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Fantasy Hockey Scouts: Blogger's Breakouts - Atlantic

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BB BANNER 2.0 Over the next several weeks we'll be asking the experts from each NHL team who they think their teams two biggest fantasy breakout's will be for the upcoming season.  These bloggers know their teams backwards and forwards so their picks will definitely be names for you to remember for draft day... and for tons more on breakout players check back in August for the release of our Breakout Bible.

Make sure you pay a visit to their sites...they are all FHS approved.

This week we'll be looking at the five teams in the Atlantic...come back next week for the Northwest....



SOTD - Devils 

Written by Speaking of the Devils

Brian Rolston
RolstonRolston was brought in last season as part of Lou Lamoriello's throwback project. It didn't go too well, as Rolston never got it going when he returned to his old team. His lack of production isn't entirely his fault however, as he missed 18 games with a high ankle sprain. Upon his return to the lineup, the Devils homesick ex-coach, Brent Sutter, seemed to bury Rolston on the 3rd and 4th lines. Rolston was quoted as saying "My year was certainly a disappointment to me. When I got back (from an ankle sprain), I didn’t feel I got a fair shake."

With Lamoriello continuing his 'back to the future' philosophy with the hiring of Rolston's coach in Minnesota, Jacques Lemaire, he should return to being a productive fantasy forward.  

Interesting Fact: Rolston was the main player the Bruins received back when they traded Ray Bourque to the Avalanche on 2000. The Bruins have never been the same since.

Last Year: 64 games with 15+17=32
Fearless Forecast: 80 games with increase of 27 points


David Clarkson
Clarkson Clarkson is not necessarily your prototypical fantasy hockey player. He is more of a bruiser, a guy you only look at if your league awards points for penalty minutes. But as a late pick, he could end up being a bargain. Clarkson is entering his 3rd full year with the Devils, and has increased his point production every year. He went 9+13=22 with 183 PIM in 2007-08, and last season recorded a 17+15=32, 164 PIM season. He also got some time on the PP unit, registering 4 goals. With the Devils obviously trying to see what their younger players have to offer, Clarkson, by default, should see a little more ice time and be able to increase his production for a 3rd straight year.  

Interesting Fact: After the Devils signed Brendan Shanahan midway through the 2008–09 NHL season, Devils broadcasters Doc Emrick and Chico Resch were amused by a photograph of an extremely young Clarkson at none other than Shanahan's hockey camp. In Shanahan's first game back with the Devils the two played on the checking line together.

Last Year: 82 games with 17+15=32
earless Forecast: 81 games with increase of 10 points


LHH - Isles

Written by Light House Hockey

When considering the Islanders' unproven roster, no doubt most fantasy wonks put their hope in young Kyle Okposo, whose whopping 18 goals (we'll call that "a third of a Bossy") led the team. Okposo is poised to build off his rookie season while receiving passes from either a healthy Doug Weight, #1 pick John Tavares or even the under-the-radar Josh Bailey. But you should dig deeper...

Sean Bergenheim
Bergenheim While Okposo and those centers will be ones to watch, the biggest leap could be made by Finnish winger Bergenheim, who finally found a role under coach Scott Gordon in the second half -- and was starting to
pile up goals-- before yet another injury cut his season short.

As the most dangerous left wing on the roster, Bergenheim will benefit from the talent around him -- as well as a full season of health -- to reach 20 goals and double his assist total. As a bonus, the kid likes to throw his body around (83 hits, 64 PIM in 59 games). Islanders fans have been waiting for a while for this 2002 first-round pick (22nd overall) to put it all together. This coming season is when it happens.

Interesting Fact: When the topic of Bergenheim's development came up a year ago, none other than fellow Finn Teemu Selanne said Bergenheim has the hands to be a scorer in this league.

Last Year: 59 games with 15+9=24
Fearless Forecast: 75 games with increase of 18 points


Jack Hillen
Hillen102308n Hillen is on a crowded blueline with the Islanders (six other defensemen have one-way contracts). But three of them are Andy Sutton, Freddy Meyer and Radek Martinek, who missed a combined 145 games to injury last year. (Want to add Brendan Witt? He missed 17 himself.) This blueline is injury-prone, and Hillen, an offensive defenseman, will get his chances to tally some points.

