this season and a good one to pick from, if you can sneak them on late.

Goaltending Situation

The goaltending tandem of Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper still leaves a lot to be desired for me.  The belief is that Raanta can emerge as a number one guy and if he does stumble, Kuemper can be an adequate number two to fill in the gaps.  Both reputations come across as two career number two guys and there hasn't been much in either game to suggest that they can lift themselves or their team up to a winning level.  They'll win some games, but how many will they steal?

Team to Pick From Late?

There are certainly some guys on this team, which could have been considered sleeper picks on more established teams, like a Michael Grabner, Richard Panik or Niklas Hjalmarsson, but the Coyotes are still trying to find their identity in the league and in an exceptionally difficult division.  These guys could be the players that you might be looking for to sneak out some extra points, but they might be better left to the Waiver Draft, if you're going to pick them.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

The strongest indicator about where the Coyotes are, in terms of a franchise, is that they are still taking on contracts to acquire future assets in the building process.  They just don't have the feel of a team that is ready to make that leap yet.  With a couple of injury deals on the books, I have them at a 25-man roster and they still are over $9.9 million away from the cap ceiling.  If they can start winning now, that would be quite the feat.

Injuries

One way to avoid the sophomore slump is to be injured through most of that season and that was how Jakob Chychrun got through his second year, undergoing major knee surgery before the end of the year.  Chychrun has some real upside to his game and his projected number is very positive, so we're keeping a close eye on his return to the ice, which should have already happened in the summer, as he makes his way to 100% health. 

2019 Pool Projections: Boston

The 2018 version of the Boston Bruins were somewhat of a guessing game at this point last season, but I thought there were some big positives to their inner-workings, their small signings and the prospects that were moving through the system.  Some of that really paid off for them, as they were a very difficult team to play against last season and they worked their way into a very solid playoff run.

The team is still turning over the guard a little bit, as there are still some names hanging around from days gone by, but that isn't to say that a guy like Zdeno Chara still isn't going to be a serviceable player at 41 years old.  Thankfully for the Bruins, they have done well to add some pieces on their blueline, to make sure that Chara isn't over-worked or over-exposed, and that keeps this team very viable, heading into the 2019 season.

The team's leadership is in pretty good shape, they are certainly not short on players that can lead in the dressing room and by example.  The downside, however, is that they do have a lot of young pieces on the projected roster below and if you have been following along with this blog or hockey pool for a number of years, you'll remember my consternation about sophomore players, especially for use on hockey pool teams.

For that very reason, I have added the "S" in the rookie column, to show sophomore players, noting them as possible risks.  The Bruins have a lot of these this year and as much as they could possibly band together, like Toronto's last season, there is an equal chance that the experiment may fall flat.

Player Pos 18/19 Proj Rookie
David Pastrnak F 80 N
Brad Marchand F 75 N
Tuukka Rask G 70 N
Patrice Bergeron F 65 N
Torey Krug D 55 N
David Krejci F 55 N
Ryan Donato F 55 Y
Jake DeBrusk F 45 S
David Backes F 40 N
Danton Heinen F 35 S
Jaroslav Halak G 30 N
Charlie McAvoy D 30 S
Zdeno Chara D 20 N
John Moore D 20 N
Matt Grzelcyk D 20 S
Sean Kuraly F 20 S
Noel Acciari F 20 N
Kevan Miller D 15 N
Chris Wagner F 15 N
Brandon Carlo D 10 N
Adam McQuaid D 10 N
Anders Bjork F 10 S
Joakim Nordstrom F 10 N
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson F 10 Y
Jordan Szwarz F 5 N
Peter Cehlarik F 5 N
Colby Cave F 5 Y

Table last updated on August 6th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

Of course, my intriguing player will be a rookie, not a sophomore in this case, as Ryan Donato will be expected to make this team out of training camp and have a pretty big impact on things moving forward.

At the end of the 2018 regular season, Donato came out of college and put on a show, playing in 12 games, scoring 5 goals and 9 points.  I'm not sure we could expect that kind of production for an entire 82-game season, but it's going to be some good numbers.  He'll definitely be one to watch this season.

First Round Picks

I think the Bruins have a few candidates that could be opening round picks in the hockey pool draft, but right now, there's only one player that I would feel comfortable with taking that high and that is forward David Pastrnak.  There isn't any other element to his game, other than scoring, which leads me to believe that his focus can keep him as high as a point-per-game pace.  The others just have something about them, that suggests that maybe they could give up some points to being a pest or not getting as many starts as usual, which has them down a bit on my list.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

The Bruins are not short on forwards that could make an impact on your team, beyond the two that I've already mentioned here.  Brad Marchand has 1st round potential, but that's a horse you may not want to bet too much on too early, while Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are definitely good, but do have roles to play on the team.  The kids, that's where you could make some money.  Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen really came into their own last season and they might be able to sneak through a little bit, good ones to keep your eye on.  Oh yes, don't forget about David Backes, he only played 57 games last year and may slip down the list too.

Other Pool Worthy Defensemen

Due to the aging of captain Zdeno Chara and the stay at home nature of most of the other defenders for the Bruins, the only two I would be confident in choosing for my hockey pool team, Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy.  These two will likely have to carry the offensive load from the back end for the Bruins, probably hoping that they get a little bit more help from the others, but I would look for these two on the Boston power play.

Goaltending Situation

There's a new face in the Boston crease tandem, veteran keeper Jaroslav Halak, who will likely be the number two behind Tuukka Rask.  Halak was carrying the better part of the load for the Islanders last season and will be used to keep Rask fresh and healthy for the season.  It's an interesting tandem on paper and if it's used effectively, both should play a big role in the team's success.

Team to Pick From Late?

I have the Bruins scoring quite a few points, but it is spread out pretty thin down near the bottom, where quite a few players will be sharing the load, which makes them a pretty good team on the ice, but maybe not a great team to pick from late on in the draft, purely on their team game.  There could be a sleeper or two in this bunch, but they'd probably need a few things to happen in their lineup to get that to work out for them.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

The Bruins are working with a solid projected roster, with a number of bubble players that could go in and/or out and they have about $4 million in cap space left to work with.  They don't have any outstanding restricted free agents left on their list, so they are likely to be done for the summer, in terms of signings.

Injuries

The Bruins were a hurting squad through the playoffs in the spring, but it doesn't sound like there was anything too pressing.  Nothing that some time off through the summer couldn't sort out anyways.  Looks like everyone has the all-clear heading into camp right now.