Need a bigger fantasy fix? After a few delays last week we're planning on posting two editions of the Blogger's Breakouts this week. Make sure you come back for both the Northwest and Southeast division. We'll also have the exciting conclusion (spots 1-10) in our Fantasy Coach Rankings. And finally, don't forget that coming in August and September we'll be releasing our Breakout Bible and Fantasy Scouting Report: Preview & Projections.
So Jeremy Roenick is calling it a career... based on his numbers its probably about five years late, based on the beating his face has taken its probably about 12 years late, but that's neither here nor there. People always say that JR was such a good personality but this scout has never been a big fan as I found him to be more of a mouth than a personality... it more has to do with the fact that most hockey players have no personality and don't say anything interesting and that made JR stand out as unique. But, once again, that's not the point here. In true FHS fashion we should pay tribute to JR by shining a little light on his fantasy hockey exploits... his best fantasy season was 1993-94 where he put up 46+61=107, 125 PIMs, 281 shots... I'd buy that for a dollar. But JR will always live on in our hearts and our screens as the greatest SEGA Genesis athlete of all-time (sorry Sonic).
We talked about this last week when the rumours start swirling and like any good (e5) rumour, it became true Thursday when Jason Williams signed with Detroit. Smart move by J-Will as playing anywhere in Detroit's top 9 forwards is going to do wonders for your production and he's versatile enough to land on any of the top lines. He's only three seasons removed from putting up 58 points for the Wings and at age 28 he's definitely not past his prime so we think he could be a valuable add in lots of leagues.
Interesting piece out of Russia on the latest in the Sergei Shirokov and Denis Parshin squabble that we've been following. They're refusing to play for the KHL team that holds their rights (CSKA) and went to court to win their release but lost, so now they may end up coming to North America out of spite since they could be suspended by the KHL (for a year) if they don't report to training camp on August 12th. Take a look at the interview as Shirokov says that he'd rather stay in the KHL this year and if a deal could be worked out he would, so it seems as though he's only using the NHL as leverage... not a good situation if you're the Canucks. We were pretty high on Shirokov's potential but those comments knock him down a few pegs as he doesn't sound like the most motivated or reliable chap.
So 41-year old Theo Fleury is attempting to make a comeback to the NHL... he last played in the NHL in 2002-03 for Chicago and last played professionally in 2005-06 for the Belfast Giants (where he showed he still had a fiesty side to him by racking up 270 PIMs in only 34 games?!?). Will Fleury get a training camp invite from an NHL team?... perhaps. Will Fleury actually play in the NHL this year?... hell, Claude Lemieux made it all the way back after five years away, so why not. Will Fleury be worthy of a pickup in your fantasy hockey league? Hell no, steer way clear... there wasn't a player in the top 50 scorers last year that was over the age of 36, let alone someone who had been out of the league for six years. Mirtle says that his motivation is probably money.
Follow the jump for lots more fantasy news (Zherdev, Heatley, Burrows, etc) and our Distractions (Simeon...err we mean Semyon Varlamov, Ryan Kraft & Hockey Coaches in the Top 50 of All-Time)...
Vancouver GM Mike Gillis reported that he's making progress on getting Roberto Luongo signed to a contract extension which will prevent the goalie from becoming a UFA next summer. Good news for Canucks' fans as you don't want to lose the Franchise but bad news for Cory Schneider owners as it's becoming clear that it's going to take a trade for him to land a #1 role. IMO, Schneider was the best goalie not in the NHL last year (sorry Jonas Gustavsson) and he's on the verge of pushing for more playing time, so he's well worth owning in all keeper leagues as he should find himself as a starting goalie somewhere within the next few years.
Vancouver re-signed RFA forward Jannik Hansen to a one-year deal on Wednesday. Despite playing almost the whole season in the big leagues last year Hansen couldn't get a one-way deal out of Mike Gillis and so he's probably destined to be a frequent visitor to the press box and Manitoba when he's not toiling on the 4th line in Van city.
Hershey has re-signed AHL MVP Alexandre Giroux to a new deal. Get this guy in your AHL fantasy league, he's money... 60 goals in 69 games last year, set an AHL record with goals in 15 straight games and chipped in 15 goals in 22 playoff games... oh and Hershey won the Calder Cup to boot. Giroux will probably see a few NHL games in Washington this year but he hasn't been able to come anywhere close to replicating his AHL success in the show.
Antti Pihlstrom has signed a deal to play in Sweden and Jeff Hamilton will take his game to Switzerland... so time to sound the alarm if you were counting on these guys for big points in your fantasy league this season.
Even in this rough economy, Brendan Shanahan continues to find work... reports say he'll be back with the Devils for another year. Now, don't wet your fantasy pants here people, this is not 1994 (when he had 102 points, 211 PIMs and 397 shots)... Shanahan should only be drafted in the very deepest of leagues this year although we do suggest that you keep an eye on him as despite playing on the 4th line he will probably jump onto the #2 PP unit and can still contribute a little in the PIM and shot departments.