Coming up for the second half of last season, he collected just six points as the Islanders eased him in. Mark Streit will always be the main gun on the Islanders power play (and Doug Weight likely mans the other point), but Hillen should get more chances during a full season as 'the next Chris Campoli', which is who the Islanders compare him to.

Interesting Fact: Hillen flew under the radar -- and went undrafted -- at Colorado College, before a breakout WCHA all-star senior season in 2007-08 caught the eye of the Islanders, who signed him and gave him a 2-game NHL debut after his college season finished.

Last Year: 40 games with 1+5=6
Fearless Forecast: 72 games with 5+15=20 increase of 14 points


TMR - Rangers

Written by The Manic Ranger

Two players that could have breakout years for the Blueshirts in 2009-10 are Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky. Ok so thats three players but let me explain...

Marian Gaborik
Gaborik Gabby is the kind of pick that could make or break your season right from the first round of the draft. He is a top 10 goal scorer in the NHL with his blistering speed and world class hands. But and this is an enormous but, this is when he's healthy. Gaborik can easily become the Rangers version of Carl Pavano (be happy if you don't know who he is). His glass groin is poised to shatter at every moment and if you pick him, you'll join the thousands of Rangers fans who will be on the edge of their seats everytime he's on the ice. Partly because he's worth the price of admission and partly because your scared shitless your new favorite toy is going to break. 

Gabby will be getting a healthy increase in ice time under John Tortorella and will no longer be stifled by the defense first system of former coach Jacques Lemaire. Gabby could easily have his greatest offensive season his first year in New York. But then again he can just as easily miss 20-30 he has so often in his career. The only question that comes to mind when your talking Gabby and fantasy hockey is...are you feelin' lucky?

Interesting Fact: Marian Gaborik has missed on average slightly more than 20% of games per season due to injuries. If he continues that pace, he will have missed nearly a full seasons worth of games by the time his 5 year contract is done with the Rangers. Also equally interesting to my incredible math skills, Gaborik had the same hip surgery as A-Rod and was actually courted by the Yanks 3rd baseman. A-Rod plays baseball and has to take a day off for the rest of the season to stay healthy. Gaborik plays a contact sport, I wonder how healthy he can really be?
Last Year:
 17 games with 13+10=23
Fearless Forecast: 82 (yeah right) games with increase of 67 points
Ryan Callahan/Brandon Dubinsky
Callahan dubinsky Ahh my favorite Rangers player. Cally fits the mold of a Zach Parise. He doesn't have a ton of offensive skill but he makes up for what he lacks in pure determination and hard work. He wins all the small battles is willing to get down and dirty to bang in the garbage goal or two. But he can also score some beauts and will likely start the season either on the first or second line for the Blueshirts. Cally notched 22 goals last season but the 30 goal mark is well within reach for him. The 24 year old right winger matured before our eyes last season and become one of the few leaders the Rangers had in the playoffs last season. He is a John Tortorella type player and will be in the top 6 forwards which means he will see plenty of ice time. 

Also be on the lookout for Brandon Dubinsky. I realize that I'm only suppose to pick two, but Cally and Dubi go hand in hand. Dubinsky had a rough sophomore season and was mired in a slump that lasted well, almost the whole year. But he showed flashes of the power forward he could become towards the end of the year and in the playoffs. He will be given the opportunity out of camp to pivot Marian Gaborik. Dubinsky played his best hockey while centering Jaromir Jagr his rookie year and he could make giant strides in his game playing with Gabby. Torts has taken a particular interest in Dubinsky and seems to have taken him as his own little side project. Dubinsky could be a great value pick.

Interesting Fact: Well not really much of a fact nor is it very interesting but Cally and Dubi are the young core for the Rangers offense. Sather refused to trade them in a deal for Dany Heatley and this upcoming season is going to show if the Rangers really do have something special in these two forwards. 

