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Fantasy Hockey Scouts: Weekly Wrap-up - June 14th to 20th, 2010

Dosage Express
Arnott goes back to the future... we don't see boost for Hamhuis... Wilson now the preds #1C...  Blues steal summer's best available goalie... Eller is top notch 

Daily Diarrhea   

Ed. Note: We're switching from our daily posts to a weekly wrap-up over the summer as the fantasy hockey news slows quite a bit... but don't worry as we'll still be bringing you the news, as it happens, on a daily basis but this is better for the environment as there's less waste

Arnott NEW!  Preds GM David Poile was a busy boy yesterday as he moved Jason Arnott to the Devils for Matt Halischuk & a 2nd and traded Dan Hamhuis to the Flyers for Ryan Parent... it's obvious that Poile needed to cut payroll and wants to get younger.  Let's take a look at the fantasy impact...

Jason Arnott's value goes up as he'll get a chance to play with some more talent in New Jersey and that outweighs the fact that they play a stifling offensive system.  Arnott's a consistent player, when he plays... he's put up a ppg between .73 & .94 over the past five seasons but has also played less than 70 games in three of those seasons so beware that he's a dude who gets hurt a lot (including multiple concussions) and at 35, that's only going to get worse.

Dan Hamhuis has some untapped offensive potential but don't be assuming that he'll all the sudden be turning into Mark Howe in Philly (assuming he signs).  He was behind a number of offensive dmen in Nashville and the situation is very similar in Philly and Preds coach Barry Trotz always gets production out of his dmen so going to a more talented team doesn't automatically give him a boost.

Colin Wilson will inherit Arnott's #1C spot but he was already playing on the top line (with Arnott) at the end of the season so while he gets some gain in value, there's also a bit of a question as to who he'll get to play with?  He was already a stud prospect (rated a 5-Star prospect & ranked #12 in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings) and this doesn't really change our outlook of him either way.

Matt Halischuk hasn't shown a lot of fantasy potential in two years as a pro and while he should have a better chance to play in Nashville, we wouldn't hold out hope for much production.

Cal O'Reilly should, theoretically, get a boost in value as he moves up the depth chart amongst Cmen in Nashville but we kinda think that if the Preds really had plans & high hopes for the 23-year old that he'd already be a regular in their lineup.

Ryan Parent has no fantasy value and nothing changes.

Damian Cristodero is reporting that Lightning goalie Karri Ramo will be staying in Russia with Omsk for another season... we had been wondering if he might be tempted back to the NHL after having a nice season in the KHL this year with 21 wins, 2.11 gaa & .913 sv% and a roster spot available in T-Bay but it was not meant to be.  His agent says that he'd like to return after this coming season... he's one to keep in the back of your brain.  [more]

The Blues re-signed Matt D'Agostini... there was a lot of hype around this guy coming into this season after he put up 25 points in 20 games in the AHL and then 12+9=21 in 53 games for Montreal in 2008/09 but he totally soiled the sheets this year with only four points in 40 games for the Habs and they shipped him off to St.Louis where he barely played, was scratched a lot and was pointless in seven games... not sure what the Blues have planned for him but we're guessing it's not a major role. 

Halak The Blues pulled off a BFD yesterday by stealing probably the best goalie available this summer, Jaroslav Halak, from the Habs in exchange for Lars Eller & Ian Schultz.  We feel like Halak was grossly underrated during his time in Montreal, that was until this spring's playoff run where he carried them to wins over Washington & Pittsburgh.  While this scout would have traded Price instead, let's move on and deal with the fantasy implications... 

Jaroslav Halak's value jumps as he becomes the undisputed #1 in the Loo and goes from a team that gave up the 5th most shots in the league (32.1/game) to one that was middle of the pack (30.2/game). This guy has proven at every level that he just flat out stops pucks, his .924 sv% this year was good for 4th in the league and after 101 career NHL games holds down a very solid .919 sv%... as of this moment I can only count about 10 goalies that I'd rather own than Halak next season.

Chris Mason's value obviously nosedives with this trade as he looked to be in line to re-sign and retain his #1 job with the Blues but is now in serious limbo and will have to accept a platoon, 1A or backup position somewhere.  He's a decent goalie, so we wouldn't write him off but you'll have to wait a while to figure out what the outlook is.

Carey Price gets a boost cause he'll get the chance to play more but that weight on his shoulders also just increased ten-fold.  We're not big fans of his mental make-up and we'd be worried about whether or not he has the stuff to be a star in Montreal.  As mentioned before, he's not playing behind a very stingy defensive unit and the offence didn't give him a tonne of goal support last year either (the Habs were 26th in the league at 2.56 goals/game)... Montreal may have chose Price over Halak but if we're a fantasy GM, we do the opposite.

