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Offseason +/- : Northeast Division

Over the next few weeks we'll post 6 articles looking at the fantasy hockey impact of the key offseason additions and subtractions for all the teams.  Lets start with the Northeast division (which, for us traditionalists, should still be known as the Adams Division):

Montreal

Add:  Alex Tanguay

Subtract:  Michael Ryder and Mark Streit

Impact for Team:  Ryder's loss won't hurt as he slipped so far down the depth chart that he was deemed useless and Streit had a tremendous season but that may have been more fortune (being on the leagues #1 power play) than skill.  Tanguay should improve the 2nd line and help keep the PP ticking... so overall this should keep Montreal near the top of the conference.

Biggest Fantasy Hockey Impact: 

  1. Alex Tanguay should see a nice bump back up to his usual output (he averaged 79 points over the 3 seasons prior to last years 58 points) due to not having to play under Keenan and with Craig Conroy and Owen Nolan in Calgary. 
  2. Whoever takes over Mark Streit's spot on the power play... they could end up using 4 forwards this year or it could be Roman Hamrlik, so he might be worth a pick as this power play has been lethal (#1 ranking in terms of PP% each of the past 2 seasons).
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn was in-line for a lot more top 6 minutes this year until Tanguay was acquired but he'll probably still see spot duty on the top 2 lines and on the PP so his progress shouldn't be affected drastically.

Ottawa

Add:  Jason Smith and Alex Auld

Subtract:  Cory Stillman, Wade Redden and Ray Emery

Impact for Team:  With Emery gone and Craig Hartsburg coming in maybe last year's collapse will be forgotten and that might be better than any addition they could have made.  They weren't able to find any help for their 2nd line, there's a real lack of offensive dmen and the goaltending is a question.

Biggest Fantasy Hockey Impact: 

  1. Redden's departure leaves an opening for Brian Lee on the d-core.  He's got offensive skills but give him a little while before he's a fantasy hockey contributor.
  2. Andrej Meszaros took over the PP quarterbacking duties last year with Redden struggling and Joe Corvo traded.  He should continue that this season, also contributes in PIMs and never misses a game.
  3. With no additions to the 2nd line then Antoine Vermette should get an opportunity for one of those spots although it only turns into a plum assignment if the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson line gets split up and one of them drops to line 2.

Boston

Add:  Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler

Subtract:  Glen Murray

Impact for Team:  Boston wanted to make a bigger splash and tried to bring in Marian Hossa but had to settle for Ryder, but he should make up for the loss of Murray's goals.  The contract was a little steep at $4M per season... how do you feel if you're Marco Sturm making $3.5M and you had twice as many goals as Ryder last year?   

Biggest Fantasy Hockey Impact: 

  1. Michael Ryder should get a huge boost, he's out of Montreal (& that fishbowl), he's back with Claude Julien who's coached him in junior, minors and in Montreal and most important of all, everywhere he turns all he sees is playmaking Cman (Savard, Bergeron and Krejci) looking to set him up. 
  2. Whoever scores the 2nd line RW spot, probably between Chuck Kobasew and Phil Kessel.  Kobasew had a nice season last year with 22 goals before missing the end of the season and playoffs with a leg injury.  Kessel was in and out of Julien's doghouse but provided a real spark for the team in the playoffs.  Whoever captures this spot gets to line-up with either Bergeron or Savard.
  3. The fact that Boston wasn't very active this summer is good for prospects like Blake Wheeler and Carl Soderberg who have a legitimate shot at cracking the lineup... Soderberg especially is one to keep an eye on.

Buffalo

Add:  Craig Rivet and Patrick Lalime

Subtract:  Steve Bernier, Dmitri Kalinin and Jocelyn Thibault

Impact for Team:  This is a team that finished 4 points out of the playoffs after going to back to back final fours and despite the losses (Briere, Drury, Campbell, etc.) the young talent is one year older and should improve.

Biggest Fantasy Hockey Impact: 

  1. When Brian Campbell was traded at the deadline last year, it appeared that Andrej Sekera would be the player that benefited the most from extra ice and PP time.  But with the offseason trade to get Craig Rivet and then the surprise resigning of Teppo Numminen, Sekera's stuck behind a number of veterans and his opportunities might be limited.
  2. The plum assignment on this squad is to ride shotgun with Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy, who were on fire in the 2nd half last year, with Bernier out of the picture and no additions up front it should fall to either Drew Stafford or Maxim Afinogenov.
  3. No change was needed to boost Jason Pominville's stock, he's one of the more underrated fantasy hockey performers, finishing last year with 80pts, good plus/minus, lots of shots, PP points and he hasn't missed a game the last two years.

Toronto

Add:  Niklas Hagman, Mikhail Grabovski, Jeff Finger and Curtis Joseph

Subtract:  Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood and Andrew Raycroft

Impact for Team:  We're assuming Sundin is gone and that McCabe will stay but that could change at any moment.  The team should be much better defensively under new coach Ron Wilson but we think they're really going to struggle to score.

Biggest Fantasy Hockey Impact: 

  1. Mikhail Grabovski could end up as the #1C if things work out for him, which is a little bit better than being the #1C in Hamilton, which is where he'd probably be if it wasn't for Fletcher grabbing him from Montreal.
  2. Nikolai Kulemin and Jiri Tlusty should be two of the building blocks in Toronto's reno plans so they should see lots of ice time and PP opportunities.
  3. Nik Antropov had a career year last year with 56 points (mostly playing with Sundin) but we can't see a repeat performance coming from a guy who's averaged 56 games & 30 points a season over his 8 year career.

Check back soon for our next Offseason +/- article where we'll take a look at the old Patrick Division.