Monday, August 31, 2015

Recent Contract Extensions (Aug 31)

Another one of the intriguing or breakout players I had in my projection posts earned another contract extension recently, as the Dallas Stars took care of any contract negotiations with Cody Eakin through the regular season, inking him to a new 4-year deal, which is worth $15.4 million.

Eakin was scheduled to become a restricted free agent in July, but will now head into unrestricted free agency when his new contract extension expires in 2020.

The 24-year old was good enough for 40 points last season and he has been projected across the board in the 45-point range, give or take.  He has some real upside to his game and he should be a good add to your hockey pool team in the middle rounds.

2015 Draft Class Signings (Aug 31)

On Friday, the Pittsburgh Penguins inked their 2nd round pick, 46th overall, forward Daniel Sprong, to his 3-year entry-level deal.  Sprong, from Holland, played in the QMJHL with the Charlottetown Islanders and was touted quite well by the Hockey News in their Draft Preview, ranking him 25th overall, citing some very good puck skills, but some work ethic issues.

The depth among the Penguins forwards is pretty solid, so it will be a tough go to make the team out of the gate for Sprong, but if the scouting reports are true about his skill, he would fit the Penguins' MO.

Handing Out Camp Invites (Aug 31)

Adding a level of intrigue to the crease for the Los Angeles Kings, on Friday, they agreed to bring veteran goalie Peter Budaj in to training camp on a professional tryout.  Budaj skated in the Montreal organization last season, playing or their AHL club in St. John's, failing to win a game in 19 appearances.

The Kings have already signed on Jhonas Enroth to be the backup behind Jonathan Quick this season, but adding a little bit of a fight in camp and a possible mentor at the AHL level must be appealing for the Kings.  I can't see this being a pool-worthy move, unless Enroth (or Quick, for that matter) falls to a long-term injury.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Recent Contract Extensions (Aug 27)

There are not very many Carolina Hurricanes players that I would be too excited about, but there are a few. One of them is forward Elias Lindholm, who completed his sophomore season in 2015 and he is definitely trending the right way.

Even with another year left on his entry-level deal, the Hurricanes were quick to give him his bridge deal, signing him to a 2-year, $5.4 million contract extension, locking him in at a potential bargain basement deal, if his career trajectory is any indication.  At a $2.7 million cap hit in the 2017 & 2018 season, he is well on his way to bigger and better things.

In his sophomore season, he went up to 39 points in 81 games and the hockey magazines that I've profiled thus far are pegging him in at 45 points, while I have gone a step further, slotting him in at 50 points.  I think Hurricanes will be a better team this season and that will be reflected in his third season in the league.

Off-Season Surgeries (Aug 27)

Off-season training has claimed the start of the season for St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund, who suffered a shoulder injury in training and the team announced that he'll undergo surgery on Friday to correct the problem.

The expected recovery time is around four months, which would have him back around Christmas time, around Week Twelve or so.  For us poolies, that would make him into a very good candidate for the second Waiver Draft of the season, where he'll have a month of action, getting his timing back.

Last season, Berglund scored 12 goals and 27 points in 77 games, making him more of a fringe player, according to last year's numbers.  Initially, I had him working his way back into pool-worthiness with a 30-point projection, but that now gets cut in half for the coming year.

On a side note, this will now open up a spot in the lineup for a young winger to step up and try and earn some 2nd or 3rd line minutes this year.  Ty Rattie, Robbie Fabbri and/or Ivan Barbashev will now likely get some longer looks in camp.

Handing Out Camp Invites (Aug 27)

The St. Louis Blues have reportedly extended an invite to unrestricted free agent forward Scott Gomez, giving him a shot to earn a spot down the middle for the 2016 season.

Last season with the New Jersey Devils, Gomez actually saw a return to being a pool worthy forward at age 35.  In 58 games with the club, he picked up 7 goals and 34 points, scoring at nearly 0.6 points per game, which had him ranked 168th among all forwards in scoring last season.  In a 23-team pool, that would have put him safely into the opening draft of the year, instead of being a possible Waiver Draft pick.