So Glen Sather did just get up and walk-away from the Nik Zherdev arbitration ruling... well, slap me upside the head, I'm a little gobsmacked. Didn't think he'd give up an asset like that so easily but I guess that's Slats for ya. Where Nikky ends up, not sure... if I was a gambling man I'd probably say Traktor Chelyabinsk or some KHL outfit like that. As for the Rangers, Zherdev's departure just cements Ryan Callahan's position in the top 6 and boosts the chances that youngsters like Grachev and Anisimov will make the team and see significant minutes.
Detroit signed the recently traded and recently bought out Patrick Eaves to a one-year one-way deal... so they must think that he's going to make their roster. I guess he could occupy the spot left by Jiri Hudler but we certainly don't expect him to fill those shoes as Eaves has only put up a combined 29 points over the past two seasons. Now he is young (25) and is talented (former 1st round pick) and Detroit has worked wonders with reclamation projects (see: Dan Cleary) but we'd let some other fantasy GM take the risk with that one and focus our efforts elsewhere.
Ottawa re-signed RFA goalie Brian Elliott to a two-year deal. He'll start the year as Pascal Leclaire's backup but given Pascal's injury history, Elliott could be pushed into a starting role again, like last year when he started 30 games. So if you're like us and you like to gamble on backup goalies then Elliott could be a good bet... and he's probably also necessary insurance if you're a Leclaire owner.
An arbitrator, who obviously never saw Nikolai Zherdev play, has awarded him a $3.9 million salary for next season. Now its up to Rangers GM Glen Sather to decide if he'll accept or walk-away. Accepting would be tough as its a steep ticket for a guy who's about as motivated as my cat but walking away on a 24-year old talent, who you traded a stud dman like Fedor Tyutin for, would be hard to swallow. So maybe a sign & trade is a possibility, just need to find somehow who has the cap space & a desperate need for a scoring winger (see: Edmonton)... stay tuned.
We're starting to get the impression that the Dany Heatley soap opera is going to turn into this year's Mats Sundin saga (that is until "What Will Mats Do '09" begins) as it just keeps dragging on. The latest is that Ottawa GM Bryan Murray went on record saying that he has an option for a deal with San Jose but that there may need to be other teams involved. And since Montreal needs to be in pretty much every rumoured deal, its speculated that the Habs could be the third wheel. Not sure how this all shakes down but we're betting that somehow Heater ends up in SJ and a Heatley-Thornton combo would be bizonkers... do it Dougie, do it.
Janne Pesonen has signed to play in the KHL next year... JP was the sexy euro-vet last summer when the 26-year old Finn made the jump to the Penguins and people were wetting themselves over the possibilities of him playing with Crosby or Malkin. Well he definitely lit up the AHL but only saw action in seven games for the Pens and barely played. I guess that was all the Pens needed to see as they decided not to re-sign him and he didn't find any other takers in the NHL.
The cops in Quebec are after Alex Burrows, apparently he was playing T-ball with some goalie's head during a summer league game in Montreal. As for the fantasy impact of this news, well we don't expect Burrows to miss any games due to jail-time so I guess all we can say is that its nice to see that he's not losing his edge over the summer after dropping 150 PIMs last year... which combined nicely with his 51 points.
Read a rumour that Teppo Numminen may be on the verge of retiring... that's sad as Teppo was one of the most consistent fantasy dmen of his day, so that will be missed. What won't be missed is the 17 points, 22 PIMs and 34 shots he managed last season. If we could say, "Have a nice life in Finnish", we might.
Thanks to Japer's Rink we got to see a different side of Simeon Varlamov...and it's kinda dorky. But on the plus side his girlfriend is h-o-t. Also more Varlamov news...this time from our friends at On Frozen Blog:
"By the way, per a Capitals press release about an hour ago, Mr. Varlamov has changed the spelling of his first name to "Semyon" to more accurate reflect how it's pronounced in Russian."
We hope you didn't get his name tattooed on your body yet Caps fans.
A crazy story we read over on Deadspin... apparently some guy named Ryan Kraft snuck by security after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup and he celebrated with the team on the ice and in the dressing room. We're pretty impressed with Mr. Kraft's ingenuity but we're also a little annoyed he broke one of Stanley's unwritten rules. Don't lift the Cup over your head!
The Sporting News released their Top 50 coaches of all time last week. Some guy named John Wooden was number 1 (can you tell this scout is not a college basketball fan?) but we were impressed to see that five NHLer's made the list (it's not a good sign of the state of the NHL when we assumed they wouldn't have considered NHL coaches...but that's a different story.)
The five coaches are: