For the second year in a row we're turning to the guys over at The Fifth Feather as our Blackhawk blogging expert. Last year they correctly picked Troy Brouwer as a breakout but missed the mark with Cam Barker. Still a 50% success rate is pretty good in this business so you should definitely listen to what these guys have to say. Since we're already telling you what to do you should also go and visit their site... FHS approved.
We asked the guys eight fantasy relevant questions. Follow the jump to read their answers...
To see the rest of our Blogger's Breakouts click here for the main page.
Q1) Blackhawks Breakout of the Year?
Viktor Stalberg. The centerpiece of the Kris Versteeg trade, Stalberg will be given every chance to play top 6 minutes for the Hawks, at least in the early going. The former Hobey Baker finalist scored nine goals in 40 games on a god-awful Toronto team and the hope is he can add to that with better linemates.
Igor Makarov. The 2006 2nd round pick has been a mystery while spending the last two years playing in the KHL but if the first few days of training camp give us any indication, then Makarov could be something special. He led the team in scoring at the Prospect Tournament in London, Ontario and is on the verge of forcing his way on to the roster. He's still not a shoo-in to make the team but he will be somebody to watch out for throughout the pre-season.
Q3) Breakdown on the Blackhawks?
Theoretically, the big guns are incapable of having off years (or at least, we refuse to believe it’s possible). Toews, Hossa and Bolland are too good in all three zones; Kane doesn’t care what you think; and Sharp is far too good looking. Call us hypocritical – we pegged Troy Brouwer as last year’s "breakout" Hawk – but Brower may have set himself up for a letdown. Coach Q has shown a propensity to go away from Brouwer when the going gets tough – scratching him during a stretch during last year’s playoffs, family issues notwithstanding – and ten-game win streaks won’t be as easy to come by this season.
Recipe: Breakout NHL Player
Servings: 30 (goals)
Ingredients/Process: Take one young, highly drafted player; add heaps of expectation and scrutiny; add team to back prematurely; wait; infuse team with dash of additional talent, some stability; let age one year.
Sure, the recipe isn’t unique, but Evander Kane fits the mold like a three-layered jell-o. Kane was essentially asked to be Atlanta’s depth scoring last season, and the results were predictably underwhelming. While 14 goals as a rookie is nothing to scoff at, the addition of talent and experience to the Thrasher roster (read: former Blackhawks) should take some of the spotlight off the former fourth selection overall. Just don’t come crying to us when the Byfuglien-to-D experiment goes awry and the former Hawk eats up top-line minutes down the stretch.
Q5) Your First Five Fantasy Picks?
In no particular order: Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, Thornton, and Malkin.
Q6) Value for Money Fantasy Goalie?
Marc-Andre Fleury. With a revamped defense in front of him and major firepower up front, Fleury should have a nice rebound season. No pun intended.
Q7) Taylor or Tyler?
For their respective rookie seasons, we'll say Tyler if only because he'll be surrounded by better players and have less of a franchise-savior scent attached to him. But Taylor will end up with better numbers at the end of their careers.
Q8) Who is Going to win the Stanley Cup?
It will probably end being a 4 team race between the Penguins, Hawks, Red Wings, and Sharks. Since three of those teams play in the same conference, we'll go with Pittsburgh.
BONUS) Who the hell is going to play with Toews and Kane? Just tell me so I can draft him.
With Joel Quenneville at the helm, it will most definitely be a multitude of players. Early reports are that Stalberg will get a chance. Also, don't forget about Bryan Bickell who played with the two for brief stretches last season.
Thanks to the guys from the The Fifth Feather. If you enjoyed this BB head over to their site and check out more of their work.