The early projection for the Blues shows that they have a possible 12-man forward core, which has some question marks, so a good camp could potentially give Gomez a shot at a full-time gig.  This invite may be worth watching, because a job with the Blues would likely mean he'd get some talented wingers to play with, possibly in a 2nd line role.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Recent Contract Extensions (Aug 25)

Some actual contract news on the day, as the Calgary Flames agreed to a new 6-year contract extension with defenseman and team captain, Mark Giordano.  The extension, which doesn't kick in until the 2017 season, will come at a cost of $40.5 million, a significant pay raise (to $6.75 million per season) from the $4.02 million cap hit he is scheduled to make in the 2016 season.

Giordano was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next Summer, but extension talks were allowed to progress on July 1st, as per the CBA, so the Flames were quick to get that done and sorted, before it actually became news.

The early projection numbers are suggesting that he should be the Flames' best defender in the 2016 season, albeit marginally in some cases.  The high has him coming in at 56 points from the Poolers' Guide, while the Hockey News doesn't believe he'll be quite as effective, coming in at 47 points.  I have him in the 55-point range.

Handing Out Camp Invites (Aug 25)

With nothing really going on these days, a simple mention of a training camp invite works to fill in some gaps. According to the Forecaster, the Toronto Maple Leafs extended an invite to a former 30-goal scorer, Devin Setoguchi.  Setoguchi was in the Flames organization in the 2015 season, playing 12 games for the big club, but not registering a point.  In 19 AHL games, he picked up 10 points, but it doesn't seem very likely that he would crack an NHL roster these days.

This really is a nothing post.  A time-killer, really.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Kings Blueline Adds Ehrhoff

The unrestricted free agent season is dwindling, as we slowly roll towards training camps in the NHL. The Los Angeles Kings dropped in on the festivities on Sunday, signing defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a new 1-year, $1.5 million deal.

The 33-year old German defender is coming off a rough 2015 season, where he battled concussion problems during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He only managed to play in 49 games with the Penguins, scoring 3 goals and 14 points, ranking 124th among all defensemen in scoring.

The offensive-minded defender had some pretty high expectations placed upon him, when he joined Pittsburgh last year, but his health issues curbed a lot of those expectations and with the Penguins already dealing with one injury-prone defender in Kristopher Letang, I don't think the team was prepared to take another chance with him in the 2016 season.

The Los Angeles Kings, who have plenty of questions about their defensive depth in the coming season, are an interesting fit for Ehrhoff, since he isn't known as a grinding defender in the league, rather a good puck mover.  He'll be able to eat some minutes, provide another skating option for the coaching staff and another power play weapon, other than Drew Doughty.

The big questions will be about how healthy he is perceived to be and how much of an effect did his concussions have on his game.  If he is back to being 100% again, he has some potential to be a very good hockey pool option, but given his new history of concussion problems, I wouldn't be too keen on picking him up, personally, without acknowledging the risk.  Right now, I would put him in the 35-point range for points, taking a little off from where he once was.

The Poolers' Guide 2015-2016 Edition

It's been five years since I picked up a copy of the Poolers' Guide from Hockey, The Magazine, and if anything has stayed the same, it is the publications use of colour and its overall flashiness.

When I had last picked it up, it had the feeling that it wasn't very comprehensive, limiting the number of players that it gave projections for.  This time around, it isn't too bad, upping their game to 427 projections (or so), which would be good enough for the 23-team pool we had last season, which topped out at 322 players taken at the draft.

The theme across the projections is wins, which should be no surprise, after the year of the goalie in the 2015 season.  Carey Price tops the Poolers' Guide list, as per my scoring parameters, topping out his projection at 102 points, while Braden Holtby is back in 2nd place, with a 98-point projection.  These two have been 1-2 in my projections, the Hockey News and now these projections.  Could anyone possibly stray away from these guys at the draft in October?

