Some big moves in early July completely changed the face of your fantasy squad. In final portion of our four part series, we’ll take one last look at where some of these guys fit in with their new teams and, by extension, your fantasy league.
This rebuilding squad was fairly quiet during the free agency season, just standing back in the shadows and occasionally emerging to pluck a good deal or two off the market. Mike York is coming off a nightmarish season in which he was out of shape right from the start. The bottom line is, for four seasons prior to that, York was a 50- to 60-point player (pro-rating his injured 03-04 season). The Coyotes are a young team in desperate need of quality forwards and he will get top-six ice time and bounce back to 50 points this season.
Another cheap pickup was a starting goaltender. David Aebischer is coming off back-to-back sub-par seasons, which came on the heels of two very good ones. He will be the 1A goalie in Phoenix, battling for the No.1 job with Mikael Tellqvist in hopes of securing a bigger contract for 2008-09. He should get the numbers from a save percentage perspective, but obviously the win total will be found wanting here.
Finally, speedster Tomas Surovy was added to the squad. The last we saw of him, he was failing to click on a line with Mario Lemieux. Don’t be so quick to write him off though. He was just 22 years old (and 24 for a few games before Mario retired) when he had those failed auditions. Now 25 (he turns 26 in two months), Surovy is coming off a very successful campaign in the SEL in which he was a point per game. He led Lulea HF in scoring. Look for him to get a long look on the first or second line on the left wing. If it works out, he’s a 50-point player as well this year.
First of all, congratulations to all those keeper-league owners of Petr Sykora. You’ve just struck gold. After watching five straight campaigns of never crossing the 60-point barrier, it got to the point where Sykora was a dropsy in many fantasy formats – had he signed somewhere else.
Now that he is in Pittsburgh, his 81-point career high in 2000-01 is in jeopardy. There is no question the team picked him up with the expressed purpose of sticking him on Sidney Crosby’s line. If they don’t click, there’s always Evgeni Malkin. Cha-ching!
Darryl Sydor gives them more experience on the back end and another Stanley Cup ring, which will help avoid another first-round elimination in the spring, but his fantasy value is limited.
The fact that the Pens signed Dany Sabourin and Ty Conklin to battle it out as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup speaks volumes. For Fleury. Whichever one of these guys wins the battle, it is clear the team intends to ride Fleury for 65 or as many as 70 contests. The youngster’s already high value just went up another notch.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks shed some payroll and gave themselves a lot of breathing room in that department when they dealt Mark Bell and Vesa Toskala to Toronto for a package of picks that played a major role in allowing them to draft Logan Couture.
That being said, they did not use their extra salary on free agents and chose to keep it low and lock in Joe Thornton long-term. With all the teams with bloated salaries in the NHL, the Sharks will not have a hard time finding a trading partner during the season if they are looking to add salary at that time. Meanwhile, the loss of Bill Guerin and Mark Bell up front will allow for the likes of Joe Pavelski and Steve Bernier to get into every game now and Mike Iggulden and Devon Setoguchi to battle for that last roster spot.
St. Louis Blues
This all-defensive team injected a bit of offense into their lineup when they signed Paul Kariya. With one stroke of a pen, you can add at least five points to your projections on Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk, as well as 10 or more points to Brad Boyes.
In acquiring Hannu Toivonen (I said he would be shopped in Part I of t