Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history. Huge congratulations for Marian Hossa, who finally won the Cup on his third straight final appearance with three different teams.
Can't argue with the decision to name Jonathan Toews the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy. Man, all this guy has done this season is win.
Toews won an Olympic gold medal, was named top forward of the Olympic Games and then wins the Stanley Cup and is named playoff MVP.
Toews's fantasy value is at an all-time high. If you have ever considered trading Toews, now is the time. You should get an insane package for him.
Toews is only 22 years old and just coming into his potential, so don't be trading him unless you get a couple of young, proven players or high potential players and a high draft pick or two.
The Blackhawks have secured their young core for years and will not likely suffer a Stanley Cup hangover to start next season. The only thing to be cautious about is that every opponent the Blackhawks face next season will bring their 'A' game, as they want to beat the defending champs.
When looking at your keepers and draft lists for next season, be careful with players who start the NHL season in Europe. Those players do a lot of travel in the first couple of week.
Six teams will be in Europe to start the 2010-11 season: The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks. I am not suggesting you don't keep or draft these players, but heads up. They may be tired and have slow starts.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have hired Scott Arniel as head coach. Arniel will bring a new and exciting brand to Columbus after many seasons of the Blue Jackets playing a veteran-filled, defence-first style of hockey. Arniel was coach of the year in the 2008-09 AHL season and led Manitoba to two division titles. He had an AHL record of 181-106-33.
The hiring of Arniel is fantastic news for the young stars and prospects in the Blue Jackets organization. They will get a real shot to make the team next season and to be a difference maker.
For hockey pool players, make pitches now to trade for those young Blue Jackets, especially a player such as Nikita Filatov, who spent the year in the KHL. His fantasy owner may be scared Filatov stays in Russia.
The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to make great decisions with their operations staff. Tampa Bay got the most sought after general manager candidate in Steve Yzerman and now get the big prize in coaching. Guy Boucher was being courted by several teams and even turned down another NHL coaching job to land in Tampa Bay.
Boucher was named the AHL coach of the year this season after coaching Hamilton to a 52-17-11 record. Like Columbus, now is the time to go after Tampa Bay players before they become too expensive.
Now that the 2009-10 NHL season is over work begins for fantasy hockey teams. Fantasy GMs are looking forward to the NHL entry draft and free agency to see what impact those days have on their roster.