Six of the top 10 players on the list are goalies, to no one's surprise.  Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, Jonathan Quick and Ben Bishop round out the list there, in the 3-4-7-10 spots.  Jaroslav Halak, Frederik Andersen, Ryan Miller and Sergei Bobrovsky round out the top 10 goalies overall, all projected to be 1st round picks.

Four forwards rounded out the top 10 in overall projections in this publication, led by John Tavares, expecting him to earn his first Art Ross Trophy this season, coming in at 92 points.  Sidney Crosby, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn were also top 10 overall picks, according to these guys.

As for the rest of the top 10 forwards, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Taylor Hall, Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos round out the list.  That's a very high-powered top 10, so if you're not going to pick up a goalie in the 1st round, you should make up the difference with a pretty decent forward, at the very least.

On defense, it's looking very similar to the previous projections we've seen thus far.  Erik Karlsson leads the pack, this time, with 72 points, followed again by P.K. Subban, at 63 points.  Brent Burns, Roman Josi, Tyson Barrie, Mark Giordano, John Carlson, Victor Hedman, Kristopher Letang and Dustin Byfuglien.  I think once the pool hits the late 2nd round, early 3rd round, it's going to be a race for these guys and rightfully so.

The rookie class in this year's edition isn't very deep and it starts the same as most lists will, with Connor McDavid on top.  The 2015 1st overall pick comes in with 72 points in this guide, which has him tied for 30th in points, dropping him into the 2nd round of the draft around there.  The interesting note on the rookies is that Jack Eichel isn't in behind McDavid, rather he ranks 4th, behind both Nikolaj Ehlers and Sam Bennett in the rookie race.

In total, I only count 14 rookies in these projections, which would only give better than half of our pool teams a rookie, if they all wanted one.

One of the cool parts about this magazine, is that it does have a 3-page wide pull-out, which would give you a good stack of names, right in front of your face, without having to flip over a bunch of pages.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

2015 Draft Class Signings (Aug 20)

It's been so quiet on the free agent front, that an entry-level deal gets some attention today.

The Columbus Blue Jackets came to terms with the 38th overall selection in June's Entry Draft, forward Paul Bittner, giving him his 3-year entry-level deal.  No cap hit was initially reported with the report.

Bittner was included in my mock draft, as a potential 1st round pick, but he slipped down to the 2nd round and right into the lap of the Jackets.

The 18-year old from Minnesota is touted with size and pretty decent scoring skill, having played with a couple of junior greats in Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nic Petan in Portland of the WHL, so he provides some real intrigue, as to how much skill he may have or proving the suspicions that he may have been riding some pretty good coat tails.  The Jackets seem to think the former and they'll offer him a shot at a full-time job.

Shortly after the Jackets' news, The Arizona Coyotes got into the mix, signing their 2nd round pick on the same day, the 32nd overall draft pick, forward Christian Fischer.

According to the Hockey News Draft Preview, Fischer was destined to head to Notre Dame to work on his game in the NCAA, but signing this deal today will pretty well put an end to those thoughts.

The same magazine describes him best as a potential power forward in the NHL, very good in the down low areas of the ice, protecting the puck, but should only top out as a 2nd line forward, more likely destined to be a hard-nosed 3rd liner.

Nevertheless, the product of the US National Development Team obviously has shown the Coyotes enough of his upside to warrant signing him as an 18-year old and taking him from the NCAA route.  It looks like his CHL rights belong to Windsor in the OHL, so if he's not going to be bound for a full-time job with the Coyotes, he'll likely head to junior to develop.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The All-Time Money Winning Team

We're now six weeks away from the draft and we'll have some fun with a list of players that have made the biggest impact on winning money.

Since my draft pools have been posted on, which now dates back to the 2008 season, I have paid out money prizes, generally to 3rd place, but in 2012, it was actually paid down to 4th place.  I've only included money prizes, since that's the most interesting prize of them all.