Lars Eller is a top notch prospect, we've rated him a 4-Star fantasy prospect & he ranked #26 in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings, he had a very solid rookie AHL season last year with 57 points in 70 games for Peoria and was the leading U-20 scorer in the SEL for Frolunda the season prior.  Montreal fans still have reason to be upset about this trade but we think they'll be pleased when Eller develops into a solid point producer over the next few years. 

The Blues also made a deal to acquire TJ Hensick from the Avs... reports had said that he was looking to play in Europe next season, no doubt due to the fact that the Avs had given up on him but he'll probably be persuaded to join the Blues farm team in Peoria.  Hensick has put up good numbers in college & the A but hasn't been able to translate that in 99 NHL games spread over three seasons... he's not likely to get much of a shot in St.Louis either as they're pretty loaded with young talented forwards.

The Devils named John MacLean their new head coach yesterday... he was the head coach for Lowell of the AHL last year and had been a Devils assistant for many years before that so we wouldn't expect the Devils to turn into some run & shoot team all of the sudden, it should be the same old snooze-fest as always.

Adrian Aucoin has re-signed with the Coyotes, he had a decent season last year with 28 points and has been pretty consistent over the past three years with 34 & 35 points the prior two years... he'll be 37 this summer and so we'd only really consider him an option if you're desperate.  

Selanne Teemu Selanne says he wants to return to the Ducks but only if they "still want to win" and "keep the team more or less the same".  Wow pretty demanding for a dude who's about to turn 40... but then again this is Teemu and the dude seems ageless.  He hasn't scored less than .83 ppg during his last five seasons in Anaheim and while he's been susceptible to injuries over the past few years, if you project his numbers from last year over 82 games you get 41+32=73 & 263 shots... still very useful. [more]

Stevie Y says that he wants to sign Marty St. Louis to an extension, so hopefully this keeps Marty happy and he won't be asking for a trade cause he's got a pretty good thing going there in T-Bay.

As had been speculated a while ago, the Wings re-signed Todd Bertuzzi to a two-year deal... we don't want anything to do with this guy as he hasn't topped 44 points in the past four seasons but if you're in a really deep league and need a 40 point/80+ PIM guy who constantly frustrates you... then Bert is your man.

The Wings also signed Val Filppula's brother, Ilari Filppula, to a one-year deal... he's coming off a big season in Finland where he was named MVP of the playoffs but he hasn't been a consistent scoring threat over there and is already 28, so we'd guess he's bound to spend most of the season in Grand Rapids and would be lucky to get a call up to the big club.

James Sheppard re-signed with the Wild on a one-year deal... he had one of the worst seasons a player could have this year with only 2+4=6 in 64 games in his third NHL season... we had high hopes for this kid and he's still young (22) but we've lowered our expectations to next-to-nil.

Vokoun New Panthers GM Dale Tallon called goaltender Tomas Vokoun the other day to let him know that he wasn't looking to trade him... this probably isn't the best news for Vokoun owners as you were surely hoping that he'd be traded to a contender but based on what we know about Tallon, he's a man of his word and a trade looks unlikely. 

The Islanders have re-signed 39-year old Doug Weight for another year... I guess John Tavares likes to have his landlord around but you can ignore Dougie for fantasy purposes.

The Blackhawks signed one of their top prospects as 20-year old Swede Marcus Kruger signed an ELC.  He went undrafted in 2008 and was only a 5th round pick last year but went on to have a great first full season in the SEL and led all U-20 players with 31 points in 38 games.  He'll be loaned back to Djurgarden for another season before testing himself in North America after that.  He's rated as a 3-Star prospect in our Fantasy Prospects DB and is ranked #75 overall.

A bunch of euro-vets who signed on with NHL teams yesterday but nothing that we think you need to cut your vacation short for: 

  • The Kings signed 25-year old Swedish dman Johan Fransson, he doesn't have much of a history of offensive production but surprised with 30 points this year in the SEL and while he'll have a shot to make the roster in training camp, we wouldn't count on much offense.
  • Ottawa signed 24-year old Swiss winger Roman Wick, he's had some mild success in Switzerland and looked good at the Olympics but the jump from the Swiss league to the NHL is a large one and we don't think he's worth your while.
  • The Hawks signed 24-year old Norwegian winger Mathis Olimb, he's barely worth mentioning and will have to prove himself in the AHL before he gets a sniff of the NHL.
  • The Thrashers signed 23-year old Swedish winger Fredrik Pettersson, one season of .70 ppg in the SEL as a 22-year old doesn't really impress us that much.