Callahan - Last Year: 81 games with 22+18=40
Fearless Forecast: 82 games with increase of 16 points

Dubinsky - Last Year: 82 games with 13+28=41
Fearless Forecast: 82 games with 25 +35 increase of 19 points


COAB - Flyers

Written by Clockwork Orange (and Black)

Claude Giroux

Claude-giroux Drafted 22nd overall in the 2006 entry draft, Giroux could join a long list of successful Flyers drafted in the late first round. Giroux quickly started making a name for himself with his three seasons on Gatineau Olympiques, averaging over 100 points per season and in 38 games with the Philadelphia Phantoms Giroux managed to amass 36 points. He was brought up halfway through the season to the Flyers last year, where Giroux managed to get 27 points in 42 regular season games, and five points in six playoff games.


Giroux has massive expectations going into this season and he certainly has the ability to live up to them. Giroux is an excellent passer, skater and can shoot the puck with the best of them. He also doesn’t shy away from the physical aspect of the game and was even garnering time on the Flyers power play unit at the end of last season and the playoffs. In fact, Giroux played so well that it forced the Flyers to trade fan and team favorite Scottie Upshall just to clear enough cap space to keep him up on the team. If Briere manages to stay healthy this season, they could be one of the most dynamic duos in the NHL.


Interesting Fact: When Claude Giroux was drafted, Bobby Clarke, then the Flyers GM, forgot who he was drafting when he got up to the podium. Clarke had to yell back to the Flyers and ask who he was drafting.



Last Year: 42 games with 9+18= 27 

Fearless Forecast: 78 games with increase of 33 points



Danny Briere 

Briere Abdominal tears and groin injuries limited Briere to just 29 games last year.  To say it was a frustrating year is an understatement - Briere had just one more powerplay goal all year than he did stints on the IR, 4 to 3.  But, despite his injuries, he did play in 20 of the team’s final 22 games.  Not to mention he played in all six playoff contests.


Briere has been in Philadelphia working out to get ready for next season for a while now.  If his injuries are behind him - and it certainly looks like that may be the case - his production will definitely pick back up.  Add in that early projections have him playing on a line with emerging star Claude Giroux, and Briere could be looking at his best year as a Flyer.

Interesting Fact:  Briere was the leading playoff scorer for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 playoffs combined with 50 points.  On the funnier side, to compensate for his smaller stature, Briere began training in 2001 with Canadian World’s Strongest Man competitor Hugo Girard



Last Year:  29 games with 11+14=25

Fearless Forecast:  79 games with 35+38=73…an increase of 48 points



TPB - Penguins

Written by The Pensblog

Tyler Kennedy
KennedyWe probably have the easiest fantasy breakdown of all time. But somehow, just saying "put Crosby or Malkin on your team," just seems a little lazy. Of course they are going to be on your team.  But the hidden gems behind the mega powers of Crosby and Malkin is what can win you your league.

Kennedy is an example of a hidden gem. Kennedy has been a staple on the Pens third line for the last two years. And he has only gotten better. Kennedy and center Jordan Staal have developed more chemistry than you took in the 11th grade. As Staal will be finishing more chances, Kennedy's point production will only increase.

Interesting Fact: When Kennedy scores a goal at home, the Mellon arena plays a video of the former WWE star Mr. Kennedy, saying
"and thats a goal for Mister Kennnnnneddddyyyy!!!!! Kennedyyyyy!!!!!!!"

Last Year: 67 games with 15+20=35
Fearless Forecast: 74 games with increase of 13 points


Kris Letang
Letang Letang is the heir apparent to the Sergei Gonchar and he showed he can no question run the show. In Dan Bylsma's system Letang can and will flourish. He had a solid second half of the season (20 points in 41 games) and scored some important goals in the playoffs.

He will see an increase in playing time and a lot more powerplay time. He could be compared to Mike Green...well he could if Mike Green knew how to play defense.

Interesting Fact: Letang led the Pens defense in points with 33 last season

Last Year: 74 games with 10+23=33
Fearless Forecast: 70 games with increase of 12 points