If you haven't guessed already, Calgary's Jonas Hiller is on this all-time team, as he has actually appeared on the most money-winning pool teams, without being dropped from them.  Hiller has never been on a 1st place team in the hockey pool, but he has been on two 2nd place teams (2011 & 2012) and two 3rd place teams (2010 & 2013), since the 2008 season.

There is one more player, who has been on four money winning teams, but has been dropped once, so he didn't finish the year on that team.  Tampa Bay defenseman Matt Carle is that player, having finished on a 2nd place team in 2010, twice on a 3rd place team (2009 & 2012) and then he was dropped by Grant S. last season, before Grant finished 2nd in the standings.  It's still pretty impressive, nonetheless.

Since 2008, eight players have finished the season on 1st place teams without having been dropped.  Forwards Mike Ribeiro, Jason Pominville, Mason Raymond, Blake Wheeler and Claude Giroux lead the way, while defensemen John Carlson and Kevin Bieksa follow suit and goalie Antti Niemi also has this distinction.

Of those eight players, only Pominville and Wheeler have appeared on another money-winning team, Pominville on a 4th place team in 2012 and Wheeler was on a 2nd place team in 2014.

19 players have been on three (or more) money-winning teams without being dropped in the season and six of those players have appeared on a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place team... no one has got all four places in the money... yet.

Those six players are as follows... Shea Weber, Pavel Datsyuk, Dennis Wideman, Tomas Plekanec, Dustin Brown and Ryan Getzlaf.

There is one player of the 19, which has appeared on a 2nd, 3rd and 4th place team... defenseman Marek Zidlicky.

If you were wondering which NHL teams the most money-winning players (without being dropped) come from... look no further!  With 21 selections to their side, the Vancouver Canucks come out on top in this list.  The Chicago Blackhawks have 20 selections, the St. Louis Blues have 19 and three teams each have 16 selections.  The top three teams have had a money winner in every season since the 2008 season, so it would suggest that if you had a player from one (or all) of these teams, you'd be in a good place for money.

Chicago and the Colorado Avalanche lead the way for players that have ended up on 1st place teams since 2008, each with nine players.  St. Louis leads all teams with 2nd place players, with 10.  Dallas has had the most players on 3rd place teams, with eight.

Interestingly, two franchises have never had a player finish a season on a 1st place team and one of those teams never had a player dropped from a 1st place team.  The Minnesota Wild have never had a player on a 1st place team, while the Calgary Flames had two players dropped from 1st place teams, since 2008: David Moss was dropped by Leon G. in 2010 and Matt Stajan was dropped by Allan S. in 2014.

As for the arbitrary All-Time Money Winning Team, it is as follows:

Forwards Defense Goalies
Blake Wheeler WPG Keith Yandle NYR Jonas Hiller CAL
Jason Pominville MIN Brent Burns SAN Antti Niemi DAL
Eric Staal CAR Shea Weber NAS
Dustin Brown LOS Dennis Wideman CAL
Tomas Plekanec MTL
Ryan Getzlaf ANA
Pavel Datsyuk DET
Claude Giroux PHI

The Hockey News Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide 2015-16

This year, I spent some extra time prepping my pool projections and getting them all done, before I really had a good look at the other guides out there, but when you start seeing them on the shelf, it's hard not to take a peek.

Now that all 30 teams are published on the blog, I can really sit down with the pool guides and see how they differ from what I've done.  The first one up, from the Hockey News, has been on the shelf for about a week already and it has been just been teasing me, egging me on to get my stuff done just a little bit faster... and it worked.

I like the Hockey News' fantasy guide, it is fairly thorough and it gives you a pretty good idea of what's going on, but the tough thing about it is that it is released in August and for those people who wait until the night before to pick up a guide, usually in September/October, before their draft, they won't nearly be up-to-date.  Still, this year isn't a bad year for it, because a lot of the moves were done early, so they could make a good product.

