As keeper league hockey pools increase in number each year, fantasy junkies become more active in the off-season as they prepare their team for the coming year. Rebuild? Retool? Tweak? Whatever your intentions, it helps to get all the information you can about your players.
Throughout the off-season, FPL will look at a pair of teams each week and give you the fantasy lowdown. Bucking the trend of past years, we will review alphabetically – in reverse. Just to be different.
(Also posted by The Hockey News, ESPN.com and MSN.ca)
Gone – Petr Sykora, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Joffrey Lupul, Jason Smith, Jan Hejda, Jussi Markkanen and Brad Winchester.
Arriving – Dustin Penner, Mathieu Garon, Joni Pitkanen, Sheldon Souray, Dick Tarnstrom and Geoff Sanderson.
Looking to Add – The Oilers have been trying to add a top-flight forward all summer (we’re not ready to anoint Penner a upper-tier forward, yet), but have failed to do so. Unless something falls into their lap via the trade route, they are done until training camp.
Ready for full-time – Three players are ready to make the jump here, but there may be only enough room for two of them. Andrew Cogliano, a highly skilled, diminutive pivot signed an entry-level deal. If he impresses in training camp, he could become as high as a first- or second-line center as a rookie. He could also lose that opportunity to another young pivot, Rob Schremp. The latter is a goal-scoring forward with excellent hockey sense and showed great chemistry with Robert Nilsson when the two played in Wilkes-Barre of the American League last season. Nilsson is the third player ready to make the jump. He is a very intelligent player who makes things happen when he’s on the ice. Unfortunately, sometimes those things happen in the wrong direction…otherwise he would be a lock. Look for two of these players to make the jump and all are worth keeping an eye on.
Fantasy Outlook – A lot of the Oilers’ offense will come from the blueline, with the likes of Souray, Pitkanen, and Tarnstrom now in the fold. Without elite linemates for Ales Hemsky, this isn’t a team to stock up on in your fantasy pool. The pipeline is decent enough, though. In addition to the aforementioned threesome, Sam Gagner