The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 06/23/12 at 03:58 AM ET
Friday’s draft came and went with no Rick Nash or Roberto Luongo trade… yet. For those inevitable trades to occur there’s always the free agent frenzy period and the weeks following. In other words, hockey player news during the summer seems to happen in large doses that force us into information overload, followed by long periods of dry spells which include delusional excitement over the signings of the Danny Syvrets and Brad Winchesters of the hockey world.
Here are the most significant names to change addresses on Friday, along with the resulting shifts in fantasy value.
Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus
Three draft picks, including a second-rounder, is an expensive price for the Jackets to pay for a 1A goalie. Bobrovsky may win the starting goalie job outright, but this move could create a possible timeshare with Steve Mason to provide the Jackets with another goalie with more upside than Curtis Sanford or Fredrik Norrena. Bob may earn a few more starts in Columbus than in Philly, but that slight increase in value from games played will probably be wiped out by the goals-against average from simply playing for the Blue Jackets. On a side note, the Jackets could be assembling the makings of an underrated defense, with James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson, and Ryan Murray in tow, which could help down the road. Just don’t draft him based on that assumption.
Lubomir Visnovsky to NY Islanders
Visnovsky won’t reach 68 points again as he did in 2010-11, but 50 points is still a definite possibility. Visnovsky’s presence could erase a little of the value of Mark Streit, who could also force Visnovsky to receive less icetime than he did in Anaheim (24 minutes/game in 2010-11). But like the Jackets, the Isles could be quietly stockpiling a strong defense, with Travis Hamonic, Calvin De Haan, and newly drafted Griffin Reinhart also in the mix. Here’s a stat you probably didn’t know: The Islanders were seventh in the NHL with an 18.5% power play last season. Picture a first-unit power play with Visnovsky and Streit on the point and John Tavares and Matt Moulson up front. Break up those Islanders.
Mike Ribeiro to Washington
Washington appears more primed to make a Stanley Cup run than Dallas, hence the exchange of veteran Ribeiro for prospect Cody Eakin. Ribeiro is a perfect second-line center for the Caps, although the only way his point totals increase is if he replaces Nicklas Backstrom on the Capitals’ top line and then centers one Alex Ovechkin. Backstrom did experience a lengthy concussion last season, so some icetime on the top line for Ribs is not out of the question. Just like in Dallas, Ribeiro will struggle to reach 20 goals, but he should be good for at least 40 assists.
Jordan Staal to Carolina
I’m sure you can find all the brother jokes and wedding day one-liners that you need on Twitter. Instead, I’ll focus on the younger Staal’s role with the team that he seemed to want to play for more than any other. Staal could play on Canes’ top line alongside brother Eric and Jeff Skinner, or he could center the second line for an offensive-style team in a high-scoring division. All in all, it’s not a bad deal for Staal, considering that he wasn’t ever going to see past a healthy Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin at the center position in Pittsburgh. Staal should be a decent mid to late-round pickup again in fantasy leagues, penciled in for 50 points but with a little more worry in the plus-minus department. His long-term value will depend whether he still wants to test the free agent market or if he’s willing to put down roots in Raleigh.
Nail Yakupov to Edmonton
I would be remiss to not mention the first overall pick, given that previous first overall picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall both made the jump to Edmonton in their first season as Oilers’ property. Yakupov could very well make the team out of camp, but will the Oilers have any room for him on their top two lines? Ryan Murray would have solved the team’s dire positional need of a defenseman, but forwards seem to be more of a sure thing than defensemen on draft day. Expect GM Steve Tambellini to shop Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky hard during the summer, which would create the necessary opening for the Oilers’ latest phenom.
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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.
A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter.