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Fantasy Hockey Scouts: Weekly Wrap-Up - Aug 17th to 23rd, 2009

Need a bigger fantasy fix?  Don't forget that coming later in August and September we'll be releasing our Breakout Bible and Fantasy Scouting Report: Preview & Projections

Daily Diarrhea   

So Dany Heatley let everyone know Friday... he still wants to be traded and he just wants to see all the options (aka "Trade Me to San Jose") before waiving his NTC.  He did say that he'd report to Ottawa if a trade wasn't worked out before training camp and while that wouldn't be a good situation for anyone, its at least insurance for fantasy hockey GMs that he won't be missing any games because of this circus.

Just a few minor things from Thursday...

Anaheim Anaheim re-signed RFA dman Brett Festerling to a two-way deal, he'll be in the mix to make the Ducks as a depth guy but there's no offense there to speak of.  One interesting note on the Ducks d-core is that Luca Sbisa, who they acquired in the Pronger trade from Philly, is not old enough to play in the AHL so he'll either be in Anaheim or back to Lethbridge.  Despite playing 39 NHL games last year it wouldn't be a surprise to see them send the 19-year old go back to junior for the year.

Buffalo signed veteran winger Jeff Cowan to a one-year deal... its a two-way contract and he's a minor league and/or depth guy at this point so this won't affect, say, Nate Gerbe's chances of making the team. 

Macel Goc signed a two-way deal with Nashville... he's had four crappy years in San Jose so its not surprising that the Sharks let the former 1st rounder (20th overall in 2001) walk.  We're not expecting Goc to have any kind of fantasy impact this year and we don't think his presence should concern any of the young forwards trying to crack the roster, specifically Colin Wilson, Patric Hornqvist and Cal O'Reilly (unsigned RFA), who all have excellent chances to make the team.   

Follow the jump for lots more fantasy news (Hodgson, Kessel, Shirokov, etc) and our Distractions (Roenick, an ambassador in is own mind & Messier)...

Hodgson We heard something about this before but now the Canucks are confirming that Cody Hodgson has been rehabbing a supposed back injury for the past month and that he won't start skating until a few days before training camp starts on Sept. 12th.  The teams says that he should be fully recovered and ready to go for camp but this isn't going to help his breakout chances this year as he's going to need a strong camp to prove that he's ready for #2/3 Cman duties this year.  We also like prospects who have back injuries about as much as we like Kerry Fraser (see: not so much, here's why). [more]

Another injured young star, Phil Kessel, says he's making good progress on his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery and believes that he'll be ready to return mid-November, a little ahead of the December time frame that was originally proposed.  Good news for Philly's owners or GMs who were looking to grab him in their upcoming fantasy hockey draft.  That said, even if he returns early he'll still miss around 20 games so we wouldn't take him ahead of somebody who's a lock for 55-60 points. [more]

Carolina signed Stephane Yelle to a one year deal yesterday, he has no fantasy value but could his addition impact some of the young players like Drayson Bowman or Zach Boychuk that are trying to crack the Canes roster in training camp?  Possibly, but we think if either of these guys really impresses at camp (which they both could) that the Canes would make room for them on the team... we're not too big on either of them being breakout rookies this year but don't get down on them because of the Yelle signing.

Bertuzzi For some unknown reason that is beyond the comprehension of this scout, the Red Wings signed Todd Bertuzzi to a one-year deal on Tuesday.  Dude is such a waste of space, that we won't waste any more space going into the reasons why.  That said, Bert lands in a pretty good spot with the Wings but given his injury proneness and chronic sore motivation, we wouldn't count on anything more than 40 points from him this year.  More interesting is how this affects some of the younger players on the Wings as this definitely means Justin Abdelkader starts the year in the AHL and could cut into some of the opportunities that we thought Ville Leino was in line for... that is until Bert, Holmstrom and Franzen get injured and then these guys will get their chances.

Interesting piece from Tom Reed regarding a conversation with CBJs coach Ken Hitchcock where he implies that Kris Russell is not quite ready to play the PP QB role on the #1 unit and says that they'll be looking to use either Derick Brassard or Jake Voracek on the point with Fedor Tyutin.  Either way lets hope that this improves a PP that was easily the league's worst (12.7% vs league average of 18.9%).  This is good news for GMs who think Brassard and Voracek may be headed towards breakout years (like this scout) and just confirmation on why we think Russell has at least another year to go before a breakout will happen... check the Bible (when it's ready) for the lowdown.

Vancouver So the Sergei Shirokov Saga is finally over as the Canucks officially announced his signing on Monday.  We've been following this for a while as Shirokov is the Russian prospect who's had the most success in the KHL/Super League over the past few years, so we're very interested to see how that success will translate to the NHL.  We're a bit turned off by this quote, where he doesn't sound super-motivated to be joining the Canucks but we'll forgive him if he can help our fantasy hockey team.  He signed a big-money, two-year entry level deal so it will be a two-way contract, meaning that he could be sent down to Manitoba...  we don't think that he'll need any time in the AHL but given the 'Nucks roster and cap space he may have to start the year in the A and wait his turn.  So there's definitely risks here but we think he's got the potential to surprise people immediately.  Here's some highlights (Shirokov's #52).

Eruzione The US and Russia were trying to re-create a little Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid last week as the two countries battled in a four game series... only difference between 1980 and now was this was only an exhibition series for the world junior team's, the current Russian team wasn't very good and nobody (except for a few scouts) was interested.  Not a lot of dramatics here as the US won three of the four games by a combined score of 24-8 and the Russians must have thought it was only a three game series as they forgot to show up for game #4, a 6-0 drubbing where they were outshot 45-12.

A few players of note from the US team (stats include intra-squad games):

  • Jordan Schroeder -  Led the US in scoring with 5+9=14 in six games, showing why we ranked him as the third best fantasy prospect of the 2009 draft in our fantasy draft rankings.

  • Danny Kristo - The Habs 2nd rounder from 2008 turned our heads with a fine performance, finishing second in scoring with 7+5=12 in six games.

  • Jeremy Morin - He dropped to mid 2nd round in the 2009 draft but he shouldn't drop in fantasy hockey GM's eyes (#14 in our 2009 fantasy draft rankings) as the kid just scores... 5+4=9 in six games.

  • John Carlson - The stud dman was the top scoring blueliner with 1+7=8 in six games and should make a strong case to be on the Caps roster when training camp breaks this fall.

Daily Distraction 

What's distracting us this week?   

Jeremy Roenick shows all the kids out there how you become a true ambassador... you demand it.  Check out this quote (from the Chicago Tribune) on what he thinks the Blackhawks should do for him...

"I've seen what they've done for some retired guys like me. Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito, Denis Savard. They're ambassadors for the club. I could go for that. As long as we're at it, it would be cool if they retired my number, 27, too. I would be honored."

No mention that the other "retired guys like me" are all Hall of Famers (and not just in their own mind) or about the time when he told fans to "kiss my ass" if they thought pro athletes were spoiled and said "we don't want you to watch hockey"... yeah, I really want this guy speaking on behalf of my organization.

Meanwhile, a true leader, Mark Messier was named a special assistant to Rangers GM Glen Sather.  Sounds as though he'll learn the ropes from Slats and take over the reigns eventually, once Glen is finished FUBARing this team real good.  Not sure if Mess can become as good a GM as he was a captain but we'd love to see him pass on to his players how you go about pulling this off...