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Monday, August 24, 2009

Hints And Thirty (Or So) Players For Your Fantasy NHL Team, Part II – The Colonel

Yesterday, we published four Hints to preparing for your NHL Fantasy Draft. Today, we give you players from every team we would recommend you consider for your team.

Thirty Players On Thirty Teams

Nothing is guaranteed for players in a season. Injury, slumps, personal issues all play a part in unraveling any recommendation for ‘sure-fire’ fantasy Hockey picks. But here at OGA, we know you all have your favorite team and most likely want someone from that team on your fantasy roster. IOHO, we offer you these top picks from each team with a brief snippet of reasoning…

Anaheim: Ryan Getzlaf barely nudges out Corey Perry. Getzlaf had less goals in more games played than Perry, but beat him in points, and almost doubles him in faceoff percentage which leads to more time on the ice (TOI) and almost an extra shift per game.

Atlanta: If it is only one pick, Ilya Kovalchuk is your man here. Five straight years of 40+ goals don’t lie. (But don’t count out the rest of the 1st or 2nd forward lines and the top four defenders either!)

Boston: We flipped a coin on this one. Kessel is probably back, but with rumors that could affect his psyche; Savard is a set-up man, not a finisher; and Chara was tempting on D. But we decided we’d lean toward a Goalie, so recommend Tim Thomas here. Last year’s Vezina Trophy winner is one of the top three goalies to be had.

Buffalo: Ryan Miller has got to be your choice here. No forwards above 70 points last year and a suspect defense this year put the franchise’s playoff weight on his shoulders.

Calgary: Emphasis on this club in 2009/10 is going to be on defense. The prize catch prior to the Entry Draft is our early pick as the hoopla around Jay Bouwmeester will see him on the ice a lot AND with Phaneuf. There will be a lot of points scored from the Flames’ blueline.

Carolina: The best choice here is Eric Staal. No other ‘Cane came close to his combined 50 goals scored in the regular season and Playoffs last year.

Chicago: With Hossa out to start the season, we would pick Jonathan Toews from this team. His 34 goals off of almost 60 less SOG and higher faceoff percentage than Kane indicates greater potential. We ARE Kris Versteeg fans, but assume he will not be on either of the top two lines so will not get as many chances as the team’s captain will.

Colorado: Paul Stastny is your man here. He needs to stay healthy, but he is the best choice in The Mile High City.

Columbus: If you need a LW more than anything else, it is Nash. But for our money, we cannot pass on Steve Mason. Were it not for Tim Thomas, THIS could have been your Vezina Trophy winner for 2009.

Dallas: Brendan Morrow is our choice here. We know, we know. There are barely any stats from last season to make a clear choice. But he personifies grit and determination, and leads by example, with maybe his best efforts displayed under pressure.

Detroit: Almost a point-per-game (almost 68 points per year over 78 or so games) says you cannot ignore Nicklas Lidstrom. This team is loaded, but you have to have one of, if not THE, top defender on your wish list.

Edmonton: As a second straight defensive call, we think it best to recommend Sheldon Souray for the Oilers. Averaging over 200 SOG per season in his last three, healthy seasons, he also tied as the team’s leading goal scorer last season. It cannot be missed that over the last two, full seasons he has reversed his exorbitant foray into the minus side of the +/- ledger to boot.

Florida: David Booth is our choice here. Last year’s only 30+ goal scorer, most PP points and GWG’s and the most SOG (246) makes him the mark.

Los Angeles: WOW! This is going to be an exciting team this season! We wanted to recommend the whole first line and the two young defenders. But we said THE top pick. So we are (barely) going with Anze Kopitar over Dustin Brown. Smyth looks to be on Line 2 for starters. And while Brown out-shot Kopitar, they are so close in just about every other category that Anze gets the nod based on averaging a bit more than one minute per game TOI which leads to more chances.

Minnesota: You might have gotten another goalie recommendation from us here, but we are going with Martin Havlat. We know they are going to try and score much and do not yet know if Backstrom has been the beneficiary of a strong defense-first effort out front that will not be the same this season. Havlat’s stats are a bit better than Koivu’s AND he did it logging almost four minutes less TOI per game! Turned loose (and healthy), Havlat could be a 90-100 point player.

Montreal: We are going to roll the (team chemistry) dice here and go with Michael Cammalleri. While we are haring Gomez rumblings, Cammalleri’s 82 points last year comes with more than 250 SOG and only a 17:33 TOI average that is likely low for him this season.

Nashville: While Jason Arnott is your team scoring leader here, we want to recommend Shea Weber. Weber is a top-5 defenseman according to the NHL, scored 23 goals and 53 points with over 250 SOG and logs almost 24 minutes TOI.
New Jersey: Martin Brodeur. Need we say any more here?

