Alex Kovalev Making a Comeback?
Apparently Alex Kovalev has two NHL tryout offers and is very interested in making an NHL comeback. Kovalev has long been my poster boy for the model example of a pool buster. A player you do NOT want to draft because he has so much skill, and ability but never translates it from potential to production. It will be great to have AK27 back in the NHL so I can enjoy watching my him being drafted ahead of players who will actually try and produce.
Matt Frattin Injury
There are two things you need to know about Matt Frattins playoff with the Marlies. He was a dominant offensive force who became known for unleashing a lethal shot and established himself as a legit scorer capable of playing second line and scoring 30 goals. He also went down with a knee injury and may not be fully ready for the start of the season. There is always a sophomore jinx to worry about, and now coupled with the injury if he misses training camp it may be a disappointing season for Frattin owners. Draft with caution.
Erik Johnson, Breakout or Bust?
Since being drafted first overall in 2006 ahead of prominent players such as Jordan Staal Jonathan Toews, and Nicklas Backstrom, Johnson has failed to live up to his billing. Not only from a fantasy perspective but also from an NHL perspective as well. As a Johnson fantasy owner in several leagues for several seasons i had held onto him in my keeper pools, but last year I had enough and traded him away. The St. Louis Blues felt the same and shipped him in a surprising blockbuster deal the year prior.
It is common for defense to blossom later than forwards, and equally common for big men to develop slower as well. As a 6'4" 235Lbs defenseman, is Johnson simply going to take more time to realize his full potential and become a annual Norris Trophy contender?
The Hockey Writers Jeff Angus takes a closer look in his overtime article Erik Johnson’s Road to Redemption
Fantasy Hockey Coach is proud to offer our fantasy guide, the Fantasy Hockey Playbook
Here is what you can expect to find within our guide:
Several feature articles from how to prepare for your draft, to Calder chasers, players you don't want, sleeper picks from each team and each and the trending direction of every team as well.
Predictions from each staff member, thorough 3 year statical analysis and of course a team by team breakdown.
In the team breakdown we examine five different categories. Here is what they
are with a brief description:
• THE NEXT THREE - Everyone knows who the top three fantasy players are
on each team but it’s the next three players that will have the biggest impact
on your fantasy squad.
• THE MAN ADVANTAGE - Who will play on what unit? How effective they
• PROTECTING THE CREASE – A write up on the goaltender tandem. Who
will be the number one starter?
• IMPACT OF NEW PLAYERS – The fantasy impact of newly acquired players
either via free agency, draft or trade.
• THE BREAKOUT AND THE DOWNSWING – One player who has the
potential to breakout this season and one player who is on the downswing of
Here are some samples from the Playbook:
LOS ANGELES KINGS
THE NEXT THREE
Living in the shadow of Doughty has kept Slava Voynov off the radar for most fantasy owners, but that shouldn’t impact his value. He is a young, mobile defenseman with a decent shot and a hockey IQ beyond his years. A mainstay on the power play, Voynov should put up enough points to be a consistent contributor in any pool and his defensive partner Mitchell will mop up any mistakes the young stalwart might make.
Justin Williams is a two-time 30 goal scorer who doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Los Angeles. The last two seasons he has seen a bit of a career revival, avoiding injuries and putting together his most complete campaigns in his time in with the Kings. On Kopitar’s right wing Williams should be good for about 60 points and will contribute from time to time as a part the second power play unit.
2011-12 was not kind to Jeff Carter, who split his time between Columbus and Los Angeles. Posting only 34 points on the season, he had his lowest point total since breaking in to the league in 2005. His playoff performance with the Kings showed promise however, as he posted 13 points in 20 games. Carter will be looking to prove the
naysayers wrong this year and a full season in Los Angeles alongside Richards may see him return to 40 goal form
THE MAN ADVANTAGE
Ottawa increased their consistency on the power play as the season wore on. They finally finished with and 18.2% power play which is good for 11th in the league. The team will continue to spend a great deal of time perfecting their power play as they can’t be expected to finish in the top five in total goals for again this season. Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza are locks on the power play, but last season saw a revolving door for the other two spots depending on who was hot at the time. Michalek was hot enough last season to put up 10 power play markers and both Neil and Greening spent time screening the goalie on the first power play unit. Given Gonchar’s struggles on the power play, and lack of options, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sens roll with four forwards on the PP for much of the season.
IMPACT OF NEW PLAYERS
The undisputed most improved NHL team on paper from the flurry of offseason additions;
Minnesota is suddenly looking like a loaded offensive force. Long gone are the days of the
Wild relying on one star as they had done for years with Gaborik. With two very strong scoring lines, Minnesota has options up front and the power play should greatly improve. Ryan Suter has the tough task of helping solidifying a young inexperienced defensive group that will face a lot of pressure this season. All the additions that the organization made have pushed the Wild into the true contenders that the fans in the State of Hockey have longed for. With all of the big name signings don’t forget about Zenon Konopka, as he will be a huge asset for the Wild and your fantasy pool. If you pool has an enforcer position Konopka should be near the top of your draft list for that position. Over the last three seasons he has 765 PIMs.
In addition we include our top 300 foretasted forwards, 150 top defensemen, and top 68 goalies.
THE ART OF PROJECTION
Trying to predict the future season of any given hockey player isn't an easy task. Fantasy
Hockey Coach takes this very seriously. All of our projections are weighted in player history, experts’ predictions, age, role and success at other levels. This system gives the most accurate projections you can find. However, this manner is not without its drawbacks. You won't see any huge reaches or guesses on who is going to breakout or fall-off the face of the earth this season. Other guides showcase these types of high-profile guesses. Remember, though they are nothing more then guesses. Every year there are a few surprises. These surprises are the exception, not the rule. Success in fantasy hockey is about being as right as possible as often as possible. Besides if you have purchased this guide you are not new to hockey. Even if you had only watched two or three games you'd already have formed opinions, found favorite players, hated players or guys you think are going to breakout. It is your job to balance these hunches with the knowledge contained within these pages. If you think a certain player is a lock for 75 points and we have his projection at 62 points . . . trust your gut. Our projections are simply a reflection of what is most likely to happen and give you fair expectations for the other 300 players on your draft board. If you balance your own thoughts on the upcoming year with these projections you will be a "projection artist" and be that much closer to winning your pool.
I highly recommend you purchase as many of these outstanding tools as possible, starting with the FHC playbook which is the best value at 218 pages of fantasy hockey gold for only $7.95 Click here to purchase your copy today!
By Peter Harling
Follow me on Twitter @pharling