Heads Up for the Bible... Vinny to have minor knee op... report: Zubarev signs... beware of Burrows' shoulder... awkward photo featuring Bobby Orr, a towel & Andre the Giant
HEADS UP... our 3rd annual Breakout Bible hit the shelves on Thursday... we're not going to say it's our best (that's tbd based on how well you do in your pool) but it's definitely the most robust
NEW! Vinny Lecavalier will have minor surgery on his knee this coming week and it's expected to keep him out for up to four weeks but the Lightning think he'll be ready for training camp which starts on September 17th. Probably nothing to be too concerned about but keep it in mind as there seems to be a lot of buzz this summer about Vinny having a bounce-back year.
NEW! Reports say that the Thrashers have signed dman Andrei Zubarev to an ELC... he was a 6th round pick of theirs back in 2005 and has spent the past five years in the RSL/KHL with moderate success. His best season was last year where he had 7+9=16 in 55 games and he's ranked #393 in our fantasy prospect rankings but would move up quite a bit if he's serious about playing over here. I'd assume the plan is to have him come over for training camp and there currently is a spot for one more dman to crack the roster and Zubarev should be in the mix. If he doesn't make the NHL, then we're not sure if he's willing to play in the AHL or will head back to Russia.
Just a reminder about the shoulder surgery that Alex Burrows' had in June... it's expected that it will take him 4-6 months to recover so that puts him in doubt to start the season and he could miss a chunk of time. Also, those shoulder injuries can be pesky as guys like Lecavalier, Demitra and Hemsky know first hand as it took them a while to get over them... so beware if you're a Burrows owner.
Aaron Asham has signed a one-way deal with the Penguins and while he's not really a fantasy threat (unless your league heavily weights PIMs), he should probably find himself in a 3rd line role and he may take a roster spot/ice-time away from a promising prospect like Dustin Jeffrey.
Billy Sweatt, he formerly of the Blackhawks & Leafs, signed as a FA with the Canucks. He was a 2nd round pick of the Hawks back in '07 but they decided they didn't want to sign him after four years at Colorado College so they dumped him on the Leafs as part of the Versteeg trade but there was no deal to be had there either. He put up some points in college but not enough to excite us at all... he's probably destined for a few years in the AHL.
The Thrashers have signed dman Freddy Meyer to a two-way deal, he'll provide some organizational depth for them but will likely either be in the AHL or the press box in Atlanta and should definitely not be on anyone's fantasy team.
The Hawks have signed former Oiler Fernando Pisani to a one-way deal, they're just filling out their 3rd & 4th line with some cheap veterans... you don't want anything to do with Pisani as he's much more prone to injuries than he is to points.
The Islanders brought Andy Hilbert back after a year in the Wild's system, mostly in the AHL... it's a two-way deal so he's going to have to fight for a roster spot but he was a regular with the Isles for the three seasons prior to last year so he might win a spot... but he's not fantasy worthy, unless 20 point guys are fantasy worthy in your league.
The Lightning signed former Islanders winger Sean Bergenheim to a one-year contract... it hasn't been disclosed yet but we're guessing its a two-way deal as that's how Stevie Y rolls, he did similar deals with Pouliot & Durno. Bergenheim's never had more than 24 points in parts of five seasons with the Islanders so we don't think he'll be very useful in fantasy leagues but he's usually good for one streak a year that makes you wonder, last year it was a five game stretch in March/April where he had 4+4=8... so we advise that you pick him up right before he does that this year. Update: It turns out the Bergenheim got a one-way deal from the Lightning, so he should have a role on the 3rd or 4th line but we still wouldn't go anywhere near him.
There was a swap of goalies on Monday as the Habs sent Cedrick Desjardins to the Lightning for Karri Ramo... I wouldn't read too much into this as Tampa needed an experienced AHL goalie and Desjardins has been pretty solid the past two years on that circuit with Hamilton and Ramo is expected to play over in the KHL again this year after posting some nice numbers with Omsk last year (2.11 & .913). So really just a minor-league swap and I doubt that either team has high expectations, although being the #3 in Tampa behind Mike Smith could mean that Desjardins gets into some NHL action this year, whereas we like Ramo's long-term upside a little more as he's already played 48 NHL games to go along with seasons in the SM-Liiga & KHL.
Bruins prospect Mikko Lehtonen has signed to play in Sweden next season... he's been a decent player in the AHL the past two years averaging 26 goals & 52 points but the Bruins only gave him two NHL games and his outlook for this season wasn't much better so they're probably not too upset at losing him.
So after all that, Brian Burke didn't get a Tomas Kaberle deal done, so unless there's a big change of heart from either party, he'll start the year with the Leafs. We won't get into our thoughts on Burkie (hint: unimpressed) but Kaberle can't be feeling great about his status with the Leafs after he's been shopped all summer and he's had issues with Ron Wilson in the past. We wouldn't be too worried about Kaberle's production as he'll still give you a bunch of assists, PPP & a reasonable number of shots but he'll be a liability in most other categories. So no real downgrade for Kaberle but he misses out on a potential boost that he would have seen if he went to, say, San Jose or Tampa.Mike Santorelli signed with Florida on a two-way deal... he was recently picked up from Nashville and has some potential after putting up some good numbers in the AHL but with a two-way deal and given Florida's depth chart, he's probably going to spend most of the year in the AHL and try to impress in limited action when he gets called up.
What's distracting us this week?
- NEW! Who's the worst NHL team in history? According to McFarlane it's the Chicago Blackhawks... things can change Oilers fans.
- NEW! Check out what From The Rink has learned from The Hockey News Yearbook.
- NEW! You know it's a slow news day when a 20 second pizza commercial from Swedan is all over the interweb... oh yeah it features Daniel and Henrik Sedin as well as Peter Forsberg.
- Check out this picture we saw over at Greatest Hockey Legends. Yeah that's Andre the Giant, Bobby Orr and Orr's teammate Carol Vadnais. The three of them and Phil Esposito went out on the town one night. To get the details visit GHL and you'll find the link to buy Espo's memoirs which apparently has all the details.