Islanders: It is tempting to recommend the 2009 Entry Draft’s Number 1 Pick. You can read why we think he is good for around 60-65 points this season here. But we want to offer you Mark Streit as a great pick from this team. His 53 points, four major penalties, 10 PP points and 25:13 TOI make for a strong resume on the blueline.

Rangers: The only non-question mark position for the Rangers is in goal, so we go with Henrik Lundqvist here.

Ottawa: We are shying away from Heatley here as his status is still too much up in the air. For sure fire picks anyway, we like team captain Daniel Alfredsson. A bit more of a set-up man than a finisher, he is more disciplined and therefore rates the most TOI for this team. That can translate into much more opportunity this season.

Philadelphia: Go with Jeff Carter in Philly. He was awesome with the puck last year in any situation, to include leading the league in short handed goals.
Phoenix: Shane Doan is your top offensive prospect on this team. He is a 30-goal man, had five fighting majors, 10 PP points, 230 SOG and was on the ice for more than 20 minutes per game last year.

Pittsburgh: Not Malkin and Crosby. Why? If you have one of the top three picks in your pool, these two guys are no-brainers and you will have them; if you are past the 3rd pick, you won’t have them. So we would recommend the NHL’s #2 ranked defender, Sergei Gonchar. Playing in only 25 games last season, he nonetheless netted 19 points in more then 25-minutes TOI. He also added another 14 points in the Playoffs and will be the most rested Penguin going into next season. BUUUUTTT… If it comes to light the partially torn MCL in the Playoffs is going to keep him out AND you don’t have one of the first three picks in your draft, go with Marc-Andre Fleury and you will not be disappointed.

San Jose: We want to go with Marleau, but nobody knows how the “C”-ectomy is going to affect his play this season. You cannot go wrong snagging Evgeni Nabokov, however. He is a top-five goalie in anyone’s league.

St. Louis: Go with Brad Boyes here. Sure he was a -20 last season, but that was due in large measure to the harsh early part of the season. His 33 goals/72 points was tops for the team, and he also led the Blues in PP and GW points. If for some reason he is not available, don’t shy away from David Backes. (I know that’s two, but we’ll keep that bonus just between us.)

Tampa Bay: Under the assumption from the last half of last season that he has now got this NHL thing down, we recommend Steven Stamkos as your bit of a sleeper pick. Sure you could go with St. Louis, Lecavalier or the likes of Mike Smith in goal. But we believe Stamkos is going to fly too far under the radar based on last season’s final point total than he should and therefore just might be worth the slight risk.

Toronto: We can’t recommend you ‘The Monster’ because unless he is the second coming of Ken Dryden, he won’t play 50 games this season. We also think Luke Schenn needs a bit more seasoning to be THE dominant defender he is likely to become. So we recommend going with Jason Blake who led the team in scoring and was one of only seven players to register more than 300 SOG last season. He should benefit from a more rough and tumble team and their intimidation factor that GM Bryan Burke is implementing.

Vancouver: Roberto Luongo, hands down. Depending on where YOU rank him, he is probably one of the top two or three goalies in the NHL. You cannot go wrong here with a healthy Luongo.

Washington: Ovie is your no-brainer (see Pittsburgh above). We would recommend a final defender for your team, Mike Green. He is a Phil Coffey, Bobby Orr kinda defender. Thirty-one goals? Seventy-three points? Eighteen PP points? A total of 243 SOG and almost 26 minutes TOI? What’s not to like? Maybe the fact he will go early because he is a more prolific scorer than a lot of forwards. If he survives the second round in your pool, we will be surprised.


So there you have it. We were glad to bring you OGA’s Hints to help you organize for your draft and players to choose from any team’s roster. Good hunting, draft well and good luck winning your league.

And if some of these players stick in your craw, tell us who is the best player to draft from yor favorite team and why in the comments section of this blog…


Dmitriy said...

A pretty solid suggestion list overall.

I would pick up Savard instead of Thomas, though. (I always find myself going after goals at the expense of assists, so this could shore up my "A" column.)

For Toronto, I just for some reason really don't like Jason Blake, and would probably take one of the Russian dudes at forward in the later rounds.

Brad Boyes is a good pick, but yes, his plus/minus hurts. I would also consider David Backes and/or Erik Johnson (with a cannon shot).

I'd definitely snag Jeff Carter from Philly over Briere or Richards.

And as for Detroit, Lidstrom is enticing, but now that Hossa has left, Johan "The Mule" Franzen will be responsible to pick up some of that goal-scoring slack, and I believe he will deliver.

The Colonel said...

Great comments, Dmitriy! Trying to pick one person on each team leaves out more than 20 others, many of whom are great players as well.

Who else has more recommendations?

Goon said...

Interesting article but I am not sure that I would take Martin Havlat he is more injury prone than Marian Gaborik. I like Mikko for the Wild.

Frozen Pill said...

Goon says good...I like Mikko, too. It will be interesting to see what Havlat costs salary-wise in some of the fantasy games, though...