It should also be noted, I use the Hockey News projections at my draft, in its own separate section.  If you haven't been to the draft before, I do have a screen up, which gives you the next best players, sorted by last year's points and the Hockey News' projections, just to save some time.

The last time I wrote about a pool guide on the blog, it was 2011 and it was still the Sidney Crosby love-in at the top.  At least the Hockey News has kept up with the times and this year's top star is a goalie and they have a good number of goalies right at the top of the list, headed up by Braden Holtby.

Holtby, according to the Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide, should be coming in at 43 wins and 7 shutouts, which tops out at 100 points.  Of course, there are assists that count for goalies in my pool, but you can't really forecast them that well, so I'm not too worried about it.

Last year's pool MVP, Carey Price, he is projected as the second-best player, scheduled for 41 wins and 8 shutouts, bringing his projected total up to 98 points.

Crosby doesn't fall too short of the top, ranking 3rd among all players in my pool scoring scheme, his projection coming in at 97 points.  I have Crosby up pretty high, especially given the changes in the Penguins lineup for the coming season, but after recognizing that goalies were the top six players in scoring last year, I wasn't in a big hurry to have a skater up really high.

The Hockey News' top 10 rounds out with Tuukka Rask in Boston, Henrik Lundqvist in New York, Steven Stamkos in Tampa, Pekka Rinne in Nashville, Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles, Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus and Connor McDavid in Edmonton.

Yes, the rookie comes in at 10th, fueling all kinds of excitement and furthering the idea that McDavid will go in the 1st round of a lot of annual pools.

Back to goalies for a moment, seven out of the top 10 players are goalies, which is a pretty good indication for the pool going in, they might not lead you astray, if you chose their magazine for my draft at the beginning of October.

Ben Bishop, Semyon Varlamov and Marc-Andre Fleury round out the top 10 goalies on their list and they're all very good picks, if you decide to take a goalie early on in the pool.

After Crosby, Stamkos and McDavid, the rest of the top 10 forwards look a little something like this: Tyler Seguin in Dallas, Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis, John Tavares on Long Island, Alex Ovechkin in Washington, Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, the Art Ross Trophy winner Jamie Benn and Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals.  That's a pretty tight group of forwards, most destined for the 1st round of the pool draft.

The blueline is another contentious part of the draw, especially when you consider there is such a wide gap between the top end players and the depth guys, who end up at the end of the draft order.  The top 10 defensemen, according to the Hockey News, are as follows: Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, St. Louis' Kevin Shattenkirk, Montreal's P.K. Subban, Colorado's Tyson Barrie, Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman, San Jose's Brent Burns, Anaheim's Sami Vatanen, Arizona's Oliver Ekman-Larsson and then an 8-way tie for 9th, with 50 points a piece.

The rookie class is also an important one this year and it's a good idea to wrap your head around the rookies in your homework sessions.  McDavid is destined to lead the way this year, but if you're looking to win your money back in the rookie race, you may want to consider Jack Eichel in Buffalo, Nikolaj Ehlers in Winnipeg, Max Domi in Arizona, Artemy Panarin in Chicago, Sam Bennett in Calgary, Andrei Vasilevskiy in Tampa Bay, Anthony Duclair in Arizona, Valentin Zykov in Los Angeles or Sam Reinhart in Buffalo.  Those would be the top 10 rookies, according to the Hockey News.

I think one of the interesting points that was made in this year's edition of the guide, was the indication that Petr Mrazek may usurp Jimmy Howard as the number one guy in Detroit.  An interesting theory/gamble, one that does have some merit on the surface and certainly has a chance to play out, if Howard gets off to a rocky start.

Another interesting point, one that would play into this draft, especially if the participation levels are up is the number of goalies forecasted in the book.  By my count, there are only 45 goalies in there, which would be one short of last year's drafted total.  Something to seriously look out for, if you're late to the goalie party at the draft.

