I’m Late, I’m Late, I’m Late

Fantasy shit is happening.  I’ve been busy.  Blame my wife; she feels compelled to celebrate our anniversary…don’t ask me why.  

Only a few mysteries as far as the the Senators are concerned.  Let’s start with what you know.  Heatley will be a top 5 pick in every league.  If he’s not in yours, rectify the situation.  Spezza will go late in the first round or early in the 2nd.  Alfie is a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.  After that, it get’s interesting.  There’s not much formula for any of the other guys.  I think the Sens will challenge for the division…admittedly, I’m a partisan.   

There are certainly chemistry issues to start the season; don’t panic.   I would give Gerber a very good chance at 40 wins with a GAA of 2.5 and sv% of .910.  The defense is a big question.  You have Volchenkov and Phillips with virtually no fantasy consideration whatsoever unless you’re desperate for plus/minus but they’re integral to Gerber’s success.  Then you have Jason Smith (another fantasy non starter) and Kuba.  Kuba is likely to get first nod on the power play.  He’s not a top notch PP guy, but he’ll get some points to start and he likes to shoot the puck. 

The rest of the D is a work in progress.  Everyone wants Brian Lee to step up and be the puck mover we so dearly need.  It’s not out of the question and I give him a 10% chance of being that guy this year.  I’m not drafting him, but I’m keeping a keen eye on the situation. 

Schubert is the guy that may be on tap to reap some PP rewards.  The biggest thing that concerns me about Schubie is that he falls down a lot.  No really…it would be funny if he weren’t on my team.  He just falls down.  He’s got a shot that goes through community centers and maims 70 year old knitters, but he’s Harold Lloyd on skates.  (old reference, lost on young readers I’m sure….how about, oh say….Kristie Yamaguchi)

Chances are probably pretty good that Alfie will play the point on the power play, which leaves only maybe one other Senator as a really good play from the blue line.  Pick him out early and you may benefit nicely.  Schubert, Kuba and Lee are the prospects. 

Vermette, Winchester and Neil are the other obvious fantasy plays on the team.  I’m not touching anyone else.  Winchester is currently slated to play with Spezza and Heatley.  This could easily change but it’s perhaps worth a late round flyer to see how this pans out.  There are always waiver plays to fill in the spot if he crashes.

Vermette is likely to have a spot on a line with Alfie, so if they develop any kind of chemistry, ‘Toine could very nicely improve on his 50 points from last season.  I think he’s keenly aware that there are some eyes on him this season. 

Neil will get his 30 points and 200 PIMs again.  That’s worth something in most leagues.

Oh Garsh Golly Gee 

Here are some sleeper picks; don’t let them slip by you:

Joe Sakic; he’s going very late for a hall of famer and a point/game guy, in most leagues.
Todd Bertuzzi:  Love him or hate him, he’s currently on a line with Iginla and Langkow and he’s got the skills to be a monster.
Shea Weber:  Probably my best sleeper pick.  14 points last year (or something like that) because of injury and this guy is Dion Phaneuf Jr; and a better defensive player than Phaneuf.   I really like everything about him. 
Kevin Bieksa:  Don’t forget about a guy who had 40 odd points 2 years ago along with 180 PIMs…OY!  He’s on the number 1 PP.   
Derick Brassard/Jakob Voracek: one of them with be on a line with Nash and Huselius.  They’re both undeniable talents.  I like those odds for points.  Keep an eye on them.
Kristian Huselius:  uhh…I just mentioned him; but for those who don’t know, he lead the Swedish league in scoring in 2004.  “Big deal”, you say?…. that was the year of the lockout and Forsberg and Hossa, among others, played in Sweden.  He’s very capable of point/game.
Bobby Ryan:  Talented, but enigmatic.  He’s lost about 20 pounds and *seems* to be dedicated this year….and he’s slated to be on a line with Getzlaf and Perry.  Certainly worth a look.
Kris Letang:  With Whitney and Gonchar suffering injuries (not sure how bad Gonchar’s is at this point), Letang has been getting number one PP work and even if Gonchar comes back, I would think he stays there until Whitney comes back (if he does).  Alex Goligoski is another candidate to get PP time in the interim.
Andrei Kostitsyn:  He’s not an unknown, but all word out of Montreal is that he, along with his brother  Sergei and Tomas Plekanec are flying this preseason.  I look for him to improve on his numbers from last year.
Sergei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec:  uhhh…..see above.
Patrice Bergeron:  He’s slipping in most leagues because of his injury last year.  Don’t let him slip too far in your league.  He’s top notch talent.
Teemu Selanne:  Another guy withouts stats from last year, but he’s in camp for the Ducks and is still top drawer
Alex Semin:  Sublime talent due for a breakout.

Guys I’ve downgraded

Anyone in an Atlanta Thrashers sweater; that includes Kovalchuk.  He’s ranked top 10 in most lists.  I’d put him late in the 2nd round.  He’s still going to get his points/shots, but not nearly as many and his plus/minus will be crapola.  Atlanta is a team going the wrong way.  Others that I’ve moved down my list are Enstrom, Schneider, Kozlov and Hainsey.  Add 20 spots to whatever list you’re looking at and then consider these guys.  Lehtonen is being completely ignored in some leagues;  oof!
Markus Nasland:  Here’s a guy who’s been in the Vancouver for a decade and now he has to learn everything over again in New York; and he just doesn’t seem motivated any more.  You’re forever hearing that his next stop is in Sweden.  50 points for Markus.
Cory Stillman: Still a consumate professional, but Florida is rebuilding and this is going to be a tough year.  He’s generally as good as the guys around him.
Ray Whitney:  times up and he’s injury prone….I’m staying away.
Danny Briere:  I just don’t see him ever living up to his contract.  Buffalo was a perfect situation for him.  He won’t approach 90 points again; 70 is more likely. 
Andrej Meszaros:  If you can stomach a plus/minus of -30, go for it.  I’m staying away. 
Johan Franzen:  Yep, he had a nice playoff; add him to a long and indistiguished list.  Love to have him in April, not buying him in October.
 
That’s all I have for now. 

BRING ON THE T-SHIRTS!!!

Oh, and one more thing…expect the “pimple on my ass”, Mike Ribeiro to have a serious ‘correction’ in his stats this year.  He’s a classic case of a piece of shit having a good year when his contract is up.  I’ve looked into his eyes, and his soul is a dark rocky place where seed will find no purchase.

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