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The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

Free Agent Fantasy Frenzy: Plenty of Value Aside From Parise

Two days of free agent frenzy have now passed with the two biggest fish in the pond – Zach Parise and Ryan Suter – remaining uncaught. All 30 NHL teams would prefer that Parise and Suter decide sooner rather than later, so that they can concentrate on Plan B options (and C and D, if needed). Since all the dominoes haven’t fallen, these fantasy projections should be considered by no means final. But everything else equal, let’s consider how these players will fit in with their new teams.

Ray Whitney to Dallas
What is it with 40-year-old players receiving two-year contracts this offseason? Whitney, Martin Brodeur, and Sami Salo (whose injury history puts him well past 40) have all been able to convince NHL GMs that age doesn’t matter. Out of the three names mentioned, though, Whitney is the one who seems to be getting better with age. Another 77-point season seems unlikely, but he should help fill the playmaking void left from the Mike Ribeiro trade. Expect him to play on the Stars’ top line, likely moving Jamie Benn over to center and cementing Loui Eriksson at right wing. Whitney should be good for around 20 goals and 60 points while he sips from the fountain of youth.

Derek Roy to Dallas
According to The Program fantasy hockey writer (and Dallas Stars fan) Garrett Rees (G_Rees), Roy will probably start the season on the Stars’ second line with Michael Ryder and Brenden Morrow (if Morrow is not traded). Roy’s production was weak for a first-line center when he was with Buffalo, but that means he’ll fill a second-line role perfectly for the Stars. Roy was a bust for fantasy teams last season with just 44 points at the center position, a position which needs more points than that for a player to hold down a roster spot in standard-sized leagues. Roy won’t reach the 81 points he scored during 2007-08, but he should improve to at least 50 points this season, which should make him employable in mid to deep leagues.

P.A. Parenteau to Colorado
Parenteau is probably the one 60-point scorer that you’ve never heard of, which is why I mentioned on Twitter that I don’t mind the four-year, $16 million contract that the Avalanche offered. Parenteau will likely go from centering one 2009 first-round pick (John Tavares) to riding shotgun with another (Matt Duchene). Parenteau’s own fantasy value will probably remain similar to what it was on Long Island, only now he is more well-known to the general public. His presence could also revitalize the fantasy value of either Duchene or Paul Stastny, depending on how coach Joe Sacco plans on using him.

Jason Garrison to Vancouver
Like Parenteau, Garrison has gone from a fantasy unknown to a player who will be watched closely in a relatively short period of time. He couldn’t have arrived at a better time for the Canucks, who lost Salo and Aaron Rome to free agency and couldn’t land Justin Schultz. Garrison should make for a younger, less injury-prone (hopefully) version of Salo who should be given every opportunity on the first-unit power play alongside Alexander Edler. A repeat of his out-of-nowhere 16 goals (third among defensemen) and nine power-play goals (second among defensemen) last season isn’t likely, but 35 points and 15 power-play points with top-4 minutes is a reasonable projection.

Jiri Hudler to Calgary
The Flames continue to stockpile for their Stanley Cup run (I say this sarcastically) by adding top 6 forward Hudler. The natural thing to do might be to downgrade Hudler with a move from Detroit to Calgary, but the icetime numbers suggest a different tale. In spite of his 25 goals and 50 points last season, Hudler was underused in Detroit with icetime under 16 minutes per game last season and not even 14 minutes per game before that. Expect at least 50 points again this season, yet even more than that if he lands on the top line with Jarome Iginla. But at least expect Bob Hartley to use Hudler more – particularly on the power play (10 PPP last season) - than Mike Babcock did.

Steve Ott to Buffalo
The Sabres have added more of a sandpaper element to their team this season to compete with the likes of Northeast rivals Boston and Toronto, who seem to have pushed around the Sabres the past few seasons. Ott may be counted on to add more of a scoring role in Buffalo, given that the Sabres have only youngsters Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson at the center position (at the time of this writing). Because of his annoying style of play, Ott will score around 35 points and hit 150 penalty minutes easily. Make sure he is in your lineup particularly for matchups against abrasive Eastern Conference teams such as the aforementioned Northeast opponents and Philadelphia, given his well-chronicled confrontation with Peter Laviolette last season.

Olli Jokinen to Winnipeg
Jokinen becomes the closest thing the Jets have to a number one center, having played that role with various teams throughout his career. His days of being an 80+ point scorer for the Florida Panthers have long since passed, but he seems to fit a similar category to Roy: not quite a first-line center, but admirable as a second-line option. His addition could help the values of Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler, who have to be considered two mainstays on the Jets’ first line. Given his linemates and recent production, Jokinen should score around 20 goals and 60 points this season in the ‘Peg.

More to come, including the fantasy implications of the much-anticipated Zach Parise and Ryan Suter decisions…

Filed in: fantasy hockey, Ian Gooding, | The Goods on Fantasy Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: derek+roy, fantasy+hockey, jason+garrison, jiri+hudler, olli+jokinen, p.a.+parenteau, ray+whitney, ryan+suter, steve+ott, zach+parise


Hippy Dave's avatar

I love these implications write-ups, Ian.  Keep ‘em coming.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 07/03/12 at 04:36 AM ET

Ian Gooding's avatar

Thanks, Hippy Dave. Love the city of Portland, BTW. Hope to visit there again soon. (Been to Detroit too… interesting place.)

I’ll have another update sometime in the next few days. It will include Jagr, of course, and whoever else signs (maybe Parise and Suter finally?)

Posted by Ian Gooding on 07/04/12 at 12:53 AM ET

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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 gooding74@shaw.ca, or follow me on Twitter.