If you're going to use this pool guide at my draft this year, make sure you're coming in with a plan that doesn't leave you hanging out to dry in the player picking department.  Coming with your own list and only using this guide to provide some advice, would be best.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2016 Pool Projections: Rookies

If you have had a peek at all the projections that have been posted already on Monday, then you'll notice that there is a considerable amount of attention paid to the rookies, leading up to training camps, since they'll be a focus of one of this year's mini-games.

In order to keep the pool interesting for those who may have taken a few too many unsuccessful gambles at the draft, there will be extra games to try and keep their interest and make the Waiver Draft a little more interesting through the year.  One of those being the rookie scoring race.

Dale B. would have been our rookie champion last year, as he picked up some rookie help in the Waiver Draft last season and shot up the standings with three freshmen on his team.  It's too bad that the game wasn't there for him, because his 8th place finish in the standings wasn't enough for any money.

Of course, the main goal of the pool is to take home the glorious trophy and the big prize money at the end, so if you can use a rookie to help yourself get there and have a shot at the rookie pool, then all the more power to you.

It will be important to note the qualifications of being a rookie... "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."

From this week's release of the pool projections, let's collect all the rookies and see where they'll fare and hopefully give you an idea of whether or not you'll want to include one or two in your draft team this year.

Player Pos Team 15/16 Proj
Connor McDavid F EDM 75
Jack Eichel F BUF 60
Nikolaj Ehlers F WPG 55
Sam Reinhart F BUF 55
Sam Bennett F CAL 45
Max Domi F ARI 35
Kasperi Kapanen F TOR 35
William Nylander F TOR 35
Anthony Duclair F ARI 30
Kevin Fiala F NAS 30
Kerby Rychel F CBJ 30
Lawson Crouse F FLA 25
Nicklas Jensen F VAN 25
Ivan Provorov D PHI 25
John Quenneville F NJD 25
Ty Rattie F STL 25
Mike Reilly D MIN 25
Nikita Scherbak F MTL 25
Dylan Strome F ARI 25
Sergei Tolchinsky F CAR 25
Andrei Vasilevskiy G TAM 25
Pavel Zacha F NJD 25
Landon Ferraro F DET 20
Rocco Grimaldi F FLA 20
William Karlsson F CBJ 20
Steve Moses F NAS 20
Nicolas Petan F WPG 20
Austin Watson F NAS 20
Julius Bergman D SAN 15
Brian Dumoulin D PIT 15
Noah Hanifin D CAR 15
Dylan Larkin F DET 15
Anthony Mantha F DET 15
Andrew Miller F EDM 15
Matt Puempel F OTT 15
Griffin Reinhart D EDM 15
Nicholas Ritchie F ANA 15
Shea Theodore D ANA 15
Trevor Van Riemsdyk D CHI 15
Jake Virtanen F VAN 15
Slater Koekkoek D TAM 10
Keegan Lowe D CAR 10
Timo Meier F SAN 10
Joni Ortio G CAL 10
Shane Prince F OTT 10
Hunter Shinkaruk F VAN 10
Duncan Siemens D COL 10
Scott Wedgewood G NJD 10
Danny Biega D CAR 5
Kevin Czuczman D NYI 5
Seth Helgeson D NJD 5
Brad Hunt D EDM 5
Dylan McIlrath D NYR 5
Petteri Lindbohm D STL 5
Andrew MacWilliam D WPG 5
Alexei Marchenko D DET 5
Scott Mayfield D NYI 5
Zane McIntyre G BOS 5
Greg McKegg F FLA 5
Joe Morrow D BOS 5
Liam O'Brien F WAS 5
Iiro Pakarinen F EDM 5
Greg Pateryn D MTL 5
Stuart Percy D TOR 5
Emile Poirer F CAL 5
Ryan Pulock D NYI 5
Borna Rendulic F COL 5
Rasmus Rissanen D CAR 5
Bryan Rust F PIT 5
Miikka Salomaki F NAS 5
Malcolm Subban G BOS 5
Viktor Svedberg D CHI 5
Chris Wagner F ANA 5
Chris Wideman D OTT 5
Luke Witkowski D TAM 5
Tyler Wotherspoon D CAL 5

At the mid-point of August, this list is just a guideline for what could happen in the 2016 season, because a lot can happen between now and training camp, which is still about a month away.  Hell, some of these guys may not even make their respective teams.

A lot of what I've done here is forecast the number of points these guys will get, if they were to make their respective lineup.  If you're going to be hunting for rookies this year, make sure you've got your ear to the ground on draft day, because things will change quickly.  Thankfully, the draft this year is the last Saturday before the regular season starts, so there should be plenty of time to figure out who is playing where.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Briere Exits Stage Left

Drafted in 1996, Daniel Briere was one of the elder statesman in the NHL last season, employed to help the Colorado Avalanche's young players in their development at the pro level.  His impact may not have been felt at the most noticeable levels, but he was certainly an inspiration to those he played with and many of those who played at a smaller stature.

On Monday morning, word came out that the 37-year old has announced his retirement after playing in 18 NHL seasons, suiting up for Phoenix, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Montreal and Colorado.

His career spanned 973 NHL games, where he scored 307 goals and 696 points.

Remarkably, Briere never was a fixture among the money-winning teams in the hockey pools, dating back to the 2009 season.

Ducks Add Santorelli

Of course, it doesn't take very long for a club to announce a signing after I produce the 2016 Pool Projections for the year.

On Monday, the Anaheim Ducks added forward Mike Santorelli to the mix, signing him to a 1-year, $875,000 deal.

Santorelli is one of the last pool-worthy forwards left on the unsigned list, as he picked up 12 goals and 33 points in 79 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators in 2015, obviously didn't fitting into either team's longer-term plans.

The 29-year old forward is known for his speed and forechecking, adding a little bit of offensive flair to his game as well.  The Ducks could be a very good fit, despite being considered an undersized player by some, his speed will be a very good asset to that team.

The addition now brings the projected roster for the Ducks up to the maximum, 23 players, which will give a hit to some of the depth players in their point projections.  Santorelli was projected for 35 points last year, coming damn close, and I think he has a good shot of doing it again with Anaheim.  Pat Maroon and Rickard Rakell each took a small hit in their projections to accommodate the new forward.

My 2016 Pool Projections

It's that time of year again, time to really start buckling down and getting your projections done for the coming year and the upcoming draft, which is only a few short weeks away.  Fortunately for you clowns, I've already got a head start on you and have a good idea about what's going on here.  You can click on the logos below for each team's own projection post or you can scroll down and keep clicking on the older posts to see each team in alphabetical order.

So, what do you need to know about these projection posts?  First, a lot of the conceptions about where players are going to land are based on a 23-team hockey pool draft.  In my draft this year, the pool could be 23 teams big again, could be less, could be a few more.  Who knows?  For these projections, I'm basing it on being the same as last year, which seems safe.

First round picks?  How many points would a player need to be a 1st round pick?  Well, for 23 teams, you're looking at 75 points, but fortunately for teams picking 22nd or 23rd in the draft, they pick right away, 24th and 25th.  You can do a lot of good in those picks, especially if you manage to find a bargain pick in the late 1st round or early 2nd round, a player that finishes in the top five in scoring.

Other pool worthy picks, the forwards will need to be in the 35-point range, defensemen will be in the 20-point range and goalies should be in the 30-point range.  At projection time, there will be a number of players that fit that range, hopefully enough that if we have a bunch more teams in the pool, it will at least cover the newbies.

Tomorrow, I'll be outlining the rookie content that I've covered through all 30 teams, especially since we will be making them a little bit more interesting in this coming year's hockey pool.

I am hoping that in a week or two, there will be a printable PDF version of all of these projection posts, something you can take to your draft, assuming that they all work on the same basis as my pool.