Another day, another BB. Today we've got Graham (aka Amerinadian) from the great Wings site Winging it in Motown in to talk a little fantasy puck as our Wings expert.
We asked Graham seven fantasy questions related to the Wings. Check below for his answers and make sure to pay the guys at WiiM a visit.
If you're interested in FHS' breakout picks and fantasy take on the Wings check out our draft kit which includes The Breakout Bible, the Fantasy Scouting Report (with SuperStats included) and our Fantasy Prospect Database.
BY GRAHAM (aka AMERINADIAN) from WINGING IT IN MOTOWN
Q1) Detroit's Breakout of the Year?
I'm assuming you're not talking about bigger players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. The player that all Wing fans are going to be watching this year is Valtteri Filppula, and from recent reports it sounds like he may be moving from center to wing and will play with Zetterberg and Franzen, at least to start the year. He has been a guy that many fans thought had 70-point potential, but injuries and inconsistent play have hampered him in the past. He knows he needs to produce, and this is his year to show he deserves his $3M cap hit. I think that he hits at least 60 points this year.
Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on Detroit?
Darren Helm is beloved in Wing fans' eyes because he works hard, plays in tough situations like killing penalties, and is one of the fastest skaters in the league. However, this year could be the year that he shows an offensive upside that has been lacking. In 2 full seasons he only has 23 goals, but there are many who believe that he could see time as the second-line center by the end of the year, which would result in increased production. Personally, I believe that Helm has 20-goal potential, but it remains to be seen whether this is the year he reaches that mark.
Q3) League-Wide Breakout of the Year?
One guy I've always liked is Mikko Koivu, but he's never had any decent offensive talent around him before this year. The additions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi should give Koivu some weapons he hasn't had before, and I could see him playing at a PPG pace.
Q4) Player likely to Breakdown on Detroit?
Unfortunately, I'd have to go with Johan Franzen here, which is a shame because I love the guy. After he tore up the league in the second half of the 2007-08 season and playoffs, big things were expected of the Mule. The following year he scored a career-high 34 goals, but a torn ACL 3 games into the 2009-10 season caused him to miss over 50 games. It was expected that if he stayed healthy, he could score 40 goals. Last year, he scored 5 goals in the first game after the All-Star break, giving him 26 at that point. He then went goal-less over the next 14 games, and only scored 2 more the rest of the regular season. Injuries are always a concern with Franzen, and he has a tendency to look disinterested during the regular season, and he's not effective when he's not going to the tough areas to score.
Q5) Best Fantasy Prospect on Detroit?
Before this preseason, the answer would have been Jan Mursak, but he's out for the next 3 months with a fractured leg. Right now, Gustav Nyquist is really turning heads in Detroit with his play in the preseason. He was a scoring machine at Maine, leading the team in points all 3 years, and will spend this year in Grand Rapids playing for Detroit's AHL team, the Griffins. He's small, but in today's NHL size is not as important as it was. Detroit is known developing prospects and making them NHL-ready before joining the big club, but Nyquist could be on the team as early as next year.
Q6) How do you see Detroit's Goalie Situation playing out this year?
This is Jimmy Howard's team, and barring injury, he will start 60+ games again this season. Entering his third season, he has proven he can win games, but will be looking to improve on his .908 SV% and 2.79 GAA from a year ago. The defense in front of him is better, so both stats should get better. Ty Conklin is his backup, and he will see about 20 starts. The Wings don't like to overwork any one goalie, and Conklin was successful in his last stint in Detroit in 2008-09. He should post around a 2.50 GAA and .910 SV%.
Q7) Pavel Datsyuk & Henrik Zetterberg: together or apart this year?
The age-old question, eh? Well, it certainly appears that they will start the season on different lines, with Datsyuk centering line 1A and Zetterberg on line 1B. Personally, I like seeing them play on different lines because it spreads out the offense, but there's no denying they have a special chemistry, and when playing together they are one of the best lines in the NHL. I think if Mike Babcock has his way and the players play the way they can, Dats and Z will spend most of the year on different lines, but will be put together when the Wings need a spark or a goal quickly.