Neuvirth Congrats to the Hershey Bears on back-to-back Calder Cups.  They won game #6 4-0 to take the series over Texas in six games... Michal Neuvirth had 22 saves for the shutout and finishes the playoffs with a 14-4 record and 2.07 & .920 averages, after back-to-back titles for him he certainly appears ready for full-time NHL duty next year.  John Carlson had 1+1=2 in the clincher in what was definitely his last AHL game.  Chris Bourque was named playoffs MVP after posting 7+20=27 in 21 games to take a share of the scoring title.  Bourque has never been given much opportunity at the NHL level and when he has, he's been ineffective.

Maxim Afinogenov has rejected the Thrashers contract offer and its looking like he'll test the free agent waters in July... given how much success he had last year in Atlanta (24+37=61), this can't be seen as a good move for him or fantasy GMs who own him... but then again, the Thrashers will have a new coach, no Kovalchuk for an entire season and I guess there's a slight chance that he lands in a better spot next season (but we won't be holding our breath). 

Well that didn't last long, the Sharks have let Swedish goalie Henrik Karlsson go as he has signed to play in the KHL next year after being under contract with the Sharks for one year.  The Sharks loaned him back to Farjestad in the SEL for the season and he looked good but not good enough for the team's brass as the Sharks have a number of intriguing goalie prospects in their system.

The Blues signed 23-year old Russian dman Nikita Nikitin from Omsk of the KHL... with five years of experience in the KHL/RSL, he shouldn't need much time in the minors before being ready to step into the NHL but we don't think there's much fantasy potential here as he's been stuck at around .30 ppg in the KHL/RSL over the past four years so you shouldn't expect more than 20 points from him over a full NHL season.

Alex Burrows had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and while no official word has been given on the time necessary for recovery, his agent says that he won't be fully healthy until October or November, so it sounds like he could miss training camp and some action at the beginning of the season.  The team also said that this injury started bothering Burrows in the 2nd half and it affected his performance down the stretch and in the playoffs.  [more]

Kovalchuk_Russia A guy who claims to be Ilya Kovalchuk's Russian agent says that they're currently negotiating with SKA St. Petersburg for a three-year deal cause Kovy wants to play in Russia till the Sochi Olympics in 2014... not sure I'd want this guy as my agent since as Tom Gulitti points out, a three year deal would end in 2013 so then he'd still have to sign for another year to carry him through 2014.  All kidding aside, I'd bet that Kovy stays in the NHL but I wouldn't put it past him to take the money and go the KHL route. [more]

Good news for some of the Coyotes young prospects as GM Don Maloney has said that, "I think we need to bring in a little bit of new blood in certain areas, and that's what we're going to do".  Should mean legit shots at camp for young players like Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker and maybe a look for Brett MacLean (who had 30 goals in the AHL this year).  All the talk on defence will revolve around 2009 1st rounder Oliver Ekman-Larsson but he's still only 18 and hasn't even played in the SEL yet.  We're more bullish on the chances of 21-year old Russian blueliner, Maxim Goncharov, as he's logged three full years in the top Russian league and should be ready for immediate NHL action. [more]

The two-week period where buy-outs are allowed will start Tuesday, as usual there will be lots of threats of guys that might get bought out but probably not that much activity.  Some of the names being discussed are Cristobal Huet, Michael Ryder, Jonathan Cheechoo, Sergei Samsonov and pretty much anyone on the Leafs, Flames & Oilers... although it sounds like the Oilers will wait until after the draft to take care of their dirty work. [more]

Hockey Canada released the Selection Camp rosters for both the U-20 & U-18 teams... the U-20 camp is more of a get-to-know-ya thing and will help a little with the selection of the WJC team in December while the U-18 camp is used to pick the team that will represent Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in August.  A few names that we were pleasantly surprised to see get invites to the U-20 camp were Flames prospect Ryan Howse and 2010 draft eligibles Brad Ross & Brendan Gallagher.

Daily Distraction 

What's distracting us this week? 

- TMZ with some pretty standard TMZ coverage (read: lame) of Patrick Sharp and the Hawks taking the Cup out clubbing.  Beats hearing about Justin Bieber or whoever else is 'hot' we suppose.

- Is it possible that Megan Fox just got even hotter?  Hell yeah it is. Stick tap to Puck Daddy.

Hockey or Die  has some teaser footage on NHL 11 (which is coming out in September).  Looks pretty sweet... although we really didn't need to see Jarret Stoll on the ice with some nerd.

- This commercial from Sweden (we assume) may explain why Peter Forsberg's feet haven't recovered enough for him to make an NHL comeback... dude is playing some extreme road hockey that includes climbing up the sides of campervans... 

- Speaking of extreme road hockey, have to mention again that everyone should check out this awesome Cross Canada Road Hockey Road Trip called Five Hole for Food that is likely coming to a town near you soon... get out and support a great cause.